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How to Order a Custom Cycling Jersey

Are you planning to order custom jerseys for your club or racing team this year? This guide for first-time designers and buyers will explain the process step-by-step and give you the tips and tricks you must know to be successful!

I’m going to cover everything you need to know about ordering a custom cycling jersey, from initial design to choosing a manufacturer. Feel free to jump to any of these sections:

 

iron cross x kit by lone wolf cycling

Why Order Custom Cycling Jerseys?

A custom jersey looks stylish and professional. It will look good on you, and you’ll look like a real team when you’re out for a training ride or racing together. Not only that, it can foster a sense of camaraderie and inspire team loyalty.

Planning to get sponsors? They will want their logo on a nice, professional-looking jersey. Actually, they’ll require it. Without offering logo placement on a team jersey, most companies will not take you seriously.

The point is, you should get team jerseys; it’s just plain cool to be a team with matching outfits.

Another thing you can do, if you’re a race promoter, is order custom jerseys with your event logo on them to give to winners, use as door prizes, raffle them off, or sell them. A perfect example is pictured here – that’s the custom kit from the Iron Cross X race, crafted by the fine gentlemen at Lone Wolf Cycling.

Speaking of LWC, I got some tips from the owners Tim and Jason to help put this guide together. I went to these guys for unbiased advice since they sell their own jerseys – they don’t offer a custom program, so no product pitches here (except where I tell you to go check out their stuff because it’s so cool!) Check out their product line on their site www.LoneWolfCycling.com or connect with them on Facebook to see what they’re all about.

 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Get Started

If you’re in charge of your team’s cycling jerseys, the first thing you want to do is get organized. So sit down and answer these questions before moving on to the next step.

How many jerseys do we need?

Figure out how many total jerseys you need. Typically each team member gets 1-3 jerseys, depending on the team’s budget. It’s also good to have a few extra jerseys on hand – you can give them to sponsors as thank you gifts or sell them to fans to raise money for your expenses.

How much money you spend on each jersey, as well as which manufacturers you can work with, will depend on the quantity of jerseys you plan to order, so you want to determine a hard number as soon as possible. (Very few places have a “no minimum order” promotion, but some do, and I’ll cover that later.)

How much money do we have?

Custom jerseys usually range from $35-60 a piece. High-quality jerseys and complex, multi-color designs increase the price, while basic jerseys with a single-color logo will be less expensive.

So figure out what you can afford to spend before doing any sort of design work or making a deposit. Also, collect as much money upfront as possible (whether that’s from team members or sponsors.) If you’re a small club, don’t be surprised that some members are really excited about team jerseys… until they realize they have to pay for them.

Can I design a jersey myself?

The most common way to design a jersey is using professional graphic design software, such as Adobe Illustrator. This program allows you to create vector graphics that will scale easily for printing in different sizes.

If you know how to use Adobe Illustrator and are familiar with vector graphics, you can likely download a jersey template from your chosen manufacturer and get to work.

No designer? No problem. “It always helps to have graphic designer help,” says Tim, “but the one-off kit companies have people to help you with designing, or placing your already made up designs into their templates.”

What you’ll want to do is look for a company that offers an online design interface and/or free custom designs from their in-house team. Quite a few companies have nice websites you can use to mock up the layout of your jersey. Some even create a design for you if you are placing a big enough order.

Can I fit my sponsor logos on there?

Hopefully you got this part figured out when negotiating your initial sponsorship agreements. If not, you better figure out where to place all your sponsor logos and keep everyone happy. It would be wise to secure your sponsors before designing the jersey, because you don’t want to toss extra logos onto an existing design, giving it that “cookie cutter” template look.

Need to add in logos later on? Try the back pockets or the side of the jersey – both of those placements are highly visible in the riding position and should not disrupt the main design.

Once you have all these questions answered, you can move on to finding a jersey manufacturer…

 

Popular Manufacturers of Custom Jerseys

Who makes the best custom cycling jerseys? That’s a tough question because many companies produce high-quality jerseys. You can look for reviews, but I don’t think there is one “best” solution for everyone, so I’ll give you an overview of some of your options.

If you answered the questions earlier, you should have a good idea of what you need, so it’s time to compare all the different jersey makers to see which one meets your needs the best.

Quite a few companies you already know offer full-custom jerseys – I’m talking top brands like Louis Garneau and Sugoi, and of course, Voler. Scroll through this list of companies, review their programs, and one will surely suit your needs.

Each manufacturer will have different ordering processes, terms of sale, customer service styles, and most importantly, jerseys themselves. “In the end, you end up with the prefab cut/fit from whichever company you choose to work with,” says Tim. That can be good or bad, depending on how you feel about their jerseys on the retail side.

Now, if you’re really serious about your jerseys, you could take it one step further, like LWC. They produce their gear through an independent manufacturer because they didn’t want anyone else’s label on their gear, and they wanted more quality control than was offered by the cookie cutter templates of customized gear companies.

