Since their start less than two years ago, Nopinz has very quickly grown to become a regular sight in the UK time trialling scene. What’s more, their products have also been used in UCI World Tours as well as the Olympics.
One of their latest products is a skinsuit designed specifically for cyclocross racing. The first of these suits is owned by AeroCoach rider Laura McCormack.
Taking their name from the idea that led to the founding of the company, Nopinz began with the introduction of the SpeedPocket, a clear pocket fitted to the rear of a racer’s skinsuit which allows them to display their number without using pins.
‘It was born from years of racing,’ said Blake Pond, owner and founder, ‘I think a lot of people have thought the same, but it was a case of somebody biting the bullet and spending their money to try and come up with a solution.’
To begin with, Nopinz SpeedPockets were offered only as modifications to existing suits: ‘people were sceptical about sending a skinsuit to get cut up’, Blake remembers. Soon, however, word spread and the SpeedPocket became popular with time triallists.
Combining the manufacturing and materials ability of Nopinz with the aerodynamic innovations offered by Aerocoach led to products which incorporated the ATS (‘Aerodynamic Trip Strips’) of Aerocoach into clothing for cyclists.
The Nopinz range has quickly grown to include a number of products which cater for the specific needs of cyclists of different body types racing in different events, and branching out into cyclocross came as a natural extension.
‘I used to race cross myself’, said Blake, ‘and Xavier came down and we had both been thinking about it.’ While working with Teflon-coated hydrophobic materials, they both quickly saw the possibility: ‘We were excited straight away’. The hydrophobic properties mean that water beads off the suit, making it more stain-resistant while remaining breathable.
‘Xavier suggested adding a shoulder pad, but I wasn’t sure’, said Blake, ‘so we decided to test it out with one of his riders’. The shoulder pad is a cut-down chamois from the selection used by Nopinz, and is stitched into the right shoulder of the suit to provide cushioning while carrying the bike. So far, it has been well received.
The cyclocross skinsuit is based on the supersuit – the first skinsuit made by Nopinz. As well as a change in materials and the addition of a shoulder pad, the cut of the suit has been altered to meet the needs of cyclocross.
The skinsuit has a longer body, allowing the rider to stand and run – something which is often required in a cyclocross race. Of course, the cyclocross suit features a Nopinz SpeedPocket as standard. The material used for the suit is also much harder-wearing than that used in suits designed for other disciplines.
Blake is pleased with the first iteration of the cyclocross suit: ‘We’re definitely looking at putting it into production.’ It seems that pursuing the specific needs of an athlete allows Nopinz to perform at their best.
‘What differentiates us’ says Blake ‘is that we don’t turn away people if they want a couple of bits custom.’ Whether that means offering a suit in club colours or alterations to kit, it’s a service that he’s happy to be able to offer.
The next few months will see the launch of Nopinz’ custom kit catalogue, which will allow cycling clubs to access a much greater range of Nopinz cycling kit in their own club colours. With this new range, Blake says, Nopinz have ‘tried to build on everything we’ve done and our reputation for customer service and innovation.’