Recently I formed a group on facebook called North East Single Speed. It's aim was to get together a group of like minded individuals to share thoughts, go on rides and socialise. I know in the group there are some who will just do casual rides but then there are those like myself who would like to race. On a trip to one such race I was travelling with a friend and we were discussing how cool it would be to have our own team kit so that we would be recognised at races and group meetings. I explained that I'd already had a quick look and even had ideas for the design but sadly most of the companies would only allow you to order in bulk and we'd have to have more willing buyers before it could be considered.
However, after a little search I came across this company Eclipse Cycling. The company, still very young and based in China, struck me for two reasons. There is NO MINIMUM orders on anything you design and the clothing wasn't expensive. I did some research and found only a small amount of information but there was enough out there to make me think that they could be trusted. As there wasn't a load of cost involved I took the gamble and I thought I'd share my experiences with you.
On the website you go to their design software where you are given a number of pre set stencils which with a large range of colours gives you the scope to create something quite unique and stylish. They have a showcase of some of there designs but really a little imagination is needed and you can produce some great looking tops. I had already made designs on Photoshop for the jerseys logos on the front and the back which the software allow you to use on the jerseys and shorts. Overall, the process of design is easy to use and quite fun so have a play around but bear in mind you can't save these unless you submit them to the company, but more on that in a bit. What I will say before you submit the design is don't rush it. Get it as good and as close to your finished design as you can as it will save further complications in the future. This is what I created:
Once you have submitted a 'ticket' then the real process begins. You will then receive an email with a message from Eclipse and that will show you the image of your design. You can now, for the first time save the image and use it to show friends if you like, you have not yet committed to buying. I was contacted by Annie Lee, others have dealt with Max, but from my experience you keep in contact with the same person throughout the process. You are now given the chance to finalise the product or make any changes, of which you are given three chances.
This is in my opinion where things got tricky and at times long winded. Obviously here in the UK time zones mean that Emails to China would be slow and I'd often have to wait till the next morning to have any information from them. At first this was fine. I made a small change to where I wanted the writing and that was done promptly and with no problems. However, I had grown a little impatient over a design on the long jersey whereby I wanted the sleeves done a certain way. I explained as best I could but each time it was not done, sometimes with the design it went back to the original look that I'd already said was wrong. Basically, although their written English is good, some things are lost in translation. You can see examples of their English on the website and grammar can let them down and not give a very professional impression. In the end I took the image and saved it and manipulated it in photoshop to show what I wanted. My advise stands as before, if you want it to look right and save a long process and explanation, try and get it as good as near finished first time.
With the design confirmed you are given a list of prices. The prices are excellent. You will find it hard to find normal tops that compare let alone ones with your own design. Here is their list prices:
Short Sleeve Jersey $29.99
Wind Vest $37.99
Thermal Wind Vest $37.99
Long Sleeve Jersey $33.99
Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey $40.99
Regular Shorts $27.99
Bib Shorts $29.99
Thermal Pants $42.99
Bib Pants $42.99
Thermal Bib Pants $46.99
Arm Warmers $18
Thermal Arm Warmers $20
Short Sleeve Jersey + Regular Shorts $50
Short Sleeve Jersey + Bib Shorts $52
Long Sleeve Jersey + Pants Kits $65
Long Sleeve Jersey + Bib Pants Kits $70
Long Sleeve Jersey + Pants (Both Thermal) $70
Long Sleeve Jersey + Bib Pants Kits (Both Thermal) $78
There is on top of this postage to pay which is $12 if under $100 in total.
In UK currency it cost me £34 for a thermal jersey INCLUDING postage. You will be informed about about how long the making and ordering process is expected to take. Overall it takes about a month and you will be sent and Email when your item is shipped. The item can be tracked also but I found this was never updated and even now says processing! I know others who have said similar things. If you intend to want the jersey for an event or charity then I'd give the whole process at least two months from start to finish to avoid disappointment.
One more thing that bothers me about the current website is you can't see all the designs of others as you could previously. It also meant that I had to email again to get information on my design so others could also order. This in my mind needs to be addressed to make it easier for the consumer.
When my long sleeve thermal jersey came i couldn't have been more pleased. The jersey itself is made by Descente, and fitted just right. The sizing guide from experience is accurate and the top fitted the same as many of my other tops. The actual jersey is much more like a training top, slightly loose on the chest allowing me to put it over my short sleeved jersey. I can confirm that after some cold weather here the top does a good job in adding warmth. The top has also retained it colour and shape after a few washes. On a negative side, the print quality isn't 100%. There is some 'ghosting' with parts of the logo and some of the red letters, but you'd have to be looking fairly close to really notice. There is, if you also look carefully at the back logo, a couple of small red spots that shouldn't be there In fairness I suppose if you want Assos style gear with a unique well printed design be prepared to pay twice if not three times the amount and look elsewhere. The clothes at Eclipse, are good and allow you to have something unique for yourself or your team so on the whole I'd recommend them and will be placing further orders with them. Below are some pictures of the final product. Hope you like it as much as I do!