Rapha’s new road race mesh skinsuit is only available to Team Sky for now.
The crew from Team Sky are getting a new uniform option that’s specifically designed to beat the heat.
Spurred by the season’s early slate of hot weather races (Tour Down Under, Tour of Qatar, Tour of Oman), team kit sponsor Rapha have created a road race mesh skinsuit. The new garment draws upon Sky’s experiences from last season when rider feedback on Rapha’s summer bib shorts resulted in the creation of a mid-season, second-generation offering that was used at the Tour de France.
In France, the team also had development prototypes of a mesh jersey, though on time trail days when aerodynamics trumped all, the choice was for a more traditional skinsuit. But these traditional skinsuits lacked airflow and required temperature management.
Noting this, Rapha Team Sky design manager Piers Thomas embarked on a project to make a garment that would be both cooling and aerodynamic. The process started by connecting a mesh jersey with the second-generation summer bib shorts, which eventually evolved into the 2014 road race mesh skinsuit, a one-piece suit earmarked 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 increased airflow and evaporative cooling, while the panels in the shorts use coldblack material for additional comfort.
Alas, before consumers get too excited about the prospect of picking up one of these suits for themselves, Rapha has no immediate plans to sell the this mesh number. However, Team Sky mesh jerseys that share many of the same features will be available mid-summer.
Just one very important word of warning: As this Twitter post from Michelle Cound, fiancée of Team Sky rider Chris Froome, illustrates, these jerseys do not provide protection from the sun.