Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey review in a sentence: a ridiculously light, cool and fast road cycling jersey that is lovingly crafted, doesn’t cost the earth and bosses some of the bigger boys in terms of quality
It is true, you don’t necessarily have to don one of the best cycling jerseys to improve your performance out on the road, but have you ever attempted to keep up with the pro peloton (or just your mates) with a baggy t-shirt flapping around in the wind? It’s not nice and the marginal gains lost to excess fabric soon add up over longer distances.
Nopinz was set up by leading bike tester Blake Pond, who got a bit obsessed with the amount of drag certain cycling products induce and the number of watts it wastes during a professional race or high intensity indoor cycling session.
Blake got so obsessed, in fact, that he realised that the paper race numbers pinned to the back of competitors were ruining his aero vibe, so he set about creating a neat, transparent “SpeedPocket” on his hand-made racing suits that allows competitors to slide the number in for maximum slipperiness. Competitors no longer needed pins, hence the name.
This special pocket still exists, but the company has now branched out into more traditional cycling jerseys, as well as bib shorts and tops that have been specifically designed with indoor training in mind. With names like Rapha, Le Col and Castelli dominating the premium cycling jersey scene, Nopinz has its work cut out, but the garments are fantastically made and, better still, competitively priced.
The Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey costs £79.99 and can be purchased directly from Nopinz (opens in new tab).
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Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey: design and fit
As with all road cycling gear, the Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey comes up small on anyway with a “normal” body. Let’s face it, pro cyclists are built like dieting whippets, hence the fact a medium would actually fit someone who takes extra small in regular t-shirts... and so on.
On top of this, the jersey is cut tight, so it properly hugs the body in all areas. The ultra-aggressive silicone hem on the sleeves helps keep things in place, as does the similarly grippy substance that covers the inside of the lower pocket area, which helps keeps bulging pockets in check.
The jersey itself is fashioned from a mix of fabrics, including a special “Pista” material for the arms, which Nopinz claims is there for aerodynamic reasons. The body is made up of a mix of “Chrono” fabric, which is deliberately covered in small inlets for cooling and breathability reasons, while a clever “Speedcalez” material directs air over the jersey to increase aerodynamic gains.
It sounds a bit ridiculous, but these jerseys feel loving handmade. There’s something about the mix of fabrics and stitching that make them feel bespoke. Almost as if they were specially made just for the rider.
With that in mind, the colourways and graphics are kept relatively simple. There are no funky reflective stripes - a la Rapha - or Pearl Izumi-esque full body logos to contend with, although Nopinz does offer completely bespoke designs with no minimum order and short (ish) lead times, so you can effectively have anything printed on your reface jersey.
Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey: performance
Predominantly designed for warmer rides, the Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey is best worn when racing flat out in the spring or summer months, or when paired with an insulating jacket or gilet if merely off for a casual spin with chums during the off season.
The Chrono fabric across the body lets a fair amount of air through it, which is great if you’re the kind to overheat when the heart rate spikes, but it can be a bit off-putting if you never really push things to that kind of level. This is a recurring theme throughout the jersey, because it has serious cyclists at the forefront of its mind when compared to something from, say, Rapha, who understands some people just like to ride their bikes for fun.
That said, it’s stupidly comfortable and to quote Ned Flanders, it feels like wearing “nothing at all”. The ubiquitous three pockets at the rear are deep and keep bulky items secure, while the aforementioned silicone hem and sleeves are mightily grippy. Those sections of the jersey aren’t going anywhere.
Although not the warmest piece of kit on sale, it’s arguably one of the comfiest and Nopinz gets some serious credit for crafting something that seems to hug the frame like a seance skin. If it’s still not right, the company offers a completely made-to-measure service, so you essentially get the Saville Row suit of the cycling jersey world.
Nopinz Pro-1 Jersey: verdict
The fit, skin tight fabric and see-through elements won’t flatter (how do we put this lightly?) out of shape frames, but those lightning fast lithe riders will adore this kit. It feels fast from the moment you put it on and fits so tightly, it basically becomes an aerodynamic second skin.
At £79.99, it is also extremely keenly priced and there’s something to be said for that fact that all of the fabrics are sourced for Italy and the garments are made right here in the UK, rather than being farmed out to a factory in Indonesia.
Honestly, the Nopinz Pro-1 made me feel a tad overdressed when out for a casual training ride (and a bit chilly), but I can see it totally fitting in at a local sportive or racing event, where you’ll turn up feeling like you’re wearing bespoke race clothing… only for a fraction of the price.