Lycra is already pretty revealing. One of the first things beginner cyclists have to learn is how to be comfortable in the shorts. The Rapha Road Race Mesh Skinsuit has taken that to the next level. One step short of nearly nude, the skinsuit is built for the hottest days on the bike in places like Australia, Qatar, and Oman. Most of us mortals would wilt under the heat of the desert sun just watching the race, let alone performing at the levels of Team Sky. To help ensure their athletes stay as cool as possible, the new skinsuit helps shed the heat, while leaving little to the imagination.
The skinsuit made quite a ruckus after a certain rider by the name of Froome posted his racy pic on Twitter. Judging by the number of retweets and favorites, the public was quite entertained.
The Road Race Mesh Skinsuit draws upon Sky’s experiences from both the 2013 Tour Down Under and the 2013 Tour de France. In Australia, feedback from Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard on our Summer Bib Shorts resulted in the creation of a mid-season, second-generation Summer Bib Short, which was later used at the Tour de France. In France, the Team also had development prototypes of the Mesh Jersey, though on time trail days when aerodynamics trumped all other factors, the choice was for a more traditional skinsuit. During shorter distance stages, the bulk of the peloton, including Pete Kennaugh, started using skinsuits for aerodynamic advantage.
Innovation and Specifics
These traditional skinsuits, however, lacked airflow and required temperature management. Observing this, Piers Thomas, the Rapha Team Sky Design Manager, returned from France with a plan to make a garment that would be both cooling and aerodynamic. He started by connecting the Mesh Jersey with the second-generation Summer Bib Shorts. Working with the Rapha product development team to refine this concept, the design evolved into the 2014 Road Race Mesh Skinsuit- a 196.6-gram one-piece suit (size Medium) for the hottest racing days.
Technically, the mesh structure and material are similar to that used in the Rapha Pro Team Baselayer. The mesh upper and front thigh sections allow for maximum airflow and evaporative cooling while the panels in the shorts rely on our tried-and-tested coldblack® for additional comfort.
There are no plans for Rapha to sell the Road Mesh Skinsuit in 2014 as part of the Sky range, though there will be a Team Sky Mesh Jersey available mid-summer that features many of the same insights from the riders in its construction.