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Svelte Cycles launches London-made bike clothing + video

New brand aims to offer high-quality apparel at affordable prices

Londoner Tom Barber has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Svelte Cycles, a brand that aims to offer stylish, high-quality bike clothing at competitive prices. Svelte’s Heritage jersey, made from a merino wool mix, will cost you £60.

“The Heritage Jersey offers a minimalist, timeless design in three understated, yet distinctive colours; deep navy blue, earthy forest green and red wine burgundy,” says Svelte Cycles. “The jersey’s minutely designed functionality means it has no unnecessary extras – a pared down product for style-conscious cyclists who want the best possible experience when riding.”

The jersey, available in both men’s and women’s versions, is made from Merino Perform, a blend of merino wool (36%) and polyester (64%). The fabric is said to offer breathability and wicking with the ability to retain the jersey’s shape.

What is that shape, exactly?

“The fit that we finally developed gives the security and performance of an athletic fit, without losing the relaxed cafe culture styling that we love so much,” says Svelte Cycles.

Check out our reviews archive to see other short sleeve jerseys that are currently available. 

Svelte Cycles have stripped features right back, although you do get a key pocket hidden in a seam and a buttoned key pocket in addition to three cargo pockets in the lower back. There’s a single logo on the hip, and it’s very subtle.

The styling and London connection will certainly lead to comparisons with Rapha and Vulpine, both brands which have made a huge impact in the road market over recent years.

The Heritage jersey and is made in Mile End, East London. Svelte Cycles says that it’s the only brand to manufacture cycle clothing here.

For comparison, see's review of the Vulpine Men's Merino Alpine Jersey.

Having spent the last 12 months developing the design, Svelte Cycles is now looking for £10,000 in funding through Kickstarter in order to meet the minimum order for full-scale manufacture of the Heritage Jersey.

You need to pledge £60 or more to be in line for a Heritage jersey if the campaign achieves its funding target. Get a Heritage jersey via Kickstarter and it’ll be numbered inside the back pocket. £125 gets you the jersey plus a pair of Svelte’s Classic bib shorts. Various other packages, including arm warmers and base layers, are available too.

With 12 days remaining, £7,286 has so far been pledged.

Unusually, Svelte Cycles offers a breakdown of its pricing on the Kickstarter page. It says that after production costs, packaging, shipping and handling, VAT and payment fees, it makes £10 on a £60 jersey.

For more info go to the Svelte Cycles Kickstarter page

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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