Outfitting one of the best teams in cycling takes more than shipping labels and boxes. Instead, it requires countless hours of research and development, feedback, and frankly, pressure. On the backs of Team Garmin-Barracuda, Castelli feels the pressure to perform. And when it comes to the time trial, one of Garmin's strongest disciplines, all eyes are on Castelli. Such was the case at the 2012 Giro's TTT. Luckily, though, the team was outfitted in the Castelli Body Paint 2.0 Long Sleeve Speed Suit and won the Verona course. Again, the Speed Suit was tested on the last real day of racing by Ryder Hesjedal. Only 16 seconds separated him taking the pink jersey, and not surprisingly, he overcame the time gap and clinched victory. Can the Speed Suit alone take credit for this? No, but it sure didn't hurt, either.
Castelli's Body Paint 2.0 is a moving revolution that was fast enough for Castelli to patent the design. It feels as it sounds, like a barely-there skin layer that's been painted on. However, this isn't a byproduct of design, but the intent itself. In fact, every aspect of the design works to make the fit as precise as possible. This way, by eliminating fabric bunching and pulling, airflow is free to pass over the suit more freely. Integral in this concept is the fabric selection itself, in this case a lightweight Lycra that can only be described as soft.
Furthering this attribute is the Speed Suit's nearly seamless construction. The legs feature a one piece design that flows continuously to the upper regions of the suit. Essentially, this keeps the intended shape of the suit intact, and be doing so, reduces your aerodynamic footprint in the saddle. But, what is the intended shape? Well, the answer is both simple and complex. In its most simplistic form, the answer to go fast, but to deal with its complexity charts over the course of years. In fact, over the past year, Castelli has worked extensively with Team Garmin-Barracuda in order to absorb rider-feedback, tunnel test, and to achieve real world race experience. As a result, the cut, shape, and elasticity of the Speed Suit have been scientifically and methodically dialed-in.
This brings us to the suit's aerodynamic benefits. As we mentioned, Hesjedal rode to a Giro victory in this same suit, overcoming a 16 second podium gap. And as you can imagine, he was fast, but how do aerodynamics translate to rider speed? Well, it all comes down to managing airflow, and coincidentally, the human body accounts for over 90% of aerodynamic drag on the bike. To mitigate this, the suit has been made to be what Castelli calls 'slippery.' Essentially, by combining a virtually zero-seam design with a low-profile, compacted thread Lycra, airflow remains attached to the body as it comes off of the helmet and front of the bike. Through this, turbulent air is controlled, and your drag numbers decrease. But, for further measure, the Body Paint 2.0 has a new feature at the legs -- dimpled endings. Not only does this control turbulent boundary layer airflow (think of Zipp ALBC sidewalls and golf balls) , but it also doubles as a slightly compressive area of the shorts. Amazingly, Castelli claims that this suit will save you 12 watts over 40 kilometers compared to its closest rival.
And for this year, there's even more new features that have been added to the suit. Now, the back has a mesh zone to aid in cooling, better managing your core temperature and thermo-regulation. Additionally, Castelli has added a back flap to pin your number on -- after all, the Speed Suit isn't intended for base miles. Lastly, you'll now find that the wrist is tapered towards the palm with a subtle and comfortable loop system at the thumb webbing that secures the fit and position of the arms.
Rounding off the suit is Castelli's most innovative chamois, the Progetto X2 Air. The Progetto's surface uses a skin-care layer comprised of a seamless bacteriostatic fabric that conforms to the body without folding. The material supports airflow, and aids in evaporation. The second layer is multi-density foam with variable thickness paced where you need it, not where you don't. The comfort level is also aided by Castelli's Viscous comfort inserts; a perforated padding added to the highly-sensitive ishial and perineum pressure regions.
The Castelli Body Paint 2.0 Long Sleeve Speed Suit is available in six sizes from Small to XXX-Large and in the colors Anthracite and White.