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Kit Watch - Hudson Furniture

Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:09pm by schmalz

 

 

From the King of Style™

Among the litany of reasons we cyclists are infatuated with our sport is that we can adorn ourselves in strikingly ridiculous attire and publically parade about town. Most of this cycling-inspired clothing is virtually painted on our lithe bodies, which only adds to the absurdity of our costume (let’s not fool ourselves here, it is a costume). Denim bib shorts, an entire closet of kit worn exclusively by Mr. Cipollini, and the Footon-Servetto kit immediately flood to mind. These are three extremes, exhibiting the vast range of our costumed world, but they’re outliers certainly worth mentioning.

To the uninformed non-cycling audience, we look ridiculous all the time. While we awkwardly saunter in line in cleated reverse-high heeled shoes to order our skinny machiattos sweetened only with a half packet of Splenda, a non-cyclist may gratuitously offer, “That’s a very, umm, colorful outfit. Neat!” which immediately elicits commentary in our minds – and hopefully only in our minds – something to the effect of, “Fool! It’s called a kit. A KIT!” However this demographic of hairy legged non-cyclists is not the audience to whom we’re painting ourselves up. Rather, we dress to impress each other.

So why, oh why, would someone go to the trouble of designing a kit as abominably bland as this? I would normally say that it’s insipid lack of creativity leaves me speechless, however, I’ve now gone to the length of writing well into my third paragraph about this kit’s unrepentant flair for… vanilla.

Moreover, and down to some nitty gritty, what I have to assume is “NYC” on the front/center is sliced clear in half by a zipper (in fact, probably a ubiquitous YYC brand zipper), thereby leading the uniformed viewer into thinking this is an NC or North Carolina based team. Although in reality perhaps that’s not such a bad thing to separate one’s self from the actual team base so one won’t be accosted for dressing so unimaginatively drab.

The final score.
Effort in design: F, for Freakin’ lackluster.

Ability to Elicit Audience Participation: C. There are websites among the sponsor logos, which in reality will draw me to Oxen when I need my workwear needs accommodated.

Execution of final product: D. Sadly not even a non-cyclist would be inspired to comment on this kit as it passes forgetfully in front of said viewer at the coffee bar line.

Schmalz comments

Templates are good for many things—they are great for banging out exact duplicates of things that need to be made to exacting industrial standards. Gaskets, for example, should be as similar as mechanically possible, because in the gasket world, being indistinguishable is an aspiration, maybe even a virtue. There are endeavors however where being homogeneous isn't exactly an asset. You wouldn't want to create the same ensembles for two marchers in the Mermaid Parade—as that would create confusion and most likely a fierce slap fight. Marketing is another undertaking where being indistinct from your competition is a serious blunder (unless, of course you're Kennedy Fried Chicken, Wiedemann's beer or any of the pizza places in New York that are named with a combination of the words: Ray's Pizza or Famous), and I fear that the Hudson kit is a victim of "template thinking".

Template thinking is the concept of taking on a design challenge without... a concept. You're just filling up boxes with stuff, art-wise. It's the art equivalent of sitting in during a race. It can be a perfectly adequate way to get to the finish line, but no one is going to accuse you of being inspirational. In the case of the Hudson Furniture kit, I feel there's some template thinking going on. Granted, the main sponsor's logo is basically the word "Hudson" set in Helvetica (or one of the other indistinguishable members of that redneck Swiss typographic family tree. Yes, I'm talking to you, Arial), but that's no reason to succumb to the Helvetica vibe for the entire kit design. This design is essentially a white panel on the chest and the back with a red background. It feels like "option C" in the jersey layout selector from the manufacturer's website.

But don't think I dislike this kit, it just doesn't rouse nor arouse me in many ways. I do like the bold striping on the kit, and I will say that red is a daring color for the panel that covers the "region de reproductive". I can say from personal experience that red, whilst a striking choice for crotch coverage, can be terribly immodest in conditions that involve: rain, bright sun, shade, humidity, fog, incandescent or fluorescent light and moonlight. That leaves you with a daily five minute window when the red looks fabulous, so use it wisely.

