Consider Primal Wear a company with a cause, or causes in this case. Not only does the Denver-based cycling apparel maker churn out a steady stream of good-looking kit, it also gives a bunch of money to charities such as People For Bikes, Bike MS and Bicycle Colorado.
Primal even has a program – dubbed Primal Gives Back — that effectively lets the consumer decide who the beneficiary is. If you’re a member of a club or team that rides in a charitable event, Primal will donate 15 percent of your custom order to that fundraising effort.
Here’s marketing director Tim Baker talking about Primal Wear’s top of the line Helix kit and the Primal Gives Back program.
Primal’s primary focus is custom cycling kit. Its team of designer walks customers through the design process, helps complete order fulfillment, and ships everything at no extra cost. The range of product offerings goes from elite race apparel to comfortable sport cut jerseys and shorts.
At the top of that line-up is the Helix kit, Primal’s most advanced, competition level cycling jersey and bib combination. It’s highlighted by what Primal calls its Z92 grid fabric, which is claimed to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The Helix jersey ($100, 6 sizes) is designed to wick moisture away from the skin, helping keep body temperature low. The main portion of the Helix jersey is made from breathable SLR ion fabric that’s antibacterial and stretches to contour the body. The Z92 fabric on the sleeves is a dimpled surface, which Primal claims reduces drag. Side and shoulder panels are mesh to further enhance airflow.
The Helix bibs ($200, 6 sizes) feature an HX8 carbon chamois and have ergonomic panels to create compression around key muscle groups. Four-way stretch fabric increases comfort, while the Z92 fabric on the yoke at the back of the short and leg cuffs is claimed to improve aerodynamics and moisture management. A mesh bib upper stretches and moves with the body, and enhances airflow. Flexible silicone grippers secure the short’s leg panels.
On a personal note, we’ve been testing the Pivotal Helix kit for about a month now. And while we’d appreciate a slightly looser fit than what’s provided by the snug silicone leg grippers, the rest of the Helix package has delivered as advertised. Overall fit is appropriately contoured, and even during an indoor trainer session, the fabric didn’t get soaked with sweat even though the ground below our trainer did. As the photos illustrate this is not a flashy design (which we appreciate). The “92” on the back and sleeves is a nod to the year Primal was founded. And if red-black-white isn’t your thing, you can opt for the blue-white-black Axios Helix kit, which has the same price points and similar feature package.
Other features we liked included the flatlock stitching, which means no unwanted chaffing – and an increase aerodynamics if you worry about such things (we don’t). And the HX8 chamois has proven comfortable, though we’ve yet to spend more than 2-3 hours in it. Bottom line, the Helix measures up favorably with similarly priced kits in this upper-tier range.