Thursday, 30 June 2016

Cheap Skinsuit

If you ride a bike you know all about the effects of wind resistance. When riding at speed on the flat, aerodynamic drag contributes up to 90% of the overall resistance to forward motion. That’s because the blunt and irregular shape of a bike and rider is inherently bad at passing smoothly through air, meaning that any improvements in aerodynamics can make a big difference to saving precious energy and increasing speed.

In the endless pursuit of aerodynamic perfection, there is always scope for improvement. Skinsuit one of them. That is a skintight one-piece garment worn by cyclists and athletes to reduce wind resistance. Often use it on Time Trial (TT) race and in recent years, road racing athletes start to use it too.

Why cyclist use it? Did jersey and bib/short its good enough?

First, the big resistance to faster when cycling its on you, your body, not your bike. In Michael Hutchinson’s book ‘Faster’ he made the observation that the best skinsuit could give more aerodynamic advantage than upgrading to a better time trial bike. 

Second, cycling weekly had a test to record how much faster a skinsuit was compared to a bib shorts/jersey combo. They used a CDA (Coefficient of Drag Area) system. The CDA is calculated by tracking a rider’s power output and speed, along with the air density, lean angle, rolling resistance and the rider’s position on the track. The lower the CDA the more aerodynamic the position. (click here for details)

This is the result

cycling weekly test result
From the test result, its clearly used skinsuit can make you go faster then used a jersey with bib shorts. So, are you getting interested to buy skinsuit? Well, you will be surprise when see the price tag, hahahahaha. Skinsuit range in price from £75 right up to £1,000. Its a lot of money to buy one piece of clothes right?

So will an expensive one bring you more gains (in terms of watts saved and seconds gained) or will a cheaper one suffice?

It is harder to quantify the effects of wearing an expensive skinsuit compared to a cheaper one. Time triallist and writer Michael Hutchinson, says: “It’s hard to say which one is good or not. Some of the most expensive ones show average performances, and one or two cheap ones are extremely good. You’d need to do a wind tunnel test.”

Price and performance

Champion System produces both entry- level and top-end skinsuits, ranging from the basic £75 Short Sleeve Skinsuit to the £169 CS Carbon Rear Zip Speedsuit. “The entry level garment uses good quality compression Lycra and it’s more relaxed in the fit,” Wayne Greenhalgh, company director of Champion System, says. “It’s a cheap product for saving watts.”

The high-end model features a rear zip that, it’s claimed, reduces drag, along with carbon-fibre injections in its fabric that contribute extra compression and help with thermoregulatory control. In addition, it features a more ergonomic and aerodynamic cut than the cheaper Short Sleeve Skinsuit. “The rear zip is seven per cent more effective than the front one in terms of drag,” Greenhalgh adds.

“Higher priced fabrics and workmanship can often push the price up but these ingredients don’t necessarily make a suit faster. Fit can have a huge impact on aerodynamics, leading to a watts and time saving.

“With the right fabric technologies and seam positions, it is possible to save between 10-15 watts even in top-end suits, which is significant in the world of TT racing.”

For the serious cyclist, perhaps decreasing wind resistance is the key in choosing the right cycling skinsuit. For the more moderate or even beginning cyclist, buy the best cycling skinsuit you can afford to insure a high level of comfort and freedom of movement. The right cycling skinsuit can dramatically improve your stamina, and give you a fuller appreciation of this sport. Cycling clothes are important to cyclists that is why it is recommended that they buy only the best cycling clothing available.

Cycling Weekly 6/2016 “Will a Cheap Skinsuit Do?”

Ride On!

No comments: