New Radio Shack jersey. What’s the big hideous R for?

Radio Shack Ridiculous.

Does the giant R stand for Retirement or lack of Restraint?

Judging by the redesign of the new Radio Shack kit, you’d have to assume the idea was to go out big, massive, obnoxious. All the proof you need that sponsor Radio Shack is in their final year is this: you can’t make the corporate logo any bigger. They’re squeezing out every dollar invested.

Last year the electronics giant jumped into the sport and didn’t want anyone to overlook their presence. The Shack Trek bike was so crowded with R’s that we called it the Bike with A Hundred logos. It was a rolling billboard, an eyesore on two wheels.

Even by the crass standards of marketing, it was over the top. As an advertising pro for more than 25 years, we appreciate smart branding but that just screamed with desperation, look at me. It was like a store employee that won’t leave you alone.

This will be Lance Armstrong final “kit” and sadly, we can’t say he’s going out in style. By comparison, the old Postal jersey was classy and the Discovery kit brilliant. Even the Astana design is worlds better. We can’t imagine what the design team was given as a brief other than make the biggest R you could put on a jersey.

Given all the design talent in the world, the beautiful race bikes, the dazzling components, the stylish array of technical gear, it’s surprising to see how generally unflattering and underwhelming many of the new kits look. Cyclingnews has a comprehensive review of all the jersey and we have to disagree on a few points.

First, the new HTC-Highroad jersey is an abomination. People insist on calling it a retro design but that only works it you define retro and “old and ugly.” They rate the Movistar as generally uninspiring but Twisted Spoke thinks it’s the only fun, distinctive and stylish kit this year.

We’re also shocked by the lack of imagination from the one team we would’t expect that from: Garmin-Cervelo. While claiming the argyle remains in a narrow blue sleeve band, for all real intents the diamond has disappeared.

Jonathan Vaughter’s crew always had a distinctive fashion style but that has ended in 2011. The new kit looks like a re-worked Cervelo design that’s now just another variation of the black Sky and Leopard Trek look. A baffling move from the coolest team in the ProTour. It feels like Garmin-Cervelo is losing their personality a bit with the influx of new riders.

In any case, look for Lance Armstrong in his final race overseas in the Tour Down Under. He’ll be wearing that huge R on his chest. It’ must be Retirement.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/COOKS001 Paul Cook

    Oh, I dunno… I kinda like the new cervelo kit….

  • RideLikeaGirl1

    I think Radioshack used the designer for Ralph Lauren's polo shirts seen at the U.S. Open tennis tournament where that polo horseplayer is so much bigger and obnoxious.
    With respect to Garmin, I wonder if Pearlizumi is pursuing legal action against them for taking the skinsuits and now Garmin is trying to avoid using the argyle design with the Castelli jerseys. It's too bad, I love the argyles.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      The argyle was aweseome and (pun aside) a perfect fit for the whole Garmin Gestalt. The new kit feels corporate and dull by comparison. I've never been a fan of logos that scream. That's just embarrassing and in poor taste. Matt

  • Ken

    I submit that it is better looking than last year's jersey. Cleaner. But good looking? No. Would I buy one? No. BTW How many Rs on the back of the jersey?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Ken, I haven't counted R's on the back of the jersey. I'm putting you in charge and I expect a full report by end of week. I hear Nissan in on the back so maybe it's one massive N. Matt

      • Ken

        I can't find an image anywhere on the net but there is one glimpse in the 33 second video announcement showing a wide red vertical stripe down the back against a white background. One R logo at the top of the stripe. There must be more lurking though. No sign of a giant "N". I'll keep looking.

  • Bill Rupy

    Maybe it's a Sesame Street thing – "This team brought to you by the letter R" (And by the number Juan)

    Branding-wise, isn't it a step backward for them? The kit still has "THE SHACK" down the sides. So which is it, guys – are you Radio Shack, or The Shack? Are you moving forward or backward? Maybe they're hedging their branding bets, thinking that this whole Shack thing might not take.

    As far as the 'R' goes, I'm reminded of my days as a cadet at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. There, the "Circle R" means that you're 'on report' (being assigned demerits). Cadets who are restricted to campus are described as being 'on the Circle R Ranch'. It's kinda funny to see it on a cycling jersey, and we Kings Pointers who are cycling fans (I think there might be 10 of us-?) will at least get to snicker at the in-joke whenever we see it.

    Then again, the look of the kit may well be the least of the team's concerns as the season progresses…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Bill, love the Sesame Street idea. Maybe it's more like the big Hawthorne A on the forehead. Sports Illustrated just slammed Lance and it sounds like eventually Novitzky will deliver the goods. Matt

  • Mick

    Yeah, the Garmin kit is a total disappointment…Vroomen obviously won the coin toss with Vaugters … and the world of style lost. Vaugters should have gotten Vroomen drunk (on some of his preferred vintages) before having him sign off on the new kit. Maybe he could've slid in some style. As it stands the graphic guy totally phoned that kit in.
    I have nothing constructive to say about the Shack kit other than I will find it easy to pick out the pinheads on the weekend rides.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Mick, spotting pinheads is not a bad thing so maybe the R stands for retard. Matt