Magliamo Vintage Cycling Gear
Magliamo Vintage Cycling Gear
A slice of Belgian Retro – Magliamo Profile.
The modern sport of road cycling may be obsessed with technological innovation, progress and development, yet none can deny the heritage and romantic history that underpins the past of our sport.
One can get excited over carbon fibre bikes with impressive stiffness to weight or aerodynamic qualities, the latest powermeters or advanced fabrics in new cycling kit, yet there is no doubting the timeless appeal of a lugged steel bike or classy wool jerseys.
Indeed, many modern cycling brands attempt to capture the essence of cycling’s golden ages by offering kit with prints inspired by the past. Yet some go a step further, and recreate the actual retro cycling gear. One such brand, hailing from Brussels, Belgium is Magliamo. The company is the brainchild of Diederik Degryse who sat down with me to outline the idea and inspiration behind this Belgian cycling brand.
With a framed genuine Eddy Merckx jersey on his wall, a cupboard full of old school tubular wheels, and shelves full of classic Campagnolo components, there is no disguising the fact that Diederik is a passionate fan of vintage cycling. Speaking with him, it is clear he cares about his products being true reproductions of the classic kit that cycling’s champions in the 50s, 60s and 70s rode.
The main focus of the company is reproduction cycling jerseys and track tops, but Magliamo also sell casual t-shirts and classic wool shorts; complete with true leather chamois. All this kit is the embodiment of the pre-clipless, pre-STI shifter era, when the gods of cycling included Campagnolo, Merckx and Maertens; as true to the original as possible. Some of the designs produced by the company include Merckx’s iconic Molteni, Roger De Vlaeminck’s Brooklyn Chewing Gum and the Saint Raphael Team jerseys. The company also offers custom products. The minimum for custom orders is ten pieces, making this an ideal option for teams.
Diederik explained that the selection process behind the kit was driven on the basis of how well known each jersey is, and, perhaps most importantly, how beautiful they are. Manufactured in Lodz, Poland, each jersey design replicates the original as closely as possible, with techniques such as fabric flocking and patches sewed onto garments. With the range of his clothing on display on a rail, there is no escaping the attention to detail that goes into this clothing; it genuinely feels a shame to get such kit sweaty and dirty.
Unlike modern kit, advanced man-made fabrics are not to be found here. The foundation of the jersey is a merino wool construction. While not super light or indeed as breathable as newer alternatives, merino wool offers some benefits; such as having naturally antibacterial properties and offering a comfortable soft fit. Knowing this is important, we are conditioned to believe that ‘newer and modern technically advanced’ is better; in the sense that it is more comfortable or ‘faster’. Rather, Magliamo is setting out to prove that the kit of yesteryear can look great while being comfortable on and off the bike.
In fact, the Magliamo track tops can certainly be worn in a casual setting, for instance paired up with a pair of jeans, and Diederik stresses that he would be happy for his clothing to be worn by customers in a non-cycling setting.
Having only been founded in 2014, the company has been seeing steady growth. Today, Magliamo has a network of dealers largely based in Belgium, and you can pick up Diederik’s kit at the Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen museum in Oudenaarde; who are unsurprisingly Magliamo’s best customers. Meanwhile, as more and more L’Eroica style vintage cyclo-sportives pop up all over the world, Diederik routinely has a stand to sell his Magliamo kit at these events – the perfect opportunity to sell vintage reproduction kit to the enthusiast.
One individual who is a customer of Diederik is Bradley Wiggins – who has purchased most of the designs he offers. The recently retired British pro may be a fan of the retro reproduction kit, but Diederik has also secured endorsements from four older pros who were at the highest level of cycling in the golden era his clothing pays homage to; Fons De Wolf, Felice Gimondi, Freddy Maertens and Roger De Vlaeminck. Having these ex-pros endorse his clothing is critical for Diederik, who explains that this is part of an effort to build credibility for Magliamo; with the retired athletes providing advice and feedback on kit designs.
Before I leave Diederik shows me his partially built up Eddy Merckx (built at De Rosa, likely by the Cannibal himself), and a stunning burnt orange Colnago. Indeed, apart from riding modern Continental Competition Pro Ltd tubs, the founder of Magliamo himself – with vintage bikes and reproduction kit – certainly rides in the same fashion as the heroes of road cycling’s past ages.
In an age where cycling has become obsessed with technology, Magliamo offers an interesting and appealing alternative for kit choice. While of course, one may opt for modern kits for racing and high tempo training, a reproduction jersey may just be a perfect option for a more leisurely (and perhaps more enjoyable) ride. A different perspective from a past age, providing a welcome alternative – or antidote – to modern cycling.
We have a Magliamo jersey on test right now – watch out for the full review soon.
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