Capo Cycling was one of the exhibiting brands at this years Presscamp event in Deer Valley, Utah, and they brought along some of the key team members behind the company (including head honcho; Gary Vasconi) to show off their new apparel range for the North American Fall season (we call it ‘Autumn’ down here), as well as some of the new fabric technologies they’ve been working on over the past 12 months. If you’re not familiar with the name, Capo is an American company that was founded back in 2006 in San Francisco, with the purpose of creating ridiculously good looking gear for cyclists that would aim to bring a ‘Euro feel’ to the US market. Well the original goal has since expanded, as Capo is now available in 9 different markets around the world, including in Oz through Capo Australia in Sydney. Whilst all the design is done in-house, nearly all of their garments are made in Italy, with a combination of technical fabrics sourced from across Europe.
We’ll have to admit that we didn’t know too much about the Capo brand coming into Presscamp, though have been noticing a lot more of their gear both out on the road and on the trails. Whilst definitely more focussed on the bitumen, Capo have been quietly developing some very neat technical fabrics that would be hard for mountain bikers, cross riders or commuters to ignore. After getting the chance to meet their passionate team, we thought we’d share some examples from the new range that we think you’ll be seeing a lot more of this coming season.
The Capo range is essentially split into 3 categories: Corsa, Super Corsa and GS. The Corsa range utilises 100% Italian fabrics with a stylish design and a slightly more relaxed cut than your average club gear. The jerseys and bib nicks in the Corsa range are ideal for the weekend warrior cyclist who’s chasing comfortable threads. The Super Corsa range steps it up in the performance stakes, with a tighter and racier cut that will appeal to more competitive riders. The GS range is the top-of-the-line kit, which also utilises a racy cut for the jerseys and bibs, but with super high-end Swisstec materials that take performance and comfort to the next level.
The GS-13 range represents Capo’s premium line of cycling apparel, with a combination of high-tech materials, anatomic designs and close attention to thermal regulation. For the upcoming summer season, Capo have introduced new GS-13 bib shorts and a short sleeve jersey, which are available in matching colourways including Black, Navy and Red (all pictured).
The GS-13 jersey might just look like another Lycra short sleeve, but don’t be fooled. Using a Swisstec ‘Carbon ES’ fabric, the main panels of the jersey utilise a 2% carbon weave throughout to achieve an SPF50 rating, which is very impressive given how breathable these jerseys are. To aid breathability further, there’s a much more open eyelet mesh micro fiber underneath the arms and through the pits where you don’t need as much sun protection.
The bib shorts use the same lightweight eyelet mesh fabric for the shoulder harness to keep things cool on hotter days. The main fabric is what Capo calls ’40 Gauge Power Lycra’, which essentially means it provides a compression fit along with moisture wicking properties. There’s a carbon weave throughout the fabric just like the jersey, so you get good sun protection despite the lightweight construction. Being their top of the line model, the GS-13 bib shorts use a super comfy EIT “6-Hour” chamois with an anatomic design that flexes with your legs.
While the jersey ($259) and the bibs ($319) are at the premium end of the price scale, it’s the high-tec fabric and quality construction that are responsible. If your wallet is holding up a white flag in response to the GS range however, Capo aim to provide much of the same fit and quality in the cheaper Super Corsa and Corsa ranges, which trickle-down the technologies all the way down to the $95 Riga jersey and $199 Modena bibs.
Aside from exhibiting, Capo also got on board with sponsorship of Presscamp 2013, producing a custom one-off kit for all the journos at the event. Aside from their own designs, Capo also produces custom cycling apparel, which makes up about 50% of their business.
Taking the Super Corsa Bib Shorts and the Corsa Diavolo jersey from their custom lineup, Capo wanted to showcase the fit and quality of what is essentially their mid-level range, and highlight the custom printing options they have available too. We’ve been riding in our custom Presscamp kit for the past couple of months and can certainly attest to the quality construction of the Italian made gear.
The Super Corsa bib shorts (similar to the SC-12 from the off-the-shelf line) get a beautifully soft multi-level chamois that is a significant step up in comfort over the sort of padding we’re used to in sub-$200 bib shorts and baggies. The D4 EIT chamois uses an ‘Elastic Interface Technology’, which relies on high density open cell foam with an elastic memory that actually gets more comfortable over time as it shapes itself to your tookus. It’s also treated with an anti-bacterial lining too for…..well, you probably know. The Super Corsa bibs are possibly the most comfortable bib shorts we’ve ever used, in fact, they’ve pretty much replaced the liners from all our favourite baggies. The Super Corsa bibs get the same Power Gauge Lyrca as the GS13 models, which helps aid with compression. It’s probably our favourite feature, as the snug 8cm cuff around the thigh provides enough hold without having to resort to silicone grippers that would otherwise grab on our hairy legs (we are mountain bikers after all!).
For the premium materials and comfortable padding, the Super Corsa bibs are a worthwhile investment if you’re into long rides and marathon racing. The main problem after using the Capo shorts however, is that you begin to realise just how uncomfortable everything else is!
To match the custom bib shorts, we also received a Corsa Diavolo Jersey, which was also decked out with snazzy Presscamp colours and graphics. In terms of comparable features and construction, the Corsa Diavolo is modelled on the ‘Serie A’ jersey from their stock lineup.
Like the bibs, the Pursuit Jersey is also Italian made, and makes use of a very lightweight mesh construction for breathability in hot conditions. Capo describe the Micro Quattro fabric as a “High performance micro-fiber that holds and maintains it shape while providing anti-bacterial and effective UV protection.” Being a Californian company, it seems that a lot of their lightweight jerseys and bibs take into account SPF protection, given they enjoy the sunshine as much as we do down under. We asked Capo about the importance of sun protection when it came to super-breathable cycling jerseys, and they cited an example of a sponsored rider who ended up with terrible sunburn after a long day in the saddle from wearing a lightweight European jersey. The thing was, all their exposed skin was fine as they’d used sunscreen – it was the portion of their torso and arms that copped a flogging from UV rays that worked their way through the mesh fibers.
A combination of a dialled cut and neat detailing make the Capo jersey a very well finished piece of kit. Another reason for it’s figure-huggin fit is the 360-degree stretch V-Mesh fabric, which comfortably stretches in any direction. This is compared to most cycling jerseys that mostly use a 2-way stretch material.
Capo also make a truly enormous range of socks, though given they sell some 40,000 pairs each year it seems the demand is there! Given that socks were the first apparel product that Capo got into, it makes sense that they’d know how to do them well by now, and the Active Compression range that you see here is an example of that know-how. Available in tall, short, Coolmax, merino, compression and thermal options, you would have to be a very fussy person to not find a suitable pair of socks in the range.
We’ve got the Active Compression ’12’ socks, which denote a 12cm cuff. You can get the same sock in a 2cm cuff, 6cm, 15cm and an enormous 24cm length for those that want to take the high-sock trend to the next level! They’re constructed from an Olefin® 200-needle high gauge construction, with a compression fit over the top of the foot and around the ankle. Our favourite feature however, is that the fabric overlaps the toes and the stitch line is over the top of the toes – not right at the end of the toenails like almost every other sock on the market. Seems simple, but it makes for a very comfortable pair of socks.
If you’d like to check out more of the Capo range, you can head to the Capo website, or get in touch with John Sunde on the details listed below.