Here’s the thing. Within design there’s often compromise. It’s too easy to make apparel that’s a souvenir from a brand rather than a product made for a pointed use. The Luxe Bib is a reaction to that. This is a bib made without compromise and with a single goal of making the experience of riding its purest. The Luxe aims to redefine the highest standard possible for a pair of bibs.
Velocio’s co-founder and designer, Brad Sheehan, explains how the process of developing the Luxe Bib sets it apart from other bibs on the market.
What makes the Luxe better?
For me, it’s what’s behind this bib. It’s a totally new bib and we’ve got three-plus years of development behind it, when you consider where we started.
It’s all of what we know about bib shorts embodied. We started with our Signature Bib Short, then we pretty much threw all of that out and started over – what I mean by that is, we’ve been working ever since we launched on refining and making our bib shorts better, better, better. This really takes that and addresses every aspect, every detail of what makes our Signature bib good and looks at how we can improve it. The goal is to not really feel the bib when riding, to get rid of anything but the riding. We reconsidered almost everything, starting with fabric, chamois, bib straps, leg gripper. The Signature bib is clean, simple and really tries to dial in the materials and fit with the use – the ride. The Luxe is a step beyond that. Essentially, there are fewer pieces: three or four parts: fabric (highly compressive, very abrasion resistant, high gauge), then the straps/grippers (super minimal and clean, yet really refined and super functional), and finally the chamois (high density, support, low friction). All of that combined with the fit we’ve worked on makes this a very different feeling bib. The best we’ve put together.
The fabric feels quite different from previous Velocio bibs (or other bibs as well)- what makes it so?
So coming off of the Signature bib, which is really highly compressive and more of a traditional feeling fabric, we wanted to use something that felt softer to the touch, looked more elegant (matte finish) was very ‘free’ feeling and yet still provided the performance we wanted (support, durability). The fabric we’re using is knit on even higher gauge machines, so it’s super dense. It also uses almost twice the Lycra content, which increases elasticity, recovery and maintains compression. It’s a very soft, almost microfiber-like yarn, which gives it an incredibly soft hand and that iconic looking matte finish from which the bib takes its name.
How did the different fabric affect construction?
We started with the Signature pattern and wanted to maintain a lot of that feel and fit, but with this type of fabric, we really needed to re-evaluate the construction. So in the end, we have a significantly different pattern. It used to be that bibs we’re judged on their quality based on how many panels they had. An 8 panel bib was a big deal. But fabric has evolved. During this recent design process, we wanted to take advantage of the elastic properties of the new fabric and minimize seams in the shorts. But, one thing that was super important was that we didn’t compromise on fit or comfort. Often times you see 1-piece bib shorts that are made from super stretchy fabric, but the fit is poor- it feels loose, as there’s too much relying on the elasticity of the fabric and there’s not enough “shape” built in.
So we minimized seams without affecting fit. Technology for pattern making has come a long way. So has cutting, testing, refinement and the result is seams are now the limiting point, the areas of friction. They also add weight. Removing seams reduces friction, weight and improves the experience.
So how did you sort out where those seams are placed? Prototypes? Rides with tape measures and safety pins?
Ha. Both! I ride around with safety pins and measuring tapes a lot. Actually, the seam placement is only part of fit. The pattern piece — the shape of the fabric is the other part.
I ride a lot in altered bib shorts to determine what works while riding — not just standing in a studio, or sitting on a bike. You need to ride in it. So lots of prototypes, lots of pins, lots of small adjustments and measurements. the Luxe went through a number of complete prototypes, but many many iterations within those prototypes where we’d cut and tweak.
So the takeaway is a carefully considered bib with fewer seams, more thoughtful design and a lot of riding in that process. In the end, who is the bib best suited for?
The Luxe is intended for all-day riding: Audax, Grandfondos, gravel races, huge training days, etc. But it’s not limited to that. It’s really about enhancing the feel of our Signature bib – taking that to another level with the materials available. That comes at a higher cost but this is a bib we believe offers a better experience than any we’ve seen available. That’s not a marketing tagline or talking point, it really is our goal, the standard we’re trying to set.
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