Curious about Capo cycling apparel

In winter this year I received a call from Capo Australia’s John Sunde. He was curious to hear my thoughts on the company’s women’s range and how to grow its appeal.

John is one of those people in the cycling industry who is justifiably passionate about the products they sell. We had long chat about the brand’s women’s range, its reach (current and potential) and the marketing opportunities provided by the changing social media landscape. I enjoyed being able to offer some insights in these areas and learning more about how things operate at John’s end.

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I left the Capo Australia HQ redressed from head to toe. Like I said, John is a man who believes the brand he distributes is second to none.

Given that my work as a cycling journalist means I get to test and review so many different products I was curious to discover what makes Capo different. Some thoughts on a few favourites are below.

Capo Cipressa Short 2.0

Carbon-Lycra combos are increasingly seen in high-end kit.

Carbon-Lycra materials are increasingly seen in high end kit.

While a lot of women swear by the fit and comfort of bibshorts, the ease of use that come with a high quality pair of knicks can be hard to beat. These ones offer a snug but comfortable fit around the waist. They don’t get loose, they don’t catch on the saddle, they do make winter toilet stops about 5000 times quicker than their bib ‘n’ brace counterparts.

The Cipressa 2.0 shorts use a CyTech Elastic Interface Chamois. This is the chamois of choice in most brands at the moment and makes for all-day riding comfort. The ‘Carbon Lycra’ is said to support the muscles and provide better temperature regulation. Personally, I like how light and breathable these shorts feel.

The hotter the mercury gets, the more these shorts gain their edge. Less breathable shorts tend to hold onto sweat, especially under baggies when mountain biking, causing painful chaffing as a result. In comparison, the Cipressa 2.0 shorts are so comfortable under baggies that on a recent, two-week trip to Rotorua, I used only these. I washed them each night before another five hours on the many singletracks the following day. Fortunately they dry quite quickly too.

Capo Cipressa Jersey 2.0

Nice and light in summer.

Nice and light in summer.

The different materials work well in combination to produce a high-performing jersey.

The different materials work well in combination to produce a high-performing jersey.

The Cipressa Jersey on its own is a very light weight summer option. It breathes well and has a flattering, low-key appearance. Once again the fit and materials stand out, pushing this product into a premium price point. It fits small women well; snug in all the right places with an even stretch to accommodate for different shaped curves.

Other staples, such as unisex undershirt and fleece arm warmers, increase functionality but struggle a little to accommodate the capped sleeves.

Other staples, such as the unisex fleece arm warmers, increase functionality but struggle a little to accommodate the capped sleeves of the jersey.

Pairs up with an undershirt for increased temperature regulation.

The unisex undershirt provides increased temperature regulation and has been a great addition during the mid-seasons.

The waist is an appropriate length and the lack of tight elastic here means that it looks flattering whether you’re riding, sprinting or off the bike ordering second breakfast. The middle pocket is lined with a plastic-y material to protect electronic goods from sweat. The outside of this protective layer becomes quite damp at the end of a long ride indicating how well the rest of the Cipressa range wicks moisture. The white panel on the back increases visibility on the road bike. The jersey is also available in red for riders who prefer something brighter.

Capo SC12 Donna Long Sleeve Jersey

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A warm winter jersey with zero bulk.

A warm winter jersey with zero bulk.

The SC12 Donna Long Sleeve Jersey features a wind blocking material on the front and ventilated fabric on the back. The fit of the XS size jersey was, once again, snug in all the places you’d expect but constructed in a way that doesn’t compromise the fit. This seems like an obvious thing to say, but it stands out in comparison to other brands that offer wider-than-preferred, wind-tunnel arms, or a short, midriff-exposing waist.

The wind-blocking front is stitched to a more breathable material for the back.

The wind-blocking front is stitched to a more breathable material for the back.

I worked the 6am shift at SBS Cycling Central during the Tour de France this year, which meant a lot of chilly (but beautiful) rides at 5am over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The excellent fit and the combination of fabrics made this jersey the go to item for these chilly winter rides.

Riding in the dark and cold is hard whatever climate you’re used to, but quality kit makes any commute so much more pleasurable. In fact, paired up with a thermal underneath on the coldest days, I found I had to unzip the front and pull up the sleeves as I managed to get too hot; a good sign for climates that get much crisper than Sydney.

Fleece knee warmers winterise the shorts and provide more opportunities for logo placement.

Fleece knee warmers winterise the shorts and provide more opportunities for logo placement.

Different brands offer a different ‘look’, but it was the fine tuned fit of these garments that impressed me the most. There are a lot of companies competing for the women’s dollar now and it stands out when careful attention has been paid to the finer elements of the performance, function and fit. I can certainly see why it’s no effort for someone like John to be so passionate about his job.

Capo is a brand that began with socks. These woolen ones are my favourite, but the compression provided by other weaves makes the brand a preferred option for many other riders too.

Capo is a brand that began with socks. These woolen ones are my favourite, but the compression provided by other weaves means the brand continues to have a loyal following among many other riders too.

The long sleeve jersey, alongside earlier versions of the Cipressa kit are currently available on the Capo Australia Sale site. There’s a heap of other gear there too – worth a look if you like the fit and performance of these cycling staples and want to support local but for a lot less spend.

To see the full men’s and women’s range, and to learn more about their custom collections, head to the main Capo Cycling site.

Images: Mike Blewitt (on a body), Kath Bicknell (off a body).

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