With humble beginnings dating back to 1950 Japan, Pearl Izumi is a major player in the global cycling apparel industry, with a long history of supporting professional racing teams in various sports disciplines. Pearl Izumi and BMC began collaborating during the 2013 season, kitting out the BMC Racing Team, Development Team, and Mountainbike Racing Team with the best gear available. For 2014, that collaboration has expanded to the newly formed BMC Enduro Team and the Uplace BMC Professional Triathlon Team – an overall roster that includes 61 riders and over 40 support staff. With a host of former world champs, current national champions, and top-level athletes in general, demand for the highest performance apparel and footwear is both high and extremely varied.
So, how does Pear Izumi ensure these athletes are outfitted with the best, on a personal level? Serious R&D is how.
Pearl Izumi travels to each of the BMC teams to conduct in-depth fittings where riders try on all items and provide product feedback for the season ahead. Each rider has the opportunity to sit with the sports marketing and custom apparel team to discuss everything from fit, performance implications, right down to the artwork, on everything they will wear for the upcoming season. This process ensures that by the time orders are placed, Pearl Izumi has a complete picture of each athlete, and any special requirements they may have. And each and every athlete knows they are going to be kitted out with gear they can rely on to provide the best performance possible. Imagine having access to someone who could tailor your cycling gear, it’s surely a dream come true.
Pearl Izumi Custom PLM Kelly Emich and Sports Marketing Manager Don Meyer Fitting Greg Van Avermaet earlier this year.
Riders on trainers trying on garments for the season.
Pearl Izumi Custom PLM Kelly Emich fitting Slovakian TT Champion Peter Velits earlier this year.
Just like us mere mortals, though perhaps to a lesser degree, athletes in our pro teams come in different shapes and sizes. From XS to XL and everything from extra short to extra tall within each size. With this in mind, Pearl Izumi completely re-vamped their sizing curve and made adjustments for customizing a line of items that would work for all riders across the various teams and disciplines.
The average BMC Rider has the option to choose from an assortment of over 50 different clothing and accessory options for training and racing each season. All of these items are available in multiple lengths in each size to accommodate virtually every size and shape, with over 500 potential art combinations!
Take Swiss Road Champion Michael Schär for example:
Photo: Graham Watson
Photo: Graham Watson
Michael collaborated with the Pearl Izumi art team to design a special retro Swiss road champion kit. In addition to a new national champion kit, special patterns were created to accommodate Michael’s height and athletic form.
The Pearl Izumi Speedshop based in Louisville, Colorado, takes items from conceptual design drawings, into patterns that combine custom artwork, hi-tech materials, and specific-fit profiles. These designs go through a rigorous fit and testing process, and eventually become clothing and accessory items that athletes rely on for maximum comfort and performance. This holds especially true national champions and former champions who need specific items for special races like the Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Giro d’Italia, and the Tour de France.
The Speedshop develops items that provide athletes with benefits ranging from temperature management to aerodynamics.
Kit Inventory for the BMC Racing Teams
- 6 types of jerseys: Short or long sleeve, hot weather, cold weather, and race day for maximum aerodynamics
- 3 types of bib shorts: track specific, thermal, and regular weights
- 2 types of tights: thermal and heavy soft-shell
- 4 types of race suits: short sleeve, long sleeve, thermal and summer weight
- 2 types of aerodynamic time trial suits: long sleeve and short sleeve
- 2 types of wind vests: summer weight and winter weight
- 1 wind jacket
- 5 types of rain jackets: disposable vest, disposable jacket, half sleeve, full sleeve, and a tear open version
- 3 winter Outerwear: lite thermal vest, soft-shell heavy jacket and heavy vest
- 8 types of headwear: cycling caps, thermal hats, headbands and podium wear
- 2 types of base layers: summer and winter weight
- 5 types of shoe covers: lite neoprene, heavy neoprene, heavy winter, rain/time trial, and toe covers
- 6 Types of gloves: race, padded, time trial, lite thermal, heavy winter, lite neoprene, heavy neoprene
- 3 types of socks: short, tall, and winter versions
- 8 types of warmers: ultra light, lightweight and thermal for maximum arm, knee and leg coverage
Yep, that’s a whole lot of kit, and an enormity of expertise and dedication—thank you Pearl Izumi!