Cycling clothing has come a long way since we first started riding bikes. Today, technology and science are fuelling the innovation of smart clothing and breathable fabric all with one aim – to enhance our cycling performance.
Here, we explore some of the cycling clothing innovations that are shaping the sport in 2022.
Fabric and tailoring innovations
Each season brings different cycling conditions, and what you wear can make a big difference in terms of your comfort and athletic ability. What it essentially comes down to is the fabric your clothing is made from.
When Lycra was invented, it revolutionised the cycling industry. Now, the highly stretchable, breathable material is more endorsed by cyclists than its predecessor – wool. It allows for a close-fitting and aerodynamic design that reduces drag and has moisture-wicking properties. Some of the best cycling jerseys today are made from Lycra and are preferred by avid cyclists.
Alongside Lycra, new and innovative fabric technologies are entering the market to support any kind of weather. They incorporate fibres that are soft, lightweight, easy-to-maintain, quick-drying, and do not shrink.
The way the fabric is tailored also plays a key role in enhancing cycling performance. Today, manufacturers are using CAD, which provides three-dimensional measuring of body statistics, in order to create better fitting and tailor-made designs. Based on a sportsperson’s virtual fit, digital apparel samples are created. A virtual model is then tested through a series of activities, such as cycling, jogging, and skating, to analyse the clothing’s deficiency and offer an optimum product on the market.
Reduce back pain
Cycling regularly or for longer periods of time can significantly affect the lower back. As cyclists make more effort to pedal through despite the fact that their quadriceps are tired, they put more strain on their back and pelvis, which then leads to a hunching posture. It’s no surprise that up to 80% of cyclists have to deal with lower back issues at some point. But what if cyclists could be given feedback about their posture as they ride?
Engineers and physical therapists are working together to develop smart bikewear that analyses the cyclist’s posture. The cycling jersey developed by the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) uses integrated sensors to collect data, which serves both riders and physios.
For cyclists, the innovative garment allows them to monitor and adjust their posture while on the road. While professional cyclists are regularly monitored and analysed in terms of their performance and posture, recreational cyclists don’t feel that benefit and often end up abandoning the sport after having to deal with back issues.
“But if cyclists can be given feedback about their posture while they are riding and are able to correct it, this would make the sport much more comfortable and attractive,” commented Joke Schuermans, a postdoc researcher into physiotherapy and rehabilitation sciences at University of Gent.
For physios, the data collected from the smart jerseys will help them gain a better understanding of the back problems cyclists suffer from and further develop their research and practice.
Another great example of smart performance clothing is Ambiotex’s smart shirt, which is built for avid athletes, such as cyclists. Integrated sensors paired with a clip-on box record vital data, such as heart rate, stress levels, and individual anaerobic threshold (AIS), which is “comparable to a lactate test by a doctor”.
The data can be viewed in real-time through a smartphone app, which can give you insight into your biometric data. These insights can help you be more in tune with your body, while optimising your training and recovery.
Moreover, the app gives you access to individual training programs to help you take your cycling performance onto the next level. Additionally, each clip-on box has a 24-hour battery life and is integrated with Apple Health Kit and other apps.
Smart technologies and innovations are helping us take our hobbies to a professional level. They allow us to monitor key metrics that help us enhance our performance and health. That’s the future of cycling.
MW Admin is not accepting comments at the moment
Want to show your support? Send them a one-off tip.