Among the plethora of road kit on show at Interbike 2011 new offerings from Capo, Castelli and Gore stood out. From fancy Swiss fabrics and ProTour proven pieces to women's bib shorts and clothing systems, there are some interesting new products out for 2012 that have the potential to all do the same thing: make your ride more comfortable.
Capo incorporate Swiss fabrics from Eschler and push women's bibs
Capo will offer two men's kits for 2012 that incorporate fabrics from Swiss textile manufacturers Eschler, including those treated with Scholler's Coldblack finishing treatment – a surface treatment for dark fabrics that reflects UV light and reduces heat buildup in the fabric.
The Nico kit is new for spring 2012 and incorporates Eschler fabrics and the Coldblack treatment into a slim-cut, professional quality kit. The jersey has three standard pockets, plus a security pocket and a full-length lockable zipper. The bibs feature Eschler fabric and the Coldblack treatment, with an anatomic-cut 4G Carbon EIT chamois made by Cytech, which features multiple densities and an antimicrobial treatment. The Nico jersey costs US$179.99 and the bibs $229.99; both come in sizes small through double extra large.
The new king-of-the-line Drago kit ($249.99/$299.99) uses a thicker Eschler fabric that's also treated with Coldblack. The pieces are both more compressive and more abrasion resistant, according to Capo, which greatly benefits the durability of the pieces – this isn't a one-season kit. Features include three standard pockets plus a waterproof security pocket on the full-zip jersey. The harness bib system is said to be more comfortable and better resist bunching, and a Strada Carbon chamois is used.
The 2012 Capo Drago kit
Capo have two women's bib short models for 2012, the Cipressa and Adriana. Yes, nature breaks are more complicated than with non-bib short, but Capo's troop of test riders feel the benefits – greater comfort, less restriction and better fit – outweigh the drawback of ease of use. If bibs still aren't your thing, Capo also offer non-bib shorts with a wide, overlapping, yoga pant top type design. /MP
Castelli's new rain jersey isn't just awesome – it's "Fawesome"
Castelli continue to reap the benefits of their sponsorship of the Garmin-Cervélo team with several new pieces for 2012 that are decidedly 'out of the box' as compared to more conventional garments. Johan Van Summeren won this year's Paris-Roubaix while wearing Castelli's new SanRemo Speedsuit – a pseudo-skinsuit that essentially mates the lower half of a pair of Body Paint bib shorts to the company's Aero Race jersey.
A few panels of specially textured fabrics are added to the chest and armpits to decrease drag. While offering the aerodynamic benefits of a skinsuit, the SanRemo Speedsuit still retains three rear pockets for road racing practicality along with a full front zip and a short section around the lower torso where the jersey and shorts are merely overlapped – not stitched together – for easier nature breaks.
The full front zipper on the Castelli SanRemo Speedsuit allows for lots of ventilation when needed. Leaving the front bit of the suit separate makes for easier nature breaks, too
Also coming directly as a result of team feedback is the new Fawesome Vest – a skin-tight gilet built with Gore-Tex Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric up front to protect against wind and water along with more breathable panels covering most of the back. The lower back is fitted with a much more aggressive 'splash guard' to protect against wheel spray. And what's with the name? According to Castelli PR man Peter Nicholson, the team said it wasn't just "awesome", it was "f#@&ing awesome" – and the name stuck.
Finally, there's the new Gabba WS short-sleeved and Aero Rain Lite long-sleeved rain jerseys, which offer the same tight fit as Castelli's other flagship tops but are built with a mix of Gore-Tex Windstopper X-Lite Plus and Nano Flex fabrics to protect against wind and water without the need for an additional shell. Longer tails add a bit more coverage in wet weather, the three rear pockets are each fitted with drain holes, and the long-sleeved version gains zippered chest vents for a little extra airflow when needed. /JH
Gore Bike Wear taking an integrative approach to cycling kit
Gore Bike Wear are emphasizing their new holistic approach to cycling clothing for 2012, grouping pieces together in so-called "outfit systems" that are each aimed at a particular segment of the market: serious roadies, enthusiast trail riders, casual fitness riders, and so on. According to Gore, each of those outfit systems is designed to provide "head to toe, skin to shell" clothing solutions for various weather conditions, with particular attention paid to how the various pieces look, feel and work with each other.
Gore Bike Wear are taking a more integrative approach to their clothing lines for 2012, matching up not only colors and styles but also fits and functions
This is elementary and obvious stuff to many of us but something that might prove useful to those who are still a bit confused about what to wear for a given day. Highlighting the range on the road once again is the company's flagship Xenon collection, with the tightest fits and most advanced fabric and seam technologies. The Xenon jersey, for example, uses welded seams to minimize irritation while the new Xenon bib shorts use a mix of traditional and welded seams depending on location.
We're particularly looking forward to sampling Gore's new Oxygen GT AS Jacket, though, with its new Gore-Tex Active Shell material. According to Gore, Active Shell is the company's lightest and most breathable laminate to date for better comfort during intense aerobic activities. We'll wait to pass judgment on that until a little later in the season but the fit already seems spot-on with a surprisingly trim and aggressive cut and an inner texture that's impressively comfortable against bare skin. /JH
For more on Gore's 2012 Xenon range, check out the video below: