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The Canadian Cycling Magazine guide to ordering custom kit

Better understand the process of ordering custom kit to know what to expect

Out on the road, custom cycling kit looks good. Also, it builds an identity for your group of friends or club. You can order a special jersey and bibs for a special ride or event, too. The process of ordering custom might seem daunting, but it can save you money when compared to buying the same amount of clothing off the rack. The reward of unwrapping a fresh kit and rolling out in something you can be proud of is extremely satisfying. Here is how to get your custom order started and what to expect in the process.

RELATED Here are 4 reasons to order custom in 2017

First Things to Consider

A racing team that does thousands of kilometres in team kit will have different needs from a group that needs custom jerseys for a charity ride. In order to start the process, determine your group’s needs and priorities.

Consider the size of the order and the general budget of the group. Figure out if getting skinsuits for racing or accessories, such as arm and leg warmers is essential. Determine what style and quality you want. Also, choose who is going to be the go-to person communicating with the company.

“If you like a particular brand, see if they have a custom program that exists. People who are familiar with different companies can seek out what they like,” said Charlie Bryer of Pearl Izumi.

Do research into the minimums that different companies require. For example, Pearl Izumi requires a 50-item minimum split between two items (jersey and shorts, for example), while companies such as Castelli and Giordana can work with minimums of 10 per item. Louis Garneau have a minimum of six and even a special program for smaller orders.

By familiarizing yourself with companies’ product lines, you can narrow your choice down and move on to the next step. While Pearl Izumi and Castelli offer their range of entry-level to high-end clothing for custom, Giordana offers a range that also includes special kits for cold and wet weather. Many companies also offer jackets, long-sleeve jerseys and wind vests.


Make contact with the companies you are interested in. Be prepared to outline your group’s needs and priorities in order to get an accurate estimate. Inform the companies of your timeline, especially when you need the product delivered. If you are ordering in larger quantities, a company can usually offer a more competitive price on certain pieces of apparel. Inquire about shipping costs, potential duties and taxes at this point. Giordana offers free ground shipping within Canada. Remember it usually takes between six to eight weeks to deliver kits once the order is submitted.

Having gathered more information consult with your group before making a final decision. You will find each supplier has its merits so knowing your needs and priorities will make it easier to identify which company will deliver what you are looking for.

Once you have settled on a company, get the details confirmed. Pricing, shipping costs, and the delivery date should not longer be ambiguous. Firming up all these items will ensure there are no misunderstandings as the process continues. You want everything to go smoothly.


Pearl Izumi Side Launch kit proof

Perhaps the most fun and rewarding part of the process is working on the design. Wearing something that you had a hand in designing will make having the new kit all the more exciting. Castelli, Giordana and Pearl Izumi have graphic designers on staff to make your vision a reality. Your imput and feedback can help accelerate the process. For example, Giordana will present three designs options. Once that is narrowed down, the company will make revisions free of charge. Pearl Izumi will do four proofs before you are charged a design fee. Castelli offers full packages that include the design of a logo. This logo can be used on pieces, such as the Gabba, that you can’t put full custom graphics on.

The Silber Cafe Giordana kit proof

Once you have a design made, be sure to consult with everyone in your group before making final alterations to the proof.

Fit kits

During the design process, you can request fit kits so you and the other riders in your group can be sure to order the pieces they desire in the right sizes. Keep in mind that companies may have a limited number of kits that they can send out at any one time.


The size of your group will affect how the order is processed. With a smaller order, it’s best to use a spreadsheet or form that people can fill out to make their orders. With this method, payments are managed by a designated person within the group.

For certain orders, companies, such as Pearl Izumi, Castelli and Giordana, will open an online shop for members of the group to make their order and payments. With this method, the company uses its internal logistics to make the process go smoothly.

“Managing a big order is laborious so we open a private shop through our website with a deadline to make the pre-order. We will also collect the funds once the order has been finallized,” said Bronko Glavich of Uno Imports. “Whether the order is managed internally or in the shop, the biggest hurdle is getting members to go on and make their order. Everyone waits until the last minute.

Members often wait until the last minute to make the order so the speed of this process is often largely dependent on how quickly the group can get organized.


Side Launch custom
The Side Launch kit in it’s flesh

If you are managing the payment process and you’ve wrangled all the members orders, take stock of the final numbers. If certain items did not meet the requisite minimums, your group can decide whether to add extras or forget about ordering those items. If the order has been managed by the company, they will collect payments and ensure that the minimums have been met.

Order submission

Once the totals have been tallied, double-check the numbers once again to ensure there are no mistakes. Confirm the final proof of the design; let the company it can go ahead with production. Making sure there are no mistakes in the order, especially if it was managed internally, is very important. Likewise, ensuring the design has been looked over careful will leave less room for unexpected surprises.


The Giordana Silber Cafe kit
The Giordana Silber Cafe kit

Once the order is confirmed and payment is made, companies have estimated delivery times that range from six to eight weeks. Orders can often be delivered faster so estimates are sometimes on the conservative side.The most exciting part of the custom process is finally receiving that fresh new kit. Before rummaging through the box and distributing the items, check that everything is accounted for. If there are items missing or extras, it’s best to notify the company as soon as possible to avoid confusion.

Pearl Izumi Side Launch kit out on the road
Pearl Izumi Side Launch kit out on the road

Then, throw on that fresh new kit and start putting miles in it.

If you can’t decide whom to order custom from, stay tuned for a company guide with custom programs.