I own two sets of Stomp the Pedal kit. That’s quite a high ratio for someone who only has a total of 5 cycling kits in her cupboard. The fun and stylish designs as well as the quality of STP are some of the most exciting things about the brand. The brand – aimed primarily at women – is just over a year-old and so might not be known to all, which is why I thought it might be a good idea to provide a quick review of the kit and how it performs.
I got my first STP bibs and jersey last year at the end of August and wore it for the very first time (I’m not even sure I washed it before!) on the Ironman Wales course recce. New kit? New brand? No fear, just go for a 5-hour ride, preferably on your TT bike, spend a long time in the aerobars and you will know how good the kit and its chamois really are.
Spoiler alert: the kit performed brilliantly on that first ride and on the many subsequent rides. Read on if you want more details.
First off, Stomp The Pedal only does bib shorts and in my opinion, this is great. I love bibs simply because they don’t dig into the waist. Sadly many cycling clothing brands don’t list bib shorts for women because, you know… pit stops. But why compromise on long-term comfort for the (often hypothetical) slight delay of having to take off your jersey when nature calls? Thanks you thank you STP for not making ill advised compromises here!
OK, criteria may vary as to what cyclists expects from their shorts. Yes the kit should look good but to me practicality and comfort come first. These are determined by: 1) a great chamois, 2) great fabric and 3) a great design.
My ideal chamois is:
- not too thick (I don’t want to walk around feeling like I’m wearing a nappy),
- firm because I want to feel what is happening to the bike and soft chamois get crushed and become uncomfortable on long rides,
- follows my body,
- doesn’t catch on the tip of the saddle when I’ve been standing off the saddle and want to sit down again,
- doesn’t rub or irritate because of poorly thought-out seams,
- is wide enough to also protect my inner thighs where they touch the saddle and
- affords some cushioning when leaning down on the aero bars.
Great fabric is simpler to define: it has to be thick enough that it’s not see through and protect me a bit from the speed-generated wind (if only) while offering some support.
Yes, that’s a lot of expectations and the Stomp the Pedal chamois/fabric combo meets all of these. Honestly, the chamois ticks all my boxes and I have yet to find something to dislike about it.
When I put on the bibs, I always feel like a super hero. The fabric is super supportive and has just the right amount of give. The gripper at the bottom of the leg offers a slightly firmer fit with an anti-slip silicon band. Said gripper does its job really well and the legs don’t roll up or annoy in any way.
You can see a lot of attention to detail throughout the shorts with some reflective strips sewn on the legs, excellent stitching and the light and breathable mesh of the bib straps.
The jersey’s fabric is lovely, airy and light, meaning you can wear it when it’s hot (which I’m hoping to test this summer) and that it will dry quickly. I’ve been layering my Kona/hummingbirds edition over short or long-sleeved base layers and that worked a treat. However STP have given us the option of arm warmers for the Atika and they’re a game changer. Lovely fit, thick and warm so you only need to add a short sleeved base layer on cooler days.
Hands up who else loves a zipped rear pocket on their jersey? I certainly do and STP also delivers on that front with one of its three rear pockets featuring an zipped compartment for your extra special valuables. Hurrays all round.
There’s a silicon band at the hem to prevent it from riding up and, just like on the shorts, some reflective strips on the side for added visibility. The sleeves have a really unusual (to me at least) and interesting feature: they are laser cut. Meaning there is no hem and no gripper on the sleeves, great if you fear sausage arms or if you don’t like being gripped. Because of it though I found that the sleeves sometimes roll up. Not a big issue but something to know.
If you’re not sure about fit, trust the size chart, it’s accurate!
I’m 1.69 cm (5.6 ft for the imperialists) and have M-size bibs, the gripper straps reach just below mid-thigh, which provides plenty of coverage and enables me to wear knee-warmers if I need to. The circumference of my thighs is about 54 cm at the bottom of the shorts. This gives me a comfortable and supportive fit with nothing digging in, feeling constrictive or chafing in any way.
The bib straps rest in just the right place and are quickly forgotten.
However, as mentioned above, I prefer a supportive fit so the M is just right for me but I am sure I could also get away with a L. For anyone taller than me, I would definitely consider going up a size to ensure enough length in the bib straps.
I also wear a M and find that the fit is great. My usual size in tops is 10-12 (I have wide shoulders from all that swimming and windsurfing when I was younger) and I have no complaints about the M being too tight.
The Kona kit is still in top condition after 7 months of use throughout winter (a lot of it on the mountain bike as I was training for an off-road event). I crashed in it a couple of times and as I live in Wales, I can promise you that there was a lot of mud on those hummingbirds. Well, the fabric just seems to reject the dirt, it’s all come off and you would never know about my embarrassing close encounters with Mother Earth. I received the new STP kit, the Atika just before my off-road event last week: Battle on the Beach, which involves 40 km on the beach and up and down dunes. Again, I broke all the rules and wore it for the first time on race day, without even washing it (I did remove the labels!). It was a relatively hot day, the race was intense and I was still suffering from chaffing from a running race the week before. Atika took it all in its stride, stayed dry and comfy and didn’t even make the chaffing worse. I totally forgot I was wearing cycling shorts, even when I had to get off and push the bike up another sand dune. But every time I looked down, I got a little boost of energy: yes, this kit looks so good it actually makes you want to go faster.
So that’s for the technical stuff but there is more to love about STP.
First, it is a woman-owned small business and that’s scores really high in my book. If you’re active on social media and into triathlons or cycling, the odds are you will have come across Tarsh (aka irontarsh), the owner of STP. With this brand you are you buying from a real person who is active in the same sport as you and has high expectations of the kit she wears. Tarsh puts her soul and a lot attention into her business. I don’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did a little dance every time she gets a new designs or packs a STP kit for shipping.
Another thing I find great about this brand is that Tarsh has had the courage to go a different way to mainstream: her kits are produced in Italy (and we all know that Italy rhymes with style and quality) and there is none of that mass production madness at STP. Each unique design is available to pre-order for a limited period so only the absolute minimum quantity is produced, thus avoiding waste. Yes, you may have to wait a few weeks to get your hands on your super cool kit but how refreshing is this approach in a world of fast-fashion?
Think about it: slow fashion for fast riders makes huge ecological sense in a world that is becoming overburdened by unwanted stuff.