Favourite Bike Brands - Morvélo, Hope, Romster, Vélobici, Ortlieb and Brooks

When it comes to cycling apparel and components the choice is endless. It's a constantly growing field; with new competitors joining the market, ranges expanding and variety increasing. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of products on offer.

I started out cycling when I was 14, and predictably tended to buy the cheaper kit. There's a limit to how much your pocket money can buy! I had a starter Gary Fisher mountain bike and a £5 vintage steel road bike; my kit followed a similar theme, with relatively budget shorts and jerseys.
However over the years, as finances have allowed and experience has prevailed, I've become very specific in the kind of kit I tend to buy. It's all about build quality, life-span and ultimately value for money. I'm still a big fan of some of the budget brands such as Wiggle's Dhb, and have always been impressed by their quality of clothing. But for the most part my favourite brands follow a theme; higher quality means lower quantity (i.e. you won't have to keep buying replacements).

Below I've picked out my current favourite brands, and hope to add to this post as I discover new, exciting and special products. They aren't necessarily the most expensive, most fancy, lightest bits of kit I own; but they all work beautifully for the role they are designed for. A large percentage of them are small British firms; firms that understand the market, understand quality and appreciate that avid cyclists want kit that will keep functioning well for thousands upon thousands of miles - the real sign of value for money.

Hope Technology
The first Hope product I bought was a Pro 2 front wheel for my mountain bike, as I was fed up with the constant re-adjustment and servicing of the cup and cone hub that I was running.
The wheel ran smooth and silent straight from the box, and the hand-built nature meant it was stiff and strong. Two years later, after much abuse from floods and mud, the wheel is still running strong, true and smooth. I was so impressed by the wheel in fact that I bought a matching rear wheel this summer, which along with the world's loudest free-hub is another piece of superb precision engineering.
I've also bought a Hope Vision light, which is an incredible piece of kit, and much better than training on a turbo on the dark winter evenings! The beauty of Hope is in its quality; this stuff is built by hand, to last one hell of a long time! When I've got the money a set of their new carbon deep sections laced onto Pro 3 hubs is definitely going to be my road race wheel of choice.



Vélobici
A brand for off and on the bike; Vélobici are another fantastic UK based company, producing high quality kit that continues to look good with avid usage. I own a few bits of Vélobici apparel; some incredibly comfortable seamless Merino arm warmers, which quite honestly are ten times better than any arm warmers I have ever tried before. I also have a fantastic Vélobici T-shirt and Firenze Pullover; both made of very high quality fabrics, including the signature Merino wool for the pullover, they are superbly comfortable. Again importantly though, all the kit has weathered well; worn and washed dozens of times, they are still looking cool and stylish each wear. A great company.



Morvélo
This fantastic Brighton based brand are another producer of apparel for both on and off the bike. I have a very comfortable and well made Morvélo sweatshirt and a cool Morvélo flexfit cap. Both are two of my favourite pieces of clothing.
I've got a real lust for some of their on the bike kit as well; their jerseys and shorts look amazing quality and their arm and knee warmers are seriously classy.


Romster Bike Wear
Romster Bike Wear is one of my favourite companies for one major reason; their tees just make me smile and laugh whenever I see them. Their witty designs and fantastic slogans are unique and very special "A Good Ride A Day Keeps The Doctor Away!". They are also beautiful quality pure cotton t-shirts, which look fantastic and are comfortable both on and off the bike. A company well worth checking out just to remind people that you are a cyclist even when you're at the pub.
 Brooks
I wrote a blogpost about my Brooks Swift saddle a few weeks back (link here). It's an incredibly comfortable saddle, I didn't have the slightest saddle pain on a 130 mile ride this summer!
The most impressive thing about Brooks is the build quality though. They are built to last, by hand, in their Birmingham factory. I am sure that mine will be with me for many many more years to come, and I look forward to every mile I ride on it.




Ortlieb
I bought a set of Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers for the France and Spain Touring Trip I did this time last year. This company is the exception to the rule being German rather than British; however the theme of superb build quality and reliability continues. These fully waterproof panniers are incredible, I've used them almost every day since last September to commute to university and aside from a few cosmetic marks they are looking, and functioning, as new!
I would love one of their waterproof bar bags and saddle pack to match; built to last for everyone from round the world cyclists, to daily commuters.




So there they are, my favourite bike brands. They are all unique, all special and all fantastic companies, producing superb products. I hope you found the post interesting and that perhaps you'll check out one or more of the brands. It would be great to hear what your favourite brands are, please let me know in the comments section below. 

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