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Endura Drag2Zero Aero - the world's fastest outfit

6 Mar 2018
Verdict:

Working with esteemed aerodynamicist Simon Smart, Endura has created an holistic approach to going fast

Endura has unveiled the fruits of a long-running partnership with aerodynamics consultants Drag2Zero. A new skinsuit, road racing suit and aerodynamic helmet complete an outfit that the brand claims to be the fastest ever made.

Simon Smart operates a wind-tunnel analysis service for cyclists and cycling brand out of the Mercedes F1 wind tunnel in Brackley. He has worked with most of the world’s best time triallists as well as the development of numerous top time trial frames and wheels, such as the Enve SES designs.

As those who time trial, or take an interest in aerodynamics, may know – the most aerodynamic frames and wheels on the market pale in comparison to the potential gains to be made from clothing.

Smart claims that clothing forms 77% of total aerodynamic drag for a rider, given the nature of the transitional flow which is most relevant to cyclists’ speeds and that is affected largely by texture rather than purely shape.

Calculating the difference on cost per watt between clothing and a bike frame, Drag2Zero claims it costs £10 per watt to cut drag with clothing, against £333 per watt to cut drag by upgrading a bike frame.

Endura and Simon Smart invested heavily in modelling the gains that could be made from this new range, going as far as making a life-size model of Alex Dowsett in development of the Encapsulator prototype he used for his Hour Record attempt. His polystyrene bust is still on display at Endura HQ.

Encapsulator

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Smartt has been involved with clothing brand Endura for around four years and has undertaken meticulous testing to create high-aerodynamic customisable skinsuits. The Encapsulator has been considered the industry-leader and deployed for several Hour Record attempts. 

It was also worn by the Movistar team through some of the biggest time trials of the last season. 

The newest update to the Encapsulator features Surface Silicone Topography, a series of silicon chevron-shaped air trips that improve the flow of air over the rider. Those gains, alongside the suit’s general design in terms of seams and material, see it gain nearly 2kmh over the baseline tested suit at 350 watts.

The full stats can be seen below:

The suit has been carefully engineered in terms of shape on the rider, the position of the seams and panels of fabric as well as the texture of the fabric itself. In addition to the silicon chevrons, the material used on the suit is highly smooth and palpably slippery.

One of the most practical features is the inclusion of a clear mesh panel on the rear. This means that a number can be placed within, saving the damage created by pinning through a £400 skinsuit, as well as the aerodynamic drag created by a flapping number.

The Encapsulator even uses an aero pad inside the shorts. The pad both avoids a clunky thick profile but is specially adapted to reduce pressure when riding in an aggressive position.

Buy the Endura Drag2Zero Aero Encapsulator from Cycle Store here

Road Suit

Interestingly, Endura’s D2Z Road Suit, intended for normal road cycling and road racing, doesn’t boast the same silicone strips as the Encapsulator. Instead, Smart believes that at the speed range where the Road Suit will be used most, the strips will not be as effective in the range of speed projected for the Road Suit.

‘At this speed, we find the mesh material on the shoulders and arms to be faster than the silicon trips,’ says Smart.

While the Encapsulator is designed for a speed of 46 to 58kmh, reflecting the high average speeds of the World Tour level riders using it, the Road Suit is optimised for speeds of 32 to 50kmh, reflecting more the speeds of high-end road racing or Strava-bashing.


The Road Suit demonstrates impressive attention to detail, with intricate features such as the ‘Spoiler’ rear pocket cover – a flap which sits over the top of the rear pocket to bring aerodynamic efficiency closer to that of a pure pocket-less skinsuit. 

The Road Suit also uses the 1000 Series Aero Pad to help match the aggressive riding positions that aero road efforts often require.

Buy the Endura Road Suit from Tredz here

Aeroswitch helmet

Perhaps the most striking product from Endura’s new range of products is the AeroSwitch Drag2Zero helmet. It may boast the fewest provable watts in extra aerodynamics, but its versatility is something quite new to time trial helmets.

The helmet can have its tail removed, which means that it can quickly switch form a fully fledged time trial helmet to a more understated aero road helmet.

Simon Smart has tested almost every helmet on the market in the course of testing individual riders, and so has applied his knowledge to the Aeroswitch. Endura’s testing shows it to be the fastest helmet on the market with its tail attached. 

Smart is very open about helmet speed being somewhat determined from the shape of the rider and the helmet in unison, which can sometimes throw off the results of standalone tetsing. 

Nevertheless, the helmet has achieved a drag saving of 11.8 watts over a baseline TT helmet, and 3.6 watts over the best competitor.

It has been designed with a wide range of yaw angles in mind – that’s one reason why it has a wide tail design.

The tail is fairly easy to pop off to turn the Aeroswitch into a more conventional helmet, which will prove popular for those who dabble in time trial and road racing or sportives.

A magnetic visor has been carefully designed to avoid fogging, with integrated vents at the top of the visor. Interestingly the entire helmet is just as fast with the vents open as when they are covered.

The final intriguing feature is the use of an integrated Koroyd core in place of conventional expanded polystyrene (EPS) used in almost all helmets. Endura claims the Koroyd is better able to absorb impacts as well as increasing breathability and cutting weight.

All in all, the range reflects an impressive focus on World-class performance that we might not have associated with Endura five years ago. With a detachable aero jersey and bibs already on offer, it’s clear that the brand is eager to distill this high end research and development down to its broader range of clothing.  

Buy the Endura Aeroswitch Helmet

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