 

online design at flame cycling

The Actual Design Process and Template Use

There are two ways you can design a jersey. The first is to design it in a type of graphic design software made for vector graphics. The best example of this is Adobe Illustrator. You can download a free trial from Adobe here if you want to try it out – if you’re a fast learner, you might be able to design a jersey during the free trial period!

There are also some free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator – perfect if you love graphic design but don’t have the budget for professional software. Many of these offer very limited features, so save yourself the time and go straight to Inkscape – it’s free, open-source software that’s very similar to Illustrator!

If you go this route, you’ll start out with a template from the jersey company you plan to work with. You download the template off of their site, open it up in Illustrator, and organize your design to fit within the jersey outline.

This is great for everyone involved, because you want to lay out your design correctly the first time, and no company wants to print distorted logos on their jerseys and send those out to a customer.

No graphic design skills or time to learn? The template not enough for you? Then you’ll want to choose a company offering an online design interface.

Just look at the websites listed above (and below.) Quite a few will have big text on the home page that reads “create your jersey using our online design tool” or something along those lines. This allows you to design your jersey right on their website in a simpler interface with pre-loaded designs and drag-and-drop artwork. If you can click a mouse, you can design a jersey.

You can still get good looking jerseys this way, even without a background in graphic design. The drawback is that you’ll be limited to certain design elements, so your jerseys will usually lack that sophisticated “pro” look.

 

Order Custom Cycling Jerseys With No Minimum

It used to be hard to find any companies who would run an order of fewer than 10-12 jerseys. If you wanted just a few jerseys, you’d have to buy the jersey, then find a place to silk screen your logos onto it. It was lots of extra work and in the end, you realized you didn’t save much money over just buying the dozen jerseys from an actual cycling jersey manufacturer.

Today, it’s getting easier and easier to find companies who will produce just one jersey. No minimum! This is great if you have a small team or if it’s just you and a friend wanting to look like teammates.

Naturally, I put together this list of websites you can look through, along with a few comments on each place.

AK Apparel

AK Apparel offers fully digital sublimation, flexible ordering and design, and no minimums. Prices range from $50-125 per jersey, depending on how fancy you get with the custom artwork (with additional artwork fees if you have them design for you.) Check out their showcase and you’ll see samples of jerseys based on basic templates as well as fully custom jerseys that look like photo reproductions.

Flame Cycling

Flame Cycling offers an online design interface where you can design your own jerseys as well as a full custom program where you tell them what you want and they design it for you. There is no minimum order, so you can start with just one $35 jersey or one $32 bib short if you’d like. (A bib and jersey kit is just $55.) Looking through their starter templates, they have some interesting options, so you shouldn’t end up with a “cookie cutter” jersey.

Eclipse Cycling

Eclipse offers great prices and no minimums on their custom orders. You can get a jersey for $30 or a kit (jersey + bib shorts) for $52. The design process looks very similar to Flame Cycling (listed earlier.) Be sure to check out their Batman and Spiderman kits!

Zaavy / Fast Freddie

Zaavy has no minimums when ordering their custom or semi-custom jerseys. One semi-custom jersey will set you back about $50, while a full custom will cost $130 (with prices getting substantially lower as your order quantity increases.) All their products are made here in the USA, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Donkey Label

As custom as it gets! It’s like ordering a custom frame from a frame builder! Unfortunately, the supply can’t keep up with demand, and there’s a huge waiting list. Their regular jerseys cost about $175 each, so expect your custom jersey to cost significantly more. But if you can afford it, get in line now.

*Please note that these listings are for informational purposes only. They are not recommendations or endorsements.

 

Any questions, comments, or recommendations of your own? Post them below!

And feel free to share your experience ordering custom jerseys, whether it was good or bad!

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5 Comments
  1. I ordered a bunch of kits for my company once through Squadra (http://www.squadra.us/sqstore/index.php) and it was a great experience. I’ve also seen some local teams using Jakroo (http://www.jakroo.com/) which has no minimums.

  2. Last year we went with Biemme for our cycling team and are really happy with the design and the quality of the jerseys.
    Better quality and cheaper than our previous jerseys from Louis Garneau.
    http://www.biemmeamerica.com/
    http://www.biemmecustom.com/

  3. Watch out for ATAC and be sure to get clear pricing up front. Only after I committed to the project did they tell me I would have to pay extra to have their logo removed from the design! They still kept my $100 for the design but refused to share the raw files with me! Not professional.

  4. My personal experience with AK Apparel was extremely unsatisfying. In my opinion, the product was substandard, the customer service was poor, and the timeline was ridiculously long. I cannot recommend them, particularly to first-timers.

  5. Coach Levi:

    Looks like it’s been a few years since you wrote about cycling jerseys, and a lot has changed in the marketplace… love to talk before you update this, if you’re ever planning to do that!

    I was buying and selling all over the world,and worked for a number of industry leaders, but wrapping up a long R&D project for serious players who have dominated a couple pro sports, and they started in cycling in the early 80’s!

    Jim Freibert
    (714) 623-3487

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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