POC is continuing to expand its footprint. From snowsports helmets, goggles and clothing to mountain bike gear to loud orange helmets and road clothing, the Swedish company continues to push the envelope of design and, frankly, price. For 2015, POC will have a Raceday line of road clothing, building on the road AVIP 'safety' line it launched this year. Although there is some overlap, the primary differences are a focus on aerodynamics in Raceday, and a change in color palette.
In building the Raceday Aero Jersey, POC took a number of fabrics and designs into the Volvo wind tunnel in pursuit of the fastest garment possible. The result looks and feels quite different than a standard race jersey. For starters, POC users a heavily textured fabric on the shoulder and back panel that sounds a bit like heavy paper being crinkled when you pull it on. The body fabric, while smooth, is considerably less stretchy than a standard polyester. Zipping up this fabric feels more like an aero shoe cover than a standard jersey.
The longish arms are in keeping with what most companies are doing now on aero pieces, be they jerseys, skinsuits or one-piece speedsuits like Castelli's San Remo. The wide arm grippers do their job nicely, keeping the sleeves in place without constriction.
The pockets have a unique construction. Instead of sewing additional fabric on the jersey's exterior like normal, POC puts the small pockets on the inside, keeping the back of the jersey smooth.
Once riding, the jersey doesn't feel as strange as it may sound from the description above, but it is noticeably less breathable than a regular jersey. While POC hasn't given us any specific aero claims on the jersey, we have to assume this taut fabric was chosen from a 'speed over all other considerations' perspective.
That said, there are other considerations. Schoeller's coldblack treatment is applied to the dark blue panels, reducing surface temperature by a few Fahrenheit degrees compared to a standard polyester of the same color.
Retail on the Raceday Aero Jersey will be £ 190 / US$200/ AU$225.
The Contour Aerofoil Bib Shorts span both the Raceday and AVIP lines. POC developed the chamois with CyTech, using the Italian chamois giant's 3D molding technology but substituting silicone for gel in the thicker part of the pad. POC spokesman Brian Holcombe said this was done for durability and awareness that some riders have a skin sensitivity to gel. In any event, the chamois is well positioned, with the silicone pads under the sit bones and the front of the chamois rising up for a bit of modesty.
The Contour Aerofoil Bib Shorts have a dimpled aero material on the thighs, and integrated grippers at the lower legs and on the shoulder straps. While leg grippers of all types are nothing new, thin grippers on bib straps certainly are. In this case they do their job well, keeping the straps flat and in place, without feeling any different than normal straps.
The shorts do feel compressive, and perhaps because of this, the leg length is more old-school Italian than new-school low and long.
Retail on the Contour Aerofoil Bib Shorts is £250 / US$350 / AU$350.
POC Raceday clothing will be available in March 2015.