April 22, 2011

A new, revolutionary road racing SpeedSuit in development by Castelli is being showcased by our riders this Classics season. The combination of an aero jersey and time trial skin suit is the result of Castelli’s innovative approach to product development, one that may have aided Johan’s 19 second margin of victory in Paris-Roubaix.

Our riders already have the most comfortable shorts and the fastest jersey, so you would think with all of that speed, Castelli wouldn’t need to spend time making them faster. The Castelli name has been built on innovation, and with each new innovation, another one follows. Castelli never stops pushing the bar higher and higher to find what’s possible in the development of new cycling clothing. Their latest innovation is a completely new take on two standard pieces of cycling apparel: the skinsuit and the jersey/short combo.

That said, the question remained: Why don’t riders race in their time trial skinsuits? To put it bluntly, it’s because they can’t pee on the bike with them, and they don’t have usable pockets. Castelli know that if they could overcome those two hurdles the Garmin-Cervélo team could probably save another 10-15 watts at 40 km/h.

Ten rounds of sampling and numerous tests later, Castelli has invented the first skinsuit for road racing. The upper part is essentially a full zip aero jersey with an improved fit and a new fabric on the shoulders to further enhance aerodynamics. The new and improved Castelli aero jersey is then stitched three quarters of the way around the waist to our BodyPaint bibshort. The front of the short/jersey is overlapped allowing the rider to pee off the bike. And yes, our riders have tested the jersey to see if it’s compatible with “on the bike restroom” breaks!

The suit has all the same aero advantages as a regular time trial skinsuit, with the functionality needed in road racers. The biggest aerodynamic problem found with a standard aero jersey is in the side panels that are difficult to fit precisely to the body shape of the rider. The consequence is decreased aerodynamic efficiency out on the road. The SpeedSuit solves this problem and holds the side panels of the jersey top tight to the body, creating a more aerodynamic fit.

The development of the SpeedSuit yielded a couple of unforeseen, but welcome improvements. First, as the jersey holds up the shorts, Castelli has eliminated the bib straps entirely resulting in greater comfort for the rider. Second, with the construction of the front opening and full-length zipper, the rider can fully open the jersey to completely expose the chest.

Of course, that’s nothing too outrageous in comparison to a typical full-zip jersey, but with the Castelli SpeedSuit, the sides don’t flap around like a normal jersey, giving an aero advantage even while maximizing cooling on a long hot road stage. Finally, the construction of the suit holds the three rear pockets more securely than a standard jersey, so when the jersey is loaded up with bottles, jackets, food, and anything else you can jam in there (and trust me, you can fit a lot in those pockets) – the carried items are better anchored, so they don’t move around.

There are two patents pending on this innovative suit, so for now, it will remain a tool for a privileged few on our Pro team, but it will soon be available through the Castelli Servizio Corse Teamwear program, and in Castelli Summer colors for 2012.

You can read more about the SpeedSuit’s Paris-Roubaix victory here, and here on the Castelli.com blog!

For additional photos of the speedsuit, click here:
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