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The Nopinz Pro-1 Aero Arm Warmers are unlike many in that they're designed to make you faster rather than keep you warm. Odd naming aside, the silicone grippers do a good job of keeping these in place and they're cheaper than similar competition, though as they're not windproof they're definitely for warmer days.
Nopinz is known for clothing that's 'tailored for speed,' and these arm warmers fit right in. In fact, Nopinz itself suggests that maybe these should be called 'aero sleeves' instead of 'arm warmers.' If only they'd had some sort of influence there...
Out on the road and it's apparent these offer minimal protection from the wind, and even less from rain or road spray. They do offer a little warmth; on a few summer evening rides as the sun set, I pulled these on. The layer of fabric makes the chill more bearable.
Unlike other arm sleeves we've tested, such as the £29.95 Megmeister Ultrafris Pro Cool and the £20 Cycology Logo sun sleeves (both of which are actually designed to cool rather than warm you), the Pro-1s don't have a published UPF rating, despite the white version being advertised for use in hot weather.
The way that the fabric is designed means the thinner sections between the ribs are virtually see-through, though, so it's easy to see why.
The thin fabric means they take up hardly any space at all – they fit in even the smallest of my jersey pockets – but realistically these are designed to stay on for the duration of the fast-paced ride or time trial.
Nopinz doesn't make any claims of just how much faster they'll make you, simply saying they're 'much more aero than your arms,' and if that's true then great – certainly this ribbed fabric, or 'Aerostripe' as Nopinz calls it, features widely in the field of aero socks and skinsuits. In theory the ribs cause a turbulent boundary layer to form, helping air to stay attached for longer and therefore cause a smaller wake – the part that causes the most drag.
Unfortunately, the last time we put our arms in a wind tunnel we just uncontrollably did the YMCA dance until somebody switched it off, which messed up the readings, so we can neither confirm nor deny.
Fit wise, these look short and indeed aren't the longest (or warmest) of warmers, but paired just fine with any sensibly-sleeved jersey, even on my relatively long arms. Nopinz has a specific size guide for arm warmers which is handy (army?), especially as the fit is slightly more generous than some other aero clothing – it's definitely worth double-checking.
The silicone grippers at both the top and bottom of the sleeves ensure they stay put against the skin and don't wriggle up or down, and I was pleased to find there are no labels inside – that's rare and very welcome. However, they grippers can stick together in your pocket, so these aren't the easiest to put on whilst riding along.
The use of thermographics means the fabric is uninterrupted in the pursuit of smooth aerodynamics, and also means the designs won't peel off like so many arm warmers graphics seem to. Unfortunately, while the black versions get reflective patches, the navy and white versions do not.
At £22.99 the Pro-1 arm warmers are slightly cheaper than the extremely similar Lusso Active Aero (£24.99), and Lusso is a brand well known for its value so not a bad one to beat.
However, the lack of actual warmth in these arm warmers means their usefulness is limited to inclement days in warmer months. Or just to when you want to go faster... like Nopinz, you might want to think of these as aero sleeves instead.
Quality summer aero sleeves with a slightly misleading name – they're not windproof or particularly warm
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Nopinz Pro-1 Aero Arm Warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Nopinz says: "We think of these as Aero Sleeves as they're a lot more aero than your arms, and a simple and effective racing accessory. And they provide some warmth too. But being Nopinz, we've even produced a set in white which can be used for an aero advantage on warm race days."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Low profile silicone gripper.
Reflective barcode graphic (on black version only).
They're a good price – for aero sleeves.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For warmer races they're ideal – think April-September – as they're more aero sleeves than arm warmers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
No labels inside!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not the easiest to put on whilst riding as the silicone grippers stick together.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, they're cheaper than the near-identical Lusso version, which is good. Other arm warmers are often more expensive, but they also offer a lot more protection from the elements.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The aero claims are good, they stay up well, they have no annoying labels and the graphics won't peel as they do on so many arm warmers. The lack of focus on warmth means they're not very versatile though, and best reserved for warmer weather – plus only the black version gets reflective accents.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,