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Ashmei launches cycle clothing range

British brand that made its name in running adds bike clothing collection

British sportswear brand Ashmei is expanding into the cycling market with a small range of high-end clothing. Ashmei, based in Hertfordshire, has been in the running world for the past three years and plans to extend the cycling range over time.

“Whatever we make has to be a game changer,” says founder Stuart Brooke, who has designed for the likes of Rapha, Vulpine, Brompton, Douglas Gill and Madison.

“We don’t choose a price point, go out and select a fabric, and then make the best product we can. We work from the fibre and develop the clothing for performance, then quality, then style. Every product has to be the best there is or we won’t launch it.”

Stuart says that Ashmei measure themselves against Assos in terms of performance, and against Rapha in terms of quality and style.

With that in mind, Ashmei create their own fabrics, blending the fibres they believe are the best for the job in each area of the clothing. They use a lot of merino wool for its ability to regulate your temperature according to the conditions and resist the growth of odour-causing bacteria, blending it with carbon to wick moisture and dry more quickly.

The initial cycling range is small, comprising a softshell jacket, short sleeve jersey and bib shorts, along with a hat, neck gaiter and socks borrowed from existing running range.

The Cycle Softshell Jacket (£210) uses a bespoke fabric at the front and over the shoulders, said to be windproof, waterproof and breathable, while the rear, where you need less protection, uses a stretchy merino mix fabric for extra breathability.

The details suggest a lot of thought has gone into the design. The front zip is offset so it doesn’t irritate your neck when done up, and you get pit zips and rear vents to control the internal humidity.

There are a total of six pockets around the back, including one that’s designed for a mini pump and another zipped one for your phone, and there’s a little pocket inside the front zip that’s just big enough to take a couple of keys.

The water resistant mudflap at the back is held out of the way by little magnets when you don’t need it.

The bib shorts are interesting too. Rather than using a knitted spandex fabric, Ashmei use a high-density woven microfibre that’s water resistant, the idea being that it’ll stay drier and lighter than other shorts fabrics out there when you get rained on.

There’s no leg gripper; Ashmei reckon the compression in the fabric is such that there’s no need for one.

Ashmei have developed their own seatpad using foam rather than sponge to minimise the amount of moisture that’s absorbed. The pad is bonded in place and nearly all of the seams in the shorts are ultra-sonic welded rather than stitched so they’re strong and flat. Little merino panels are designed to stop the shoulder straps from bunching up and causing discomfort.

If the price of the Softshell Jacket isn’t as eye-waterig as you might have imagined, the price of the bibshorts is pretty damn hefty: £235.

The jersey (£95) is made from that merino/carbon blend and, like the other clothing in the range, it has some neat-looking features including a chin guard and four rear pockets, two of them zipped.

 

Key seams are bonded, the idea being to keep everything flat and avoid chafing.

The merino beanie is £25.

The merino neck gaiter is £25.

And the socks are £15.

Ashmei are doing a trisuit too (£230), the main feature being that it’s said to absorb very little water. Ashmei say that their suit increases in weight just 40% after being submerged in water for 10 minutes whereas competitor trisuits increase by 121% in the same conditions.

The Ashmei cycling range will be available from the brand’s website and through a limited number of retailers from February, although you can pre-order now. Buy now by pledging via Kickstarter and you’ll get a discount of 15-20% before 5 December (assuming Ashmei reach their funding target).

Ashmei plan to extend the range over time, and that includes adding women’s versions of the initial products.

We’ve asked for items to review from the Ashmei range, so look out for that on road.cc early next year.

For more info go to the Ashmei website.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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25 comments

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fenix | 9 years ago
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Less buying kit. More riding.

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gbzpto | 9 years ago
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Last week there was no mention of the extortionate prices of the Paul Smith stuff in the article and we were told that we should make our own minds up by the author. Now we are told the prices are 'hefty' and 'eye watering'. Double standards or was the Paul Smith article just a rehashed press release as some others commented on.

