Friday Group Ride #252

Friday Group Ride #252

There are a lot of ways to match. You can match your saddle to your bar tape. You can match your bar, stem and post. You can paint your stem to match your frame. You can match the finish on your components to the frame. You can match your hubs to your headset. There is also bibs to jersey, which can extend to socks, vest, warmers, hat.

I have, on a few occasions, seen bibs and jersey matched to hubs, headset and frame paint. The effect was nearly blinding.

I should say, before we go any further, that I’m not a matcher. I’m what you might call a perpetrator. I mismatch kit. I don’t care that much about that much. You know what I mean?

I think there is a case to be made on both ends of the matching spectrum. Serious perpetrators, those who would pair a vintage Mapei jersey with uh…anything, can be a real eyesore, hard to look at, but those who are too matchy-match, I just have a hard time taking them seriously.

This week’s Group Ride asks, where are you on the matching continuum? Are you a low level matcher, saddle to bar tape? Somewhere in the middle, kit always matches? Or over the top, your shoe covers match your arm warmers and hat? I have a sneaking suspicion that the further north you go, the less match happens, simply because there’s too much kit to maintain in colder climes, but I could be wrong there. Maybe it tracks to personality type directly. Or free time.


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  1. Pat O'Brien

    I am a moderate matcher. I wouldn’t put a black crankset on a silver groupo. When I do match colors it is usually to make myself more visible. Like the red bar tape on my road bike matches the red seat bag. I do remember one day, and have a early digital photo that shows it, that I was a yellow guy including the background of an amazing bloom of wild yellow Mexican poppies.

  2. Jan

    I try to wear the same pair of socks and the same gloves. Socks and gloves don’t match, but the two socks I try to match, and the same with the gloves. I only have one pair of biking shoes, so that one’s easy to match. Other than that, there’s no matching, nor any hope of matching.

  3. Aar

    Most of my jerseys and gloves are red for visibility. Because my bike is also red, I get accused of being too “match-matchy”. Probably will not buy another red bike.

  4. MattC

    I picked up a set of white shoes after I got my white frame a few years back…now my white frame is still nice and white, and the shoes, well, er…not so much. But that’s about it for my matchiness. Helmet and jerseys are what I can afford (jerseys also need to be noticeable colors, which is of paramount importance), shorts are always black. Socks are thicker wool in the winter, light wool in the summer, and the colors are all what they are. Gloves, also what I can afford (and are comfy). Bar tape is red (it does ‘sort of’ match the frame logo’s, so probably the most match I have of late)…I’m probably on the style-police’s ‘most wanted’ (to throw to the ground and rip my non-matching ugly kit off) list.

  5. Champs

    Related anecdote: just yesterday, I was walking downtown when a gentleman whipped around the corner in a would-be full yellow fluo kit. That look was conspicuously broken up by a pair of white Calvin Klein athletic socks hiked to mid-calf. I am the opposite of a sock fetishist, but was completely taken aback.

    Color coordination, yes: blue jersey, black bibs (the white and gold package, ahem), mix-and-match accessories according to mood and/or what’s clean.

    Matching, no: a nice pair of bibs is one thing, but a $200 set of arm/knee/leg warmers add nothing to my experience. I tend to favor different brands for different things, anyway.

    Most important of all: keep it fun, not fussy.

  6. Michael

    Like Jan, I usually wear socks and gloves (and arm and leg warmers and shoe covers when I wear them) that each come from the same pair. I did buy a matching set of bibs and jersey once and then found the chamois to be uncomfortable, so I never wear the bibs. Oh well.

    There is a new mother in my town who has a red stroller with a red fleece cover for her baby, and once, when the cover was unzipped, I saw the baby had a red cap and a red blanket and a red binkie (couldn’t see any more in there without being obvious). The mother wears a red fleece jacket – to my eye it is slightly lighter in hue. But how can any new parent possibly match any clothes? I could not even reliably find a shirt without baby barf on it to wear when my kid was that small. My hat is off to this woman.

  7. Kurti_sc

    It seems that I’ve caught myself matching more than I used to. I’m even matching more on the mtb stuff now, whereas previously I considered coordinated efforts more of a road thing. can some of this tendency be age related?

  8. Dave from VA

    I’m a low-level matcher, and not just because I want to be. There is a part of me that wants to match stuff, but I can’t listen to that guy because it would cost me a fortune, not benefit my riding ability one bit, and drive me absolutely crazy when two reds didn’t match perfectly. Therefore, in the interest of my sanity and financial survival, I tell that guy to just get lost. It sort of matches is good enough for me as long as it’s not too far fetched and ridiculous.

