Companies like Swobo, Osloh and Swrve have been making hip, urban cycling gear for a long time. But if you’re looking for something a bit more preppy or conservative, companies like Canada’s Dunning, Spain’s Muxu and even a piece or two from UK’s Rapha now have you covered. I’ve been riding in a lot of this gear for months now.
Not to get all GQ on you, but there are certain staples all men should have in their wardrobe. A nice oxford shirt is definitely on that list, and this is coming from someone who hasn’t worn one by choice for a decade. The cut of Dunning’s Slim Fit Performance Woven Gingham shirts are flattering, and the shirt is tech: It is built with a proprietary blend of cotton, Invista Coolmax and polyester to offer wrinkle resistance, breathability and moisture wicking.
Over the past couple months, I have worn the Dunning shirt a ton, and it’s no worse for wear. It never needs to see the hot end of an iron, and it can be worn on the bike multiple times and remain funk free. Bonus points? Passing folks on the mountain bike trail wearing a collared shirt!
With casual cuts and an evolved punk-rock look, urban cycling gear draws a heavy aesthetic from messenger culture. Not Muxu. This new brand from Barcelona puts its Western Euro spin on urban gear. Its knickers are lightweight and decidedly un-baggy without being tight. The company’s polo shirt is built from Dri-release fabric (85% polyester, 15% cotton). And although it’s heavier than most cycling shirts, it wicks well and is closer in weight to merino wool.
Other nice design details include an extended back to keep you covered even in the drops and a zipped lower back pocket complete with a tiny hole for running a headphone line internally (i.e., on your skin) instead of on the outside of the shirt.
Last up on my list is Rapha. I’ve said it before, but Rapha is like the Swobo brand, though with an English accent. Less urban than its SF-based cousin, Rapha is more cosmopolitan with its classic cuts and traditional roots.
One of my favorite pieces is Rapha’s cycling cap. Made from Italian fabrics, the $45 Checked Cap is breathable and windproof. Choose from a basic black or the attention-getting (but not obnoxious) pink plaid. I have the John-Hughes-loving latter and it’s Pretty in Pink. Featuring the Rapha logo on the bill and a crimson red lining, I wear it even off the bike. It’s as close a cycling cap will ever get to cool and casual headgear.
—Stephen Krcmar has written about on-the-bike and off-the-bike fashion for The New York Times, 944 magazine and Thrillist.com.