Function over Fashion: New apparel focuses on safety first

Features guard against wind, weather, cars and crashes

Apparel Interbike

Interbike RoadBikeReview

Long gone are the days when what you wore while riding had more to do with fashion than form. Today’s top-end cycling apparel boasts a host of functional features that protect riders from the wind, weather, cars and crashes. Here are 10 new products that caught our eye during trade show season.

poc-jersey

POC AVIP Backprotection Jersey

Sweden’s POC has unveiled a full range of race day road wear, including this novel jersey that includes an integrated back protector pad that meets European Level I motorcycle back protection standards. Made from pliable plastic-like material called Koroyd (pictured below), the back protector slides into a sleeve that runs the length of the spine. Koroyd is the same lightweight and breathable material Smith is using in its road and MTB helmets. The new POC jersey ($200) is constructed from comfortable 4-way stretch fabric and has mesh under the arms for improved ventilation. The race day collection, which uses more muted colors than POC’s more safety oriented (and bright orange dominated) AVIP line, also includes various bibshorts, jerseys, arm and knee warmers, tights, gloves, jackets and even an aero TT skinsuit. pocsports.com

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30-seven-gloves

30-Seven Heated Gloves

Extend your riding season deep into winter with 30-Seven’s new electric heated gloves ($160). Using the same technology found in car seat heaters, this Belgian-based company uses lightweight rechargeable lithium ion batteries to provide up to eight hours of warmth. There’s even a handy portable remote allows you to control temperature. They also offer heated socks, baselayers and jackets. 30seven.eu

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Scott RC ProTec Jersey and Bibs

Bid road rash goodbye with this new jersey ($125) and bibshorts ($145) combo that utilizes carbon-impregnated abrasion resistant material on the shoulders and hips for greater skin protection in case of a crash. Scott developed this proprietary fabric in partnership with Swiss fabric manufacturer Schoeller and has exclusive usage rights for two years. Check out the videos here for an impressive demonstration on just how well the protective material works. scott-sports.com

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Panache Water Beader Jacket

Boulder, Colorado-based Panache has a new race ready rain jacket that’s water repellant, and unlike many rain tops, exceptionally breathable. The lightweight Water Beader Jacket ($375) features a high neck line, easy-to-operate zipper, and extended sleeves. Expect this same fabric to soon show up in bibshorts, warmers and shoe covers. panachecyclewear.com

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Smith Arena and Asana Sunglasses

Optics experts Smith have added a pair of interchangeable-lens performance eyewear options to its expansive line with the new PivLock Arena ($159) and PivLock Asana ($159) sunglasses. The Arena, which is geared toward men, comes in a standard and large fit, utilizes impact resistant poly carbonate lenses, and has an adjustable nose piece made of Megol, a material that better adheres to the skin when wet. Megol is also used on the temples to aid in keeping the shades in place. The women’s Asana model benefits from the same technology, but has no Megol on the temples to help alleviate hair snagging. Both the Arena and Asana have shorter temples than previous models, which is designed to improve helmet interface. smithoptics.com

Rapha_Country_Jersey

Rapha Long Sleeve Country Jerseys

They’re not overly technical, but we love the look of U.K. apparel maker Rapha’s latest series of country jerseys ($220) with new designs inspired by Japan, Colombia and Italy. The long sleeve tops are made from Sportwool, which has high-wicking properties, and is itch free and odor resistant. These jerseys are designed as a mid-layer for cooler rides, and have ample pockets for storage. Coordinating drawstring hats are also available if you really like the matchy-matchy look. rapha.cc

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Sugoi Custom Kit and Zap Jacket

Get the custom kit you want just the way you want it with Sugoi. The Canadian apparel maker works with customers via email to dial in a new design or do a refresh of an existing kit, then finalizes the process during a one-on-one phone consultation where customer and designer can see the work in progress in real time on a shared computer screen. Available customizable pieces include Sugoi’s full range of jerseys and bibs, plus jackets, vest, warmers, hats and shoe covers. And designs run the full gamut, including the lumberjack look shown above. Turnaround time is four weeks and there are no minimums. Sugoi also has one of the more remarkable safety pieces we’ve seen lately. The Zap Jacket ($160) utilizes a pixilated material that’s waterproof and highly visible in lowlight conditions. Check out the images below to see just how much it lights up when hit by light at night. sugoi.com

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SealSkinz HALO Oversocks

Finally, we loved these new waterproof riding booties from U.K.-based SealSkinz that feature a built-in LED light in the heel. The shove covers are mash-up of their existing SealSkinz Neoprene Oversock and Lightweight Overshoe, but the zipper was moved to make room for the easy-to-access, battery-operated light that will make sure you’re noticeable while riding. MSRP $70. SealSkinz also has a wide variety of waterproof socks that utilize two layers of merino wool sandwiched around a waterproof membrane. Socks come in various lengths and weights. Check out this short demo video to see how it works. sealskinz.com

This article is part of RoadBikeReview’s coverage of the 2014 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. For more from Interbike CLICK HERE.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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