Thursday, December 01, 2005

Swobo is back


Let me start out by saying, Hi everybody. This is my first post here, warning it may be really long, and I have been thinking about it for a couple days. I will post later to give you a little more info about me, but now on to my ramblings.

So, I just found out on Monday that Swobo, the legendary cycling clothing line from the 90's, is back. I had heard months ago about the impending revival of Swobo and was excited about the potential of a new clothing option they might bring back to cycling. It was all the buzz with many of my friends for weeks. I was constantly getting e-mails and talking to friends speculating about what might be coming. It was almost like a virus and everyone I knew seemed to be infected. Hey, that means that their marketing was working. I have to admit I was hooked and drank the Swobo Kool-Aid. The anticipation was killing me, I wanted to know what would be coming and what new clothing options I might have. Were they going to bring back their great cycling shorts, super cool wool jerseys, random stylish and ahead of the curve clothing, or was it going to be a whole new adventure.

I have to admit that I was a little late to the original Swobo party and really didn't find out about them until their last fading days. I fell in love with the clothing, it was pretty much the only company back then making good wool jerseys and just plain stylish looking clothing. I was caught up in the sort of undergroundness (did I just make up that word?) of the line and that it was not the standard cycling clothing worn by every rider out there was a nice bonus. We all like our individuality right? Best of all it performed better than most other clothing I owned at the time. I still have several of the wool jerseys and a really cool jacket (that I am sure very few people have).

Since Swobo has been away many people have stepped up and carried on where they left off. One example is Spot Brand, they did a really good job of picking up the wool jerseys that Swobo was making and were even very successful with it. Actually the whole wool jersey thing has taken off so much the companies like Canari and Novara (the REI cycling brand) are making wool or wool blend jerseys now. Nothing against either company, I just used them to illustrate a point that even some of the more main stream cycling companies are making wool a part of their line now. So wool, which was a big part of the uniqueness of Swobo is now not that unique.

I checked out the site and, well, let me say that I was unimpressed. There is some nice stuff, but nothing earth shattering or cutting edge cycling fashion. It is just basically one nice wool jersey - that is not all that unique now, a really cool looking non-wool jersey, and some accessories including stylish t-shirt designs. That's it. To me it just seems like they are doing it because the market for wool, which to their credit they did start to revive in the 90's, is so big right now that it was hard to pass up the money.

Now to the point of all this. Did their marketing fail? I don't think so. It worked great maybe even too great, I was hooked from day one. Do their designs fail? I don't think they do. I have not actually seen or handled the new stuff, so I don't know for sure but I am guessing they are great. Were my expectations too high? Most likely, I think that no matter what they did I would have been disappointed. To me it relates to the grass is greener on the other side thing. What I had envisioned in my head was so awe inspiring that they could do nothing but let me down.

What do you think?

Thanks for your time.
Chris - iheartbikes

Posted by iheartbikes at 10:19 AM

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous John Satory posted at 1:39 PM  
    It just leads me to wonder...What's their target demographic? Is there room for another apparel company in the cycling industry? I hope that they're the best at what they do...
  2. Blogger fixedgear posted at 8:17 AM  
    It's winter where I live, and in much of the USA. They have no long sleeve jerseys yet. The web site has the most annoying flash interface, plays music and doesn't work right in Opera or Firefox. Other that that I wish them a lot of luck. I own acouple jerseys from their first go-round.
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