The fastest jersey in the pro peloton, Castelli’s Aero Race jersey has had 5 updates in just 2 years, and we’re confident it’s the fastest jersey in existence. In that time, we’ve also developed and released the BodyPaint short, which eliminates nearly every seam and makes for one of the smoothest and fastest shorts in the peloton. So now, Castelli has the fastest, most comfortable shorts and the fastest jersey – you would think with all of that speed, we’d have to slow down to take a breath.
The Castelli name has been built on innovation though – so with each new innovation, another one follows, and then another, as we seek to continually push the bar higher and higher on what’s possible in cycling clothing. Our latest innovation is a completely new take on two clothing set ups that we’ve come to believe were separate and limited to their own specific uses: the skinsuit and the jersey/short combo.
The San Remo Suit project came to life at the beginning of June 2010 with a seemingly innocuous phone conversation, and it came from a new entrant into the cycling world, Cervélo TestTeam general manager Joop Alberda. Mr. Alberda has amassed a pretty amazing background in sports management including all kinds of Olympic medals and world titles, but the Cervélo gig was his first job in cycling. He was brought in to bring some fresh thinking.
On that evening, Mr. Alberda asked us a rather simple question, one that sent us scrambling back to the drawing board. “Why we don’t have the team race in their skinsuits?” My first reaction was “this guy doesn’t really know cycling” and I started with the normal reply: “because you can’t pee off the bike with them, and they don’t have usable pockets.”
But I stopped mid-sentence and said, “That’s a really good question. Traditionally it’s because you can’t pee off the bike, and because skinsuits don’t have usable pockets…but if we could overcome those two hurdles then we could probably save another 10-15 watts at 40 km/h.”
We had already begun some work on an innovative front opening for another skinsuit project, but it occurred to me that we could simply stitch together our Aero Race Jersey with our Aero Race Short and be ready for the 2010 Tour de France. The actual project turned out to be much more difficult than imagined. We wanted to give all the functionality of an aero jersey and bibshort, but with the aerodynamics of a skinsuit, and that was no simple task.
Ten rounds of sampling and numerous tests later, we’ve 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 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. Yes, we’ve tried it.
The suit has all the aero advantage we had hoped for. The biggest problem area with a standard aero jersey (a category invented by Castelli by the way) is in the side panels that you never can get to really lay completely flat. The San Remo Suit solves this longtime problem and holds the side panels in tension, making an area that was once a weakness now extremely aero.
The development of the San Remo Suit yielded a couple of unforeseen, but welcome improvements. First, as the jersey holds up the shorts, we’ve eliminated the bib straps and thereby increased the comfort. 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 San Remo Suit, 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 in the pro peloton, but it will soon be available through the Castelli Servizio.