A few months ago, I wrote an extensive article about indoor cycling clothing: Based on that article I was contacted by Nopinz asking me to write an honest review and to provide my personal opinion about their Nopinz SubZero Collection. Since I am always on a quest to share new bike wear innovations with my visitors… It was a YES for me. Sit back, relax, save that sweat and enjoy my chilly review of the Nopinz SubZero Collection.
Table of Content
A segment on its own: the importance of indoor cycling clothing
Especially during Covid times which go hand in glove with local lockdowns the rise in popularity of indoor cycling went sky high. Just like the sales of smart indoor trainers by the way. Since, indoor cycling on its turn goes hand in glove with that liquid piece of getting awesome…namely sweat, keeping your body core temperature under control is crucial. I am that “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle” type of indoor cyclist. Nevertheless, keeping your body temperature under control will result in less waste of energy, better training sessions, better performance and a healthier workout.
The Nopinz collection had already caught my eye late summer. Nopinz is namely one of the only brands developing real cycling clothing. They design their clothing specifically for indoor training sessions. Other brands like Le Col also sell so-called indoor cycling shirts but they are similar to their standard cycling jerseys. Indoor cycling apparel which isn’t really worth the name.
Nopinz… that’s the story of Blake Pond and his wonderful team of designers, testers and other aerodynamic performance velofanatics. The goal… becoming a true aero gamechanger! Their first hit was the globally adored and admired SpeedPocket. Simple at first sight but ingenious in all its beauty, craftmanship and innovation.
It took years of development, testing and brainstorming to develop the ultimate Speedpocket. Less drag, means less watt waste and better performance…. So Blake didn’t quite understand people pinning their race numbers on their skinsuits. Like an albatross spreading his wings to catch more wind. For the albatross catching wind has huge benefits, for a triathlete on the other hand… Years of testing and development resulted in the SpeedWallet and its successor the Nopinz Speedpocket. An enclosed race number pocket which not only proved to be a masterpiece of aerodynamics but also took into account various aspects like environmental heat, humidity, body heat, wearing comfort,… A true masterpiece and the start of much more.
Partnerships with the Southampton University, Bioracer and pro cycling team Lotto-Jumbo
For Nopinz, it’s all about speed. Being fast is not enough… being the fastest.. that’s the goal! A streamlined bike and an aerodynamic helmet are a good start but the cyclist him- or herself remains the biggest aero obstacle. The human body is not really streamlined so an aerodynamic body position combined with specialized aerodynamic cycling apparel has become more important than ever before.
In the meantime, the UK based company has also made its appearance in the professional cycling world. A close partnership with among others pro cycling team Lotto-Jumbo resulted in the Nopinz 2015 Tour De France debut. The black and yellow armada word the brand with pride.
The Nopinz SubZero Collection
The SubZero collection is larger than my personal review kit. Besides my bib shorts and cycling jersey, one can also go for the SubZero Suit. This suit is similar to a skinsuit or aerosuit and has two freezepockets. One pocket at the upper-mid and one at the lower back. The suit is made of highly technical fabrics; all aimed to optimize the cooling effect. The Turbo Training towel is another must-have indoor cycling accessory. It differs from your standard towel thanks to its enhanced absorbing characteristics. The Nopinz SubZero towel namely can hold up 7 times its own weight in moisture. Since good things come to those who sweat, an indoor cycling towel is an essential part of your indoor cycling kit!
Moreover the whole collection has been made for both men and women. Nopinz designed specific women cycling apparel which perfectly suits the female anatomy.
Last but not least, as with all cycling clothing and bike wear of Nopinz also the SubZero collection can be customized.
My Nopinz SubZero Review kit
My personal review kit consisted of the SubZero bib shorts, the green SubZero ultra-light cycling jersey, the SubZero sweatbands, a pair of wrist gel packs, a pair of lower back gel packs and a pair of upper back gel packs. I do recommend ordering at least a pair of each cooling gel pack since you will need to change them every 30 minutes. Excluding your warm-up and cool down, this will allow you to train for 1,5 to 2 hours with the refreshing effect of the packs.
The cooling process
Before you start using the suit, I would advise you to put the gel packs in the freezer for at least 2 hours. I even kept them cool overnight to have that optimal effect. I was a bit afraid the cooling gel packs would be hard like steel the next day. Something my back wouldn’t really appreciate. Nevertheless, although feeling icy cold, they were also flexible and soft. Time to take them to the test.
