For 20 years, the Giro logo was most famously seen emblazoned across professional racers' helmets. Now Giro is going civilian with New Road apparel, a line of high-end sports gear disguised as commuter garb. "There was nothing with both off-the-bike looks and Tour de France-level performance quality," says Alex Valdman, Giro's design director. To support cyclists through a 100-mile ride and then let them sit comfortably in a restaurant, Giro developed a new fabric (made with a nylon core thread wrapped in wool) that feels like a lightweight jersey but looks like cotton. After a year of testing—by the Giro team on daily lunch trips, no less—New Road hopes to change the average ride. "Your mind-set is more comfortable when you're not wearing bold, absurd colors."
The Wind Shirt's pared-down look belies a crucial bit of technology: pleats on the back that lay flat but can flex open when in the riding position. The fabric is also used by Navy SEALs—proof of stalwart pedigree. ($190)
The jacket's perforations allow airflow while blocking water molecules. The feel of lightweight wool "conveys our holistic approach," Valdman says. "It has soul."
"The brief for the shorts was 'look normal, feel nothing,'" Valdman says. The hips generate the most movement during a ride, so Giro created an outer seam that has a trouserlike structure but stretches
to prevent the fabric from bunching. ($130)
The problem with bike shoes is by the time the uppers break in, the soles wear out. The soles on Giro's New Road shoes can be unscrewed and replaced, creating a better balance between comfort and longevity. ($150)
Giro sourced its cloth from a Japanese mill that specializes in technical fabrics. The result is airy fabric without the typical plastic texture, seen in the riding polo. ($150)
[Photo by Kent Larsson]
A version of this article appeared in the April 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.