At the end of last week, UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin won Stage 6 of the Tour de France in a new jersey from Champion Systems that looked slightly off. What was missing was the full length front zipper we’ve all come to expect from top-level road jerseys. The as yet unreleased Champ Sys Apex Lite jersey apparently performs so well that several riders on the UAE team are switching for its aero benefits.
Champion Systems Apex Lite Zipperless racing jersey
Pro riders have been doing time trials in skinsuits that zip up the back for added aero benefits for years, but it looks like this new Champ Sys racing jersey is the first to be raced in a World Tour road race.
The Apex Lite Zipperless jersey was actually developed together with the UAE team to provide an aerodynamic race jersey that was both comfortable and breathable. Pretty much everyone looking for a pro-level jersey has demanded a full-length zipper for years, mostly so you can unzip for more ventilation. But as we’ve seen more clothing makers stitch together more aero jerseys and everyday racing skinsuits, maybe it’s no surprise that the zipper could get ditched as well.
After racing in the standard Apex Lite jersey last summer, UAE realized that the four-way stretch Agile mesh body fabric was vented enough that most riders didn’t actually need to unzip to cool down. So why not drop the zip altogether and save some Watts.
Champion Systems says the stretchy jersey is easy to pull over your head, and gets a tight cut that fits close to the body. The UAE team riders are racing the Tour de France in a standard off the rack sizing (it will come in XS-XL, but the team uses only XS-M.) “The feedback from the riders has been excellent,” tells Champ Sys operations director Chris Reynolds. “Dan Martin is very particular with what products he’ll use in races, as he fully understands the demands and the benefits of certain products.” They know that not every rider or even racer will want to ditch the zip, but always want to offer consumer the same race tech their pros use.
The Apex Lite Zipperless jerseys look like they will get an official introduction later this summer, with stock & custom availability soon after. Until then, it looks like Champion Systems is offering a 15% discount on all custom clothing ordered in July with coupon code: “july15off”.