The dictionary definition of bionics reads “the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.” It’s one of the many reasons the desert fox, wallabys and a snow grouse, among many other exotic animals, feature prominently on both X-bionic’s website and in the Verona showroom.
Drawing inspiration from some of nature’s most robust creatures has seen the manufacturer register some 69 patents, as well as over 200 design patents. The result? A more than three-inch glossy thick awards book taking pride of place in the showroom. Within the cycling business, the firm has registered iF design awards, Eurobike Awards on each year it has entered a garment for review and many more.
It’s much the same story where the brand is visible in professional circuits, with the Power Horse triathlon team sporting the garments and X-bionic clad athletes registering consecutive Ironman wins from 2009 to 2013, among other victories.
It’s by no coincidence then that X-bionic lays claim to be the number one performance brand in its homeland at present. But why should UK retailers care, the brand’s not been represented in here for some time now?
“We’re signing up at present,” says UK country manager Zach Thackray. “My main aim for X-Bionic is that it is a destination brand available through bricks and mortar stores. We’re working closely with partners on Trick Test events that give dealers the potential to give their customers the chance to ’try before they buy’. We’re offering one test event per dealer, per year at present.”
The product itself is something that the firm says “has to be tried to be believed” and as a result, retailers are fully supported by the brand when dishing out demo gear. The purchase rate, once tried, is apparently incredibly high. Going head-to-head with the likes of Assos, the firm says, in both performance and value terms, it believes the end-user will choose X-bionic every time once experienced first hand.
What the firm has lacked to date that has been a tried and tested formula for driving sales of high-end gear is the backing of a pro tour team, something the Italian business aims to have in place by the 2017 season.
The brand of today is a far more technically advanced beast when compared to the last outing in UK stores. On the factory floor you’ll find intricate machines reading digital maps of a garment, before weaving jerseys in as little as 20 minutes. That’s no typical jersey either, X-Bionic’s chosen fabric is Polyamide, which the firm is able to intricately shape into a proprietary 3D structure, typically utilised at the chest and back to assist overheating and aid insulation during recovery. The result of such technologies is an incredibly consistent and managed body temperature – in fact independent studies have shown that certain garments are not only excellent at maintaining the perfect 37 degrees body heat, but also in aiding muscle longevity while in the saddle – something to which several existing retailers touring the Verona facility were happy to testify to.
With women’s cycling and sales of gear now outstripping men in some areas, it was re-assuring to be told that equal research and development cash is dished out for both sexes. R&D cash has also gone into projects such as producing a proprietary chamois pad, which unlike the competition’s offerings, sits on the outer side of garments. Again, the firm suggests that judgement of this approach is best reserved until in the saddle.
So all of these quirky design features must have some performance advantages, right? Well yes, in short garments using the firm’s Effektor technologies claim to give a ten per cent performance boost, delivered via a seven per cent reduction in lactate production, a 2.4 beats per minute slower heart rate and 50 per cent less heat build up. Add to that a 20 per cent faster recovery time and the claims are too bold to not peak curiosity, particularly if your customer is regularly competing at a high level. Interestingly, these stats come from the Verona University, not X-Bionic’s own R&D lab.
In a coordinated effort to drive customers to stockists, the brand is expected to score coverage in several mainstream and cycling press publications, including GQ, SquareMile, The Telegraph, Cyclist, ProCycling and many more.
With that in mind, the entire catalogue is now ready to be shipped to UK shores in two days direct from the Italian factory where each garment is hand checked prior to being packaged up and sent on its way.
“I think one thing to stress about X-Bionic and the beauty of having our own factory, is that we are reactive to stock. We do not make product for others meaning we are always in stock,” concludes Thackary.
Dealers are offered packages that will include manikins and point of sale that’ll effectively show off the partial-compression gear, among other items.
For UK sales contact X-Bionic UK via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call on 07454869573.