Spanish clothing maker Mobel does most of their business in custom printing & sewing tech-focused kit for individual and team cyclists & other athletes, as well as doing performance clothing production for other brands too. But they also have a line of stock cycling gear that feature some of the same fabric tech and cuts of their premium custom kit. When they showed us a long sleeve jersey with a unique fleece-backed fabric called BeHot we wanted to try it out. The fabric claims to generate heat when you move, making for a relatively thin jersey that promised to keep us warm in a wide range of conditions. We rode this jersey in their Zoom design from the super cold of winter into the cool days of spring. Join us after the break to see how it heated up in the end…
Billed as a winter jersey we put the Zoom-W (Zoom is their performance range, then W for winter) to the test in our cold central European weather. To be fair our winter was especially cold staying well below freezing for several months, and was orders of degree colder than anything Mobel’s Murcia region in Spain ever sees.
The jersey is surprisingly thin to the first touch and doesn’t feel any heavier than a standard weight long sleeve jersey. It’s made of a pretty standard seeming mix of 90% polyester and 10% lycra, but gets a brushed inner surface almost like a thermo-roubaix style fleece jersey, but without the added bulk. Somewhere in the weave though is the Italian BeHot fabric’s ‘secret sauce’ that the textile producer claims generates +1°C degree when stretched. From a technical perspective, they claim the heat generation is caused by molecular movement or friction, with no damage to the fabric itself.
Beside the special fabric used, everything else about the jersey is pretty basic. The BeHot Zoom jersey gets a thin silicone waistband gripper, three back pockets, a full-length zipper, plus a high collar and slightly extended cuffs. Pricing for the jersey varies, but tends to be under 100€ for the standard designs. You can fully customize it through Mobel’s custom cycling kit program, if you hit their order minimums.
The first impression of the jersey is its light feel, something we aren’t used to in a cold weather jersey for sure. The fabric feels surprisingly thin and is very elastic. That meant a close race cut fit, without a compressive feel. It also meant the jersey was easy to pull on over short or long sleeve baselayers, and that the high collar and long cuffs offered plenty of coverage and stayed in place well, keeping cold wind out.
Right after we’ve got the jersey, our region was hit by deep frost, which made for an ideal opportunity to try out what heat generating fabric can do. We then continued to ride with it through the winter into the spring on everything from shorter cyclocross efforts, through daily commuting, to longer cold weather road rides. The whole concept of generating heat by moving the fabric seems a bit like ‘snake oil’ science to us, and is really why we wanted to test it out from the start. But whether or not the BeHot technology is just a marketing gimmick, the fabric and jersey does work. If you stretch the fabric back and forth in your hand it does legitimately get warm. That said we tried the same thing with some other fabrics and got some similar (albeit to a lesser degree) effects. The answer to that is simply – friction. On the bike we don’t really move the fabric back and forth so much in any case.
But whatever the tech and gimmickry, the BeHot Zoom jersey does work. It’s been enough to wear just a baselayer, plus the jersey & a thin shell jacket on even multi-hour ride in temperatures below freezing. The jersey is comfortable and doesn’t create a feeling of another thick layer under a winter jacket. Then with milder weather at the end of winter and through the start of spring, we’ve tested the jersey without a jacket in the 5-15°C range without any additional layering, and it has become a standout. It’s managed to transition well from cold riding to the cool weather than might have only necessitated a regular jersey and arm warmers.
While we wouldn’t quite classify it as a winter jersey as its Spanish producers do, we’ve been happy with the BeHot fabric for a broad range of spring riding conditions (paired with a vest down close to freezing.) Then when it gets properly cold, the Zoom-W jersey makes for a great insulating layer without the normal bulk. Whether it amounts to the BeHot tech or not, it certainly makes for a good fall through spring jersey that you can get full customized in your own team kit colors.