Review: X-Bionic SphereWind Windproof Jacket & The Trick Winter Kit
February 21st, 2017
February 21st, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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There’s a lot of cycle clothing brands out there, all shouting about their own unique design, yet no-one seems to be as unique as X-Bionic. With their knitted attire, they couldn’t be more different from the racks of lycra out there on the market. It’s easy to read things like “Thorny Devil Technology” and feel like you’re being baffled by marketing spiel, like those awful shampoo or yoghurt adverts with made-up science and a nice little graph to prove you’re an idiot, however; in this case, you only need to ride X-Bionic to believe it. I had the privilege of X-Bionic’s The Trick® kit last winter, and it has become my go-to outfit for wet rides. This time I was treated to the windproof SphereWind jacket, so I took it to a very blowy location in the Peak District for a proper British test.
The SphereWind Windproof Jacket
Now it’s all well and good having a base layer or jersey that is warm and breathable at the same time, but if you cover it up with another un-matched garment, like a windproof or waterproof jacket, then it all seems a bit pointless using it. X-Bionic have created base layers, bib tights and jackets each with the 3D BionicSphere System that match up when they are layered up. The 3D BionicSphere System is an intricate cooling system woven into the products, lining up inner air channels with outer air channels in collaboration with a sweat-evaporating material. Though designed to cool you down when you are too hot, proper evaporation of sweat will also keep you dry, and will therefore keep you warm in the cold too.In practice, this certainly works. The windproofing is exceptional, but I was left wanting a little more. Of course, the SphereWind is as good as any windproof jacket on the market, and is clearly the best for wearing in conjunction with other X-Bionic products, however, at £218, and after having tested the incredible SymFrame waterproof jacket with awesome attention to ventilation at £264, it made me want a few more vents on the SphereWind - just some under the armpits perhaps to alleviate that claustrophobic feeling - or a slightly lower price to acknowledge more of a difference between the two. As it stands, it think the SphereWind is great, but not as good as the SymFrame in performance (see why here), which is in my opinion well worth the extra £46 and is an exceptional waterproof jacket with non of that stuffy feeling.
The Trick Winter Kit
The Bib tights (or biking pants) benefit from “Patented Thorny Devil Technology”, which collects and guides moisture through ‘sweat collectors’ that transport the sweat to precisely where riders benefit the most from the cooling effect of evaporation, therefore creating perfect conditions for maximum performance.
I had clearly been “tricked”. Despite being soaked through from the rain, the top part of my thighs were perfect body temperature, yet the sides were as cold as the rain outside
After 200km of riding through Welsh rain, I never once wished I had another layer on. I just felt ‘right’. It was quite a weird feeling to be honest. I took a break in a cafe on route after about three hours of riding, sat down, put my hands on my thighs, and was surprised to find that different parts of my legs were different temperatures. Had I not have touched my leg, I wouldn’t have noticed. I had clearly been 'tricked'. Despite being soaked through from the rain, the top part of my thighs were perfect body temperature, yet the sides were as cold as the rain outside, showing that the the temperature regulation and the sweat collectors were doing their job as described. I felt warm, but not overheated.
It looks different, but that’s because it is different. In my opinion, The Trick is worth every penny for anyone expecting to ride in British winter weather, or anyone who understands the true energy-saving benefit from thermoregulation during a ride or race. If you’ve ever used merino garments, you’re on your way to understanding the benefits of this kit, but it’s just on another level. The Trick jersey and The Trick riding pants are seriously the best bit of kit I’ve ever got my hands on, and I can’t imagine ever riding anything else in cold wet weather. I had high expectations for the SphereWind, and while it is an incredible piece of kit, it is expensive for what is second-best to their SymFrame waterproof jacket. It may seem like the lighter option, but I still think the SymFrame is the holy grail of jackets, and I'd pay the extra for what is more worthy of the £200+ price tag. For a lighter option, check out our review on the SphereWind gilet, which I think performed much better than the jacket at a more affordable price tag thanks to the missing sleeves. But, you really have to ride it to believe it, so if you follow them on Facebook or sign-up to their mailing list, you can find out when their next demo day is and give it a go for yourself.
The X-Bionic Trick long-sleeved jersey can be found for around £143. The Trick bib tights/biking pants retail for around £203.
The SphereWind Gilet is RRP £158. The SphereWind Light Jacket is RRP £218, and we reviewed the men’s version HERE.
Finish off your outfit with X-Socks.
As worn in the Specialized Ruby review, here: