Elastic Interface: The Appliance of Chamois Science
by Robert Thorpe
by Robert Thorpe
Are you sitting comfortably? It’s an interesting question, especially for a cyclist. Far too often riders simply choose their bib shorts based on design or the feel and compression of the Lycra, without considering the pad itself. And yet, when we think about it, the pad is the most important choice. There’s also a whole lot of science and technical design that goes into ensuring that you are indeed ‘sitting very comfortably!’
For example, are you aware that the pad I’d designed totally different for men and for women; for long rides and short rides, days in the mountains and for triathlon? It’s no longer simply a case of putting a sponge down your trousers and hoping for the best. However, one element that a good pad shares with a sponge is the ability to take away moisture – yes, I’m sorry to tell you that your butt does sweat! Ultimately, the really good brands take this into consideration when developing their pads. Rest assured too – pardon the pun – that the majority of high end performance clothing brands do not develop their own pads, oh no. Instead they take the sensible route and bring in the industry experts like Elastic Interface from Italy.
These people love your butt, they really do. They spend endless hours and lots of research resources to ensure that you are indeed ‘sitting comfortably.’ This dynamic technical brand look at 5 key areas to max,use the performance of their products for the ever changing cycling world: reliability, breathability, elastic energy, energy absorption and vibration dampening. If we start to unpick each of these elements, you can start to see why the pad has to differ for the variety of riding circumstances. Vibration dampening and energy absorption is critical for long hard days in the mountains, but can maybe be reduced for a lighter pad that is designed for TT and sprinting. Elastic memory is critical, when you consider the continual forces that the pad undergoes. As the interface between the body and the saddle, a chamois pad is constantly stressed during the ride. The elastic memory is what returns the pad to its original shape after being stretched, compressed and otherwise distorted. You want to ensure that the pad lasts as long as the shorts themselves, which is why the worlds leading clothing brands choose Elastic Interface.
Here at Pedalnorth we also like to ensure that products are as environmentally friendly as possible, and thankfully this stylish performance pad brand from Italy share our ethos. They’re fully signed up to the 3R principles: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, building this into their development and production processes. They’ve developed 6 exclusive fabrics, ensuring their environmental credentials in the technicity and production.
Elastic Interface highlight 5 key areas of performance for these fabrics, so that when the pad is formed, you the rider can simply concentrate on cycling. Colour fastness is looked at, so that nothing is transferred to the skin and so that the pad continues to look as good as it performs. Bacteriostasis has always been one of the holy grails when developing Elastic Interface fabrics. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and ultimately reduces skin irritations and rashes caused by sweat – remember, we told you earlier that your butt does sweat I’m afraid! This of course brings me onto the hydrophilic treatment that all of their fabrics undergo, for a faster draining of sweat and moister; yes moisture management is the key to every good chamois. Add to this, the Elastic Interface (REPOC) – reduced points of contact, which maximise air circulation to prevent overheating, and you’re well on the way to having the very best scientifically designed cycling pad on the market.
Feeling great against the skin is a must for any pad, but a fabric also has to be breathable and quick drying. Elastic Interface use a technique known as ‘brushing’, and if the fabrics are made with carbon filaments too, they undergo one more step known as ‘emerising’ which makes them softer. Stay with me guys, as we’re just about there, even though we’ve only touched the surface of the wide spectrum of technology that goes into making your ride comfortable. Finally then it’s ‘elasticity’ and being able to work with a cyclist’s body and to follow every pedal stroke without stiffness or unwanted chaffing or friction; and thankfully Elastic Interface hold this element very highly, ensuring that the pad, whilst being slim and body formed, works with you and not against you.
Next time we’ll look at the how the chamois varies depending on it’s intended use and between men and women. ‘Butt’ for now, simply remember this: ‘not all pads are created equally, and how much effort you put into choosing yours will ultimately benefit you through each and every pedal stroke and on every stretch of tarmac or trail.