 

Who we are.

Dan Schmalz, when he's not typing aimlessly on the internet for free, is a graphic designer who has owned his own firm for over a decade. His work has been published in numerous national design publications, and his work has received several national awards.

Ted King is still a pro-ass bike racer who rides for the Cervelo Test Team, he also comments upon sartorial cycling issues under the moniker "The King of Style." 

If you want to have you team's kit put through the fashion critique wringer, drop us a line, and we will try to be gentle. 

Additional kit reviews

Team BH-Garneau

FGX Racing

Kingpin Racing

Cause and Effect

Jonathan Adler Racing

Teany

BVF/Gorilla Coffee

 

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Comments

Add a comment
fine.sorry.
By: Bernardo Liner
Tue, 08/17/2010 - 5:52pm

ok,ok sorry about the comment, we know that by having our kit reviewed,we were open to scrutiny , we like our kit very much, and get many compliments so i was a bit upset and maybe took it too personal when you shot it down, other kits were given much more favorable lashes . kits that even the riders on those teams don't really like themselves. so again Mr. KOS I am sorry for the seatpost comment. have fun with the reviews but remember we ride in those kits.

the KOS
By: rear entry
Sat, 08/14/2010 - 9:14pm

was particularly hard on the hudson furniture kit- maybe unfairly. ok - it's rather staid, and maybe even boring, but it doesn't look bad. i think it's ok, but it doesn't go so good with a full sleeve or 2...

i would give it a 6.5 out of 10, but i'd take away 3 points for the rather obnoxious comment by anonymous hudson racer.

3.5 out of 10!

And I wonder why we haven't
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 08/14/2010 - 12:13am

And I wonder why we haven't been able to persuade any ladies to pose in their kit.

Also, no retouching, except to patch a hole in the jersey.

I think I see bush
By: Ruben Internal Routing
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 11:44pm

I think I see bush

looks like the area around
By: wheeler
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 10:43pm

looks like the area around the crotch was treated with a photo editing "blemish remover"

the model may in fact have an above average shaft, but it was edited out of the photo

Kit suggestion
By: Lars Crank
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 10:32pm
duder?
By: duke of style
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 10:18pm

are you a dude, or a dud?

Duke
By: Duder
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 9:57pm

Why do you care what size his penis is?
Don't EVER ride behind me!

oh uh
By: cupid
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 9:20pm

duke, why does the size matter to you?

lame kit. model has small
By: duke of style
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 8:20pm

lame kit. model has small penis.

Not bad
By: Maxence Bartape
Fri, 08/13/2010 - 3:43am

But nothing special...take risks, add some colors. red/white/black...dime a dozen

8:59am
By: Giovanni Fork
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 9:02pm

Very cool. Good luck!

as much as we've heckled
By: wtf?
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:28pm

as much as we've heckled them, the ralpha kits (like sky) are pretty nice

Anyone out there like the pro
By: Kylian Pulley
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:26pm

Anyone out there like the pro team kit from Sky? It's as simple as it gets yet effective. Maybe because we know it's a pro team why we accept it?

rockleigh
By: noob
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:24pm

what? was gonna be first time. really cancelled? why?

Legs
By: Duder
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:22pm

C'mon. We do it because it looks pro and because it looks good..

Rockleigh is Canceled.
By: Frederico Seattube
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:15pm

Rockleigh is Canceled.

responding to
By: Mauro Pulley
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:13pm

whoops, was responding to the last post on the FBF 8/10 page asserting that we shave our legs because we crash.

Excitables
By: Duder
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:12pm

They won the overall in the 4's in Charlie's PP series!

Rockleigh
By: Duder
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 6:10pm

Get to Piermont Road and make a right towards Piermont/Nyack.

Shavings legs
By: ERgometor
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 5:58pm

This sport is very rich in tradition - some good some bad. One of those traditions is shaving. Plus it looks pro as shit when you rub in embro.

