If you spent this Sunday evening all red-faced and drenched in sweat as you struggled up that final hill on Zwift, that dodgy decades-old fan coughing lumps of stagnant warm air in your face, then Ekoi may just have the perfect solution for your next humid indoor interval session.
The quirky French cycling brand have launched their latest left-field innovation designed to keep you cool while you log those winter miles in the shed – the sleeveless Refresh vest.
Not only will the Refresh’s lack of arms make you look as cool as retired Italian icon Salvatore ‘Toto’ Commesso (that’s one for the noughties pro cycling fans), it will literally keep you cool with what Ekoi claims is an "unprecedented technological solution that will revolutionise indoor cycling”.
The result of two years of research, and months of testing with pros such as Warren Barguil and Maxime Bouet, the Refresh vest contains two membranes, designed to control your body temperature and keep you fresh while pedalling frantically in front of your laptop.
The vest’s inner membrane is hydrophobic, “collecting” your sweat without absorbing it, while the second membrane, on the outside of the vest, is water-repellent.
Finally, and this is the best bit, the vest will also keep you cool with the help of four in-built battery-operated fans.
Yes, you read that right – with Ekoi’s new Cool-Jack system, a process patented by SATT* Sud-Est in collaboration with the French brand, you can ditch that battered old fan in the corner and instead wear your own “on-board blowers”.
Four fans, Jeremy? That’s insane!
I’ve heard you can’t turn the fans into turbo chargers on the road, however, which is a pity.
According to tests carried out by Ekoi, the Refresh vest ensures that your body temperature will increase at a slower rate while using a turbo trainer than if you were wearing a standard cycling kit.
“In fact,” Ekoi says, “this results in a reduction in the temperature at the surface of the skin, a significant reduction in the feeling of fatigue, and an increase in comfort during exercise.”
And an increase in the knowledge that you look a bit silly wearing four fans strapped to your torso, but I suppose something has to give somewhere.
The Refresh is currently available direct from Ekoi’s website for €210, or roughly £190, for those serious (very serious) about keeping cool during the long, cold winters in the shed.
Of course, the Refresh vest isn’t the first wacky innovation from Ekoi designed to shake up the conservative world of cycling style.
Back in 2017, the French brand launched the Solair jersey, which utilised a ‘trans-bronzing’ effect in order to block out the sun’s harmful UV-B rays, while letting in the UV-A rays that allow the skin to tan – with the ultimate aim of ridding us all of the ultimate cycling badge of honour: the unsightly tan lines.
What will they think of next? An indoor trainer that tans you evenly while you ride? Now, there’s an idea – give me Ekoi’s number…
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.