An excellent idea rendered counterproductive thanks to the thick towelling material. Whilst the SubZero shorts provided a positive cooling effect when utilised correctly, the sweatbands caused more overheating than they quelled.
Keep your handlebars dry
Towelling material is way too hot
Ice packs melt quickly
Stitching is not neat
NoPinz's SubZero kit seeks to offer cyclists a way to stay cool during hard efforts on the turbo trainer by embedding frozen gel packs into stitched pockets within the garments.
The collection consists of shorts as well as tri-suits, with these sweatbands an accessory within the range.
In the past, we've been extremely impressed with creations from this inventive brand, and the accompanying SubZero shorts scored highly. These sweatbands, unfortunately, missed the mark.
NoPinz SubZero sweat bands construction
The SubZero sweatbands feature an absorbent towelling upper, to keep sweat from dripping onto the handlebars, with a mesh back that provides a pocket in which to house freeze packs.
The brand suggests that you can also fit an energy gel in there, putting that last effort boost in easy reach.
The accompanying gel packs are smaller than those designed to be placed inside the shorts and need replacing around every 20-30 minutes, according to the brand.
Whilst the shorts I received from NoPinz look professionally constructed and well finished, the stitching on these sweatbands was not perfect, with a few stray strands pulling away from the seam from the first wear.
The 'SubZero' logo hasn't printed very smoothly onto the towelling fabric, either.
NoPinz SubZero sweat bands: the ride
I've replaced several headsets in the past having corroded the internals thanks to my home training efforts, so I'm well aware of the damage sweat can do to the front end of a bike. Therefore, I absolutely appreciate the benefits that could come from soaking up sweat before it reaches the handlebar.
However, for me, the towelling fabric used on the front of these sweatbands was far too thick. I found myself fixating on the resultant overheating during efforts, and eventually clawing them off 10-minutes into a 20-minute block, relieved to finally feel the cool air of my fan reach bare skin.
Of course the gel packs do help towards the goal of preventing overheating, but I found their effect was far outweighed by the heavy, sweat-soaking fabric on the outer arm.
Whilst I'm all for preventing my own sweat from destroying my handlebar tape over winter, for now I think a towel will have to suffice: having the area blocked off from the cooling effect of the fan felt claustrophobic and distracting.
Other items within NoPinz's SubZero range, such as the shorts also tested, have been proven successful - and its innovations such as the number pocket skinsuits have impressed members of the Cycling Weekly tech team before. We certainly wouldn't want to discourage the brand from further creativity - and perhaps we'll see a 'lightweight sweatband' out to impress us soon!
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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