Even a low speed crash can burn through standard cycling kits and cause painful road rash. The new Q36.5 Grid Skin series is one of the first road cycling specific cycling apparel product lines that integrates strategically placed protection into a lightweight and aerodynamic cycling kit. Q36.5 has incorporated GRDXKN technology which is a 3D printed structures into their jersey and bib shorts which help reduce aerodynamic drag and provide protection against a crash. In this review we’ll be looking at two items in the Grid Skin collection: the $265 Grid Skin Jersey and the $304 Grid Skin Bib Shorts. To match the premium price tags, both pieces utilize high-tech materials and form-fitting cuts. The jersey in particular has their Pinstripe X material to wick moisture along with a seamless front design. With the bib shorts, Q36.5 has added lumbar support along with 100% recycled fabrics.
The Q36.5 Grid Skin bib shorts and jersey combine high-tech fabrics and the innovative aerodynamic and crash-resistant GRDXKN technology.
|Grid Skin Bib Shorts
|Grid Skin Jersey
|– Comfortable and elastic bib straps
– Strategically placed seams for a next-to-skin feel
– Supportive chamois for short or long rides
|– Modern solid color scheme with minimal branding
– Integrated reflective hit points for additional visibility
– Long sleeves with raw edges for additional protection and aerodynamics
|– Premium price
|– Premium price
– Bunches around neck for those with broader shoulders
|Where to Buy (US)
While most cycling apparel come folded in basic bags, Q36.5 has taken apparel packaging to the next level. Each piece comes in a separate unique cardboard box with tissue wrapping that looks like it should belong under a Christmas tree instead of a shipping box. The jersey comes in a flat cardboard box, while the bib short comes wrapped in an elastic band and long rectangular box that folds open like a flower. Even though you’ll just throw the packaging away, it’s a thoughtful detail that helps justify the price.
GRID SKIN JERSEY
One of the most prominent pieces in the Grid Skin collection is the jersey which combines a sleek aerodynamic design with the GRDXKN technology. This is a highly breathable short sleeve with full front zipper and low collar designed for warm weather riding. Q36.5 offers the jersey in three colors options: Australian green, navy and black. Each of the color schemes have a modern single color design with almost no branding. The only noticeable branding is the Q36.5 logo is on a tab along the front full length full zipper. It’s a standard single zipper design with a zipper garage on the bottom along with reflective details. For improved aerodynamics this has a seam-free front with a lower collar and raw edges on the cuffs.
With the navy version of the jersey, what we have in this review, the front zipper has a gray accent color and helps breakup the jersey. The GRDSKIN structure can be found on the shoulders here to help trip the flow and provide protection if you fall. Visually it looks like embossed three-point stars clustered around the edges of the shoulder. Inside the jersey you’ll find some high-density foam under those same locations which is what provides the actual protection. On the rear you’ll find a multi-panel design with reinforcements along the three standard pockets. There is an additional zippered pocket on the right side for small valuables and a reflective tab on the other side for nighttime visibility. The fabric on the jersey is highly elastic and lightweight with a mesh pattern that is nearly transparent for breathability.
GRID SKIN BIB SHORTS
To complete the kit we also have the matching Grid Skin Bib Shorts. The Bib Shorts combines the GRDXKN technology into a form-fitting and high-performance bib shorts for road cycling. These are also a warm weather item with excellent breathability and UV protection for summer or spring riding. Q36.5 only offers these in a black finish which utilizes 100% recycled material for a more eco-sustainable product. The Grid Skin Bib Shorts use a pre-shaped cut that provides an ergonomic fit to enhance performance and comfort. Using body mapping, the panels and seams have been optimized for pedaling.
Q36.5 has focused on every detail of the bib shorts including raw leg cuffs which eliminates bulky fabrics and still retains a compressive fit to hold leg warmers in place. The straps are also lightweight and highly elastic with a nearly seamless design for comfort. Both straps connect to a flexible and lightweight back panel which makes it easy to put the bib shorts on or off. In terms of chamois, Q36.5 utilizes an Elastic Interface chamois which uses 3D SuperMolded-Anatomic construction. This combines multiple density foams and thicknesses that has been specifically calibrated.
ON THE ROAD
We choose to go with the large jersey and bib shorts for our 6’1” 165lb tester as European clothing tends to run smaller than US brands. Both items have a contoured and close fitting design with enough elasticity to be comfortable for any length of ride. In hindsight, we think the medium size would have been a better choice as our large versions lacked a compressive fit we expected. Even with the slightly larger fit, both the jersey and bib shorts provided a next-to-skin fit that makes you quickly forget you’re wearing them. The high tech fabrics and breathable material keep you cool even as the temperature rises. We were particularly impressed with the wide and comfortable bib straps and raw edges on the jersey and bib short hems which eliminate any fabric bulk. While we can’t vouch for the crash protection of the GRDXKN technology, the star patterns provide a nice visual contrast and make you feel faster and slightly safer.
Overall, we found the Q36.5 Grid Skin Bib Shorts and Jersey to be a comfortable and innovative cycling kit. Both pieces have high-tech and lightweight fabric constructions that are comfortable for nearly any length of ride. We were lucky enough to not have to test the crash protection claims, but appreciate the attention to detail and strategic positioning of the extra material. The cycling kit was comfortable both in warmer temperatures and colder temperatures by adding layers and did not inhibit our range of motion or pedal stroke. Obviously, the high price of both items is one of the big downsides especially compared to either premium brands like Velocio or Ale. That said, if you’re looking for the ultimate cycling apparel with built in crash protection and aerodynamics the Grid Skin Bib Shorts and Jersey are great options.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Q36.5. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.