Capo Cycling Apparel
Craig Fellers, January 1, 2015
The Neve Down Hoodie Jacket is quite possibly be the best piece of cycling apparel ever invented. Now, I hope to never catch anybody actually riding in this goose-down puffy, but as we all know, cycling is a lifestyle not merely an activity. I can not think of a company who “gets it” more than Capo. Let me explain.
Cycling garments are something to be taken seriously. Yes, I am talking about that colorful spandex that ranges from size XXS to size S, also a 2mm buffer against police citations for public nudity. While from the outside I am fully aware that these garments may look comical, from the inside they are protection against the elements and they are definitely not all the same.
For one, the fabric has to be durable and comfortable, two adjectives that are not often tossed together in the same sentence. A pair of cycling shorts undergoes untold friction over thousands of miles while wicking sweat and preventing chafing which is crucial to the success of a ride. Now, the one thing you’d think you could at least throw out the window when preparing for a ride would be style, but this could not be farther from the truth. Style quite possibly trumps all else when it comes to cycling apparel.
Among the dozen of cycling apparel manufacturers, I have spent good time searching for something that can meet the impossible demands that I require from my gear. While riding in Northern California this morning, the temperature was hovering in the low 30’s and I was about to embark on my first team ride with a new cycling team, Mike’s Bikes.
I have always thought that a successful ride is one where you can dress properly for the wildly fluctuating microclimates that you experience on a bike. You need to be prepared to hammer up steep grades on sunny inland hills at relatively slow speeds, then whistle down the mountain, usually in a completely different environment from where you started, and now soaked in sweat. With the ability to cover 50-100 miles in a moderate ride, you will inevitably stream through a variety of conditions even when stowaway options are limited.
So, as I look through my extensive cycling apparel closet, I chose each piece very carefully. As I arrive to Equator Coffees and Teas in Mill Valley to meet for the adventure, I do a mental count to find that I am wearing no fewer than seven garments from Capo. They are just simply the best in almost every category.
How it went down
5 hours later, we had completed our Marin County Epic and it was time for me to don my most prized Capo garment in the arsenal, the Neve Down Hoodie, a cocktail of style and comfort. The garment features 850-fill goose down maintaining Capo’s purist reputation and provides fantastic insulation in temperatures down to about 30 degrees fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius). The jacket also uses Ripstop technology that combines larger threads into the weave at specific intervals to provide reinforcements against abrasion. The superior goose down material is much more odor-resistant than synthetics and amazingly packable.
The whole jacket can be folded into a included one quart pouch. The quality of construction is exactly what you would expect from this Emeryville-based (San Francisco Bay Area) company that completes most manufacturing in Italy.
The tactful branding on breast and sleeve cuff is not ostentatious and something only a keen eye would notice. A single small zipper pocket on the back is a great out-of-the-way place to store your Garmin computer or a cell phone, leaving the two standard front pockets free to warm your paws. When it gets seriously cold, pop your hood, and haul in on the elastic waist band to trap nearly every BTU of body heat. This simply is the jacket cyclists have all been waiting for.
Get the full sleeve for $199, or the vest down hoodie for $159. And if you’re out riding the Berkeley hills, keep your eye out for the inventor of this uniquely cool garment, Capo Co-founder Gary Vasconi, who can be found ripping his Pinarello Dogma with Enve carbon wheels, looking like he was plucked directly from an Italian cobblestone street. He is bound to be wearing freshest gear from Capo and is always excited to talk bike racing and apparel.
Craig Fellers is based out of Santa Cruz where he is the owner and optometrist at Midtown Optometry.