Bike Wear for 2010, Cool Comfortable and Functional

When high-performance athletes set new records, technological advancements in the materials they wear often play a role. An example of this is the development of compression clothing.

The pressurizing effect of tight fitting elastic clothing is intended to increase the performance of the wearer’s muscles and accelerate their regeneration. It is the same functional principle behind the use of compression socks to prevent deep-vein thrombosis: Pressure exerted on the muscles unburdens the circulatory system, accelerates the blood’s ability to transfer oxygen to the muscles, thereby reducing lactic acid build-up. However, the further a given area of the body is from the heart, the greater the amount of exerted pressure there must be in order for the principle to work effectively.

This season, some professional road racers wore compression underwear to enhance muscular regeneration during multi-day tours. Since then, the trend has already been adopted by a few bike wear manufacturers for the 2010 season. At the center of this technological development are, for instance, compression knee-length socks and sleeves for the arms, as well as short and long cycling pants. Two interesting examples of brands in this segment are Craft and Sugoi. Compression clothing specialists, such as Skins and X-Bionic, have also come out with new collections that are especially designed for cyclists.

If compression clothing for performance-oriented cyclists represents one end of the bike wear market spectrum, then the new clothing collections for bike trips and day-to-day cycling represents the other end. The bicycle is becoming part of everyday life for more and more people and can even be a key feature of their holidays. It’s therefore no coincidence that this growing lifestyle trend is showing up in the collections of bike wear brands.

Tight-fitting clothes aren’t the ticket here. Instead, it’s all about clothes that are loose-fitting and well-ventilated, yet highly functional. An example is the Trek&Trail line by Vaude that unifies relaxed urban style with cycling-specific functionality. In fact, you can hardly tell that the collection’s Town Pants (available as shorts or trousers) are actually cycling pants. Perfect for a quick cappuccino stop, in other words! But with their adjustable hems, minimal seams in the seat and a padded and removable inner lining, the pants offer perfect comfort even on longer tours. Complementing this clever solution is the light yet waterproof and windproof Town Jacket and the functional Town Shirt.

Comfort is also a well-established and important selling point when it comes to touring and mountain biking. There has been much advancement here, particularly for women, who until only a couple of years ago had to be satisfied with unisex bike wear that, for the most part, poorly suited their bodies. Since then, female cyclists have a notably wide selection of bike wear to choose from. In fact, the new offering serves women both aesthetically and in terms of functionality.

Even so, a couple of problem areas in women’s bike wear have persisted, one of which concerns cycling pants. Like men, women also find bib pants considerably more comfortable, except when it comes to the call of nature. Since many women would rather not have to undress completely to relieve themselves, they end up opting for poorly fitting pants without shoulder straps that tend to slide down during tours. Further, such cycling pants often end up uncomfortably gathering in anatomically inconvenient places.

Gore Bike wear will present an innovative answer to this problem: Its new Xenon Sonic Lady bib pants solve the problem with two zippers above the hips. Once the zippers are open, the pants can be lowered as far as necessary, thanks to highly stretchable material. This allows the wearer to leave on her jersey, jacket, etc. Also, in order to avoid unpleasant pressure and friction in the breast area, the shoulder straps are made of soft mesh material that is gentle to the skin. Moreover, the straps may be fastened together on the wearer’s chest in such a way that they form an X across the breast bone.

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