Flashback Friday – 1985 Recycled

1985… Madonna becomes the second female artist to have the top single (“Like A Virgin”, if you had to ask) and top album at the same time, and she goes on to be the top-selling act of the year.  So in honor of the “Material Girl”, we present the latest edition of our Flashback Friday series, this time all about the materials (clothing material, that is) from our Spring 1985 catalog:

As you can see from the cover, bright and bold colors were the norm (as well as perfectly coordinated color-matching with your bike, apparently!)

But it doesn’t take long until we find some “Miami Vice” inspired jersey colors, as seen on the natty Italian jerseys above (lower left).  Interesting for us are the wool jerseys at the top of the page, which tout a Bicycling Magazine jersey review from 1983 that said, “Wool continues to be the best material available for cycling jerseys.”  We’re sure that many people will still argue in favor of that stance today, but even in 1985 most of the jerseys we carried were actually some sort of nylon/lycra blend.  But the array of fabrics was impressive: there were polyester/cotton blends, tri-acetate, cotton/lycra and wool/acrylic to name a few.  In comparison to the modern channeled micro-polyester fabrics of a modern jersey, like our Performance Elite Short Sleeve Jersey, these vintage jerseys feel much thicker and less breatheable than what we’ve come to expect on the bike today (although there is something to be said for the pastel styling).

Shorts are another realm where cycling fabrics have seen impressive upgrades.  On this page you can see that wool shorts were still a mainstay of the market, with real leather chamois, of course.  Chamois cream was not just a an optional comfort decision with these chamois pads, it was an essential part of your pre-ride routine!

Of course there was a bonus with wearing wool cycling shorts… it gave you a reason to wear suspenders!  We offered a colorful array of models to hold up those sagging sweaty shorts, but how could anyone pass up the “Mork”-inspired rainbow stripes?

Wool shorts weren’t the only option though, as nylon/lycra shorts were already well on their way to becoming the most popular cycling clothing. Above you can see our signature “aerodynamically designed” model, a pretty solid short with 8 panel construction, elastic leg grippers and a padded leather or polypropylene chamois.  Our modern Performance Elite Short shares some of this design heritage, but adds advanced product details that you have come to expect in a modern short: flatlock seams, silicone leg grippers, contoured panel design that hugs your muscles, and an advanced synthetic & antibacterial chamois that cushions your ride (with or without chamois cream).

We even carried some of the same brands back in 1985 that we still feature today, like the iconic designs from Descente seen here (in front of what appears to be a high school class photo backdrop, which does lend them a superhero-esque gravitas).  We still carry a full complement of Descente clothing today, but sadly the cloud background has been lost to the ages.

We’ll close out our flashback to 1985 with the humble cycling sock.  As you can see above, this part of the cycling wardrobe got short shrift back in the day.  These were basically just your regular, one-size-fits-all crew sock, quite unlike the wide array of high performance socks that we offer today!  But those sandals are fantastic, don’t you think?


14 thoughts on “Flashback Friday – 1985 Recycled

  1. I have a pair of winter gloves with that era logo that I got in the Winter of 85/86 that are still in use to day. The highest of tech for the time, Goretex and Thinsulate with a leather palm. They are my go to gloves for really cold weather. They also work better than all of the heavier winter gloves that I have had since then.

  2. What a great blog! So much fun to see the flashbacks. The scary thing is that you still see some of these “fashions” out there on the trails!

  3. Wool, leather, suspenders; nothing wrong with that…looks like my kit. What’s scary is the smell of plastic jerseys after a ride, not to mention the look of moving commercials the wanna-be pros look like with all the sponsor logos plastered everywhere.

  4. What is totally scary is that all those images are already indelibly burned into my brain…I recognized them all- as a junior I flipped through your catalog over and over…I remember wondering who would actually tuck their t-shirts into their bibs…

  5. What a blast from the past. I had a pair of those red shorts on the cover, but they were bright blue! Never used to have problems with saddle sores when I used the chamois fat on real chamois without all that extra padding that you find in “modern” shorts. Those were the days!

  6. Interesting to note how much cheaper stuff is today!(Adjusted for inflation, of course). And, for all the sales talk, what we ride and what we wear today is not a whole lot different (or better) than what we had in ’85. But I’ll keep my new stuff just the same. Peace, D

  7. This is great. I actually owned at least three of these items. Keep this coming. I have several friends who are nubes to cycling/triathlon and they have no idea what it was like before clipless pedals, index shifting and powerbars!

  8. What a hoot. Love the styles of those models and the cycle clothes they’re wearing. I still have my Detto cyclying shoes in the attic!

  9. I can’t believe that no one mentioned the t-shirt tucked into the bib shorts and the timeless faux pas this truely is.

  10. OMG – Blue Performance Suntour Superbe Pro…………… I still have mine. Bought it frfom the store in Boulder, CO when I went to school there. Its hanging in my garage.

  11. I may be a little late to the game here, but I just now found this blog site. In scrolling through this, I’ve gotta say, regarding those vintage-1980s Descente cycling shorts, I’m proud to say that I still have mine to this day and ride in them frequently. I bought all the colors and styles that Descente came out with in this time period (from the mid/late-80s through the early-90s). Amazingly, the nylon/spandex that these shorts are made of have held up quite well 25+ years later without getting all stretched and worn out (like a lot of the Nike spandex from this era), and all my Descente shorts look perfectly new except for a few slight stress cracks in the diagonal chevrons/logos down the thighs. It’s funny, I still get people, especially the younger generation, asking me where I bought these shorts, LOL! I find that my old Descente shorts are the most comfortable (compared to even the newer 21st century Descente shorts), as I still ride centuries in my “vintage” shorts.

  12. Hello, I was wondering if there was any more information about the Performance Superbe bike I believe the first photo shows a close up of the rear derailleur and drop out of the Superbe, thank you

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