Wednesday, June 06, 2012

When Colors Work

Not sure I'm feelin' it...
Color. My old boss at my first bike shop gig said something to the effect that, "Cycling is a colorful sport. Your kit and your gear should reflect that." Well, he certainly lived up to that maxim himself. He had a shop full of visually stimulating frames, jerseys, and gee-gaws.

I don't know about the current "neon revival", or those old Polti jerseys, (remember those?), but I do like color in my cycling too. Tasteful, but not avoiding "in your face" stuff either. But it has to be "right". That's a hard thing to get in balance, seemingly, for some of these outfits pedaling cycling gear these days.

Take the example of the Rubena tires here. The grey stripes certainly should call these out at the trail head as something different. However, for my tastes, the grey stripes are contrived, derivative, and just "not right". Want color on your tires? I would rather see it on the side wall, like Geax's old green sidewalls, or skin wall tires, like the old days. (I know...."Mr. Retro" again!)

We could throw in the oddball graphics here, but that is another element of design, so I will keep this focused on color only.

My first "good" mountain bike was this old '92 Klein Attitude. Love, love, love the Sunset Linear Fade with the hot pink, orange, and yellow. It was brash, in your face, but done so well that it garnered a lot of good and disparaging comments. To me, that's a good thing. Why ride a bike that blends in? (Unless it is something you don't want stolen, or for other good reasons.)

And that old bike fit right in with what my old boss was trying to get across. Don't be shy! Get colorful. Just be careful with the design, and it should work. You don't have to be so brash as my old '92 Attitude though! I just use it as an extreme example.

Certainly, a tasteful, classy use of color is definitely okay as well. I like spartan design, one color schemes that are done well. An offsetting panel, or detail in the right place can make or break a design. 

And then there is your cycling clothes. You shouldn't be shy about good design there either. Just don't try any of those old Cipolini skin suits or a retro-Polti jersey on your next ride!

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