It began in the pub. Like all great ideas, especially those born in Yorkshire. The world’s fastest cycling jersey borne of a chat with Tom of Spatzwear over a pint discussing the documentary American Crit about the achingly cool US crit scene. The skinsuits they wore were all zipped up the back prompting the obvious question, why don’t we ride in jerseys like that? A sketch was done, the zip was ditched.
Dessus was born.
Dessus is ‘Des' from above. Well, a bastardisation of French for from above and founder and owner, ‘Des’ as he’s known to most. So Yorkshire with a doff of the cap to the continent; the Dessus Yorkshire DNA and bike racing’s continental DNA. ‘Des’ has a professional background in the creative, with a degree in photography and teaching product design; making and designing things has always been second nature. His cycling background is lifelong. For as long as he can remember cycling has been around and he around it. His dad was a cyclist, taking him to local kids sessions and he started racing in the youths. He wasn’t the most talented rider of his contemporaries, but hard work and attention to detail got him racing nationally in the likes of the Tour of Wales and National Trophies off road.
Cycling in the Yorkshire Dales is enough to hook anyone into cycling. For Des, his hard yards and detail got him training with the upper echelons of the local pro scene and the mix of God’s own country and that social scene meant his life sentence with cycling was handed down.
The hard grafters are often those who see the little things as they have to strive for, yes, marginal gains! This was Des. And by extension has become Dessus. Paying attention to bike position, the kit. So the zip was sent to the back then ditched even before a prototype was made. The understanding that the cycling jersey has evolved bit by bit, with some technical advances, but held back by some traditional ties. The zip is legacy of the old wool jerseys needing buttons to be able to put them on, then the horrid fabrics of the 90s retaining a zip to allow the rider to cool down. Dessus is a revolution in that respect in that the realisation dawns that neither buttons nor zips are needed to put them on, nor stay cool; modern fabrics take care of that.
And though it started in a pub, the design is not just something scribbled on the back of a soggy beer mat. It’s backed up by real world science. Dessus enlisted Body Rocket to get aero data from on the road with on-board live aero data proving the jersey to be the fastest of any out there; on a cyclist on a bike riding with all those physiological variables. Real world wins. That’s the Aero.21 jersey. A next step from the original Aero jersey including further aero gains from integrating the zip pockets into the jersey to prevent any parachute effect from stuffed pockets.
But there’s no point in a jersey being the most aero jersey if its not practical, and lets be honest, if it doesn’t look good. The material has beautiful premium feel to it. Aero might bring thoughts of flimsy and delicate. Far from it. Substantial would give the wrong impression of it being weighty, it’s not at all, the jersey is Goldilocks; just right. Almost like a comfortable compression garment, but not restricting so you can wear it all day, all week. And that was Des’ target. Himself. He wanted a jersey for himself that was not only fast, but looked good and he could wear on long training rides and training over 20 hours a week. So they’ve been tested and passed muster with flying colours.
Colours that now have three options. A dark and a light pallet and a third option; all three with a distinct design on the sleeve of the contours of Wharfedale, created by local designer Charlotte Jarps. Another firm nod to the proud Yorkshire DNA.
Dessus don’t stop at jerseys. And while the shorts aren’t aero specific – such gains are insignificant down there – they are designed to be the best in the market. As with the jerseys, they are premium - Italian made and perform better than anything out there.
With a full kit available, ‘Des’ finds pride in crossing paths with his products when out riding. He gives nothing away to so-called influencers so he knows all he sees are a much appreciated investments from cyclists in something he has created. The fact he’s heard of good conversations between riders about the kit and zero negative feedback is confirmation he’s on the right track.
But he won’t rest on his laurels. Under development are arm and leg warmers and like the shorts, these will be designed to be more comfortable than anything out there, while still being in line with the aero ethos of the jersey. And as for any future expansion in the range, into winter kit, perhaps, and that again would be comfort being the driver.
‘Des’ is shooting high. It's his faith in his product. One day, he wants stripes, and maybe yellow, to be donned by a Dessus rider. After all, those riders need fast, and Dessus is the fastest there is, so why not?
The DNA is aero, Yorkshire and continental. Dessus even went as far as getting Ian Walton to shoot in Barcelona. A Yorkshire born photographer living in the Spanish sun. The success so far might want a bottle of Spanish Cava to pop the cork thereof, but, given its origins an aero pint of bitter might just be the ticket.
Words - themusette.cc