August 12, 2016 I VERTEX LONDON
A HIGHLY TECHNICAL FABRIC COMPRISED OF ALL THE FEATURES YOU NEED FOR A CYCLING CAP
Is it possible to have a cap that is both water repellent and breathable at the same time? Or a windproof vest with excellent ventilation? These trade-offs are inevitable in life—we gain something good only to lose something just as desirable. Compromise is unavoidable, even with our cycling kit. But have you ever wondered if you could have it all, without the compromise?
At Vertex, we continuously challenge ourselves to resolve issues that appear impossible to others. We believe a trade-off is simply a technical problem, and if we can improve the current technology, we will succeed in fixing the problem.
It was with this confidence that we approached a question commonly posed by cyclists: Why wear a cap that doesn’t achieve the purpose for which it was made? Okay, it keeps the sweat and rain out of your eyes and shields you from the low-lying sun in the spring and autumn. But when sweat starts building up after a long ride or your cap is completely drenched after a rain shower, you start questioning the point of wearing a cycling cap at all.
Cycling caps are made from cotton as it was once considered an ideal material for absorbing moisture. However, as cotton soaks up liquid, it becomes heavier and eventually is saturated. That is the nightmare situation most cyclists have experienced at some point: The heat and wet keep building upon your head, and the unabsorbed sweat rolls down your face and into your eyes. Yes, we’ve all been there.
Don’t blame those poor cycling caps too much though—they’re mainly a promotional tool for sponsors and the ultimate souvenir for cycling fans. For a sponsor, the opportunity to broadcast their brand on a cyclist’s head is no doubt worth the cost of producing thousands of hats per year. However, costing down for each cap is inevitable. The result is lower-quality cycling caps throughout the market, with less and less money spent on new materials or improved quality.
We started to wonder if we could replace the traditional cotton material with a technical fabric that is lightweight, windproof, and water repellent but still breathable. It was more like mission impossible at the beginning when we were finding that improving one feature would negate the good qualities of another. Manufacturers used to apply a coating to the fabric to make it windproof or water repellent, but this came at the cost of breathability. A coated fabric can’t breathe as its porosity is compromised.