A skinsuit review? Nothing wrong with curves whatsoever but we didn't feel we had the right body shape to feel comfortable in a performance review so we approached our good pal Chris Detsicas who obviously eats his greens to review the Pro-1 speeduit from Nopinz. Nopinz is exactly that, no pins. Pure racing attire focus, their trademark is the sleeve fitted to the back of the jerseys and suits to give riders an aerodynamic edge instead of a flappy number. Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux are using some of their suits in the TT stages in this year's Tour de France so if they're good enough for the pros, they must be good enough for Chris! He sent over his thoughts...
Nopinz is one of the many apparel brands we see online and out on the road these days. Recent years have seen a proliferation of choices, so many that it can be difficult to remember the brands. In this regard, Nopinz is different. They are known for their solution to the age-old problem of pinning a number to your best jersey (or skinsuit) with safety pins. It's a practice I find tricky, and I often worry that I'll ruin my best jersey. And of course, it’s far less aerodynamic! They got in touch with us asking if we could review the Pro-1 range. I opted for a Pro-1 Road Skinsuit, Pro-1 Aero arm warmers, and Pro-1 Socks.
Let's start with the fit. At 5'9" and 68-72kg, I decided on a small skinsuit, which I wore with small arm warmers and small socks. It was surprisingly easy to put on the skinsuit, although at first I felt a bit hunched over, but as the material stretched I no longer felt that way. During use, the garment remains tight and the Teosport pad is comfortable. The arm warmers are also well-fitting, though they bunch up around the elbows a little in riding, but I suspect they provide a performance boost overall. My experience with the aero socks was frustrating. Both struggling to stay up. One sock, in particular, refused to stay up no matter which foot I put it on. A friend recommended using "hairspray glue" but I didn't see a difference after lathering it on my legs!
In terms of style, the skinsuit, arm warmers, and socks prevent a well-matched ensemble. The fabric looks and feels good. The Orange/blue combo looks striking off the bike. On the bike, from a distance it might appear that you're topless - the orange can give the impression of a pale complexion. There are a range of other colours if this concerns you!
Nopinz offers a few options with their Road Skinsuit. You can add their famous Speedpockets if you have aspirations of wearing a number or just pockets. The garment I received included the Speedpockets. They look very practical. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to test it at a real event yet but I’m confident they will work just fine. The skinsuit is equipped with 2 large pockets behind the Speedpockets. As expected, they are a bit tight, but they are of adequate size. You won’t fit bulky items but they are fine for a few tools/tube/keys/phone.
Now… onto performance. With many cycling products, it is very challenging to measure performance without a dedicated test environment such as a wind tunnel. Since Notinthepeloton's budget doesn't extend quite that far, I decided to use Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, the most controlled setup available to me locally. It’s a dedicated cycle circuit with no motor vehicles near London. Quite useful for testing, just watch out for the pedestrians!
To gather data, I rode the same 9.43 mile segment twice at a similar power. During the first test, I wore a relatively loose long sleeve jersey over the skinsuit. The second test had me only wearing the skinsuit, socks, and armwarmers.
I opted to ride at 250w for the tests. My ability to maintain consistent power isn’t particularly good, besides on climbs, but fortunately the results came out very similar at nearer 265w.
The skinsuit made such a marked difference in the test that I was pleasantly surprised. I suspected possibly a handful of seconds but even over a short course the skinsuit saved 42 seconds. The power was slightly more (266w vs 264w) in the second test but this is as close as I’m likely to get for a test. The only major distraction was the socks falling down!
Ultimately, the Nopinz Pro 1 range represents very good value for money. At this price point, there are few competitors. With its well-designed, comfortable fit, the skinsuit not only makes you feel fast but is faster as well. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this when just out for a fast ride and I hope to take it to a time trial sometime soon. We’ll update the review if we manage to test it in competition. I do need to experiment further with the sticking power of the aero socks. I would opt for a color that is less skin-like than orange. If you’re in the market for some fast gear the Nopinz Pro 1 range is certainly worth a look!