French brand Ekoi has just released its first range of women’s specific products including helmet, jersey, and bibshorts, with some interesting design elements that include a weight-specific chamois pad.
- Best women’s road bikes of 2018: 9 of the best
- Women’s cycling news, reviews, advice and more on BikeRadar Women
- The Trek Domane wins women’s road bike of the year 2018
Ekoi is no stranger to trying new things when it comes to product design, it’s one-size-fits-all Morpho shorts from 2017 being a particularly good example.
While the company has been making and selling kit for 17 years, and claims that one third of its online customers are women, this is the first year that EKOI has produced women’s specific kit.
Ekoi Pro Gel Memory Lady bibshorts
The most interesting by far in the new lineup is the new Pro Gel Memory bibshort.
Firstly, Ekoi has made the shoulder straps removable, so presumably the shorts work with and without them, and should also make comfort breaks easier.
The straps consist of a one-piece harness-type set up that attaches only at the front of the sorts, with the straps meeting mid-chest and mid-back. At the front, this wider meeting point sits ‘between boob’, which may be an issue for riders with a larger bust.
The other very notable feature is the gel chamois pad, which is available in three gel density options, determined by rider weight and shorts size.
The PINK 65 pad is designed for women weighing 54kg or less, the PURPLE 85 is for women weighing between 55kg and 69kg, and finally the BLUE 120 is for women over 70kg.
However, it’s also size related with the PINK 65 pad available in the XS and S bibs, the PURPLE 85 in the M and L pads and the BLUE 120 pad in the XL size.
Ekoi isn’t the only brand to produce shorts with a variety of chamois options, but they are one of only a few to take rider weight and related chamois thickness into consideration.
Scottish brand Endura, for example, offers three different width fittings with its padded shorts, which are available across all sizes. Fizik has produced a range of shorts with pads designed to complement different saddles. And Rapha, working with Selle Italia, has also released a line of saddles with different widths and thickness of gel padding, designed to coordinate with specific shorts in its range and influenced by rider weight and riding position.
- £131.20 / €149.99
So why use rider weight?
BikeRadar asked Olivier Roux, sales and marketing manager at Ekoi, exactly that question and he responded: "Our studies have shown that the equation 'lots of gel = lots of comfort' doesn’t really work: the gel is quite hard by its nature and the thickness of the gel layer should be correctly studied and adapted to the weight of the person."
If the gel is too thick it will feel hard and won't adapt to the rider. If it's too thin it won't provide enough support to protect the sit bones.
As for the width question, Roux says that according to the studies Ekoi has conducted it would bring "no real benefit," and that "the gel pad supports the ischiatic bones in the correct points and with the same quality comfort: the pad has been designed to be wide enough to ensure maximum comfort."
Roux goes on to explain that it's more important, in Ekoi's opinion, that the pad should match the saddle. "It must cover the width of the saddle, and the new pad is large enough to correctly cover the majority of road racing saddles."
The rest of the Ekoi's Just for Her range
The kit is all close-fitting race-style kit with women’s specific cuts where appropriate.
Ekoi Corsa Evo Lady Helmet
The helmet, based around the design used by the AG2R La Mondiale team, has been adapted with a new internal retention system, which sits lower at the back to accommodate a ponytail.
It features 23 vents, vented straps, a magnetic buckle and CoolMax foam, and is available in three sizes: XS/S, M and L/XL
- £95.99 / €109.90
Gloves and arm warmers
The range includes one pair of gloves and three arm warmers, which come in colours and patterns that coordinate with the jerseys and padded shorts in the range.
Gloves are available in sizes S, M and L, and the arm warmers are available in XS/S and M/L emblazoned with the Just for Her logo.
- Short-fingered cycling gloves: £17.49 / €19.99
- Arm warmers: £21.86 / €24.99
Ekoi Lady Classic women’s gilet
Available in any colour so long as it’s black, the gilet has a women’s specific cut with a ventilated back and windproof front. It’s available in sizes XS, S, M, L and XL, and is, according to Ekoi, easily stowable in a jersey pocket.
- £43.73 / €49.99
Ekoi Rain Stop Lady Classic long sleeve jersey
Made from a soft, stretchy Stormshield fabric, Ekoi claims (rather ambitiously) that this water repellent jersey is 100 percent waterproof, 100 percent breathable and 100 percent windproof. It features a rear pocket with a storm flap, a women’s specific cut with a high collar to keep body heat in, and is available in sizes XS, S, M, L and XL.
- £122.45 / €139.99
Ekoi Lady Summer skinsuit
This is one for riders who are looking for all the aero gains. Constructed of polyester and elastane, it features a close race-fit cut with two back pockets and wide bands with silicone gripper dots on the thighs. It’s available in XS, S, M, L and XL.
- £139.99 / €159.99
Ekoi Lady Summer jersey
The Summer jersey comes in three designs: ‘geometry’, which is a pink and black triangle pattern, ‘classic’, which has a blue, white and pink band on one arm, and ‘hibiscus’, which has — you guessed it — a hibiscus flower pattern on the shoulders.
All versions of the jersey have the same close-fitting cut, seven pockets and a full-length zip. Silicone strips on the back waist of the jersey are designed to help keep it in place when riding, and it’s available in sizes XS, S, M, L and XL.
- £61.48 / €59.99
Ekoi Lady Summer shorts
As with the Summer jersey, the shorts are available in three coordinating designs. Ekoi has designed a wide waistband to keep the shorts high on the body and in place without being restrictive and a women’s specific chamois pad. They are available in five sizes from XS to XL.
- £61.22 / €69.99
All products are available to purchase now directly through the Ekoi website. International availability to be confirmed.