J

mauro, i could not agree with
By: wtf?
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 5:43pm

mauro, i could not agree with you more. if you are going to vehemently argue with imaginary posts, however, you may prefer to do that in the privacy of your own mind.

wh- ... what?
By: dumbfounded
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 5:38pm

wh- ... what?

eh?
By: Mauro Pulley
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 5:24pm

who are yall kidding, we shave our legs because we are vain sheep. No functional reason, none. what, you don't risk road rash on arms? you don't shave them.

use of shoulders
By: Nicolas Seatmasticator
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 3:22pm

A Bike Shop gets a prominent location on the shoulders.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26077740@N04/4871506607/in/set-721576246796...

I agree the leg of the shorts seems to have too small a font to get the point across

Second for EVA Devinci, it
By: Frederico Seattube
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 3:19pm

Second for EVA Devinci,

it stood out in the crowd:

http://veloptimum.net/photos/velo/8/6juin/Beauce/8825BMartelG-EDuquettte...

"While we awkwardly saunter
By: Daan Ziptie
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 3:10pm

"While we awkwardly saunter in line in cleated reverse-high healled shoes to order our skinny machiattos sweetened only with a half packet of Splenda . . . "

Who does this? WTF are you talking about?? "Skinny machiattos?" Thats really lame.

"Next on Bravo: Ted King describes the FAB-U-LOUS NYC cycling scene then talks about his secret life as a gimp"

Liked the kit
By: Noe Downtube
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:58pm

Riding the local races as a 4, I always see the "Hudson’s" racers in the front, actually thought they have a good looking kit.
As a lot of things in life it's a matter of taste I guess, I think they are easy to spot in the group and the lines are sharp and clean looking...

Howza, the rear short panel
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:48pm

Howza, the rear short panel is very valuable real estate, especially if a person like your father turns his head to see who just went past, and, um, looks towards the rear...

what kind of results have
By: Amerigo Bottle
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:47pm

what kind of results have these excitables gotten?

Here's an example (pulled at
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:45pm

Here's an example (pulled at random)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26077740@N04/4872112812/in/set-721576246796...

Upon looking at that kit, I would say the name of the team is "East End" as that's what you see as the rider goes past. Notice how you don't really see the chest or back panels at all. Too many designers concentrate on the panels that you only see when the riders are standing.

Favorite Kit of all time
By: ERgometor
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:41pm

EVO Devinci Kit from 07 - White, great and orange. Really nice French Canadian style. Oh and for some of you old Battenkill die hards, the kit that got Lisbon at the line in the Pro1-2 during his premature celebration. I also love the Cannondale CXworld/.com kit in its lime green and black goodness.

sponsor value
By: howza
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:41pm

what about - not being a wise-ass here - the ass? my pops is always saying, "i love those mariella pizza girls." had no idea what he was talking about for the longest time...

Personally, I've always felt
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:37pm

Personally, I've always felt that the best on-bike sponsor exposure areas are on the sides of the jersey, the shoulders and the legs of the shorts. This jersey treats all of those like afterthoughts.

KoS is off on this one -- for
By: Axel Steerer
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:32pm

KoS is off on this one -- for sponsor exposure and on-bike or ride-by readability (unbeknownst to most, some sponsors may actually give a shit about that), this kit is clean, clear and classic. I'm surprised at the KoS diagnosis, considering his team's kit consists almost entirely of one letter with accent - for a similar blunt understanding of who's paying.

mr prick
By: Mauro Pulley
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:26pm

right answer, you win. screw all yall

rockleigh
By: vindictive prick
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:23pm

don't tell him. reward him for his attitude and make him google it.

agree. you want feedback?
By: brain surgeon
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:18pm

agree. you want feedback? you got it.

that said, it's boring, but it's not horrible. if the point is not to be boring, then ok, it's an F, but i would have to take issue with mr. king's apparent assumption that kits are supposed to either knock it out of the park or fail spectacularly. there are plenty of "safe" kits in the pro peloton, and they arguably look better, on the whole, than the risk-takers.

