With fleece-lined panels on the shorts and chest plus standard skinsuit material on the arms and back, the Custom Cyclocross Skinsuit by Champion Systems is a solid solution for cold-weather cyclocross racing.
The full arms, back, chest and leg side panels can be sublimated, and the rest of the short can be provided in a variety of colors.
We found the Custom Skinsuit to be warm but not overly so for racing. We have raced in skinsuits with full thermal lining, and those can really only be used in truly frigid temperatures.
Thermal fabrics really can’t match the second-skin feel of thin polyester, but the fleece-lined portions of the Custom Skinsuit are still relatively snug and svelte. Strangely, the sublimated fleece fabric on the chest and the sides of the legs moves more fluidly than the stock black material on the rest of the short.
A pocket sits inside the skinsuit at the neck hem. note the thinner, standard-thickness skinsuit material used on the back at left with the insulated fabric used on the chest at right: a pocket sits inside the skinsuit at the neck hem. note the thinner, standard-thickness skinsuit material used on the back at left with the insulated fabric used on the chest at rightJames Huang/Future Publishing
A small pocket is sewn into the rear of the collar. Note the standard skinsuit material on the left that is used on the back and arms, compared to the fleece material on the right that is used on the chest and short
The leg grippers are pretty standard affairs with silicone dots on elastic strips. They’re nothing fancy but are perfectly adequate.
The four-way-stretch Italian chamois is comfortable on the bike and not too big for running. It also comes in a women’s option.
The one major drag is the zipper. It sucks. More specifically, this particular hidden zipper design conspires with the tiny zip pull and the stretchy fleece-lined fabric to make zipping and unzipping the garment quite difficult in the best of conditions. And in the often cold, wet, gloved and half-dizzy conditions of cyclocross? Forget about it. By squeezing firmly on the zipper seam right behind where you are zipping, it works almost acceptably. One-handed zipping is impossible though.
The zipper on the champion system custom cyclocross suit sucks: the zipper on the champion system custom cyclocross suit sucksJames Huang/Future Publishing
There is room for improvement with the zipper
A few other companies also offer custom thermal skinsuits, so you may want to take a look at the options from the likes of Panache, Voler, Pactimo, Curve or Vermarc.
All told, Champion System’s Custom Cyclocross Skinsuit is a good deal for the price. Champion System has a whole line of custom cyclocross pieces, including full-zip warm-up tights and neoprene gloves.
Champion system’s custom cyclocross suit features fleece lining on the shorts and chest: champion system’s custom cyclocross suit features fleece lining on the shorts and chestJames Huang/Future Publishing