Sometimes an idea comes along – and everyone thinks – why didn’t I think of that 10 years ago?
In the world of aero-marginal gains, NoPinz is a great simple idea. Reduce the aero drag from a flapping number and use a self-adhesive wallet to stick number to your back.
The other advantage of the Nopinz system is that:
- It means no messing with trying to attach you number with safety pins. (even though I do secretly like the ritual of number pinning; even though I never get it right first time. )
- Protects skinsuit from getting holes in. Big issue if you’ve spent a lot of money on a skinsuit
- Organisers should be happy because it means no-one trying to put glue on the number to keep it aero.
- Avoid safety pins falling out (which can happen)
I used this disposable speed wallet a few times back in April. You have to be careful in putting on. It’s a little fiddly, but about the same time as doing and undoing safety pins. It worked well from what I could experience. It stayed on 100% and definitely felt better from an aero perspective.
The only thing to watch out is that your skinsuit needs to be dry before putting on.
I’ve heard claims of 3-5 watts saving for a speed wallet. I haven’t tested, but intuitively it does makes sense. You can sometimes feel the sail effect of a number which is held in by safety pins. Even more watts claimed here
Given it has many advantages and few disadvantages, it definitely makes sense. By comparison to other aero-savings, it is quite affordable.
I’ve also used self-adhesive speed wallets for arms. Again, reduced flapping – offering perhaps 3-5 watts. It’s almost impossible to pin an arm number on yourself; these are easier than ordinary numbers to put on.
In addition to the disposable variety. You can also get Nopinz speed bands for your arms in pairs or singles (for about £35). I ordered a small. But, it slipped down by stick insect arms. Nopinz sent out an XSmall variety, but these were also too small. Nopinz made a 3rd custom version Size: Tejvan’s-arms. It reflects the very good customer service that there is a willingness to help out and offer speedy service to get in time for big race. This very good customer service is something many people have talked about too. Definitely appreciated.
This year, I’ve seen a lot of riders getting a skinsuit fitted with a nopinz wallet, permanently installed in the back. Nopinz can take many skinsuits and create a permanent speedpocket. Nopinz permanent SpeedPocket.
Also, selling well are the Nopinz Speedconcept TT suit which comes with speed pocket already installed.
Nopinz in the Pro peleton
If you were watching the team time trial at the Tour de France yesterday – you may have been admiring the aesthetic qualities of the nine men teams working seamlessly together. But, if you were a real TT connoisseur – you probably spent the whole stage being amazed at the number pinning capacity of Alberto Contador. How can you be a serious grand tour contender and not have your number pinned in properly? (OK, I was guilty of this too (at the Stang) – but it is another reason to get nopinz!)
Lotto Jumbo have been using this Nopinz service in the Tour de France 2015. They were the fastest team in the individual timetrial. (See: Cycling Weekly)
I would be very surprised if a lot more proteams didn’t take up the service for 2016. It is ironic that British amateur TT’s are quicker off the mark for aero gains than many professional world tour teams.
I also got some Velotoze shoecovers. I got size Xlarge (46-49) But, at the top, they were wider than my legs. But, again NoPinz were happy to swap for size Large (43-45.5) My shoe size is 46.5 so they are really very tight to get on. Being a hillclimber build is great until you try to get cycling equipment to fit!
The biggest problem with Nopinz is that there flagship product – the disposable speed wallet has not been available for quite a few months now. It’s been a frustrating few months in terms of aero losses – my Bioracer suit has not arrived for a long time, so I can’t get it retrofitted, but I can’t use disposable wallets either. I now realise that the custom Bioracer skinsuit I’ve ordered may struggle to retro fit a pocket so I need to use disposable wallets after all. It will make a little expensive. But, I’m looking forward to be racing without losing unnecessary watts!
I hope Nopinz get the disposable wallets soon, otherwise another company may see a gap in the market…