The Fabrics We Use
Cotton / Lycra Mix (90% Cotton / 10% Lycra)
This high-grade fabric has a wonderfully soft and natural feel. The Lycra content gives easy stretch in all directions, prevents creasing, and ensures the garment stays in shape wash after wash. All of which are important attributes for active outdoor-wear. It is more substantial than regular Lycra, and being non-shiny also more flattering: great benefits for both cycling shorts & tops alike.
Supplex / Lycra (89% Supplex / 11% Lycra)
This is a highly advanced technical fabric with a soft, natural, and supple feel. Low moisture absorption properties ensure that you dry more quickly when wet, and stay warmer when damp. Excellent breathability improves cooling, whilst the stretch and recovery characteristics give the greatest freedom of movement. Supplex is also non-shiny and hardwearing.
Meryl (92% Meryl / 8% Lycra)
This is a lighter weight version of Supplex, with similar properties. However, the one additional important benefit which of Meryl is a special Ultra Violet Protection Treatment. This chemical filter offers a high degree of protection from both harmful UVA and UVB rays, a great benefit in these days and skin cancer concerns.
Roubaix (85% Nylon / 15% Lycra)
This is a close fitting, thermal stretch fabric, with a soft brushed lining. Roubaix is extremely warm, and it's high wicking properties help to maintain a comfortable microclimate close to the body. This reduces both chilling and overheating: a risk factor for dehydration.
Colorado is a lightweight wicking fabric with an ultra-soft brushed face. It dries quickly to keep you comfortable, and looks great. Suitable for both mid and base layer garments.
Dakota (82% Nylon / 18% Lycra)
As used for the Ladies thermo and Slinky Jackets. This is a close fitting, thermal stretch fabric, with a soft brushed face. Dakota is warm for its bulk, and it's high wicking properties help to maintain a comfortable microclimate close to the body. This reduces both chilling and overheating: a risk factor for dehydration. It also has a wonderfully sleek and attractive appearance and a beautifully soft, snug feel.
Drytex: Waterproof and Breathable (55% Polyester / 45% Breathable Polyurethane)
This is a high quality, high performance breathable waterproof fabric. Unlike better known version such as Gore-tex, Drytex is moderately priced, making it affordable to most.
As with other breathable fabrics, Drytex has millions of tiny pores, which whilst being far too small for even the smallest water droplet to pass through, are sized to allow the passage of water vapour to escape from inside the garment to the outside. Without this capability, as in lower performance fabrics, this water vapour would condense on the inside of the garment leaving the wearer wet and uncomfortable.
However, there are some limitations to the effectiveness of any breathable waterproof, and these are related to both temperature and humidity. The passage of water vapor to the outside works very much better at lower temperatures than high ones. This is due to the temperature gradient – i.e. The different between the inside and outside of the garment. Like wise if the external environment of water laden – very humid, misty or actually raining, then the concentration gradient will be less and the transportation will be slower. These are facts of physics and are not related to fabric quality.
Lastly on the subject of temperature, please note that breathable fabrics will not prevent you from sweating! Sweating is a function of how hard you are working, how much you are wearing and how warm it is. If these factors are sufficient you will indeed sweat, and the resulting moisture cannot escape from the jacket – being comprise of water droplets these are too large to pass through the pores and therefore will be felt as a damp layer on the inside. This is easy to mistake for water leaking in…
Durability however, is related to fabric quality, Whilst Gore-tex has a very high transpiration rate (breathabilty), Drytex is far more durable, and the waterproof qualities are much longer lasting. Here is a case of choosing the best fabric for the purpose, but where Drytex wins on balance is in its fair and affordable price tag.
Care of your performance cycle wear
When we choose our fabrics one consideration is that it should be easy to care for. Sportswear of any sort, by its own definition is going to require frequent washing and will benefit from quick drying. Thus all our fabrics should be machine washed at 30 – 40 degs, spun, and tumbled or line dried as preferred. They need no special treatments.
There is however, one important point to note: fabric conditioner should not be used for sportswear of any kind. Conditioners have the effect of making fabrics more water absorbent, and as we all want our cycle clothing to dry quickly when it gets damp, this is clearly counter productive.
These can also be machine washed as above. If they have oily marks, e.g. on a yellow jacket, these are best treated with something like Vanish prior to washing. This will help get rid of most stains. Breathable fabrics benefit from being kept clean. When a fabric gets dirty the tiny dirt particles clog up the pores of the waterproof membrane and reduce its efficiency. This then reduces your comfort.