What can we expect from cycle clothing in 2019? What are the latest innovations and technologies clothing brands are using to hopefully make our riding experience better than ever before?
After the bike, what you choose to wear when cycling can have the biggest impact on the enjoyment of a ride. Every year sees advancements in clothing technology and the ways brands produce the clothing we use. So let’s take a look at the trends we can expect to see from the key clothing brands for 2019.
More cycling niches will have specific clothing
We already know clothing that works for one branch of cycling won’t necessarily work for another type of riding. After all you wouldn’t wear baggy shorts and a full-face helmet for a sportive as much as tight lycra looks out of place in a mountain bike park. With the advent of cross-over cycling niches like gravel riding and bike packing, riders have been cherry picking and adapting current clothing to meet their needs. We started to see some specific clothing aimed at the growing ‘adventure’ market coming out last year. 2019 will see several brands producing complete ranges of cyclewear designed to meet the demands of gravel and adventure riders. Think tighter fitting baggy shorts, looser fitting lycra, lightweight insulating layers and clothing with additional storage pockets.
Endura, for example, is pushing its MTR range towards bike packers and adventure riders. MTR has snugger fitting baggies and more casual jerseys and other layers that work well both on and off the bike. Think tighter fitting baggy shorts, looser fitting lycra, lightweight insulating layers and clothing with additional storage pockets.
Fabrics are becoming more high tech
Expect clothing to be thinner, lighter, better fitting and more protective than ever before. Gore has been working on a replacement for its long standing Windstopper fabric. Called Infinium, it promises to be much thinner and lighter but still offer the same weather protection. So clothing such as gloves and jackets can provide better waterproofing/windproofing but with far less panels and seams needed, making the items fit better and with much less bulk.
Gore and other clothing manufacturers such as Endura and Castelli are also starting to use extremely lightweight insulating materials such as Primaloft. Creating garments that provide warmth without relying on thick and bulky fabrics. This weatherproof insulation can be placed in targeted areas to provide warmth but also keeping the weight down and increasing packability. Making this style of clothing perfect for bike packing or off-road riding where kit needs to be versatile and cope with a multitude of weather conditions.
Seen as a reserve for tiny little independent cycle wear brands able to produce tiny quantities of costly but mind-blowingly distinctive kit; bolder, all-over prints are finding their way into the mainstream. Plenty of big brand’s SS19 (Spring/Summer) catalogues are showing bolder prints through some if not all of the ranges. As fabric manufacturers are developing more cost effective ways of producing printed materials, we are seeing brands use this advancement to step away from the boring old solid colour block options. Morvelo has long been at the forefront of bold clothing with unique prints but for 2019 expect brands such as Altura to join in on the act at lower price points than ever before.
Bib short tech
Before Endura came along with its size specific chamois pad most brands only really offered a male specific or female specific pad. Endura revolutionised rider comfort by providing the rider with three width options based around body shape and personal saddle choice. Recognising that not every rider is the same shape is one of the keys to on-bike comfort. This way you don’t just need to go for the thickest pad to provide comfort at the expense of bulk and freedom of movement. For 2019 other brands are getting in on the act with shorts and chamois pads engineered to provide the best experience dependent on the type of rider you are. Gore use different pads engineered around ride distance and weather conditions, so too does Castelli.
2019 will see a big upsurge in helmet safety. We’re not saying helmets haven’t been safe up until now but many brands are embracing cutting edge technology to enhance the safety of the humble cycle helmet. Take Specialized for example, 2019 is the first year it has chosen to use the proven MIPS brain protection system. Designed to reduce the rotational forces that can cause severe injuries during a crash, Specialized is now offering a version in all of its helmets even down to entry level. Not stopping there it’s also incorporating wearable tech in the form of ANGi. ANGi is a clever little device that can detect a crash situation and alert your emergency contacts of your location if you require assistance. ANGi can be found on several of its mountain and road bike helmets and can also be purchased separately.
Fox and POC amongst others are also either incorporating their own take on MIPS technology such as POC’s ‘Spin’ system, or using smaller and lighter MIPS versions based around discrete gel pads as Fox (and Specialized) are doing.
What about mountain biking clothing trends?
The big thing for mountain biking is the resurgence of the riding trouser! For a long time trousers were associated with big and bulky waterproof offerings but brands like Fox and Endura are bucking the trend and increasing the appeal. Designs that are not only exceptionally comfortable but also super light are beginning to take off as riders realise a long legged garment can give full protection without being boil in the bag hot. It also helps that riders like Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland and the rest of the 50:01 crew have helped boost trouser profile with their various video edits!
The other big news is thanks to the demands of enduro racing body armour is getting lighter and easier to wear. Meaning there are even less excuses for not wearing protection than ever before. Endura has a range of super thin Singletrack Lite pads that slip easily below clothing, as does Fox with its Enduro Pro collection.
So that’s a quick round up of what we think will be some of the main trends we can expect to see when it comes to the hottest kit for 2019. With this in mind it’s never been easier to find exactly the right kit for your riding. And as cycling and clothing technology continue to progress hand in hand there really is no excuse not to look good and be comfortable on the bike.