Designer clothing brand Ted Baker have launched a range of stylish cycle clothing for the autumn and winter called ‘Raising The Handlebars’, available exclusively through online retailer Wiggle.
"Based on classic Ted fundamentals and innovative details, Ted has put mud, sweat and tears (steady Ted! - ed) into creating Raising the Handlebars; a bespoke collection of stylish cycling attire that puts the aesthetic into athletic," says the Ted Baker promotional blurb.
The clothing is aimed at cyclists who want normal clothing with bike friendly details and materials for commuting to work, and the range includes shirts, trousers, shorts and jackets. They all feature details like reflective collars and cuffs and strips, reinforced and fast drying fabrics with antibacterial treatment, armpit vents should ensure the clothing meets the demands of cycling.
Our initial impressions are good. The clothing we have been sent is all well made and does live up to the hype in terms of the amount of cycle friendly details.
“There has been a huge increase in the popularity of cycling with the rise of Cavendish, Wiggins and Froome and people are realising that it's easier to cycle the mile or two to work or to head down to the shops, but they want clothes that they don’t need to change out of or have a shower,” adds Ted Baker.
The autumn/winter range which we have samples of here includes a long-sleeve shirt, shorts and a lightweight jacket. The range also includes polo and crew-necked t-shirts, short-sleeve shirts, chino trousers, reversible hooded jacket and blazer. Prices start at £65 for a t-shirt, £95 for a pair of chino trousers and £90 for a shirt.
Ben Simmons of Wiggle added: “The new range from Ted Baker will help to bring cycling to a wider audience and remove reasons that prevent people making the switch to two wheels. This can only be a good thing. We’re delighted to be working with them.”
These are the Ohshorts (£80), a chino short made from a stretchy cotton fabric with adjustable reflective turnups, contrast lining and ergonomic stitching. They have a side zip pocket and rear pocket with reflective trim and a reinforced seat panel (like the Rapha Fixed short). Length is fashionably above the knee - possibly a tad shorter than howies Crosstown cycling shorts. The price tag puts them between the offerings from Rapha and howies.
We were slightly sceptical about how they'd look when/if you roll them up to show of the reflective stripe, but actually they didn't look like a pair of hotpants as initially feared. Impressions after a couple of quick rides is that they are comfortable on the bike too.
The hidden zipped pocket on the leg is a good touch for carringy credit/debit cards or similar sized idems, and you also get an inner change pocket in the main pocket on the right and both main packets feature hidden popper fastening for a bit of added secruity.
The Jackybo jacket (£175) is made from a showerproof fabric and and again features lots of bike friendly detailing. You get plenty of buttoned pockets, reflective back panelling and drawstring waist and it's cut slightly longer at the back in a cycling style too.
It's a very stylish looking bit of kit - provoking some first day of the sales type of behavior in the road.cc when it came to sorting out who'll be testing it. One thing to note is that it's much lighter than it looks, even so we'll probably be waiting until there is slightly more of a nip in the air before giving it much bike time (I say 'we' that would be slightly unhygenic - it'll be our tester Oli). No doubt it will be getting a fair bit of non-bike wear in the meantime.
This is the Bikegeo shirt with a geometric cog print repeated across it - it's also available in a blue version of the same pattern. The fabric has an antibacterial finish with a slightly dropped tail, underarm vents and reflective under collar trim. There’s also zipped side pocket and a button up front pocket. So we're talking a similar sort of idea to the shirts Rapha have featured in their City collection - although they don't currently. At £95 the Bikego shirt is a similar sort of price too and also what you'd expect to pay for a standard issue shirt from the current Ted Baker collection. There's also a short sleeved shirt in the range too - the Linkgeo Links (who thinks up these names?) at £90, making an extra fiver for a set of sleeves look something of a bargain.
We haven't got a pair of Ohpant cycling trousers, but we will be asking for some. On paper, at at £95 they look like a contender boasting all the elements you'd want to see, cycle friendly cut, reflective detailing, reinforced seat and anti-bacterial treatment - they also come in a greater choice of leg lengths - short, regular, and long - than the cycle specific brands like Rapha or Vulpine - Rapha offering only regular leg length, while Vulpine offers reguar and long. So if you'e a short stylish cycling man about town Ted would seem to be your friend.
There would seem to be a growing market for smart, stylish, clothing that works just as well on or off the bike, and it would seem to be yet another sign of cycling growing mainstream acceptance that a brand like Ted Baker is dipping its toe in the water with a range like this.
You can see the full range at http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ted-baker/
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.