rockleigh
By: Mauro Pulley
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:17pm

any good routes? don't tell me to google it, I'm looking for opinions, not dubious software generated shit. go off rain or shine?

excitable yet anonymous
By: wtf?
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 2:06pm

excitable yet anonymous hudson furniture riders: relax. you put the kit up for crit, then - shocker! - it gets critiqued. not really worthy of your creepy quasi-homoerotic insults.

really?????????
By: Bernardo Liner
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:52pm

the kit got nothing but compliments from everyone I know, It's simple, stands out in the pack, looks good and feels good when worn, very surprising that all the other kits in the reviews, kits that the riders that wear them hate themselves, got the better end of the stick, which leads me to Ted King, did the self proclaimed king of style ride the cobbles the day he reviewed the kit without a seat, that seatpost must have really got up there pretty deep.

This kit looks good. I like
By: Toni
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:41pm

This kit looks good. I like it.

This post would be more
By: D
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:41pm

This post would be more complete if you displayed one or two proposed alternatives more worthy of the king of style.

I like it
By: Frank Reynolds
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:34pm

I agree with 9:02. The kit may be simple but that makes it stand out amongst the other NYC kits.

First year team with a bunch of nice guys/good riders and a pretty decent kit so the only place to go is up.

17 out of 20 on the quiz
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:11pm

17 out of 20 on the quiz also, I don't know my all caps type that well...

well played...
By: the excitable typographer
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:08pm

yeah, i knew you knew you were baiting the crazies!

I had a feeling someone would
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:07pm

I had a feeling someone would comment on the inclusion of Arial in the Helvetica family tree. Arial is, of course Microsoft's sorry stand-in for Helvetica, and a poor one at that, but there's no denying that it shares many visual characteristics—probably just enough to not warrant a legal action from the Helvetica people, Microsoft's sneaky that way.

I like it
By: Torque
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:02pm

Don't love it, but in a world (tri-state bike scene) where everyone is trying to be creative, to the point of busy and ugly this kit stand out.

Notice how pro kits are better. 1. they know what they are designing, 2. they change the kit several times. The first version is never as good as the later.

To me this kit is refreshing.

arial is not a "real" font ... it's only a training font
By: the excitable typographer
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:00pm

listen to me, and listen to me well, maria conchita alonso.

"Swiss typographic family tree" my ass. if helvetica and arial were in the same family, i imagine there'd be a lot of drunkenness, ass-whooping, tears, and several very awkward thanksgivings.

you think arial is swiss? bite your tongue, schmalzy! as a reknowned graphical artiste, we've come to expect more from you.

go buy this:
http://www.helveticafilm.com/*

and as for indistinguishable, go practic on these**:
http://www.iliveonyourvisits.com/helvetica/#
http://www.ironicsans.com/helvarialquiz/

you are on dangerus ground here ... tread carefully.

* also works well as generic version of the drug ambien. do not watch 'helvetica' before operating heavy machinery, or at any point in time where you cannot afford to be afflicted with temporary narcolepsy.

** g*d bless the internets. seriously, what the hell did we DO all day before al gore created this freakin' thing?

Not particularly, it should
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:37pm

Not particularly, it should be all Brush Script as far as I'm concerned.

Swiss Typography
By: Loic Brifter
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:35pm

Is Verdana really that far ahead of Arial in you hierarchy?

Hate? No hate, just apathy
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:32pm

Hate? No hate, just apathy really.

ouch. conservative? yes.
By: lucien fork
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:30pm

ouch.

conservative? yes. but it's clean and the colors don't fight with each other like a lot of local kits...don't see why the hate.

That's a fierce slap of a
By: schmalz
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:26pm

That's a fierce slap of a comment, almost a fight, really.

The Words "Fierce Slap Fight"
By: Remigio Brazeon
Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:21pm

Will never not be funny, in any combination.

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