Saturday, 16 January 2010

Saxo Bank, the Jersey (and a little about the shorts)

I managed to get some pictures of the new Team Jersey, nice isn't it. Although the graphics are familiar I like it, but it is the fabric and cut that lies beneath the sponsors billboard that is really firing me up. Aero has been a buzz word on bikes for a few years and in the last 12-18 months has also been applied to kits. Timetrailing skin suits have had lots of new wind cheating technology thrown at them in recent years with Teams spending time in the windtunnel to gain precious seconds.

Now what used to be a regular road jersey and shorts have had the same process applied to them. There maybe some argument over who created it but I think that Castelli rightly earns that badge. The energy saved by applying science to the clothing benefits the rider by shaving 10 watts (at 40kmph) compared to a traditional jersey. The attention to detail is massive and all angles have been thought about. The shorts look amazing as there are no seams facing into the wind (in a frontal direction) and have been moved out of the way to the back of the garment. This must be an expensive process as the cutting of the panels must be more complicated. Dual fabrics have been used here, a tough (as in as tough as Cordura) but soft fabric has been used for the seating area. The outside edge of the shorts uses a material which mimics the benefits of a golf balls indentations. The pad itself is a completely new item which looks flat to the eye and the top section is. The riders wanted a pad that had no moulding or ridges, but with Sportfuls knowledge they knew that the pad had to be multi density to other the riders the best solution while riding in different positions. I am sure at some point in the Spring of 2011 we will see this filter through to the stand alone collection.

The jerseys employs similar fabrics, although looking the same the hexagon 'golf ball' fabric is around 30% lighter that the similar looking material used on the shorts. Again each point has been looked at to take into account where seams should be placed and how to maximise aerodynamics but at the same time to ensure that comfort has been retained. This comfort comes from the fabrics which on the Aero Jersey has up to 400% stretch in certain panels, so aiding comfort by not being restrictive in the way a rider moves on a bike.

Do Aero jerseys work? The test data backs this up but how does that translate into the real world. This would be a massive benefit in any race but those longer races over 200km as the extra energy could be used in the finish. Thor Husvold has never got over the Poggio in such a good position, and although many willl remember the dramtic finish between Mark and Heinrich, what should also be taken into account is that Thor finished third. What doesn't bear thinking (well at least for the competition) is if Cavendish was actually using an Aero Jersey. But most of all if you think about the power houses on Saxo Bank like Cancellara, Voight etc what damage are those guys going to do with an extra 10 watts for free? The mind boggles, roll on March.

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