Specialized is a major player when it comes to just about everything involved in riding your bike, including of course, the bikes themselves, as well as helmets, shoes, tires and accessories. But the California company’s clothing has always been, well, a bit lackluster when stacked up against competitors’ high-end cycling garments. ‘We even admit that the clothing was never the best,’ notes one employee. ‘Our goal for quite some time has been to evolve our clothing into a true ?Specialized’ product, something we would consider to be truly innovative and exciting for all cyclists to enjoy, even if they’re not specifically brand-loyal to us.’ Enter 2013 and, with a dedicated apparel development staff assembled over the past few years, Specialized has unveiled two distinct lines of road duds that it feels represents the company’s passion for both riding and producing a quality product. RBA headed to Specialized’s Morgan Hill, California headquarters for a first look at the new Spring 2013 clothing.
One of the primary goals for the new clothing project revolved around protection from the elements, most notably the sun. ‘UV-protection is a big deal at Specialized,’ said Peter Curran, Specialized’s Apparel Product Manager. ‘Riders are out in the sun all the time and we want them to be safe, healthy and riding their bikes for a long, long time throughout their lives.’ So, Specialized developed ?Deflect UV’ technology for all of the new garments, which ensures that each piece has at least a UPF 30 rating (UPF is the protection rating standard for clothing, just as SPF is for sunscreen and lotions). Along with jerseys, shorts and arm, knee and leg warmers, Specialized’s 2013 clothing range includes arm and leg covers that are lightweight and thin and provide significant UV protection during bright and even cloudy days.