Ever thought about how cycling kits are made? Long story short – we ride our bikes, and then you can buy what we have made. And then there is something between both steps.
But at the start… How 4Cyclists was born?
It started way before 4Cyclists were born. Kārlis Berlands, the founder of 4Cyclists, took a bike from his cousin and rode for 3 days.
The next summer, he rode around Latvia, then to the Arctic Circle. In football shorts. Because Lycra is for pro guys (who look stupid in it) and MAMILs (who look way more stupid than pro guys).
Kārlis was invited to an amateur team and got his first black cycling shorts. Who knew that even in cheap shorts, ride comfort increases dramatically?
Next year he needed to order a custom kit for the team, and problems started – good cycling kits were unaffordable, cheap kits were shit. And, over everything, communication errors, minimum quantities, late delivery etc. So… we had a problem, and we needed a solution. The solution came from nowhere. An owner of a small factory asked to join him, and then 4Cyclists were born. Starting with cheap, not so good, but very affordable kits.
And where are 4Cyclists these days? We would like to say that we are Baltics’s leading cycling kit brand.
It starts with the ride
The best ideas come when riding. The problem is not forgetting them.
The mind never stops looking for new ideas, new solutions for new problems. Because every new solution makes a new problem. So, when anyone asks when the development of our cycling products will be finished, we always say that it won`t ever happen. We never sell products that we are ashamed of. And Kārlis isn`t the only one who rides. We actively communicate with our clients to know what they like and don`t, especially when we speak about UCI and National teams.
It depends on the stage of the product. But let`s speak about a completely new product.
Kārlis makes a call to our clothing pattern designer and goes for a meeting. We should make a video of those visits. The most enthusiastic visits ever. Eyes shine. Most of the time, we take some existing products and talk about changes that should be made.
Let’s stick to our latest product – Cargo bib shorts and talk about them. We made it from scratch. We simply wanted to forget what we had done previously and create something new. So the task wasn`t easy for Juliāna (our clothing pattern designer).
The main challenge – is to change how the pad “sits”. All the rest was simple – comfortable cutting with pockets on the sides. While she was making the pattern, we thought about fabrics. We didn`t want to make anything crazy, so we took our beloved ECONYL® yarn lycra (because it`s good and RECYCLED) plus mesh-like fabric for pockets and bibs.
When Juliāna sent the pattern, we immediately started to work on a prototype. Eyes still shining bright. And you know what? This was one of the rare times when the very first prototype was good. Good but far from sellable.
Most of the time, the first ones are “what is this shit?“. Ok, maybe not so bad, but close to that. We have very high standards on what we want to produce and sell to you.
Minor changes on the cutting, to get rid of some wrinkles, pockets have been increased, pad changed, some minor adjustments on how to sew them and the gravel cycling bib shorts were born.
How long does it take to make a new product?
Normally? A year.
We like to test the prototypes throughout the season. It takes around three months to get a usable (for our standards) prototype. Then our test team uses those products and tries to find things that should be changed.
Also, we test them on washing times, tumble drying, pilling, etc. While testing processes occur, our design team works on the designs. As you have seen, we like to stick to a classic cycling kit design. But maybe you would like to see something crazy from our side? If so, let us know!
The product is ready to be sold
One more step before you can get it, we need to make a photoshoot.
Most of the time, it`s one fun event. Then the stock is made, and we are ready to sell the next cycling kit to you.
And the cycle can start all over again because Kārlis’ brains never sleep.