Why You Should Wear a Skinsuit
Whether you’re a cyclist yourself, a fan of the sport or an avid race spectator, you’ve likely seen racers in assorted kit styles: long and short-sleeved jerseys, bibs, elastic waist shorts, knickers, arm and leg warmers, or all-in-one skinsuits. You may be wondering what this is all about and if you ride, you may be wondering if you’re wearing the ‘wrong’ thing.
What a cyclist wears largely depends on comfort and personal style. For those racing at professional levels, what you wear on the bike largely depends on sponsors and gear provided. For everyone else, the choice is yours. PEPPERMINT offers so many fun, bright, patterned or plain options; choosing an outfit on the bike can be all about expressing style and making a statement. In addition to cycling fashion, there is another aspect to this decision regardless of what level you’re riding at; function.
Function has many meanings when considering a kit; pockets, chamois, and fabric weight/breathability are all standard considerations when choosing a kit to wear and might influence your choice on a day-to-day, ride-to-ride, or season-to-season basis.
To further complicate the choice, there are kits (top + short or bib) and there are skinsuits (one piece). Skinsuits should be uber snug fitting outfits, and typically elicit the image of very lean professional racers. These suits were once reserved only for time trials and position tweaking in wind tunnel lab tests. Luckily the recent mindset on skinsuits is changing and they are becoming mainstream.
Safety and Speed
You’ve likely seen racers wearing them in criterium races, cross races (there are thermal skinsuits for this, all fluffy inside) and even long road stages. There are a couple major reasons for this: the skinsuit adds functionality that a typical kit cannot provide: safety and speed. These suits are super aerodynamic; wind tunnel tests have proven that these one-piece outfits can shave over a minute off a 40k time trial event compared to a two-piece kit. That’s a pretty serious time savings for a single piece of kit. Investing in a new outfit is a lot more fun, and typically less costly than other time saving tricks (aero helmets, lightweight aero wheels, and TT-specific bikes). A long sleeve skinsuit also offers some added protection from crashes as more of your body is covered with fabric that won’t ride up, won’t fly off, and saves your skin in potential high-speed crashes of criterium races.
Why I Love It
Personally, I recently found my love of skinsuits after a previous team supplied one and I found the fit more comfortable than the standard kit. It was tight yes, but well fitted and wearing it made me feel more ‘pro’; a little confidence boost goes a long way in riding well. Compared to my standard kit, there was no jersey bunching up (sorry but the crop top look hasn’t made it to the cycling scene), this is especially important in cross races when you’re reaching up to carry your bike and jump over barriers. With a one-piece, I also found there were no bib straps digging in or no shorts band pressing uncomfortably into my abdomen. A one-piece zip up also offers women an easier way to use the restroom without completely undressing or awkwardly stretching out your bibs. I’ve been wearing my skinsuit in races and long rides, since the latest designs have enough pocket space for ride snacks.
If you're looking for a skinsuit that is a great fit and fun style, head on over to PEPPERMINT and check out the Skinsuits (short and long sleeves) .
Lori Nedescu, proud ambassador of the PEPPERMINT Collectif and writer for @CadenceKitchen