Primal Goes Pro with New Alitios Etheros Kit
Is This Primal's Best Kit Ever?
When I think of Primal kit, the word that comes to mind is “fun.” They’re well known for bold (even edgy) designs and bright (sometimes psychedelic) colors, including jerseys featuring different states, sports teams, the US military, colleges/universities, and rock bands — such as Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon. Speaking of fun, it doesn’t get more fun than channeling my inner Cipo when I ride in Primal’s Zebra Evo 2.0 kit.
Not the Via Roma 2002
I know Primal kit is pretty popular with the mountain bike and gravel crowd, as well as road riders who aren’t so much into the racing scene. But it’s not a brand that usually comes to mind when you think of die hard roadies. Primal wants to change that with their new Alitios line of clothing. In particular, the Etheros jersey and bibs. According to Primal:
Etheros pattern is three dimensionally designed to help improve your riding position and keep you comfortable. Advanced CoolEver™ fibers in the jerseyprovide a 30% increase in surface area allowing the fabric to discharge sweat faster and provide more airflow, meaning a faster drying time with the softest touch. The ETHEROS SE bibs feature the REVOLUTIONAL® ENERGY fabric by Italian mill Carvico.
Alitios Etheros Jersey – $150
- COOLEVER® Fabric
- Multi-Mesh Spandex®
- FlexPro Grippers
- YKK Zipper
- 3 Angled Rear Cargo Pockets
- Zipper Guard
- 3D Pattern
- Raglan Sleeves
- Elite Fit
- COOLEVER® stretchable fabric quickly absorbs and dries sweat and moisture. It has a soft texture with excellent moisture management properties that guarantee to keep you nice and dry. It allows the wearer to experience maximum freedom of movement.
- Technical Specs: Polyester 84% | Spandex 16% | 290g/yard | 4-way stretch
First of all, let me say that I love the coral color (I know the color in the pics might look more pink-ish/salmon depending on the light). I know some of y’all might not consider it very “manly,” but remember … you’re talking to a guy who isn’t afraid to ride wearing pink. #realmenwearpink It’s a different enough color to stand out and be noticed without being loud/in your face. But if your fashion taste leans more conservatively, the Alitios Etheros Jersey can be had in grey or navy.
There are two things I noticed right away when I picked up the jersey. First, the material is uber soft. Smooth and silky are words that come to mind the way it feels to the touch. And it’s very light. There’s no mistaking the Alitios Etheros for anything but a warm/hot weather jersey.
About the same weight as three slices of bread
Construction-wise, the Alitos Etheros Jersey consists of 11 panels (including the raglan sleeves) plus the nearly collar-less collar that are serge stitched. The “main” panels are a “solid” stretch material. The back and underarm panels are a stretch mesh material for cooling/wicking. The sleeve ends are a gripper panel unto their own with tiny silicon dots.
Silicon gripper dots mean no slip
Speaking of grip, the bottom of the jersey is held in place with a combination of a gripper strip (the black with PRIMAL) and small (white) panels with silicon dots (same as the sleeve ends)
The usual three (fairly deep) rear jersey pockets plus a secure zipper pocket
Almost the entire back of the jersey is a mesh material to vent/wick away sweat
Size-wise, I got a size small and it fit me (130 pound skinny guy) well. Not uber tight, suck your gut in race fit. Rather, comfortable without being too constricting race fit (that said, if you’re a few kilos overweight, there won’t be any hiding it).
Of course it’s a full-zip jersey. The YKK gold standard zipper locks in place when the pull tab is in the down position but moves freely when it’s flipped up. NOTE the full-length zipper guard (right photo) to prevent the zipper from snagging on bib/base layer.
