In The Beginning
We’ve raced hundreds of endurance events between us and the process of attaching numbers to race kit barely evolved over the last twenty years. For example, attaching a time trial number properly was a dark art. You asked a friend to put your time trial number on, hoping they were honest enough to do a really good job. Or you did it yourself with a handful of pins. This often caused time delays, less than perfect number placement and pins popping off mid race to leave a flapping number in your wake. You might even be stabbed by a rusty pin if the “friend” was a real bad shot.
Similarly, triathlon race belts were always the same design and apart from the addition of gel holders and some flashy colours the design has remained unchanged. No thought was given about comfort with continued use of buckles that rub. They also flap in the wind adding drag to a riders otherwise honed aerodynamic equipment.
Over the last 20 years running tops have been moth-eaten cotton t-shirts or simple club vests, all looking like a badge of honour – more pin holes meant more races entered. However with the uptake of more lightweight technical fabrics to help runners stay cool and protect from ultraviolet light, run clothing is increasing delicate and more costly. Pinning on a number has now got more damaging and expensive consequences.
So we got to work with stick on, pull on, clip-on and permanent solutions to number attachment. Not just for rear time trial numbers but cyclo-cross arm numbers, triathlon number belts, road racing shoulder numbers, running race torso numbers and more. We’ve had a lot of help from athletes who have been testing, reviewing and perfecting the products so they are really tried and tested making our products function brilliantly with no compromise.
We can see forums lighting up with conversations about buying a fast skin suit for next season, hating pinning expensive triathlon gear, how cool a rear pocket would look like in a cyclo-cross suit or how much drag SpeedBands could save a road racer. From muddy cyclo-cross events to elite level time trials, road races to run events, product R&D is at the heart of our quest for better. A revolution of better.
We continue to evolve the products and the reach into new sports and scenarios.
To get faster in time trials, road racing and triathlons, we, like you, have moved from round tube bikes to aero frames, box section to deep section wheels and drop bars to aero bars. Clothing changed colours but fabric technology moved slowly. Lycra was all very equal. Eventually faster skin suits became available as elite teams and governing bodies realised fabric, fit and seam placement really means clothing is not all equal. As you the rider account for around 60% of drag, what you wear such as helmet, skin suit and even aero shoe covers all adds up to help in the quest for speed. Race clothing designed for speed improved through wind tunnel research highlighting quite how good a well designed piece of race clothing really is.
Skin suit development and research is soaring, so costs are generally rising. Our prediction is this will happen for a good many seasons yet as knowledge and understanding of fast-fabric grows. There are now many more brands in the £200 to £300 bracket than ever before. Race pictures all over the internet show quite how many athletes are using this faster race clothing to great effect.
At the very top end of cycle sport skin suit evolution is staggering: our investigations have found National Federations paying over £400 per bespoke suit that lasts only a few races. Sadly these are, as yet, “not for the public”. Similarly, UCI Pro team kit and bespoke tailoring services are pushing the very best suits up to over £1000 – made-to-measure when every single watt matters. When wheels, frames and helmets have been optimised to within the last few watts, skin suits are the last piece of equipment to receive the aerodynamic make over.
At Nopinz we’ve taken that one step further and considered the real world challenges of racing and focussed on eliminating the aerodynamic drag created by having to pin a race number on. Not only will you save energy and be faster but you’ll never damage your clothing again.
No pins, No damage
Pins damage race clothing of all kinds, no argument. The safety pin invented in 1849 is a destructive technology – fine for bandages but not for super thin cycling Lycra or a technical running t-shirt. Very fragile suits can’t take the strain of a stretched number with four pins applied to it and it significantly reduces their life span. Even the standard club skin suit gets peppered every race.
We want to save Lycra and other technical fabrics from the ravages of voodoo. As you race through a season this leads to extremely wholly and damaged garments. This graph illustrates the logic of Nopinz:
every race incurs a minimum of 8 holes in your garment when using pins
Nopinz produces no holes in your race clothing
Nopinz products are designed to eliminate the ravages of the safety pin, extending the life of your race clothing and saving you money. We also think that you also look the part when pins aren’t used – you look proper “factory”.