Thursday, July 1, 2010

Louis Garneau


Though weight-loss and an overall approach to healthy living undoubtedly has long term financial benefits (think health-care), it can be a short term financial burden, as in having to buy new clothes.

About two months ago my bicycling bibs and most of my jerseys had become too loose.  So I did some shopping around and choose the Louis Garneau Neo Power Bib and a Lemmon Jersey to go with it.

You can check out the above links to get the skinny on the fabric technology and why LG thinks that theirs is better than the next guy's.  To be honest, I think most "legitimate" technical fabrics work as advertised - they stretch, resist odor and/or wick away moisture.  So I don't pay too much attention to the science.  I do, however, pay attention to fit and comfort.

 The bike stuff is great...

The LG cycling stuff is great.  The bibs have a great inseam length.  The leg bands work perfectly.  All the seams are on the outside and flatlocked, so there is no potential for odd abrasions.  The chamois pad is the perfect size and thickness, and I haven't had a single issue with any binding or discomfort.

The jersey is just as good.  Simply put, it fits well.  The pockets are deep.  The gripper is just as good as the bib's leg bands. The full length zipper is of very good quality.  There are strategically placed mesh panels along the sides to help with airflow.  And it's the perfect weight for summer.

So when it came time to replacing my tri-suit a few weeks ago, I went with Garneau because it seemed like a no-brainer.  I ordered the Pro Suit so I'd have it for the San Diego race.

 The tri-suit is not so great

Unfortunately, the tri-suit wasn't even close to the quality of the cycling clothing.  I knew this the minute I put it on.  Hell, I knew this the minute I opened the box.  I should have just returned it.  But I didn't because I was up against the race.  I had to hope that some magic transformation would happen when I put it on for real.

No magic happened.

I realize that there are purpose specific differences between cycling and triathlon apparel.  But I also know enough about apparel manufacturing to know that there is no need for the specs to be this different.  The arm and neck openings don't need to be as tiny as they are.  They could have used a better zipper.  The leg don't have binders - and as a result the where riding up my legs during the run.  And the chamois might as well been emery cloth, that's how bad the irritation was.


Here's what I think it must be like at the Louis Garneau corporate office.  When you walk into reception, there is a really long hall to the left and another really long hall to the right.  The cycling apparel designers work at the far end of the right hall, and the triathlon apparel designers work at the far end of the left hall.  My guess is that they each have their own bathrooms, water coolers and snack machines.  Maybe they are not allowed to speak to each other.  Maybe they have their own seperate holiday parties.  Because there is no way they are working together.

Needless to say I'm a little disappointed.  It's odd that Garneau managed to pull off such a 180 between the two product divisions.  The bike stuff seems really good.  The tri stuff seems really bad.

Just thought I'd put this out there for you guys.

16 comments:

Johann said...

That is disappointing and strange. Do they manufacture these in the same country? I've had same brand problems before where some were made in Korea and others in India...

Kovas Palubinskas said...

What a bummer! I really like my Garneau cycling bib as well. I wear Zoot shorts for the tri, though I also have a trisuit by Profile Design that I really like but don't have the confidence to wear out yet (kind of revealing). I'd try to return the suit - Garneau would probably like to know this and it's an opportunity to check out their customer service!

Caratunk Girl said...

That sucks! I like Kovas's idea about returning it. I haven't found a tri-suit or top/bottom combo I am really happy with yet. I keep returning stuff.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Your vision of the Louis Garneau office cracked me up! It never fails to amaze me how companies can be so good at one thing but yet so bad at seemingly similar others?

Thanks for sharing this b/c I have been looking around for a one-piece and this suit was on my list. Looks like I am down to the Zoot or 2XU!

Karen said...

How odd... You would think biking gear and tri suits would not be that much of a stretch. You do think of garneau as one of the top brands but maybe just for cycling?

Matty O said...

I have the Sugoi Velocity II tri suit... GREAT fit and very comfortable.

I am not however into feeling like a super hero in an all spandex suit, but I get used to it :)

Thanks for the heads up on the company, I know that this sport is all about referrals and positive feedback, I love my tri suit, I have raced 2 times and done 2 other workouts in it and thus far have no complaints.

I ordered a Team in Training Sugoi 2 piece tri suit as well and will review that when I get it.

valen said...

are you suggesting the tri-clothing designer is a cheap commie out in the far left?
we are not spoiled for choice here, and between orca and 2xu there's little difference, they both do pretty good garments.

kyle said...

What a bummer...no pun intended. I just finished my first olympic tri and amd so glad I upgraded to new tri shorts. My bottom was happy during and after the race. I agree with some others...return the suit!

Jennifer said...

You had me with the suggestion of emery cloth for a chamois. Ooowie. I have a ladies LG tri outfit, 2 piece, it's been pretty good, I got it a few years back and like you I am going through the issues of having too buy new cloths and soon I will have to replace my suit. Maybe I will have to look at another company? I agreee with Kovas and Caratunk Girl, I would send it back with a copy of your assessment. Have a great 4th!

Emz said...

is there a naked tri? These suit things you guys buy make my wallet hurt.

Jon said...

Thanks for the heads up! Pearl Izumi is my favorite cycling and tri clothing brand. Been happy with their one piece tri suit.

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

What a bummer! That just sucks! I would definitely return it. I would even put a little blurb about why in their comment section.

Rad Runner said...

Wow lame about the total inconsistency! It looks like the style experts are on the right side.. Have a Rad weekend!

Exgf said...

The price of cycling and tri clothing is ridiculous. I hate that it's so expensive but it's obviously a necessity. IT kills me every time i have to throw down my visa for new gear. OUCH!

DRog said...

also LOL @ visualization of their office.

Also now I realize I have NO CLUE on gear...had never even heard of a cycling bib...I better get crackin on my knowledge!
-D

Barbie said...

That's such a shame about the TriSuit and a real waste of dollars. Hopefully you can return it, nothing worse than your suit riding up all the time, it would drive me nuts.

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