Q & A: Justin Belcher (Shutt Velo Rapide)

Boss at Shutt Velo Rapide who not only races but organises races too, tells us about his brand of clothing in a Q & A

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Q & A: Justin Belcher (Shutt Velo Rapide)

VeloUK: As a cyclist yourself, what from the big range of Shutt VR clothing is essential for your winter rides?
Justin: After many years of prototyping, we finally nailed the winter glove. Definitely the best thing we’ve launched this year. I suffer with cold hands myself so, as our main tester, I’ve been super critical of all the prototypes and nothing we developed previously was quite right. I didn’t want to put the Shutt name on a product that wasn’t up to scratch so we’ve not had a winter glove in the range for years. We finally cracked it with these – and word has spread quickly. We keep selling out!

Pic: Christopher Lanaway Photography

VeloUK: How many different pieces of clothing per rider would a club or team order for a typical season?
Justin: Our custom range is pretty extensive but most clubs don’t offer our whole range to their members. We use portals so the individual club members can browse a pre-selected custom collection and choose their kit online. Clubs tend to order seasonally, so two orders a year. A typical summer portal might have as many as 16 lines to choose from, fewer for a winter portal.

VeloUK: How does a jersey for a hot summer day race/ride differ to one for a wet/cold race or ride?
Justin: Our most popular hot weather jersey is the Proline SS, it has a mesh fabric on the back and side panels and is extremely lightweight. For cold and wet race days, we have a waterproof jersey in our custom range. It’s a much heavier fabric. There’s a long sleeve option available too.

VeloUK: Once upon a time, a jersey was one fabric including wool, now they are made up of many types of fabrics – what’s the most types of fabrics you have seen in one of your custom jerseys?
Justin: Most of our range uses technical fabrics from the Italian manufacturer Miti. We typically use two or three different fabrics per garment. Recycled nylon is an increasingly popular option for clubs looking for a sustainable kit. Recycled nylon mostly comes from industry rather than old cycling kits, things like old fishing nets. It’s a great product. We actually still make the wool jerseys too, and they’re very popular. These are made in the UK from merino sportwool. Great jerseys for cycle touring or training.

VeloUK: Are you seeing more and more riders wanting one piece shorts/jersey with more emphasis on being aero?
Justin: Yes, it’s definitely the way to go. Most of the Shutt Ridley RT riders use our Speedsuit or Skinsuits to race in.
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VeloUK: Clubs/teams looking for clothing for a season, when is the best time to approach Shutt and get the order rolling?
Justin: Our lead times are better than most, but it’s good to plan ahead. Our busiest months for taking orders are January, February and March. Most orders take 4-6 weeks.

VeloUK: How has having your own team of riders helped in the development of the clothing for other clubs and teams?
Justin: The team is very useful for us. They had a great season this year finishing top of the regional rankings in BC Central. Feedback from the riders has helped us develop the new Speedsuit and Skinsuit. These are amazing products. So fast. With the right legs obviously!

Pic: Christopher Lanaway Photography

VeloUK: In a country with such wet weather, what items of clothing do you have to protect riders from the rain?
Justin: Yes, there’s a fair bit of choice here. We do a great rain cape made from Crystal fabric. It packs down to the size of an egg! We also make a Roubaix jersey (above) with a waterproof DWR coating which is pretty popular. Our neoprene overshoes work fantastically well. They’re made from 1.5mm superstretch closed cell neoprene with no zips or Velcro to wear out or break. Another unique product that we’re very proud of.

VeloUK: What’s your advice for riders new to cycling on staying warm on a cold winter day – ie, layers (how many etc)
Justin: Everyone has their own way for dressing for winter. I would recommend layering rather than a big winter jacket. My personal choice is a long-sleeve base-layer, Roubaix jersey, plus my team gilet. On the legs I use our winter bib shorts over some leg warmers. Then a pair of our neoprene overshoes and the new gloves I mentioned earlier.

VeloUK: Are there new products on the drawing board for 2019?
Justin: For next autumn/winter we’re planning a cyclocross specific range. We made a really cool prototype skinsuit from Roubaix material that we think will be a real winner.


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