Customer Stories: Stand Out From The Crowd

Custom design
Customer Stories

At Kalas we serve a diverse variety of customer types, who have at least one thing in common - they all want to create their own custom designed cycle clothing. These include individuals, small groups of friends, clubs, teams, companies, charities, and events. In our series Customer Stories, some of them tell us how we helped them achieve their objectives and highlight the aspects of Kalas’ service that they benefitted from the most.

We continue our Kalas Customer Stories by sharing the design of Moonglu Race Team, a UK racing squad based in North Yorkshire who aim to bring a bit of fun and colour to the UK road scene.

Stand Out From The Crowd

For the past decade the northern county of Yorkshire has been at the forefront of hosting major UK cycling events and has for some time already been considered a hub for grassroots racing. The 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart was a huge success and led to several editions of the legacy event Tour de Yorkshire from 2015-2019. The same region of the UK also hosted the 2019 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Harrogate, just 15 miles (25 km) north of Leeds.

Another 15 miles further north of Harrogate you will find Ripon, the home of the Moonglu Race Team. This squad of just six riders, led by Ben Mewes, aim to bring a bit of colour and fun to the UK domestic road race scene throughout 2024 and beyond. We spoke to Ben to find out more about the origins of the race team and how they came up with their striking new design.

The race team debuted in 2022 and is basically an offshoot of the Moonglu Cycling Club (so named because they are supported by Moonglu Independent Bike Shop in Ripon). The cycling club was formalised in 2016 and today has grown to over 200 members. But it originated in 2009 with just a few mates on a casual Thursday night bike ride after work. The race team was the idea of club member Roger Clarke, who wanted to develop a pathway for young riders from the club to get into racing. This season Moonglu Race Team will compete at the highest level possible in the UK domestic road race scene and will challenge themselves against UCI WorldTeam pros in the UK National Championships. We’re still just a local club team really, hoping to be at the front end of the biggest races in the country. It’s a real underdog story!”, Ben told us.

We ask Ben about the striking pink design and its origins. “It’s a long story”, he laughs. “Basically, we wanted to stand out, be different, and overall bring some fun into an environment that all too often takes itself a little bit too seriously.

The original 2022 race team kit was blue and white, featuring a distinctive “M” pattern on the jersey. Although the team thought it was very distinctive, they found that it was easily lost within the peloton. In the blur of a bunch travelling at speed they found it hard to locate their teammates, so tactically they thought about switching to a more distinctive design. This was also the case in the feed zone too, where their own team helpers could not easily pick out the riders. The team felt they had put themselves at a disadvantage when racing in that design.

Ben explained, “As a sponsored race team, we also started to think more about visibility in the bunch and how we could deliver more value for our sponsors. So, we wanted a kit design that was not only visible from within the bunch so we could spot each other, we wanted spectators to be easily able to find us and follow our progress in races when watching from the outside too.

The team knew they wanted something bright, maybe neon or fluorescent, possibly orange, but did not have a clear design concept in mind. Ben continued “The Kalas design team were very helpful as we worked through different concepts. One big challenge we faced was how to create a distinct new design that gave us both the visibility we wanted, but also connected visually with the old design to show some kind of natural evolution.

The team’s original blue race kit had a very distinctive “M” pattern and as a design idea it was very effective. However, as much as they loved that element of the design, it took up a lot of space on the front of their jersey. That was valuable space they wanted to share with their sponsors. Eventually they came up with the idea of placing this pattern on the side panels of the jerseys instead. This helped find that connection which joined the new design with the old.

In 2023 they raced a little in Belgium and found inspiration there amongst some of the kit designs of the teams they competed against. But they were still struggling to define exactly what they wanted. They eventually stumbled across the new colour by accident. One of their riders borrowed his girlfriend’s helmet and wore it in a race. At the time his girlfriend was racing for the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB women’s team and had been issued with a distinctive bright pink helmet. He immediately stood out in the bunch and that moment was the inspiration they had needed. Very soon after they agreed to go for a strong pink as the base colour for their kit and some different design options were prepared for the team to review.

Ben told us “It was difficult for us to visualise the strong pink colours on a screen, so Kalas supplied us with some printed fabric samples. These are just flat prints of the different jersey design options, each on a square piece of jersey fabric so we could see the colours in real life. It also meant we could better appreciate the size and location of the sponsor logos. After only looking at designs on a screen we were suddenly able to reach a conclusion quickly and we then put the design into production immediately.

In the meantime, while we were working on the final design, we received a size sample set of jerseys and shorts. This was a really good move as we wanted to check the fit of the PRO collection against the ELITE collection. We were also able to try on the “plus” sizes (extra six centimetres length), resulting in almost all of us opting for plus size bib shorts.

As performance is important to the guys at Moonglu RT, they went for the PRO range. “I have to admit it compares favourably with any of the major brands that we have tried before”, Ben told us.

The team race in skinsuits, but for training they all have Razor short sleeve jerseys, Temps long sleeve jerseys, Stratos gilets, Rainex jackets, and Goffrato bib shorts with the Zoom X pad. Ben continued “All the kit fits perfectly, and we are big fans of the longer sizing option. The Goffrato bibs are very comfortable, and we especially love the two-way zip on the gilets - that’s class! Also, we have found the kit to be hard wearing and it washes really well. The colours have stayed bright despite regular wear and washing.

The new design has received lots of positive comments. People regularly ask the team if they can buy it. One of the unforeseen benefits of the new design that had not occurred to the riders was that the bright kit is also ideal for training in the dark, which is unavoidable if you live and train in the UK through winter. Being more visible makes them feel safer on the roads. One of the other effects they did not consider when creating such a striking design is that there is nowhere for them to hide now when racing. “Now that we look this good and get noticed so much, we’ve put a bit of pressure on ourselves to perform well!” says Ben.

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