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.