Be yourself—and feel like a rockstar—with these custom options
In the not-so-distant past, you had to be a pro or willing to part with a big chunk of change to get custom gear. Today, personalization costs a fraction of what it used to, thanks to new processes like vinyl wrapping that have decreased production costs. The gear below is well within reach of most triathletes’ budgets—your only limit is your imagination.
Bicycle Makeover’s Custom Wheel and Bike Wraps
$200 for wheels, $500–$1,000 for frames, Bicyclemakeover.com
There’s nothing worse than running into T1 to look for your ride and seeing hundreds of bikes that look just like yours. Using a similar process to wrapping cars in vinyl, Bicycle Makeover prints any design you want, then uses their unique experience of wrapping difficult bike shapes to ensure a sleek look. Selling your bike? Sick of your design? Use a heat gun, an exacto knife, some Goo Gone and some patience, and it’ll be back to its old self. Vinyl wrapping also doesn’t void your frame’s warranty (unlike aftermarket paint!). Aside from a few small seams, ours looked even better in person. Expect a wrap to last 5–10 years.
Not ready to plunge into the world of a fully customized ride? Only want to break out the bling on the big day to get you race-pumped? These customized wheel wraps from Bicycle Makeover can give a boost to to your boring old hoops. Choose from existing designs or go wild with your own creation (bear in mind that deep-dish rims are the best canvas).
These wraps are hand-applied and can usually be turned around in five days or fewer. Our wheels looked better than many factory setups. Big bonus: Wheels get scratched pretty easily, but Bicycle Makeover provides color-matched “band-aids” to fix the damage you do to your stuff.
Louis Garneau’s Custom Tri Kits
Custom tops start at $190, Garneau.com
Back in the day, custom tri kits were limited by design, turnaround time (one month, two months …) and numbers. Most people could only get a custom suit if they made a huge order, way in advance and with a limited template. Thanks to brands like Garneau, individualized race gear can now be ordered in one-offs, and fully custom turnarounds are advertised as three weeks. Do your support crew a favor by looking unique in the hordes on the run. Our custom Garneau kit looked as crisply detailed as the best tri designs. As with most custom orders, you’ll get better pricing per unit if you buy more.
Custom Touches on the Cheap
Name/country flag decals for your bike or helmet
Veloink.com, starting at $10
Pro-replica decal sheets and helmet kits
Vcgraphix.com, starting at $20
Laser-engraved text on your stem cap
Kustomcaps.com, starting at $13