A good quality skinsuit can pay dividends far higher than the price tag might suggest when it comes to aero gains – but which is the best?
What is a cycling skinsuit?
A skinsuit is designed to be the most aerodynamic clothing you can wear. Premium skinsuits feature special fabrics designed to reduce drag and manipulate airflow.
Fabrics are strategically placed and seams are also carefully considered and premium suits are often developed in the wind tunnel.
How much faster is wearing a skinsuit for cycling?
Aerodynamic drag is the biggest force a cyclist needs to overcome when riding on the flat and typically 80 per cent of said drag is created by the rider. What you wear is therefore hugely significant.
When compared to a jersey and bib shorts, our testing has shown that a skinsuit is 21 to 28 seconds faster on a 25-mile-time trial when travelling at around 25mph.
We tested this at a velodrome, using a CdA (coefficient of drag * area) measuring system. This is calculated by taking a rider’s power output and speed, and also taking into account air density, lean angle, rolling resistance and the rider’s position on the track.
The lower the CdA the more aerodynamic the position; you’d expect a position on a time trial bike to have a lower CdA than that on a road bike.
The same rider undertook four test rides each of six 250m laps.