Review: Primal Helix Accento Bib Shorts and Jersey

Primal Helix
For 12 years Primal have been designing the highest quality cycle apparel from their base in Denver, Colorado. I was first introduced to the brand through their custom kit range; Wightlink RT chose the Evo:Corsa bib shorts and Race-cut jersey to be customised with their yellow and blue colour way, and I was incredibly pleased with it whilst I was a member of the team.

Earlier in the year I reviewed the Primal Paradigm Jacket (Link) on the blog; without doubt one of the best performing winter jackets I have ever used. The reminder of the quality of this kit made me keen to also try their flagship summer apparel; the Helix range.

The Helix range uses the most advanced fabric and chamois technology to produce a set of bib shorts and a jersey that are some of the most comfortable and best looking that I have worn.

The Helix Accento Bib Shorts

Primal Helix
A pair of cycling shorts is far more than the sum of their component parts, but the quality of those component parts plays a significant role in determining how comfortable your bib shorts are; the Primal Helix bib shorts are a prime example of this. If ever there was an elite level of bibs, these are them.

Starting from the bottom up, the Helix bib shorts use the HX8 Carbon Chamois; an Italian chammy engineered to give progressive reduction in thickness from the pressure points outwards. The result is quite a large pad area, which is thick and padded in the centre, but thinner and more flexible on the curvature around the legs. The HX8 chamois took a little while to get used to, due mainly to its size, but once accustomed to it, it provides a superb level of comfort; both protecting from chafing and keeping blood flowing to your undercarriage.

The shorts themselves use two fabrics; the Vero and Z92. The latter is a Primal compression fabric, and is used on the lower cuffs of the shorts to provide a closer fitting cut and improved aerodynamics. The Z92 has an almost golf ball like texture to it, which is both effective at wicking away sweat, and keeping you cool. The Vero fabric is a luxurious Lycra (if such thing exists), and gives a great feel and stretch, to provide a contoured look and great comfort.

Fit and performance are increased by small added details like the silicone leg gripper and the well cut mesh bibs, and the shorts look great with their bold block colours and accents (you can of course have these as customised team kit as well).

Overall, a superb pair of bib shorts. The large pad and contoured foam density gives great comfort, and the fabrics and cut provide a flattering and race orientated look and performance.

The Primal Helix Accento Bib Shorts are available at Wiggle (Link)
Primal Helix Shorts
The Primal Helix use the Vero Compression fabric on the uppers, and the Z92 fabric on the lower cuffs

Primal Helix Shorts
The Z92 fabric gives a close fit, and also helps to improve aerodynamics

The Helix Accento Jersey

Primal Helix Accento Jersey
To complement the Primal Helix bib shorts, there is also a Helix short sleeved jersey; like the bibs available in two different styles, Accento and Virex (as well as any custom style you wish). If the Helix bib shorts were full of technology, then the Accento jersey is overflowing with it.

The Helix jersey uses Primal's "Contoured Race Cut Fit"; a close fitting and streamlined fit for those that want the race style. It has a robust full length YKK zipper to keep you cool, and it has a full length silicone waist gripper to keep things in place when the going gets tough.

Fabric technology in the Helix Jersey is right up there; it uses the Z92 compression fabric on the sleeves to ensure a close fitting and aerodynamic cut, and it uses a high-stretch lightweight SLR ION fabric on the body of the jersey to give a really tailored feel. This is without doubt one of the best fitting and best looking jerseys I have worn to date, and it is washing and lasting well too (something that isn't always the case with high-end lightweight fabrics).

The attention to detail in the design of the Helix jersey is clear too. The three rear pockets are angled to allow easier access to their contents, and there are neat fabric additions like the Vortex panel on the shoulders, which allows additional stretch and ventilation to increase the movement in your arms.

This really is a superb jersey, and I think that the pictures do it more justice than I can put down in words. It fits like a glove, uses very clever fabrics, and is putting up well with many hours of use. Frequently found at the top of my jersey drawer, ready to head out on the bike again.

The Primal Helix Accento Jersey is available at Wiggle (Link)
Primal Helix Accento Jersey
Striking colours and fantastic fabrics on the Primal Helix Accento Jersey

Primal Helix Accento Jersey
The SLR ION fabric provides stretch and ventilation on the back of the Helix jersey

Primal Helix Accento Jersey
Angled pockets help access on the move, and the Vortex panels on the shoulders improve fit

Primal Helix Accento Jersey
Quality YKK Zip on the Primal Accento Jersey

As on the cuffs of the shorts, the sleeves of the arms use the Z92 fabric to ensure a close and comfortable fit

A Note On Sizing

From my experience, it is worth sizing a little smaller with Primal kit, if you are in doubt. I often wear a Medium in many brands, but opted for a Small jersey in the Helix kit, which fits superbly. The Medium shorts that I have are a little on the generous size, but beneficial for the added length. If you are between sizes, or prefer a race-orientated fit, consider opting for the smaller of the two sizes in question.


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