MARSEILLE, France (VN) — Castelli’s Aero Race jersey has been a benchmark in the world of race clothing for years, and is one of our favorite garments for its second-skin feel.
Castelli says the new version, spotted on select Garmin-Sharp riders during this Tour and set to hit stores next summer, is even better.
Or, at the very least, faster. Castelli claims that the new jersey is 12 watts faster than the old version at 40 kph; that’s 12 watts faster than a piece of kit that was already at the top of the aero game. How much can be gained over a traditional, flappy jersey? “In the range of 32 watts at 50 kph,” said Castelli brand manager Steven Smith.
The new Aero Race jersey is actually claimed to be faster than the company’s own SanRemo speed suit, the skinsuit/jersey/shorts hybrid that, up until now, was the fastest in Castelli’s range. It’s also lighter than the company’s own climbing jersey, weighing in at just 94 grams.
“We’ve made half our line obsolete with one jersey,” Smith said. “But these are all considered ongoing projects, so we expect it.”
The original Aero Race was primarily focused on fit, on eliminating every stray wrinkle and crease that could catch the air and cause extra drag. In that arena, it was highly successful. The new version takes that design philosophy and adds a mix of fabric textures designed to improve the jersey’s boundary layer control, affecting the thin layer of air that runs directly over the body.
“It’s amazing what that little 3mm layer can do,” Smith told VeloNews prior to Wedneday’s Tour de France start. “The development of the new skinsuits helped us figure out structures and placement of fabrics on the back and the shoulders. We tested 10 different iterations in the tunnel. This is the one that tested best.”
The precise details of the fabrics is a guarded secret, Smith says, but there are a number of features that are visible to the naked eye. The collar is low, almost skinsuit-like, and the back is a very light polyester, designed to both improve airflow and wick sweat.
But perhaps the most notable feature is a new waistband. The entire bottom quarter of the jersey is now made of a compression material, wrapping all the way around the belly and up and over the pockets. The design serves and dual purpose, says Smith: first and foremost, it helps the bottom of the jersey stay put, helping to eliminate wrinkles down a rider’s sides; second, it provides for an extremely stable pocket structure.
All of Garmin’s riders have access to the new jersey, but the teams protected riders have adopted it most readily. When asked why he’d opted for the company’s light climbing jersey instead, Jack Bauer explained with a smile, “I’m on domestique duty, and I can’t fit enough bottles in it.”
Availability is set for early next year, and prices haven’t been set. But don’t expect a bargain; Castelli’s current Aero Race jersey retails for $120.