Selling cycle clothing in Australia? No hotpants or white Lycra for starters.


Sure, there is possibly nothing more flattering than that black, race cut, short zip jersey in your latest collection, especially on the Men’s Health extra you’ve hired for your catalogue shoot. And those women’s shorts look great on the 18 year old models, even if they’d qualify as hotpants in any other walk of life.

If this sounds like your clothing catalogue you might want to make some design changes for the Australian market, because we’re cut from a different cloth.

Here’s my top design tips for cycle clothing success in Australia:

  1. Full Zips. We know jerseys with short or hidden zips look better on the body and do the design more justice; but Australian cyclists simply don’t care. Our fair weather cyclists are indeed blessed with lots of fair weather to cycle in. Hot weather even. And hence Aussies prefer full length zips. The fact that nearly every bike ride in Australia starts and finishes at a coffee shop also means we’re regularly running to the WC or cooling off outside. So, make a note; spec full zips if you want to sell jerseys in Australia.
  2. No hotpants. Don’t be fooled by the beach culture and bronzed bodies. Aussie women don’t want to wear those hotpants you call women’s cycling shorts. Just two or three more centimetres on the leg will do the trick thank you. Partially it’s for body confidence reasons, but also because the extra length makes them more comfortable and if combined with the right material and grippers; they’re more supportive to tired muscles as well.
  3. Three Quarters. And whilst we’re talking about what women want. Summer weight, three quarter pants are a must in Australia. They hide the knee (many women’s least favourite parts of their bodies), lengthen the leg and smooth out cellulite. ‘Three quarters’ have probably been responsible for getting more women on to bikes in this country than Anna Meares or Kathy Watt. If you don’t range them, don’t expect to sell many women’s cycling pants in Australia.
  4. Colour. We totally get what that misty English drizzle, the famous Belgian sleet, and the sideways snow around the Dolomites, must do to bike clothing. Of course it makes sense for so much of your range to be black. But not here in Australia. We want colour, even if it’s just bright accenting. And not just pink and light blue women’s gear. Lost for ideas? Maybe try walking into your local Nike, Adidas or Lululemon store and borrow some inspiration. Or talk to my wife.
  5. Bigger Sizes. And bigger size range. Merely offering Small to 2XL sizes won’t do the job. Maybe we’re built a bit more solid here in Australia. Or perhaps we just enjoy too much of the abundant culinary and libatory delights Down Under. Whatever the reason, we need broader ranges and larger sizes; upwards of 6XL in shorts and 8 to 10XL in jerseys.
  6. UV Rated. Get your clothing UV rated and put those ratings on the tags and in your catalogues. Skin cancer kills more Aussies than any other form of cancer. UV rating your cycle clothing will help you sell your range to Australians. Pure and simple. And I imagine it won’t hurt sales in the rest of the world either.
  7. White Lycra. And those pages in your catalogue with the tanned folk wearing white bibshorts or shorts? Tear them out before you ship them to Australia. Save yourself the freight cost. Anyone seen wearing white Lycra pants in Australia will be told to sit on the back of the bunch, or pointed in the direction of the Gold Coast or Venice Beach.

Want more advice on how to better tailor your cycle clothing range for success in the Australian market? Drop me a line.

Jonathon Nunan


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Jonathon,
    Interesting & amusing article, with some interesting information.
    As an Australian, based in HK & in the sportswear business, its always interesting to get “on the ground” info from various markets.
    We are currently developing a range of cycle wear for a US brand…..Oh!, how we wish we could get similar information from that part of the world !! HaHa!
    Reading your business profile you seem to have quite a range of activities, so perhaps one of these days we could link up on the apparel side!
    The website I am listing below is for our general fitness wear brand……our OKU International website is under construction at the moment.
    Anyway, just thought I’d let you know that I liked your clear talking article…….hope to keep in touch.
    Gary Edwards.
    Founder OKU International.


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