In a remote small town of Namsos, Norway, I purchased at great expense a blue Stormberg cycling jersey which has been used on every cycling expeditionso far and has performed brilliantly for the last four years. This time around, it would be staying at home.
I needed a new cycling jersey to complete the look and continue the superfluous black, yellow and white theme that seems to have adorned to everything we’ve touched. Having tried to negociate with a few companies, and I will point out a very poor service from Kukri, and would avoid with a barge pole, I wasn’t getting anywhere and the disastrous week I had at the same time didn’t help.
I was very fortunate, and was recommended by Nick and Marcus who cycled across America this summer (BC2DC) – definitely worth a read if you have the time, a custom cycle clothing company called Half Baked Brand.
Half Baked Brand is a small company set up in 2009 based in Devon and are a fresh company looking to deliver some unique cycling gear. They offer other cycling gear including bib/shorts, gillets and caps, but their main focus is on offering unique cycling jerseys – some premade designs are avilable to buy from between £20-£45.
Quickly by means of twitter, I got through to a nice and really helpful guy called James – who I belive is the founder. He soon said he could help me out with just ONE jersey – often with any custom clothing there is a minimum order; the best I saw was three but is usually as high as ten.
The Design Process
The design process is quite simple. Half Baked Brand provides you with a pdf template and an inspiration page to help! From there you just draw on the design you want. This should be done in vector format because it enables lossless scaling. For every graphic that needs designing, I use Inkscape which is a free open source application and has become a swiss army knife in my design tool box. The design can consist of images too, but these need to be a very high resolution.
Having sent back the design there were intitial problems opening the PDF and SVG version into the Adobe Illustrator format they were using. Eventually this was done but took more time than I wanted and I’d recommend to them in future they maybe specify this beforehand. The only other thing that was needed was primary CMYK colours for the background. This is the most difficult thing, because colour doens’t necessarily look the same on every monitor – especially RGB and there is a discernible difference between my 7 year old monitor and my parent’s one year old monitor. James couldn’t guarantee how the colour would look once printed. The design shown below:
The final thing that needed deciding was size. There are many sizes available and they have their own chart available. Even after measuring, I was quite unsure if it would fit especially with an underlayer beneath. I took a gamble for it to be close to the skin. Medium.
Ideally jerseys need to be really skin tight, so that sweat can be effectively absorbed away but that is at the price of undressing without it becoming a tormenting excercise.
Once you’ve submitted the design they do the rest!
From design to receiving the custom jersey it takes between 4-6 weeks to be made.
The custom printed cycling jersey arrived this weekend and the result is fantastic and it came out much better than I thought.
The design reproduction is sharp and the colours coming out as intended in particualr the lovely background colour. The only colour that didn’t come out too well was the Howden School Crest, but this was never changed. I would probably advise anyone making a design to avoid really deep strong colours, especially yellow. Also avoid white or pastel colours because these soon become filthy when you unmistakebly forget you have oily/dirty fingers.
On the snug side
The jeresy fits well overall, although on the tight side, especially around my large shoulders and perhaps building up the fat reserves. I also managed to wear an underlayer at the same time and was only noticeably tight around the underarms. The only problem with the size I failed to match was the arms. I didn’t consider myself hench, but it seems that I do have arm muscles. In the long term this isn’t a problem, providing the stitching doesn’t come loose when trying to take it off, but the stitching appears strong when pulling along the seams. Luckily I know that intense cycling even over a month soon eats away upperbody muscle faster than I can eat biscuits.
I am very pleased with the Jersey and getting this for £45 is fantastic, considering normal cycling jerseys retail from £30+ and look terrible in comparison. Originally I was expecting this to be in £70-80 and for wearing this nearly every day for the next year, I can quickly say it is worth it.
The service provided by the team at Half BB was very helpful and thoughtful throughout and I wish to thank James who made this jersey possible. It is certainly a company that I’d recommend if you wanted your own design made and I’d wish I knew about them three years ago!
I will add to the review after testing the joursey more thorughly on the journey especially against the elements!