Low cut collar
Race fit compression and silicon dot sleeve ends grip my guns aka skinny arms
Underarm mesh for venting and to wick away sweat
Aliotos Etheros Bibs – $250
- REVOLUTIONAL® ENERGY by Carvico
- MARC® Laser Perforated Bib Straps
- TMF HX8 Race Chamois
- Silicone Grippers
- UPF 50+
- Elite Fit
- REVOLUTIONAL® ENERGY by Carvico – UV resistant and rated UPF 50+, this award-winning fabric provides excellent muscle control and the reduction of lactic acid in the muscles for all-day protection and support. Compressive, yet gentle, REVOLUTIONAL® ENERGY provides elite sports performance while keeping its form through the lifespan of the garment. Cold wash, do not dry clean.
- Technical Specs: 71% Polyamide 29% Elastine | UPF 50+ | 195 g/m² | 4-way stretch
In some ways, bib shorts are bib shorts. The basic design is the same across all manufacturers and Primal is no different (which is a good thing):
- Relatively high cut front
- Wide straps
Tried and true, don’t fix what ain’t broken bib shorts design
Weight-wise, the Alitios Etheros bib shorts are on par with other race bibs I’ve tested in the “premium” category
Construction-wise, the Alitios Etheros bib shorts are relatively “minimalistic” with just 5 panels in the shorts sections (the number of panels in some other manufacturers bib shorts is double digits) that are flat stitched. But despite fewer panels, the Alitios Etheros bib shorts formed smoothly and comfortably to my ectomorph body contours.
The Y-back and straps of the bib part are a single piece of very lightweight and almost sheer stretch material that connects to two mesh side panels.
Laser cut bib straps are the new gold standard
The best way to see the perforations is to hold the straps up to light
One thing that’s slightly different about the Alitios Etheros bib shorts are the leg grippers. Most race bib shorts have a fairly wide leg gripper. The leg grippers in the Alitios Etheros are more narrow (but not as narrow as old school elastic grippers). But the leg grippers still grip with no slip. And because they’re not as wide, they’re not as prone to the dreaded “sausage effect.”
The leg grippers are about half as wide as most other race bib shorts
The compression of the Alitios Etheros shorts is firm enough that they don’t just pull on — a little tugging is involved. But — just like the jersey — it’s not full-on race fit. For me (size small), it was an all-day comfortable race fit with just enough to notice/feel it compression.
Form fitting with freedom of movement — what you want in a pair of bib shorts
Of course, what matters most in any pair of bib shorts is the pad/chamois. Primal uses their HX8 Carbon Italian Chamois that is 4-density, 4-way stretch. As with most other modern pads, the fabrics are antibacterial and antimicrobial. Primal claims the Resistex® Anti-Static Carbon fabric “prevents abrasion and promotes blood flow.” All I can say is that it’s comfortable and that the chamois didn’t cause any abrasion or other problems down under.
Ridges delineate the four different foam thicknesses/densities
In a departure from a lot of other modern pads, the HX8 Carbon Italian Chamois doesn’t have a center channel and isn’t dimpled. But my butt and other important bits didn’t have any issues or complaints. Primal rates the Aliotos Etheros bib shorts for 8+ hours riding. I can’t attest to that (because I really don’t have any desire to spend 8+ hours in the saddle), but I was more than comfortable on 4-6 hour rides.
Alitios Etheros Sleeveless Base Layer – $55
- AVATAR Fiber by EFFEPI
- Copper Mesh in N29 Copper Conductive
- Antimicrobial Yarn
- Recycled Fibers
- Moisture Control
- Regular Fit
- AVATAR is a 100% Recycled Fabric by the Italian Fabric Mill EFFEPI, using post-consumer waste. EFFEPI is focusing its efforts on producing fabrics in recycled, GRS-certified polyester, recovering and transforming a material that was once in the shape of a bottle made from the famous PET material obtained from separate waste collection.
The Alitios Etheros Sleeveless Base Layer is what you want for a warm/hot weather base layer — which is to say, light and airy. As such, it just kind of “disappears” wearing it, i.e., I hardly noticed it.
