ARGENBÜHL, Germany (BRAIN) — A frequent sight at the Eurobike Demo Day the last few years has been the dozens of cyclists wearing bright-colored, stretchy jerseys with shorts that appear to be on inside-out.
The attention-grabbing riders are retailers testing clothing from X-Bionic, the only brand offering demo clothes at Demo Day. The Swiss company also brings about 40 members of its consumer test team to Demo Day to try its latest designs while riding next year's bikes.
X-Bionic's clothing has never been available in the U.S., but the line should be available there by next season, a company spokesman told BRAIN.
The look and The Trick
X-Bionic is notable for more than its bright colors — and no, the testers at Demo Day were not wearing their kit inside out. It just looked that way.
The bibs' chamois is sewn in without the usual layer of material between the chamois and the bike saddle. So the underside of the chamois is visible and rests directly on the saddle.
Hannes Asam, a spokesman for the brand's parent company, X-Technology, said the design was chosen to improve comfort on the bike. The extra fabric normally between the chamois pad and the saddle causes friction, especially after washing, when the two different materials might shrink or stretch at different rates, he said.
This year's X-Bionic jerseys also appear, at a glance, to be inside-out. That's because of a technology that is key for the brand. X-Bionic calls that technology The Trick.
The Trick is a patented feature that X-Bionic says cools the athlete's body by making it sweat more, and earlier.
The counter-intuitive theory is that by creating a localized zone of warmth along the spine, the fabric causes the body to register a warming trend. According to X-Bionic, the brain interprets the signals as a sign that the entire body is overheating and starts sweating more than it would otherwise, and sooner after the start of exercise.
"The idea is to create a thin film of sweat over the body," Asam said.
X-Bionic's newest jerseys feature a ruffled, knitted structure to the material along the spine. The material causes localized heating in that area, where X-Bionic says it is most quickly recognized by the brain. As droplets of sweat build up along the spine, the material wicks it out to the surface to evaporate.
X-Bionic uses other material technologies to various purposes all over its jerseys and shorts. The varying material structures are woven, stitched or welded together and often colored and textured so they are highly noticeable. The result is a kit that looks very high-tech and unlike anything else on the cycling market, although it has some resemblance to high-end baselayers used for winter sports and some compression garments.
The high-tech features come with pricing near the top of the market: 229 euros ($306) for the bibs and 159 euros ($213) for the jersey.
Besides the bibs and jerseys, X-Bionic offers jackets, base layers and tights, as well as long-legged shorts and shirts for running.
Tefron, an Israel-based distributor, has plans to sell the X-Bionic line in the U.S., possibly as soon as the winter line this year, or by the 2014 season, Asam said. At least some of the clothes sold in the U.S. will be manufactured in Israel, while the clothing sold in Europe will continue to be made in Northern Italy.