Do you like cycling? As for cycling clothing, most people just know that it can reduce our hip pain! If you are concerned about your own health or proud of a set of wear you just buy, please read it all carefully. I will share what I know and have experienced with you. You will cycle healthier and cooler with good cycling clothing!
The Functions of Cycling Clothing
There are many functions, not just reducing hip pain as what many people just know. Generally speaking, the functions include relieving pressure, closing to your body, being dry quickly, discharging sweat, absorbing moisture, preserving heat, preventing you from wind, rain, ultraviolet rays or rubbing and disinfecting you. The superior material can also reduce wind resistance for you except the above functions. Of course, it’s impossible that every piece of wear works with every function above, such as winter cycling clothing is usually made from polar fleece, emphasizing on heat preservation, so its breathability is not so well.
Five Aspects about Cycling Clothing
In fact, it is similar to five aspects that influence the price of cycling clothing in spite of the cost on workers.
It includes the most major fabric, zipper and the suture line. The fabric of good cycling clothing ensures the efficiency of every function and your comfortableness. The most common material can only dry itself quickly, using general mesh cloth, utilizing the micropore structure of mesh to stimulate siphonage, and increasing the number and size of holes of clothing to discharge sweat into the air quickly with quick cross-ventilation. But the common fabric has no access to heat preservation; body heat will be lost very much. Somebody may ask, “Isn’t it comfortable to lower the temperature this way?” If it’s in summer, regardless of disadvantages to your body’s balance system which help you lower the temperature, you will feel comfortable. But if the weather isn’t so hot, how would you feel? What’s more, real athletes or experienced cyclists will always try their best to keep their bodies’ heat, avoiding unnecessary waste of losing, to keep their best status, which cyclists of athletics know.
As for functions of the best material, except closing to your body, being dry quickly, discharging sweat, absorbing moisture, preserving heat, preventing you from wind, rain, ultraviolet rays or rubbing and disinfecting you, it’s even designed and produced with the principle of aerodynamics to make it possess the function of reducing wind resistance. When this kind of material was tested in American California Wind Tunnel Laboratory, it could reduce at least 8% of wind resistance with the speed of 40KPH (25MPH) per hour, whose meaning is obvious to professional athletes.
The principle of drying itself quickly is explained above; I believe that most cyclists will know how it works after knowing the structure of mesh cloth.
The function of discharging sweat, absorbing moisture, heat preservation, preventing wind or rain can be realized by the special structure of imported fabric itself, whose reason like the reason why some fabric cannot absorb water.
There are two ways to realize ultraviolet-proof. One is to add paint coat on the surface of fabric, which belongs to processing in the later stage. The surface of cloth with this kind of fabric will age after washing for a lot of times, so its function of ultraviolet-proof will increase gradually. The other is to blend UV isolation factor into the fabric while it is being processed, which makes the fabric have access to permanent ultraviolet-proof, so this kind of fabric is much more experienced than the fabric with paint-coat.
Preventing you from rubbing means your clothing can resist rubbing and prevent you from abrading skin by ensuring that your skin doesn’t touch the ground directly after you falling off your bike. The realization of this technology comes from the characteristic of anti-friction of the fabric itself and the participation of other fabrics which protect you together.
As for the zipper, what we are familiar with and think is good at quality is YKK; we can use and compare it other common brands of zippers.
Last but not the least, you need to concern about the suture line. Because your wear needs to be close to the skin (to reduce wind resistance and the friction between wear and body) and had better not fetter the cyclists, it must be high-elastic (the elasticity of different parts is different). In the condition, if the suture line of high-elastic fabric area used low-elastic yarn, the yarn will break off and your wear will be ruined after you wear it for a moment or just for some time! So you should test the stretching of the area of the suture line when you choose a set of cycling clothing and feel the elasticity of clothing. On the other hand, in spite of the problem that comes with the elasticity of fabric, the possibility of losing color and how the suture line influences holes in the suture area of the fabric is too particular; you don’t need to care about that.
2. Printing and Dyeing (in spite of color-matching cycling clothing)
The second factor of the price difference is ink printing, that is, to print bright colors, sundry LOGOs, words and drawing on single-color fabrics.
The best ink has advantages on the quality, the problem of losing color, the times of washing ink allows, the existence of strange smell, the rate of brightness and accuracy of color (there is international detailed standard especially for classifying color atlas), the problem about health and toxicity, etc.
