The Horsey Hundred in Kentucky turned out to be HOT and that meant it was a perfect test for one of our fabrics, Coldblack by Schoeller Textiles.
Wisconsinites may have be used to the heat but when the temp hit a maximum of 118°F – While most people (correctly and intelligently) avoided the heat, we chose to do some product testing.
I’ve been impressed by the breathability of the Coldblack fabric in our Pro Race jerseys since I first tried them, but I wanted to test them against the worst heat summer could provide. Its performance was enough for me to write a blog/love letter about it.
Before kick-off I want to be clear on something: I don’t advocate or recommend riding in the conditions like we did. This was a supported charity ride with plenty of water and pickle stops.
OI Buddy, WHAT’S COLDBLACK?
Coldblack is the name of the fabric that makes up the majority of our Pro Race jerseys. It originates from Swiss wizards Schoeller Textiles. We loved the silky feel of Coldblack when we first touched the fabric samples, and it feels even better as a full jersey.
The breathability is quite unique. You can feel air hitting your torso through the fabric in a way that’s unlike any other jersey I’ve used. Think something like tissue paper, but doesn't tear when you blow on it. Then there’s the heat management properties, thermal absorption and UV Protection. Coldblack is designed to reduce absorption of thermal radiation, and block UV rays. It's rated at UPF30!
It all results in more air cooling you, and less radiation heating you up. A win-win in my book, especially in the hot summers.
THE EFFECT ON-ROAD
Our 3 days of riding was intentionally done in the heat of the day. We make big claims for how well our gear performs in hot weather so there was no way we couldn't chat about this!
The first three days of testing had some nasty temperatures; my bike GPS read over 95°F multiple times, not including heat index. I can’t verify exact temperatures at that time but it was enough to give an uncomfortable, burning sensation in my feet and lower legs from radiant road temperature & high humidity.
A few things struck me about how the jersey behaved
- First; I sweat..a lot. and with this fabric is wicks right off. No matter how much sweat the jersey soaked up it never seemed to get bogged down and feel heavy.
- Second; I didn’t feel the need to zip down the jersey. Coldblack breathed well enough so the impulse never crossed my mind. In fact it felt like a second skin and I even felt like I was naked at one point.... it was HOT people!
- Third; the UPF30 fabric treatment is fantastic and make you feel OK when you forgot to pack sunscreen! It's like a superhero covered your body up and kicked those UV rays away!!
- Finally; the radiation absorption. Let's try to qualify this one. It makes a noticeable difference on your body temperature. It stops the heat in it's tracks and keeps it off you core. Double this with the wicking abilities and its a fantastic duo.
Coldblack is an expensive material because of all the R&D that’s gone into it, and the complexity of its manufacturing. It has eco-dyes as well, reducing its environmental impact.
What does this mean? High Cost + Low Retail Price = Ouchy for Crit Fit
The end result for Crit Fit Cycling is that our margins on our Pro Race jerseys are the worst of any product in our range, by long way. We accepted the lower margins because we believe the fabric’s qualities will improve the ride experience enough that it’s worth it.
The choice to use coldblack fabric is a simple one for us. We want our customers to know we make only the best we can find, and only make gear we want to ride in. This is still a research project for us, trying to see what we can build.
We take a lot of pride in our gear and hope you do too!