The Polish manufacturer Martombike was founded in 2004 with the clear intention to provide not only another alternative to already massively crowded market place of apparel producers but to stand out of crowd with their unique design and some technical elements that distinguishes it from the competition.
I always entertain a healthy amount of skepticism towards for me] until now unknown brands. Are there, in fact unique in any way? What is the added value compered to others. What makes them different and tick?
After a brief conversation with the co-founder Tomasz Woźniak some of my open questions had been answered. His omnipresent enthusiasm and general aspiring attitude is a good recipe to create a product which will have higher chances to be accepted by consumers.
The lion part of the Martombike business consists of custom made apparels [clubs, individuals, etc.] but the standard range of gears is growing tremendously too. Thanks of word of mouth propaganda Martombike kept foothold to many well-known athletes they wanted to wear Martombikes’ stuff on voluntarily.
Also another distinctive aspect is their willfulness to keep the design team as well as the whole production in their home country, in Poland, despite higher costs. This way, the quality control is managed directly and changes can be made in immediate manner. The latter is all the more essential as this segments necessitates, by nature, a constant change. So to adapt quickly, a local production is inevitable.
The set up standards, in terms of design, quality control, and production was established by Martombikes. Nevertheless when I kicked off the test of Martombikes jersey 213 / 573 bib-short set, I benchmarked them against some highly regarded reference brands. It was all the more important for me as I wanted experience whether Martombikes is truly able to be on par with established brands.
There is a certain cross pollination from other product categories too, as Martombikes produces gears for other sports as well. So up to a point, a technology can be transferred from one segment to another.
Upon first sight and touch the sensation is a positive one, and after checking even the smallest details on the set I found, they didn’t make any ‘short-cuts’ in regard to quality and execution.
Wearing it makes me experience an equally nice sensation. In regard to high-performance gear, it is of utter importance that the apparel doesn’t cause any irritation, need of adaptation, etc. It has to fit from the get go. The Martombikes jersey 213 / 573 bib-short set felt like the proverbial second-skin. It wasn’t an outstanding, jaw-dropping perception, but it did the job nicely.
I wore both kits extensively, mostly on my 7-8 hour training rides in the Dolomites, and in road and MTB races too. The lightweight net-like, parchment- thin material contributed to a cooling affect despite the soaring heat we experienced over the course of the test period. The back pockets are sized in a common standard manner. As always, trying the size of the gear before purchase is essential, even more so when a perfect aerodynamic fit is required. The Martombikes jersey 213 / 573 bib-short set felt snug, reminiscent of the Italian-cut, tailored made for ambitious riders and racers that don’t tolerate any flutter and unnecessary elements that causes air turbulence.
The set was subjected to some torrential rains too, and while mud and nasty weather were rather rare it took the beating without consequences in the quality.
After numerous washings the material still keeps is structure intact. The elasticity didn’t relent nor are any rips or micro-tears to be noticed. I won’t judge the design, applied color and the graphics in general as this is very personal. And as mentioned above Martombikes gladly tailors a concept, based on your expectations, if you wish.
After my first experience with the set, my initial notion of “me-too”, in regards to Martombikes ambitions to enter market disappears quickly. I trust their philosophy and the rationale behind the concept of keeping all things domestic. Granted it isn’t a 100% guarantee of outstanding quality and exceptional features. But this isn’t what Martombikes claims to be the case. It is just something I expect from a company that want to be on par with the established brands, or provide something additionally. The former is true, in my books anyway. And that’s enough for me, because it is hard enough to keep up with well-known brands we can comfortably rely on.
Martombikes portfolio is growing organically, and there is another flag-ship jersey/bib-short set needs to be tested profoundly. I am also intrigued by how long Martombikes jersey 213 / 573 bib-short set takes all the wear and tear in stride. Only a long term test can prove that. Thus far, thumbs up for its comfortable feel, light weight, decent durability and cooling effect. The chamois was tested with and without chamois cream. It is another area of personal preferences, where everyone has to decide what works and what doesn’t for him/her. In this case, I had to apply a small amount of cream, once my rides went beyond the 5 hour mark.
Admittedly, not everyone is fond of a so called ‘Italian-cut’. So in case you don’t like the snug design, you are good to go to opt for another alternative in Martombikes opulent portfolio. But Martombikes forte is definitely the sheer realm of possibilities to create an apparel-set according to your ideas. And if that is combined with a reasonably high standard of quality the future is bright for the brand.
More information on the manufacturer’s website (in Polish).
Face page: https://www.facebook.com/martombike/