Once an order is placed, the design team sends the files containing the artwork for each individual panel of the garment to the print room. Here the print is arranged to maximize efficiency, before being sent through to one of their seven EPSON dye sublimation printers. Endura uses Digital Sublimation to print their custom jerseys, which is a 2-part process that results in the design being impregnated into the fibers of their garments and therefore resisting any fading or cracking that might otherwise occur with a printed design.
In the first stage of the dye sublimation process, the Epson printers apply the chosen graphics to a special transfer paper using sublimation dyes. Both the ink and the high-release paper are special in order for the process to take place when they’re put in the heat presses used in stage two.
Independent of the printing stage, the panels for the garment need to be cut from a huge roll of their materials before the sublimation process can be completed. This is done with an enormous Lectra Vector Q25 automatic cutting machine, which is capable of cutting up to 30 plies of fabric in one go, letting them accurately obtain the material for many garments of the same size in one hit. Once the panels are cut, it’s time to go to stage two to get them printed.
Stage two of the dye sublimation process involves taking the printed paper and cut fabric, laying them out carefully to ensure the pattern is aligned, and placing them into a heat press. This heat press increases the temperature until the solid dye on the paper is turned straight into a gas, which is then forced to bond with the fabric due to the pressure applied by the press. The dye returns to a solid once the heat is released, and you’re left with a high quality print applied to the fabric permanently.
The printed fabric panels are then taken to the sewing room, where a team of highly experienced seamstresses stitch them together to produce the final product. Endura has recently added capabilities to add silicon grippers to their garments in-house, and although this is mainly targeted at the road and gravel items, it adds potential for them to further improve functionality of their mountain bike kit in the future.
The final result has all of the quality and refinement of their standard garment lineup, but with the custom graphics that can add a special touch or some excellent marketing opportunities for your club, team or sponsors. It’s safe to say I (Robert) was very stoked on my “Scottish Sasquatch X The Loam Wolf” themed jersey, where the design is awesome and the finished product a pleasure to wear. Now I’m left with the dilemma of whether or not to risk riding in it and damaging it in a crash, but it would be a shame to leave it hanging on a wall…
Check out our recent review of the MT500 Burner Lite kit, which is one of our favorite bits we’ve tested this year.
You can learn more about the Endura custom gear program and order some awesome personalized gear for yourself at https://custom.endurasport.com/