By Adam Norman. Last Updated: 08/03/11 10:11pm
When asked to trial the new Skins cycle-specific compression jerseys I was concerned that my painfully thin frame would be exposed like never before.
I was proven right, however when I climbed into the saddle I was immediately transformed into Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins!
Boy, did I feel good. Gone were the baggy footy shorts and the old fading top I usually don to take my regular lunchtime spin at the gym.
All of a sudden I was feeling sleek and tidy, and not a little more speedy.
I felt the real deal in the new C400 range. There were the compression bib shorts, the long-sleeve compression jersey and another long sleeve jersey to help bulk out those puny arms!
After taking some time to get my 6ft 3in frame into the bib shorts, I then made myself comfortable with some appropriate, erm...adjustments. Then on went possibly the tightest compression top known to man, followed by the second, perhaps more conventional cycling top. Pipe-cleaner man to the rescue!
Here's how it works... the company used a state of the art, multi-sensor measuring device - for the first time ever in the sporting goods industry (according to Skins) - enabling compression to be calculated accurately on athletes in-motion - not just when static.
This increased level of precision has not only led to new designs, but a greatly enhanced fit in Skins cycle garments.
The jerseys are designed to be worn on their own next to the skin. However, for those riders who don't want the full skin-suit look, but still want the gradient compression benefits, the company has developed a two-layer system.
This means wearing a C400 compression baselayer - a longsleeve jersey or tanktop - both of which feature a full mesh panel, centre front and centre back. These panels align and work with matching panels on the non-compression jerseys in both ranges.
It means that, when base layer and jersey are worn together, the system offers all the circulation benefits of Skins gradient compression, but with the look of a classic cycle jersey.
Well, it certainly worked for me. And I've enjoyed wearing the new skins range again and again. The seat is ultra-comfortable and the jerseys work brilliantly in tandem - if I get a little hot under the collar I can simply unzip the top layer without revealing that unsightly chest hair to my fellow gym-goers.
As an aside, I have tried to wear the compression baselayer during fell-walking and golf, with undesirable results. Even though my body shape fits easily within the 'Large' size bracket, the top regularly and uncomfortabely rode up to expose and inch or more of torso. Not that that should worry the manufacturers - this is purely and simply a cycle top, and a fine one at that.