Dutch Designed, lightweight, high-quality, and affordable cycling clothing. These are the key features that Eindhoven-based Banana Cycling says sets them apart from the rest of the overcrowded sports cycling clothing market. This is a daring step for a group of biking buddies who clearly understand that looking good is an important part of being on a racing bike these days. We took a set for a spin.
Banana Pro Series
The Banana Pro Series is the second run of racing gear produced by Banana Cycling, and the team are raising funds through a Kickstarter project. Although a lot of Kickstarter projects have to prove themselves worthy, Banana Cycling has already amassed considerable experience from an earlier clothing set launch. The customer feedback that the team received about their earlier products has helped them to develop the new line. Those conversations resulted in the Banana Pro series of aerodynamic cycling clothing for men and women, available in four colours. The shirts that is; the shorts are only available in black (as it should be).
The minimalist shirt is available in black, white, blue, and green. The colour range is clearly aimed at riders who not only enjoy cycling but who also care about aesthetics. The aerodynamic fit is punctuated by side panels of breathable material—perfect for performance in Dutch temperatures, although the back panel can get a little warm on sunnier days.
In addition to the traditional three rear pockets, the shirt also has a waterproof zip pocket, which is ideal for securing a smartphone or a set of keys and protecting them against an unexpected summer downpour.
“We want you to feel just that little bit more excited and proud to be a cyclist once you put on our clothing.” — Banana Cycling
The bib shorts are only available in black. The pad (chamois) and internal finishing of the seams looks basic enough, but the shorts were surprisingly comfortable during our two-hour test ride—and that’s the most important thing. The one letdown we experienced was the leg-gripping strips on the elastic leg cuffs: they were very tight even though we opted for Large, and our tester is certainly no André Greipel…
All in all, quite impressive for a group of cycling mates designing their own bike clothing. But Dutch cyclists also know that price is a major factor when dealing with Dutch customers. Banana sells directly from the factory in order to keep their clothing “affordable”: €90 for the shirt and €125 for the shorts. These are prices that do make us look a little more critically at what we’re spending our money on.
There is no doubt that Banana uses high quality technical fabrics for their gear. However, when we compare this kit to other straight-from-the-factory clothing at the same price point, we have a couple of issues. The finishing is either rough, or non-existent—especially on the seams. And we’re not fans of the grip strips.
In short, Banana Cycling’s clothing has potential; the issues we have are certainly not insurmountable. The Dutch design is really slick and the fabrics are excellent. We see no reason not to jump on the bike dressed in Banana Pro gear—and if the finishing has been addressed, even better.