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Speedsuits - when two become one

Sam Challis
17 May 2016

Leaving little to the imagination off the bike is a small price to pay for slicing through the air. We give you the speedsuit.

In terms of clothing, road racing has taken its time catching up with track racing and time-trialling, disciplines where watt-saving boffins have been scrutinising bodies and bikes for years in search of aerodynamic gains. Glance at the pro peloton now though and it might as well be a bunch of TT riders – minus the disc wheels and aero bars, of course – as helmets, shoes and kit are all as slick as possible. 

But clothing demands a different approach. Riders carry food, they may need comfort breaks, and there’s always a chance of facing all four seasons’ weather in one day. And so the speedsuit is the road racer’s answer to the TT skinsuit. 

The addition of rear pockets and a full-length zip, plus the use of more versatile fabrics, mean the speedsuit combines the comfort and practicality of a jersey and bibs with the aerodynamic  fit of an all-in-one. ‘As the body contributes the largest proportion of drag, this can be significantly reduced with more aero clothing,’ says Simon Smart, founder of aerodynamics company Drag2Zero, and the man behind Enve’s aero wheel system.

‘The introduction of speedsuits is a natural progression for apparel,’ says Specialized’s David Alexander. ‘The nature of this type of garment and its historical pigeon-holing for time-triallists only is likely to have put many riders off until now. But this type of garment represents a departure from the traditional bibshorts and jersey combo, and truly can provide ratified performance benefits.’

A speedsuit can be cheaper than buying an equivalent jersey and bibshorts set too. And perhaps even better, they represent the only time you can legitimately wear a onesie outside of the house since you were in nappies. 

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