2013 Capo Summer clothing first look….

Trying the Capo GS-13 with a dash of flouro

Trying the Capo GS-13 with a dash of flouro

If you’re reading this in the USA, chances are Capo are already a brand that’s well known to you. In fact, chances are that you already have a high opinion of Capo’s clothing as being one of the better suppliers of high end cycling kit.

If you’re in the UK, or somewhere else in the world, this maybe news to you or at least less well known.

The simple introduction is that Capo are a high end cycling clothing manufacturer based in California but all of the garments are made in Italy and often the clothing includes strong Italian design cues.

From a price point, it’s mid to high end – tending to higher rather than lower. Bib shorts in the UK start at around£100 and top out at over £200 retail, which puts them up against some lofty and highly regarded competition. Capo is also available only through selected retailers and you’re unlikely to find big discounts. However if you’re the sort rider who’s seeking high quality, high performance clothing for your riding you’ll want to read on, particularly if you’ve been wondering if there are any other brands to consider other than the usual suspects of Castelli, Assos and Rapha.

Capo also have a strong, high quality (and to me good looking) range of women’s clothing as well as some excellent base layers, gloves, socks, arm warmers, leg warmers – so it’s an extensive range and should offer something of interest to almost everyone if you’re shopping at the mid to upper end of quality and price in the cycle clothing market.

The Capo range of clothing is tiered into 3 levels and in each tier there is typically more than one range to choose from. The three tiers are:

 GS – Top of the line

Super Corsa – Race inspired

Corsa – comfort and performance

An overview of the Capo tiers

An overview of the Capo tiers

Capo have been kind enough to supply me a set of bib shorts and a summer jersey from each tier so I can try each level and be able to tell you how I found them to differ from a comfort, fit and riding perspective.

I’m particularly pleased about this because I’ve found time and time again that looking at a range of products from a manufacturer it can be really difficult to decide which version of say a bib-short is the best one for me/you. Hopefully having three to try will help with this. I know some people who just automatically go for the top of the range option but I’m also surprised at how many times I meet people in the industry working for a brand who’s own favourite product is one of the mid or even entry level products that they have to offer.

So as I plan to write about each of the three product sets in more detail in an individual review over the coming months, this is an introductory post to help you get a feel for how the Capo range works and which particular products I’ll be trying.

The Capo GS product ranges include the Drago, Volta, Padrone, GS-13 and Cipressa 2.0 (womens). The Drago and Padrone are largely monochromatic in their colour choices (black or white), there is a little more colour again in the Volta and the women’s Cipressa 2.0 with the most colourful (yet still relatively subtle) are the GS-13. I like some colour and so I was pleased to be offered the GS-13 to try in the fluoro touch colour scheme. I really like how it works as a riding ensemble. It also has about as much flouro as I’m personally comfortable with!IMG_4981

In fact this is another part of the Capo approach that I really like – that of riding outfits, where you have a set of bib shorts and jersey that are designed to be worn together and then finished off with Capo, socks, gloves and baselayers etc. There are few brands that do this well (in my opinion and I think the photos support that Capo look to be one of them (but I appreciate these things are very personal).

The GS range is the cutting edge for Capo and is where they introduce new high end fabrics, with a range of fabrics being used in different panels in the same garment for maximum comfort, fit and performance. The GS range is where Capo push their own boundaries (and that of their fabric suppliers and factories) to really make innovative flagship products. The GS range also feature the top of the range chamois pads that are sometime only supplied to Capo for these flagship products. They’re race fitting and materials do feel rather special to the touch with high gauge lycra (to add some compression benefits) in a multipanel design.

Capo GS-13 Bib shorts strap detail - designed to hold them in place on you

Capo GS-13 Bib shorts strap detail – designed to hold them in place on you

GS summer products are also designed to minimise heat absorption and for rapid moisture transfer with SPF50 sun protection (not something you’ll have to worry about very often in the UK sadly). You can see more info on the GS-13 here: http://www.capocycling.com/apparel/mens-apparel/gs-13

From there we move to the Super Corsa range where I’ve been sent a set of SC-12 jersey and bib shorts and I have to say already the red jersey is one of the best looking bike jerseys I’ve seen for a long time. The colour is fantastic and even Mrs GdL was extremely positive about how it looks. By now I was already feeling really positive about the style in the design of the clothing ….IMG_4970

Capo, however tell me that the black version sells the best. As with the GS range, the Super Corsa is race cut and features high gauge lycra, anatomic multipanel designs and combinations of fabrics at different places in each garment to maximise comfort, performance and wearability.

IMG_4972You can see more information on the SC-12 range here: http://www.capocycling.com/apparel/mens-apparel/sc-12

If you’re were surprised by the pricing I mentioned earlier (and many people might well be) it’s when you start looking at the products and see the thought that’s gone into the design and the quality of the materials you can see where the money is going. First impressions are really positive – especially of the bibshorts but also in the attention to detail in the jerseys. For me, the medium sized SC-12 jersey is too big as you can see in the photos – I could get away with it but I think the small would work better (hopefully I might be able to get them swapped over).IMG_5048

This feeling of quality certainly still applies to the final tier of the Corsa products. Don’t feel for a minute that as Capo’s entry level range that these are a step down – they still feel like a fantastic product. I’ve got a set of the Pursuit bib shorts and Jersey to try. The feel of the lycra on the Pursuit shorts is really very nice indeed and to me it feels softer to the touch than the more expensive shorts. The Corsa series are a touch looser fitting and although I’m quite athletic in build, the Pursuit shorts have been the first ones of the three ranges I have had a ride in and I thought there were very good indeed on a short first ride. Extremely comfortable and at £110 retail – definitely one to put on your shortlist from a quick first ride. In fact on a first 25km ride, they’re the best shorts I’ve ridden to date and felt like a perfect bib short for your longer distance or sportive riding. You can find more info on the Pursuit range here: http://www.capocycling.com/apparel/mens-apparel/pursuit

I’m around 180cm tall and about 68kgs during the riding season – so tallish and thinnish. I’m sizing as a medium in the bib shorts and a small in the jerseys. I’ve medium tops and bottoms on in the photos here and they’re a bit loose in the jerseys, so I’ve asked if we can change to the smalls. I could just about get away with the GS-13 jersey in a medium which again shows you that they’re form fitting (Italian sizing as well as style perhaps).

Finally I’ve also been given a one size fits all Torino 3D baselayer to try with the kit and again it feels like a high quality garment at first look: http://www.capocycling.com/apparel/base-layers/torino-3d-ss

Capo 3D Short sleeve baselayer

Capo 3D Short sleeve baselayer

I’ll post more detailed reviews of each of the combinations and probably a final summary once I’ve spent some time riding in them all. I’m also hoping to compare them to a popular comparable UK bib short and have still not quite decided what that should be. If you’ve got any views/requests – please let me know in the comments. For now, my first impressions are very positive and I’m looking forward to spending as much time as I can in them over whatever summer we end up with (as soon as my shoulder is better!)

If there’s anything in particular you’d like me to check out or if you have any questions not covered here, please let me know of visit the Capo website at : http://www.capocycling.com/

Thanks for reading.