Recent TNL Cycling Gear Ordered & Upcoming Gear Orders
Some TNL cyclists wanted to get a last minute order in towards the end of the year in order to have some winter gear. In addition to winter gear, some of our athletes are on the larger side of things and our main clothing provider, Panache, doesn't quite work for them. Before Panache, we worked with Champion System and have ordered a few times through them in 2017 for some random items from previous jersey editions. Above are some of the things we ordered in pictures. We ordered some light weight thermal jerseys, jackets, thermal CX bib shorts, and a handful of normal jerseys & bibs.
For this order, we went with Champion System because they're ordering policies are some of the best in the industry, which allows us to order all kinds of different items without meeting per item minimums. We ordered 22 items and as you can see in the pictures, most were different items or colors of the same items, and we even ordered some old kit designs that they let us take the sponsor logos off. Their process really is remarkable compared to the other companies we've worked with and it's easy to work with their online system. The biggest challenge is the amount of different items and options within those items. Often times their product descriptions on the website aren't up to date or the connecting between proofs and what you can order aren't connected. All of this can be figured out, but it ends up requiring additional back and forth communication with their staff and graphic design team to get proofs made or order details edited, which means you have more time up front getting the order just right.
We just switched to Panache in 2017 hoping to get away from some of the customer service challenges and frustrations of the CS website. We ordered from Panache twice and didn't see the improved customer service over Champion System that we were hoping for or promised. It actually ended up being worse and gear took 8+ weeks to get. Panache made an effort to make the order issues right and are making their process better. I'm optimistic that 2018 will be better with them. Riders really liked the Panache stuff last year, they do make a quality product, and offer a streamlined order process due to their limited, but good product lines.
However, Champion System has made some similar upgrades to their kits/quality that I'm impressed by and this recent order showed up in 4 weeks, which is really fast. One big change they made to the bib shorts is the fact they added flatlock stitching to their middle grade bibs as well as now offer an option to have pre-dyed lycra on the side and butt panel if you choose not to put a design there, and they charge you less. We keep our kits simple and not having the printed fabric that stretches and ends up having a different tint due to the white of the lycra showing when stretched is a small, but big deal. The pre-dyed lycra is nicer fabric and ends up looking way better.
So, we may be heading back to Champion System in 2018. I hate to change everything over again because I know it disrupts my athletes and what their preferences are, but we want to make sure we're providing the options, flexibility, and turnaround times to meet the diverse nature of our group.
We'd love any feedback you may have or want to share with us. You're the customer, the athlete, and the person that ends up wearing this gear for hours alongside our staff. We know we're not going to be able to make everyone happy or that everyone is going to love the fit based on your body type, but we're trying to find the best solution for the most folks. Your feedback helps us know what decision to make.