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Gordy748 | 9 years ago
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It depends. If you ride a lot in the rain then getting shorts that are water resistant is a good idea. I find my chamois (on my Rapha shorts) will eventually get soggy on long rides, so I'm looking at other alternatives like Café du Cycliste, which have an interesting thermal/ water resistant option.

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S13SFC | 9 years ago
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You'd have to be a complete an utter tool to pay their prices.

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Fixie Girl | 9 years ago
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What is it with you Brits and Japanese inspired bullcrap..?

Most of your so called British Cycling Brands are made everywhere but the UK with few exceptions.. VeloBici, Shutt and Corrine Dennis (come on Corrine, we want some more stylish pieces please)

Have the designers at Ashmet sat in a roomful of copyright lawyers to come up with a 'brand' that is as close to Rapha as is legally possible with out the cease and desist that we saw dished against Torm?

I can just imagine the lawyers at Rapha, Vulpine, Brompton, Douglas Gill and Madison scrabbling around looking for copies of any mutual NDAs and other exclusivity clauses right now…

FG

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andylul replied to Fixie Girl | 9 years ago
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Ashmei is an anagram of the designer's daughter's name.

His wife is English-Chinese - the logo means the same in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, I believe.

I've seen the gear up close and it is amazing - not sure if I can afford it, but if I was in the market for some high-end cycling gear, I'd go for this over Assos or Rapha.

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Timsen | 9 years ago
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Add the cost of a decent pair of shoes, a helmet, supplement your new purchases with baselayers, arm warmers, overshoes, gloves etc from Aldi & you could be ready to ride for less than a grand ! Bargain !!

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mikemorini | 9 years ago
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“Whatever we make has to be a game changer,”
Doesn't look any different to any one elses "game changer".

Definition of "game changer" = overused marketing BS.

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massspike | 9 years ago
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+1 for the key pocket. I carry mine in a sandwich bag with my money and ID but it ends up poking holes through the bag and rattling against the coins.

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amazon22 | 9 years ago
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Interesting reading until I got to the price of the shorts, at which point I realised my Rapha Classics were an absolute bargain. Surely we have reached saturation point for boutique cycling kit?

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notfastenough replied to amazon22 | 9 years ago
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amazon22 wrote:

Interesting reading until I got to the price of the shorts, at which point I realised my Rapha Classics were an absolute bargain. Surely we have reached saturation point for boutique cycling kit?

I've got loads of Rapha, but I would agree that the escalation in prices does seem daft. I guess ultimately the market will take care of itself - i.e. if the price is too high, no-one will buy it.

Then again, the vast majority of my Rapha is heavily discounted from the sample sales, so perhaps I'm in no position to comment on premium-price gear!

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James-e-Thomas replied to notfastenough | 9 years ago
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i disagree, certain members of the cycling fraternity (myself excluded) seem to be more concerned with having the most expensive, exotic kit (to show their affluence and beer guts) than actually enjoying the sport. I say balls to overpriced "designer" cycle clothing rapha included. Ultimately regardless of the price some mug will buy it look at the Bugatti veyron loads of mugs buy those!

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glynr36 replied to James-e-Thomas | 9 years ago
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James-e-Thomas wrote:

i disagree, certain members of the cycling fraternity (myself excluded) seem to be more concerned with having the most expensive, exotic kit (to show their affluence and beer guts) than actually enjoying the sport. I say balls to overpriced "designer" cycle clothing rapha included. Ultimately regardless of the price some mug will buy it look at the Bugatti veyron loads of mugs buy those!

What's wrong with wanting the best, and buying it if you can afford to?

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Chuck replied to glynr36 | 9 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:
James-e-Thomas wrote:

i disagree, certain members of the cycling fraternity (myself excluded) seem to be more concerned with having the most expensive, exotic kit (to show their affluence and beer guts) than actually enjoying the sport. I say balls to overpriced "designer" cycle clothing rapha included. Ultimately regardless of the price some mug will buy it look at the Bugatti veyron loads of mugs buy those!