As base layers go, definitely lightweight
The entire front is an open weave/mesh for maximum air flow/cooling effect
The underarm and back feature panels with a different mesh
Fit-wise (size small for my 130 pound ectomorph build), the Alitios Etheros Sleeveless Base Layer was form fitting but without any feeling of compression. It kind of just “stuck” to me. But it was anything but sticky against my skin — rather, soft and smooth.
On the bike, the Alitios Etheros Sleeveless Base Layer does what you want a base layer to do: wick sweat away to help keep your skin drier and keep you cooler. It’s not air conditioning, but it’s so much better than a sweat-soaked jersey against your skin.
Alitios Socks – $15
The top portion of the socks are a mesh-like knit for ventilation. The toe area is slightly “reinforced.” The cuff is actually double-cuffed for more compression to make sure the socks stay up (definitely important if you’re going to go with the tall socks look). If that sounds a lot like a certain other pair of socks that are often considered the “gold standard” of cycling socks, remember the saying … “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
The double-cuffed part is fairly wide
I suppose shorter socks might weigh less
On my feet, the the Alitios socks were soft against my skin with just enough compression to hold firmly without being too tight. In my shoes, my feet were happy putting power down through the pedals — no friction or hot spots.
I know my PEZ compardes Ed Hood and Alastair Hamilton will give me grief about sock height, but at least neither of them can quibble about the Alitios socks being classic white. IMHO they look class!
Alitios Gloves – $60
Primal is the latest company to use the Elastic Interface Palm Technology in their gloves. According to EIT:
The Elastic Interface® Palm respects the anatomy of the hand, improving blood flow and relieving pressure from the ulnar nerve. Its three-dimensional design is developed according to anthropometrical parameters, and with the support of the University of Padua (Department of Biomedical Sciences).
The Alitios gloves form fit to your hand and cup your palm and fingers into a natural shape for gripping the handlebars. When your wrap your fingers around the bars (on the tops, on the hoods, or in the drops), the padding conforms to the shape of your palms and doesn’t bunch up. What I liked about the padding is that it’s firm with enough cushion but without being “mushy.”
The back of the Alitios gloves are a stretch mesh material and the EIT padded palms have perforations
If you must count grams
In a word, the Alitios gloves are comfortable. I’m not a gloves guy in warm enough weather (I prefer more direct contact/feel of my hands with the handlebars plus there is a certain Tornado Tom badass aspect to riding sans gloves), but I would wear the Alitios gloves if I did wear gloves.
Alitios Etheros is the real deal
If you’re in the market for new race fit kit, the Primal Aliotos Etheros should be in the mix for consideration. It’s the real deal, i.e., pro level kit that looks good and performs very well.
I know style is in the eye of the beholder, but IMHO the Alitios Etheros kit is sharp looking kit — on par with other premium brands. And the coral jersey with navy bib shorts combination is colorful enough but still somewhat understated (but you can do basic black bib shorts if you want to stay on Ed Hood’s good side). Call it a modern classic look. So you don’t have to worry about it going out of fashion next riding season.
It’s not just about style. The Alitios Etheros kit is functional. We’ve already had a few 90F+ days here in Babylon on the Potomac and the kit was up to snuff in the heat and humidity (although we haven’t yet reached the sweltering dog days of summer). The Alitios Etheros kit kept me cool enough (not overly hot is probably a more apt description) such that I could leave the jersey fully zipped for an entire 60-something mile ride. And even though I was sweating, I didn’t feel soaked. That says a lot about the Alitios Etheros’ venting and wicking properties.
But what makes the Alitios Etheros kit different than most other race kit is the fit. It’s not quite spray-on second skin fit, but there’s no mistaking it for race fit. Yet the compression doesn’t so much squeeze you, but rather wraps around you. The word I keep coming back to is: comfortable.
According to Primal: “Etheros bridges the gap between the ultimate race-day jersey and the comfort of an everyday training day kit.” IMHO they accomplished that. Chapeau.
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