Indoor cycling session
6th of December 2020
About 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit)
32 kms (20 miles)
1st Nopinz SubZero review test: Alpe du Zwift
Ride of the day… the Alpe du Zwift. For people not being familiar with this indoor cycling route. The Alpe du Zwift, what’s in a name, is an indoor cycling route from the online training and racing platform Zwift. The route is an energy demanding climb modeled after the iconic Alpe d’Huez; 1035 metres of elevation gain with an average gradient of 8,5%. It takes average amateur cyclists between 1 hour and 10 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the top. Since there was no race available at that particular moment, this climb seemed to me the perfect test.
The plan was to attack it with strength but to stay below my FTP (a sweet spot training). Sweet spot is synonym for sweat spot to me though. Until then my personal best at this level of intensity was 1 hour 6 minutes and 32 seconds. 21 hairpin bends later, I reached the finish in a stunning time of 59 minutes and 26 seconds. Remarkable for sure… was it the steak I had before the ride or were it the cooling gel packs? I will never be able to tell for sure but I what I can tell you, is that I felt more comfortable than ever before riding the Alpe.
The look and feel of the Nopinz bib shorts
I started by putting on my bib shorts. They are a bit different from your standard bib shorts probably. Since everything is aimed at keeping your body core temperature as low as possible. The side panels have little holes which will allow the air flow to cool down your body. No matter if you are using a fan indoors or you use these bib shorts in the heat of the summer outdoors, the more wind directly flowing onto your body the higher the cooling effect. I also noticed the bib short was a bit sticky. Not unpleasantly sticky but body tight sticky. It feels like a second skin in a positive way. There are no loose areas and no irritations. The shorts mold to your body with a light compression which feels comfortable and which also relaxes your muscles. I would even consider wearing them outdoors for longer endurance rides.
The cooling effect of the Nopinz SubZero Collection
Cooling, that’s the name of the game when buying the Nopinz SubZero collection and that’s the name of the game when doing this review. It is clear to me now not only Tic Tac is giving you these refreshing moment… the Nopinz SubZero collection is doing the same for indoor cycling or spinning. I was happily surprised by the effect.
I was a bit skeptical before I received my cooling kit, but I am a convinced user now. It adds to the comfort of indoor cycling while it does not feel uncomfortable. Something I was a bit afraid of. Putting ice packs so close to your skin might cause an annoying freezing effect… not only figuratively but also literally. The Nopinz cooling gel packs never felt annoying. Somehow, they mold to the body and they transfer their cooling effect gradually. Of course, the intensity of the effect gradually decreases after 10 to 15 minutes but overall a very good experience.
Moreover, the bibs on itself, without the cooling gel packs, are made specifically for indoor cycling too. Before I was using my standard bib shorts for indoor cycling. The fabrics of these shorts nevertheless often absorbed my sweat like a sponge. The light fabrics and pin hole pattern of the Nopinz Bib Shorts clearly have a ventilating effect. I did not expect the holes, being such a simple trick, to have such a clear effect but I must admit they did.
Replacing the cooling gel packs
Switching the cooling packs is by the way a piece of cake. I was worried it would be a struggle, but all went well. The first time it took me 10 seconds and the second time only a few seconds. The pockets are easily found, and the cooling packs fit in well.
Indoor cycling session
7th of December 2020
About 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit)
107,54 kms (66,8 miles)
2nd Nopinz SubZero review test: The Mega Pretzel
One day later I did a second test: The Mega Pretzel. The Mega Pretzel is another Zwift route in the virtual Watopia country. It’s 107 km (66,5 miles) long and has a total elevation gain of 1642 metres (5387 feet). I did the same route about 2 months ago which cost me 3 cycling kits to comfortably finish it. This time, I was not only wearing the Nopinz SubZero bib shorts but also the SubZero superlight jersey (color green). The SubZero indoor cycling shirt is similar to a classic cycling jersey. The difference is that it is only made of superlight fabrics which makes it ideal for indoor cycling or cycling on boiling hot summery days.
Just like in my first review ride I used my pair of wrist, low and upper back cooling gel packs. What a hell of a ride or better what a heavenly fresh ride. I managed to finish the whole route in 3 hours and 45 minutes and I only used 2 cycling kits. The gel packs guided me through the first 2 hours like an eskimo guiding you through the Canadian arctic areas. It was a refreshing feeling that indoor cyclists will love. Good for up to 2 hours of keeping that body temperature under control. 2 hours is the max nevertheless and I can imagine if you are really into a race mode, with 6 cooling gel packs in total, 1,5 hours is the max. Most races are no longer than 1,5 hours though.