What's wrong with wanting the best, and buying it if you can afford to?

I think these people motivated only by how expensive their kit is mainly exist in the minds of people who can't afford that kit. I've never met one I don't think.

S13SFC wrote:

You'd have to be a complete an utter tool to pay their prices.

Why?

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Simon E replied to glynr36 | 9 years ago
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The most expensive has never been the same as the best.

We all know that the selling price is not necessarily linked to the cost of production, the difference is often marketing bullshit.

But it's not compulsory to froth at the mouth every time expensive clothing is reviewed on road.cc. The proliferation of upmarket cycling brands is a reflection of the growth in the number of people with plenty of disposable income riding bikes, which surely isn't a bad thing. If people with bulging wallets want to spend a wodge on a jacket that's not my problem and new features in high end products should see improvements 'trickle down' to less expensive gear too.

But if that bothers you then you can still buy yourself a heavy steel bike with 5-speed friction gears and rat-trap pedals with toe clips; and you can surely find some flappy, scratchy synthetic wool clothing to wear while riding it.

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Northernbike replied to James-e-Thomas | 9 years ago
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James-e-Thomas wrote:

i disagree, certain members of the cycling fraternity (myself excluded) seem to be more concerned with having the most expensive, exotic kit (to show their affluence and beer guts) than actually enjoying the sport. I say balls to overpriced "designer" cycle clothing rapha included. Ultimately regardless of the price some mug will buy it look at the Bugatti veyron loads of mugs buy those!

for some people £200 for a jacket or a pair of shorts is not alot of money, the same or smaller proportion of their income than aldi stuff is for some others. what is the point of making a bit of money and buying cheap gear for your sport or hobby when you can afford the good stuff? These kind of prices are beyond alot of us who have other calls on limited resources but I don't see why the folks who can afford it are necessarily mugs. you wouldn't go up to someone in an expensive suit and call them a mug and you don't belong the same 'fraternity', as you put it, as them. I just don't understand the bitching and snobbery in cycling about what other people are wearing.

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Poptart242 | 9 years ago
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 39 I've always struggled with my giraffe-length neck, that gaiter looks just the ticket....

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Some Fella | 9 years ago
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最高の is an ancient Chinese proverb
"A fool and his money are easily parted"

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Quince | 9 years ago
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Does anyone know why it says '最高の' on the collar? Does the firm have anything to do with Japan, or is it just 'doing a SuperDry' to add a little exoticism?

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ped replied to Quince | 9 years ago
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Quince wrote:

Does anyone know why it says '最高の' on the collar? Does the firm have anything to do with Japan, or is it just 'doing a SuperDry' to add a little exoticism?

'Best' according to Google, https://translate.google.com/#auto/en/最高の which I guess makes sense as a strapline, but I'm unsure of any Japanese company heritage.

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Simmo72 | 9 years ago
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If these shorts sell well, expect rapha to increase theirs by £80, they can't be 'overcut' by a competitor.

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mrchrispy | 9 years ago
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reckon you need to proof read that....you appear to have typed £235 for the pair of bib shorts  13

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Jez Ash replied to mrchrispy | 9 years ago
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mrchrispy wrote:

reckon you need to proof read that....you appear to have typed £235 for the pair of bib shorts  13

That's a "coincidence".

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/assos-tcampionissimo-s7-bib-short/

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chris75018 | 9 years ago
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That softshell jacket looks nice. And it's got carbon in it so it must be good!

Seriously though, does Carbon really have any benefit or is it just assumed (possibly correctly) that cyclists will buy anything made of it?  39

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Blackhound | 9 years ago
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I see the Xmas accessory bundle is estimated for delivery in February. I suppose they didn't say which Christmas!

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