Rule #12 – the correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
More and more these days it feels like the Rules could get a refresh, with #12.1 being ‘the correct number of kits to own is n+1’.
Granted (most) kits aren’t as costly as (most) bikes but even a few different looks a week and ka-ching, it all starts to add up. That’s exactly how Lee felt, and that’s largely how Pennant Cycling came to be.
But we’ll rewind a sec.
Back in the day, Lee and his brother Heath were into sports. Squash and tennis kept Heath busy whilst Lee was a fairly tidy footballer until it ruined his body. Keen to stay active, he thought he’d give riding a go, and asked Heath if he could borrow his bike to test the water. Turns out the bike wasn’t used nearly as much as the rackets – it was pretty useless.
Not to be deterred, Lee headed into town and made a bee-line to Freedom Machine, Heath in tow. They each bought a bike on the spot. It was 2009 and neither really knew all that much about bikes, and probably even less about cycling. Things have changed, and both have well and truly been bitten by the biking bug.
So much so, in fact, that Lee had become increasingly aware of just how much dosh he was spending on quality kit. An Art Director by trade, he was convinced that there must be a way to maintain quality and considered design, but provide kit at a more affordable price point. Not only that, but he was getting sick and tired of trying to find the matching bib when he reached into his closet to pull out whatever jersey would first come to hand. And if really nudged, he’d probably confess that there was a part of him that didn’t want to buy into the cultural hierarchy he felt was starting to take shape in the world of kit.
In Lee’s mind, there was a place for well-designed, well-priced kit. It’s just that place was fairly empty. At one end of the scale you had premium, beautiful, performance driven kit that came with a hefty price tag. At the other end, cheap and awful knock-offs that looked every bit the amateur-hour error.
Lee mused over the idea of starting a line of kit and began talking it through with his wife, Rebekah (the non-cycling ‘voice of reason’ in the family). Once his mind was made, he didn’t muck about. He pulled together a proposal and made a formal presentation to his brother and best mate. Heath was in, as was Rebekah.
Little did they know what lay ahead. What’s the saying? Ignorance is bliss…
Templates went out, but samples would come back looking cheap. They realised if they were to really nail this, they’d have to come up with their own unique cut. Even with Lee’s creative background, nothing in the process was straight-forward. It was all a steep learning curve and there were probably up to six different revisions on every jersey design. In Lee’s words, “what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate well to the real thing”.
The name Pennant came to Lee when he was pulling together his proposal to Heath. He liked that it was old school – a pennant was something lovely you’d stick on your wall if you won or participated in something. It had a retro charm that resonated with him. It has naturally tied in beautifully with the Series One kit designs, most of which are classic-meets-effortless-cool, with a few on-trend options in the quality mix as well.
On the eve of Pennant Cycling’s launch to market we caught up with Lee and got a sense for how chuffed he is to have created something that wasn’t previously available. A full kit for $129 and the flexibility of having a bib that will go with all jersey designs is pretty unique. If Pennant Cycling can help promote cycling as truly affordable, truly socially levelling, and truly cool, then Lee’s achieved what he set out to. That and he gets to work alongside the two people he loves most is an absolute bonus.
… And maybe he’s a little less frustrated in the morning when he reaches into the closet for an instant matchy-matchy look.
How did the Pennant Cycling kit perform?
Here are some thoughts from our tester.
I chose the St.Gwinear jersey and Classic Cycle Bib Shorts to test out. I really like the design. It's simple, classic and understated. Perfect if you are after a low-key look, or if you like to dress up your kit with fancy socks or gilets.
I normally wear a medium and the Pennant Cycling kit fits true to size. The cut is straight and not overly fitted, which is a tick for any non 65kg neo-pro cyclists. The chamois is not bulky, and it's positioned just over the sit bones, so tick there as well.
The sleeve and leg length are very much cut to current trends. The longer sleeve length is spot on, and the jersey pockets are nice and big.
I'm not a huge fan of the non-slip silicon grippers. I found them a little tight, but certainly not a deal breaker.
I found it pretty remarkable that my full kit only costs $129. I think the team at Pennant Cycling has made a wise decision to keep all of their knicks plain and simple, allowing people to mix and match with their different jersey designs. I really hope they develop their collection to include gilets so that weekend warriors can have the look for less, and we look forward to see what is planned for the women's range as well.