Conclusion Nopinz SubZero Indoor Cycling Clothing review
Would I buy the Nopinz SubZero indoor cycling clothing again? Yes, I would. Does it make me sweat less? Yes, I it does. During my 2nd Mega Pretzel ride, I only needed 2 cycling kits while I normally use 3. But for me, it is more about the refreshment and the energy going to my muscles instead of going to my internal thermostat. That lovely freezing feeling when you are in the heat, literally, of the moment. I do believe and felt the cooling packs kept my core temperature better under control. This resulted in a better performance… the proof? My record time on Alpe du Zwift. Honestly, I can’t think of any other influencing factor which made me ride this new PB.
The Nopinz SubZero indoor cycling outfit and bike wear accessories are a true value add for indoor rides up to 1 hours and 30 minutes (max 2 hours). They will become standard part of my indoor training sessions now. That is for sure! Innovative, efficient, and refreshing! My honest indoor cycling clothing opinion after an extensive Nopinz SubZero review.
Where to buy the Nopinz SubZero collection?
Since I am a happy and convinced user, I am also happy to refer you to the Nopinz website. This review has no additional commercial benefits for me, so it is up to you if you want to give it a try or not. I am sharing the link to their website below for all those interested in their indoor cycling apparel:
Nopinz : other bike apparel
As stated before, Nopinz’ philosophy could be summarized as an intriguing mixture of the fast and the furious, the need for speed and gone in 60 seconds. Aero is the keyword throughout their whole collection and improving that performance is the argument. Hereby, they are not only focusing on indoor cycling alone. Time trial, road racing, triathlon and cyclocross (gravel bike) bike apparel all belong to the Nopinz assortment. From muddy conditions to flat as a pancake sun-kissed situations. From professional cyclists to amateurs who want to increase their performance. And from arm leg warmers to aero socks. You ask and they deliver. Find below a quick view on some of their cycling apparel:
Interesting is also the fact most of their bike wear can be customized.
Some useful videos
Find below some useful videos about the Nopinz SubZero collection. One of them also features founder Blake Pond talking about his unique collection.
Interview with founder Blake Pond
Subzero how to video
Frequently asked questions?
- What’s the difference between the SubZero Suit and the SubZero bib shorts?
Both the suit and the bib shorts make use of the same cooling gel pack storage pockets. One on the upper back and one on the lower back. The big difference is that the suit contains lightweight fabrics and the pin hole cooling technology from shoulders to knees. While the bib shorts only have the pin hole pattern on both sides of your legs. Nvertheless, you can combine the bibs with the Nopinz SubZero superlight jersey. This makes them ideal for both indoor and outdoor cycling. On the other hand, you could use the suit as a kind of aerosuit or skinsuit for cycling in extreme outdoor conditions (read extreme heat) too.
- Are the Nopinz cooling gel packs comfortable or not?
The Nopinz cooling gel packs give an instant boost of freshness without being too cold or too hard. They are flexible and mold nicely around your body struture… even when you leave them in the freezer overnight.
- Why is the Nopinz SubZero collection the best indoor cycling clothing?
The Nopinz SubZero collection is the best indoor cycling outfit because it is specifically designed for indoor cycling and spinning. While other brands offer so-called indoor bike wear by just using light fabrics, Nopinz goes the extra mile. Years of investigation and testing have led to among others unique storage pockets for cooling gel packs. These pockets are placed at crucial positions for your body temperature control. Besides, NoPinz designed a pad with improved moisture management and both the suit and bib shorts have the innovative pin hole pattern. This hole pattern improves the aero flow and ventilation.
- What’s the difference with indoor cycling shirts and bibs from other brands?
We have also tested the so-called indoor cycling outfit from Le Col and Technogym. Their indoor cycling shirts and bike apparel is similar to their outdoor bike wear. The only difference is that their indoor cycling apparel pretends to use lighter and more breathable fabrics. I do not feel much difference with summer cycling jerseys from other brand though. The SubZero indoor cycling clothing from Nopinz is specifically designed for indoor cycling and spinning. It contains not only lighter fabrics but also storage pockets for cooling packs and a unique pin hole pattern for enhanced ventilation.
- How to use the Nopinz SubZero cooling packs?
Using them is pretty easy. You just open the storage pocket at the upper back and the cooling pack glides in smoothly. The same for the pocket at the lower back. Put the cooling packs at least two hours before your ride in the freezer. Ideally even leave them in the freezer overnight for the ultimate refreshment.
- Is there a difference between indoor cycling clothing and standard cycling clothing?
At some brands which offer indoor cycling clothing like Le Col there isn’t a big difference. They just use lighter fabrics for their indoor cycling shirts. At other brands like Nopinz there are clear and bigger differences. They do not only use lighter fabrics but they also developed pads with enhanced moisture management and they have storage pockets for cooling gel packs. When you are frequently cycling indoors or attending spinning classes, using this indoor bike apparel really adds value.