  9. Spider

    I’m a matcher….when I started buying expensive kit I decided everything would be red, white and black….that way at 5 in the morning I only have to care about the weather and not if my yellow gloves go with my aqua jersey. It’s kept me co-ordinated for 20 years

    I once bought some non-black shorts (Castelli Italian national team kit)…won’t do that again! It’s all black for me in the short department

  10. marvo larvo

    painted my shoes and helmet shiny Gold and got a gold wipperman chain to match the gold bits on my cannondale EVO (maybe will add a spray-on bronze tan and show up shirtless at the saturday ride)

  11. JoeLee

    Guilty of the matching but not over the top. Bar tape matches frame paint accent color. Two different helmets depending on which jersey I wear (visor comes off the white/silver one for road use). At least two sets of matching jerseys/bibs. Still – it’s almost all black/red. Oh and my road shoes are blue – because on-sale-Sidis – and yes – it drives me insane.

  12. Quentin

    When I was a teenager, the first pair of bike shorts I bought matched my beloved Trek. Now, I tend to match things (saddle, bar tape, stems, seatposts) on my bike if it doesn’t cost anything extra to do so. I don’t think I ever wear kit that matches my bike, however.

  13. Steven

    Middle of the road for me.
    I try to make sure my bike doesn’t clash with itself, and I don’t mix-n-match team kits usually.
    But outerwear is whatever i have available (No, I’m not buying a new wind-vest/rain-jacket/thermal jersey because it clashes with that kit), and for unbranded kit I just try to avoid making it clash too badly with the other half.

    Bike to kit, though? Huh-uh. I don’t have nearly that much time/money.

  14. Jon

    Self-confessed high-level matcher here…on the bikes, saddle will always match the tape and seatpost will match the stem will match the bars, etc

    I am loathe to wearing anything but matching kit, and by that I mean the kit all has to come from the same brand…ie all Castelli or all de marchi or all rapha, etc. If I buy a Santini jersey but don’t have Santini bibs I will buy Santini bibs, and socks and gloves while I’m at it. I also keep each set of kit in its own ziploc bag so I pull out a complete set of jersey, bibs, socks, and gloves that are each matched. Sigh I am anal. I probably have 30 or so full kits :/ And 4 helmets. And a very tolerant wife.

    There are some bits that I like too much to care for matching though, and if the situation calls for it, I will wear them with anything. Stuff like an Assos vest, Castelli pocket liner jacket, or defeet gloves.

  15. Girl

    I match where I can on the bike. I like blue, so blue tape, seatpost clamp, etc… My bike is unpainted titanium, so I go for blue highlights. I used to wear blue jerseys a lot, but in the interest of being visible to motorists, I now wear a lot more bright colors. (I do like my team Liquigas-Cannondale jersey. It has bright green and blue, too!) If I know I’ll be in a large group, I feel I can get away with less visibility, so I wear more blue. But black is out. Too hot and not seen by motorists.

  16. Willoughby

    I have black stem, bars, seat post, and saddle on a Ti frame. I wear different color jerseys on different days: light blue, Aqua, red/white, and yellow/red/black. Shorts are black. Shoes are white. Helmet is silver. Sunglasses are black. Gloves are white. I think it’s good to use and wear colors that at least go together. They don’t have to match.

  17. Matt K

    Matcher for sure. Black bar tape. Black saddle. Black tires, always. I am a stickler for matching components. Stem, bars and post are all the same brand. I always buy black bibs so that way I can wear any color jersey and it still looks good to my eye. Jersey colors range from black to neon and all get worn with equal use. I have a pair of black shoes for spring, fall, winter and a pair of white/black shoes for summer. My helmet is bright blue and white and my glasses are black.

  18. VeloVolpe

    I believe that the cranks should match the stem/bars/seatpost, so I sanded all of them down on my custom build (carbon with matching weave thread count) because the logos didn’t match, and resprayed them all nude. I’m not going to tell you what I did to my shoes so that they match my kits. Yes, I have a problem, and no, I don’t care to get intervention…

  19. Stephen Barner

    I won’t usually try to match clothing to a bike, but I do keep different color cable housing and bar tape in stock, for those occasional times when a color would be a nice contrast with the frame. Saddles should be all about comfort, not style. Where I will match clothing is when the brand is the same, as in wearing Richard Sachs kit when riding the Sachs. I also tend towrds matching kit when riding a tandem, which many do, though it drives other teams crazy.

    As postulated, here in the far north, the weather is the primary determinant of what to wear, not what will match the bike.

  20. gregorio

    A aspire to mid-high level matching. Though I might add that I don’t feel any inclination toward matching kit and components…hence the mid-high rank. I just completed a match, an inexpensive one, I admit. With my FSA carbon bars and stem I was able to find FSA logo spacers. This was a $12 match, which brings me back to the word aspire. I can aspire for hours each week. Probably best to put that time into actually riding…

  21. andrew

    i match my bar tape to my blue hubs on my road/tourer. nothing matches on my mtb, apart from the mud look, when everything is the same shade and texture.

    I don’t want team kit, but have various primal rock jerseys, one welsh dragon jersey, a tuxedo top etc. I like bright colours or something to make me smile.

  22. Gummee!

    Is it spring yet? It must’ve been a long, depressing winter ’cause we’ve fallen to a new low of navel-gazing here.

