Innovative and award-winning Swiss-Italian sportswear brand X-Bionic's Summer Light arm warmers-cum-compression sleeves are designed for mild days when you still want the benefits of compression without overheating. They work – but they come at a steep price.
The Summerlights weigh in at 54g on our scales and are possibly the most packed-with-innovation arm warmers I've ever come across, with expansion ribs at the elbow for free movement, air-guide ribbing that helps with air circulation around the whole limb, and Thermal Window technology on the inner arm to maximise heat dissipation. All this, and a completely seamless construction.
Fundamentally, the compression aims to reduce the vibrations you feel through your arms while out on the road, and I have to say that they do seem to work over the course of a long ride. It's important to pick the right size to get the most out of the compression, and I'd recommend following the fitting guidelines on X-Bionic's website instead of your normal arm warmer size, just to be safe.
Made of a series of fine yarns (80% polyamide, 10% elastane and 10% polypropylene), the fabric wicks away sweat very effectively, and possesses a merino-like quality, staving off morning chills yet keeping you cool when the temperatures reach the high teens. They offer sun protection too, but while they're made for summer months, I think they're equally at home on mild spring and autumn days when the weather doesn't quite call for the full Roubaix lining or a full-sleeve jersey that you might wear for a longer steady spin.
The yarns also wash well – I've yet to see any degradation in their performance or comfort following several trips to the washing machine.
With all this technology and thought gone into the warmers' construction, it's perhaps not surprising that X-Bionic has stuck with the general trend seen throughout its range and gone with a bold design. Available in white or black with the panels and features highlighted in varying shades of grey and X-Bionic's largely orange logo, the design will be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. In short, if you like your cycling clothes bold and distinctive, you'll probably like these.
This brings us to the cost – at £39 they're edging towards the more expensive end of the market for a set of arm warmers, and seeing as you probably won't want to be using them in the depths of winter, this limits their appeal to all but the most devout supporters of compression wear and enthusiasts of marginal gains.
Overall, a good pair of compression sleeves/fair weather arm warmers for the bike
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Make and model: X-Bionic Summer Light Arm warmer
Size tested: L/XL, Arm warmer no seam,Black/Anthracite
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Designed for fans of compression wear who want to reduce the effects of road buzz on their arms.
Thanks to the use of extremely fine yarns, you can even take advantage of the benefits of X-Impact Technology™, Partial Kompression und ExpansionRibs™ on warmer days. Arm in the Light line also offer effective sun protection.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The knitted fabric of the ExpansionRibs™ folds apart based on the accordion principle, insuring that cold doesn't cool down the elbows. Even when sharply bent, the insulating effect is maintained through warm air stored in the interior. The flexibility of the ExpansionRibs™ and the elasticity of the yarn allow a frictionless freedom of movement.
Work like spacers and borders along the Air-Conditioning Channel® for effective air circulation.
X-BIONIC® Thermal Window
The thermal window on the inside of the arm dissipates heat at a controlled rate. The fine knitted structure immediately ducts moisture away.
Applying a new manufacturing process, this style can be made in one piece. That means no more seams. The fabric is continuous, allowing for a more uniform compression. Pressure is more comfortable and effective.
£39 seems a lots for what is essentially a pair of non-winter arm warmers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – vibrations are reduced, and they provide a light layer over the arms for protection from cooler weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The materials used – fabrics like this are very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – if I could find them on sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not if they were after a simple pair of arm warmers; only if their specific needs matched up with the product.
About the tester
Age: 25 Height: 188cm Weight: 83kg
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,