The end of shrinking and pinking: the British brands leading the field

It is a fact: women are in the minority in the sport of mountain biking. Whilst the sport is becoming more popular for us, it’s true that you’re likely to see more men than you are women unpacking their bikes in trail centre car parks. And for many years this disparity has been reflected in the kit that women are able to get their hands on to wear out on the trails.

A lot’s been said about the notion of brands ‘shrinking it and pinking it’, to extend their male-orientated range into the female market. It’s something that offends many of us and has caused us to leave bike shops empty-handed and disgruntled.

But is the tide turning? Is the cool-kit-for-women gap in the market finally being filled? Take a look online at some of the British brands out there and the answer seems to be yes. Here’s a little bit about some of the best:

Flare

Flare is unusual in the biking industry, as it’s a brand that started with women’s kit and then grew to include men’s clothing too. They make funky mountain biking clothing right here in the UK. I love these shorts so much that I have three pairs, each in a different colour. The cut is just perfect.

Morvelo

I love this brand. The kit is wonderfully stylish and it’s distinctive too -it’s possible to recognise an item of Morvelo clothing with just one quick glance. It has a certain, classy je ne sais quoi, which makes it stand out in the very best of ways. I particularly love my winter bib tights. They’re so comfortable and keep me warm in even the most miserable of weather. Thumbs up.

Findra

I don’t own any of this kit…yet. It’s firmly on my Christmas wish list though (listen up Mr SconeCycling!). It looks absolutely beautiful and the word is that it’s really well made too.

Findra’s ethos is set out clearly on their website: “Our ethos is about positivity and supporting one another. It’s about empowering and encouraging women to look good, feel good and perform to the best of their abilities through participation in outdoor sports”. Well, who can argue with that?

There are also websites that are committed to bringing women’s cycling clothing to the masses. The original was www.minx-girl.com, which introduced me to the Terry Liner Short – the most comfortable padded liner I’ve ever found. Another such site is www.velovixen.com, which just seems to go from strength to strength, adding more brilliant products to its range all the time.

These sites, and the brands they stock, are indeed brilliant news for those of us who love riding bikes and happen to be women. They enable us to spend our well-earned pennies on quality bike kit that’s designed just for us, not designed for men and then tweaked in an attempt to make it fit.

Frustratingly, it is often the case though that you can only find this wonderful women’s kit online. It is possible to find some of the bigger brands’ women’s lines in bike shops, but these smaller brands are harder to find. This can make things tricksy, as women happen to come in many different shapes and sizes, making it nice to try things on before making a purchase.

But it’s important to remember, the more we buy of this awesome new kit, the more likely it becomes that bike shops will want a slice of it. They’ll want in on the action and start to stock the clothing we want to buy.

The future’s bright, and it’s woman shaped.

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