    Evidently I’m pretty low on the ‘matching scale’ The bike I’m looking at has 2 different sets of parts on it (6800 and 9k), 3 brands of ancillary stuff (bars: 3t, stem: Thomson, seatpost: Deda) but the bar tape and saddle are both white.

    Can’t wait for spring to spring! We’ve got a coating of ice all over here in the DC area. No riding outside for me today!


  23. Scott G.

    It is cold and snowy in Cincy too.
    Looking at the Wm. J Hood I am working on, LAM brakes, match, Airlite hubs, match.
    The rest of the bits are from all over, but except for the BB, they match temporally.

    Grant Peterson is annoyed by Bag Matchers, people who whine that their
    front and rear bags are two different shades of khaki.

  24. Peter Leach

    I’m a low- to mid-level matcher.
    Matching bar tape and saddle [white] – check.
    Matching cockpit [Cinelli] – check.
    Co-ordinated kit [black bibs, white jersey with red / black highlights] – check.
    But that’s about it.

  25. Tom in Albany

    Why would someone try to match their whatever to their whatever? I’ve never understood it. I wear black shorts. My shoes have generally been black too. I’m not sure I bought them to match my saddle or bar tape or tires. I think it’s just the color they are. I didn’t know that, outside the peloton, people matched their gloves to anything.

  26. Willis

    Here is a riff on the matching thing…My wife and I ride a road tandem…going on 23 years…when we first started out we DIDN’T match on purpose…we didn’t want to look too “matchy matchy”…after about a year of not matching we rode in a tandem rally with 500+ other couples on tandems, 499 of whom were matched as a team, helmet and jersey at least. We’ve been “team matched” ever since.

  27. ced

    matching made easy:
    all my bikes are black with white and/or red accents.
    all of my kit is either black, black&white, black&red or white&red.

  28. Bob Ross

    A friend of mine once made an observation that has stuck with me for decades: “There’s a big difference between ‘matching’ and ‘going together’.”

    Most of my cyling kit goes together. I don’t think *any* of it matches!

    1. Michael Schlitzer

      That’s a good distinction. I put myself in that category. I’m always suspicious of folks who “match” unless they’re in local club kit.

  29. Paul

    more of a go-together than matcher.

    closest outfit is Garmin-Barracuda kit and Garmin Sharp cap and blue socks. (Cervélo é with a Giant bike – sigh)

    I match my Mellow Johnny’s shorts with a Discovery Channel jersey, though I ride clean : )

    1. Full Monte

      You’re brave. About a year before the Reasoned Decision, I was wearing a Lance-endorsed product on a ride and a guy in a Jeep almost ran me over, shouting obscenities. He had a bike rack on his vehicle. It was clear that he was a rider and that every other rider should share his Lance Hate. Hey, it’s hard enough out there with non-riding drivers. When other cyclists are running you off the road in their cars on purpose, we’ve crossed over into a special kind of crazy.

  30. Curtis Whatley

    Black shorts all of the time. I have a red and black color scheme but I really don’t stick to it. Color is good. It is easier to find in the black kit bag.

  31. Full Monte

    Categorically, I’m a hot mess.

    Rule 52: Bidons must match. Oh, here’s one from my bike store, is it clean? Ok. Another from that charity ride two years ago. Clean? One’s white. One’s red. Heck, they’re not even the same size.

    Rule 8: Saddle, tape and tires. Yes. Wait, how’d that happen? Oh yeah, I went back to the black saddle middle of last summer, but up till then, no.

    Rule 14: Black shorts or bibs. Only black. Um, well, oops. I’ve got quite a few pair that are mostly black — and black where it matters most. But erm, not all of ’em are all black.

    Rule 27: Goldilocks socks and short length. All over the map, er, legs. Don’t care. Are they clean? Okay.

    Rule 28: Socks can be any color. Yes! Got one, well, sort of. Sometimes I don’t even match one sock to the other.

    Rule 17: No team kit unless you ride for said team. And all team kit must match, head to toe. Don’t have any team kit, so there’s none to match. Still don’t understand this Rule. How is it okay for an adult to go to a Blackhawks game wearing Toews’ jersey, but it’s not okay to ride your bike wearing Contador’s?

    There are also riders I know who fuss over helmet and shoes. Right now, I’ve got a black lid and white shoes. Mybad. Heck, I’ve been known to not even wear a cycling jersey, but pull on a performance T. Even been seen wearing non-lycra shorts on a road bike. And ride with a full beard, which is graying at an alarming rate, which is fine by me as I can now write all this off to being a retrogrouch. Can’t be bothered with looking or being cool any more.

  32. Peter Kelley

    Mid level matcher.

    The bike itself simply must match in some way.

    I typically have a black or white helmet and black shoes and shorts and gloves – so i see them left out of the matching process.

    That leaves the jersey/socks match – which isn’t too big a deal.

    I never try to match my bike.

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