A Pearl Izumi spokesman has revealed a few more details about the skinsuit used by Garmin-Transistion at the Tour de France and other races this year. But neither the company or the team will reveal numbers on the suit’s aerodynamic benefits, if any.
The patent-pending suit is the third generation of the Speed Suit originally developed with Garmin for the 2008 Tour, said Cache Mundy, Pearl’s v.p. of marketing.
Like its predecessors, the new suit, called the Rocket Suit, uses a collection of proprietary fabrics, including some with an aerodynamic texture developed with Pearl Izumi Japan. Where the Rocket Suit differs from previous designs is in its tailoring. The new suit purposefully stretches fabric across the chest and behind the arms.
“With speed suits the goal is to optimize seam placement and limit wrinkles to the fullest extent possible,” Mundy said. “With the rider so stretched out and low in a TT position, we are basically allowing the suit to fit and stretch the way it wants to for a wrinkle-free fit.
“All of the suits for Tour where designed, developed, printed and custom made for each rider here in the Louisville (Colorado) Speed Shop, working closely with the team. This remains the main reason we want to work with a pro team like Garmin Transitions,” Mundy said.
In terms of its legality in UCI races, Mundy sees no difference between the Rocket Suit and a host of previous aerodynamic advancements.
“In some ways, I am surprised at the attention the suit has received relative to TT bikes, aero wheels, TT helmets and hydration; the suits are really not that radical. TT helmets, with their significant non-safety aero construction features, and under skin-suit hydration in ultra-short prologues are prime examples of aero-only applications.”
According to Mundy, consumers see direct benefits from the research and development that goes into creations like the Rocket Suit. “The patented construction from the suits is used on items like our 2011 Speed Jersey, which the team used extensively throughout the Tour,” he said. “We also have a super form fit speed vest we also developed for the Tour this year, but given the heat it was not used much. This item in both a jacket and vest form will find its way to market for 2011.”