Lightweight abrasion resistant fabrics that could reduce road rash will soon be incorporated into new cycling jerseys and shorts.
Swiss fabric maker Schoeller Textiles said it developed the method of printing lightweight, breathable fabrics with minute ceramic dots three years ago, however the technology's premium price meant it has taken time to be adopted by cycle clothing brands.
Some of Schoeller' Textiles' range of ceramic-printed textiles
Schoeller Textiles claim their ceramic print fabrics perform significantly better in abrasion tests than regular fabrics.
BikeRadar was sent samples of the treated fabrics and they certainly felt more robust than standard cycling wear. So far, Schoeller has incorporated the technology into medium weight warp knit and circular knit fabrics which can be used in jackets, shirts and jerseys.
However most impressive was an ultra light-weight summer fabric that when stretched, means individual fibres can be identified. It was so fine we had to double check with Schoeller that it also included the treatment.
Stefano Tonizzo, head of knit fabrics at Schoeller Textiles, confirmed that the technology is about to hit the market. One bike brand – he refused to name it – had placed a first sampling order for the ceramic print fabric and he said it would be appearing in future clothing lines.
Another major cycling clothing label, which also didn't want to be named, told BikeRadar it was investigating using the fabric too.
It could be a major step forward in road racing. The frequent crashes often tear straight through lightweight fabric, leaving the skin exposed to painful gravel rash.
Could Schoeller Textiles' new fabris put an end to road rash?
Tonizzo added: "It could be very interesting for security if you fall to cover some regions and areas of the garment with the ceramic print – because it really helps prevent skin abrasions.
"It could be a very interesting step forward."
We're planning to put the ceramic coated fabric to a not-so-scientific test abrasion test of out own involving a rock, a road and a great deal of elbow grease.
A date for the technology hitting the market in cycling apparel is still to be confirmed.