On the other hand, because of the difference between qualities of ink, manufactures use the machines correspondently. Common machines cannot show the characteristics of superior ink, and the senior machines cannot use common ink which will harm the machines. The difference between prices of machines is also great, which makes up a part of wear costs.
The processing of sewing is the third aspect in spite of qualities of material (fabrics, the suture lines, zippers, seat cushion, and ink) and design (printing and dyeing). Generally speaking, it’s about the quality of handcraft.
There are several common differences on the sewing.
The first is the stitch. Common cycling clothing in the market uses three times of stitch and five times of threads, what more superior uses fourneedle six lines. Because it needs a more superior machine to realize, and the degree of difficulty of sewing increases, so the wear which uses this kind of stitching costs more.
The second is the flat degree of the suture line which can be recognized easier. Everyone can recognize how the arrangement of the suture line is and whether there is some part too tight or too loose with their eyes.
The third is the place of the suture line which can be recognized mainly in the sewing of seat cushion of cycling shorts. Your buttocks always can be moving around a little while riding, if there is some deviation with the immobilization of the place, even just a little, after some time of riding, you will find that the seat cushion not only doesn’t protect your buttocks ideally but also brings friction because of the deviation of immobilization. So it is common that after finishing long-distance competition some cyclists even athletes pull their shorts of crotch area. On the one hand, it is because bad breathability; on the other hand, some persons’ inside thighs are rubbed and the skin is broken.
4. Seat Cushion
It is a component which can be emphasized as much as possible and I want to introduce to you cyclists most. Because most cyclists who just concern about the function of seat cushion which can reduce pain have ignored the hygienic problem of seat cushion itself!
The price difference between seat cushion is very great. The reasons include functions, the technology, and material used in manufacturing. Of course, the price decides the quality. Personally, I won’t think it is excessive no matter how much you spend on the seat cushion. You spend much money on components, assembling or upgrading, perhaps for being cool or experiencing more superior products, but spending money on a good seat cushion is for your health. What should be considered about seat cushion? I will tell you below.
The first is top agglutinate fabric. Touching your crotch directly, it should be soft, clean and breathable. Otherwise, it should disinfect you, help you drain sweat and absorb moisture which can be realized with under cushion but not just by the top fabric itself. With rough fabric, you cannot imagine how much your crotch will be rubbed. The printing and dyeing on the fabric may lose color easily, which risk the cleanness of your crotch. And it would be frightening to consider further about whether the dyestuff on the fabric is poisonous. As for the breathability, sterilization, draining sweat away and absorbing moisture, the requirement for them is obvious.
Personally, I suggest you not use cycling shorts if you don’t want to spend too much on the seat cushion. You’d rather not buy a common seat cushion than use the bad one! After all, you will suffer much less not to use than that of using a bad cushion. It would be better to ride with underpants if you don’t want to spend too much on cycling clothing.
Superior top fabric feels soft and comfortable. It accords with the requirement of softness, hygienism, breathability, sterilization, draining sweat and absorbing moisture. You’d better choose it but not common one while choosing seat cushion.
The second is the cushion under the fabric. It also consists of two aspects, that is, material and technology. The so-called technology of seat cushion, except choosing proper material to satisfy all functions noted above, includes modeling the shape of seat cushion according to the research of human engineering, to adapt to actions of cycling. The superior seat cushion can be produced with different density in different parts to support the weight of your body while riding, according to the different time of cycling. Otherwise, it has functions of sterilization deodorization in spite of protecting your crotch and reducing the pressure. The fiber of this kind of cushion is added some intangible ionic composition to inhibit the growth of bacteria. And the functions of breathability, absorbing moisture and draining sweat also make it hard for the environment beneficial for the growth of bacteria to come into being.
Anyway, while choosing seat cushion, in spite of how much structure of cushion accords with human engineering you cannot judge, you can feel the quality of cushion yourself by what I have told you above.
The first impression the clothing gives to people is not how the quality of every part of clothing itself is, but how the design looks. The design is something external. Personally, I think you should consider about four factors above firstly then external design while choosing cycling clothing which fits you really. After all, you wear it yourself but others just see it with their eyes. Of course, it would be perfect to satisfy both beauty and fitness at the same time.
That’s all five aspects about judging your cycling clothing. For a better experience, you’d better follow above items. Wish you a good trip with good cycling clothing!