Jersey/Bib Shorts £130/£150
Energy conversion and efficiency is probably something you associate with high tech' sports such as Formula 1, trying to maximising performance by minimising waste or harnessing it and turning it into a performance aid. Suppose you can compare the pinnacle of motor sport in some ways with cycling. From the correct tyres and pressure to the constant focus in energy efficiency and recovery. Kymira claim to have found a way to utilise the waste energy from the body so body temperature is regulated and recovery is optimised, sounds promising but is the science worth the investment?....
For any cyclist whether you're a commuter or a racer, everyone loves a new kit day. We knew from researching into Kymira before receiving the kit that this was a premium kit, in a way, we didn't really want to get it dirty! First glance, it's a bit lairy, Kymira is splashed across the thighs and arms along with a bold statement on the back. We won't have the issue of people asking what we're wearing!
The Pr02 range sits along side their Onyx set (no link to the racing team methinks!). The Onyx design looks more sleek compared to the Pr02 but this 'blockbuster' design grows on you (old 80s/90s show where you had to answer questions from hexagon plates to get across the board - classic!), so maybe the designers dropped a bit of nostalgia in the final mock up?!
Now, we don't claim to be the slimmest but we wouldn't say we're porky either (although some camera angles we try to avoid) but this kit has a racing cut embedded in it. We stand at 5'8 and weigh on a good day where it was just salad for lunch around 80kg. It was a little tight in the bib shorts even though they were a large (we always go L, we had a moment with one past kit where let's say we thought we had lost a friend who lives downstairs!). The jersey was a better fit but hugging around the mid-drift. We might have to make sure we ride constantly breathing in, is that possible?!
On a gorgeous early Autumn morning, we joined Sam, Chris, Liam and one of Sam's Saddledrunk team mates who literally looked like a human tank! A 45mile ride out to Windsor and back was the order for the day. I was expecting for a bit of tightness in the groin area but the sticky end of the shorts gripped onto the quads preventing any shifting or more revealing of our pasty legs. No hairs were lost though so men breathe a sigh of relief if you're not looking for a back, crack and whatever! Was conscious though that the hugging around the tummy, the race cut didn't flatter me too well. For those whose abs rivals Christiano Ronaldos, you can be as vain as you like with this jersey! The grippy elastic ending is also present on the sleeves of the jersey so it gets a 10/10 for no flapping!
Reading up about the KYnergy technology that has been used to design and produce the kit, it does make you sceptical. For those who have dabbled into a bit of sports science and like a bit of academic research, Kymira have released some evidence from clinical trials. When you are presented with scientific research, you do have to consider things such as the size of the testing group and it's variables. If a test is carried out in 40C heat in the middle of a desert, is that going to be relevant to you as an athlete racing around circuits on cold frosty mornings? We're not saying that's what Kymira have done, just encouraging you the reader to always look behind the results. What we do like about Kymira is that they have released research to support their claims and are very open on social media so do ask them for clarification on your queries, not many brands are as approachable or become a bit shady when confronted with a thoughtful question.
The materials in the kit are a secret though, Kymira claims there are 13 minerals at work converting your waste energy into infrared. Yes, that's right infrared. We always associated infrared with sensor technology such as remote controlled vehicles, what's it doing in a cycling kit?! Well Kymira that the infrared (basically heat) will penetrate your muscles stimulating cellular changes resulting in more oxygen being delivered to the working muscles. Impressive. Could I feel it? That's hard to comment especially on a ride like this as it turned out to be a warm morning so we were looking to cool down not warm up!
Looking at the weather for my first race, there was a cold snap forecast. I had a bit of a dilemma in the clothing department with the temperature around 4C for the day, what would I wear? After enquiring a bit on social media, I was advised to go with a baselayer, full finger gloves and overshoes with the emphasis on not overheating. So it worked out quite well that I could put the Kymira kit through it's paces on my first race as a Cat 4. I was quite interested in how it would regulate my body temperature, in no way do I want to be frozen trying to keep up but on the flip side, also not leaving a trail of sweat around Hillingdon!
I did throw on a hoodie for the ride down to the circuit as I wasn't going to PR it all the way there, a gradual warm up so my body is good to go. The jersey felt a little loose, think the snuggness could of been from a first time fit which was promising, wearing a tight jersey when you don't have the physique personally for us would put us off wearing it. One thing was for certain, I would be the only one in a Kymira kit surely. My first impressions was that the kit gave off a bold lairy demeanour. Stacked up against the club kits, it's actually pretty subtle and blends quite well. In a way, you feel slightly stealthy, wearing a black baselayer and overshoes with a black bike obviously helps this perception!
First few laps caught me out of breath a few times and I was expecting a wave of sweat to start to trickle down my back. Now obviously the baselayer would be wicking up the sweat so the credit can't be totally down to the jersey but I was never dripping down the arms (the cold also might of played a part too!) but there was a consistent level of comfort whilst riding at a high intensity. You grow into this kit, I started to become a bit more confident in my positioning in the group because I felt comfortable in my kit. I've commuted in kit before where the chamois has worn away and gave me a saddle sore that was close to bursting (urgh!), I had to adjust my riding position and technique just so I can keep from anything cracking open so you need to have trust in your kit. I began to trust Kymira.
We finished 20th overall and was far from a failure, we kept pace with the pack for most of the race even leading for one lap. Again, comparing the jersey and shorts to others in our cycling wardrobe, some of our kits end up soaking wet with sweat mainly from the back. Kymira claim their materials have quick drying capability, well we can honestly say Mrs Notinthepeloton didn't shriek when she expected to put a dripping stinky cycling kit into the wash!
When you're presented with a scientific claim, it's our natural reaction to question it because even though we want to believe it, we also don't want to be taken as fools. This feeling is more prominent when it comes to purchasing goods because you're expecting a result in exchange for your money. Kymira is priced at the premium end of cycling clothing. £130 for a jersey and £150 for bib shorts is a lot, there's no denying it so the question is the investment worth it?
Let's weigh it up. It's not a mainstream brand so you're going to stand out from the crowd but that doesn't come close to justification in price. The kit design reflects the cellular claims from the research, the hexagon patterns gives it a scientific if not mathematical feeling so it's unique in design but again, that's still not coming to close parting with 130 of your British sterling. So does the science behind the kit make up for it? In our time with the kit, there is some performance gain in there probably more in the thermo-regulation department. After a few wears, the kit begins to feel more comfortable when riding and we all know that feeling of the sweet zone, often it's when we're wearing decent kit. The energy efficiency factor though is more difficult to comment on. We like to think we recover relatively well but suppose if you were a seasoned or regular racer, you might see more benefits than we had experienced. This is not to say we disagree with Kymira's research but if like us you dabble here and there with experiences and races, you might not feel you will receive the full return on your investment whereas if you race and compete on a regular basis, the Pr02 kit could be a good alternative to other brands in this price range. If this was a court case safe to say the jury is out and the verdict could go either way....