Here’s one for the aero geeks: Specialized has sent us its new S-Works Evade GC skinsuit, which uses textured fabric, strategic seam placement and a ‘close-to-tailored’ fit to impressive effect.
The American company claims the Evade skinsuit can make you 96 seconds faster over 40km than you would be wearing its SL Pro bib short and jersey combination. That advantage comes at a cost, however, as the new garment is set to retail for £300 / $500 (Australian pricing TBC).
Textures and tailoring
No shoulder seams to see here
The Evade GC isn’t just a jersey and a pair of shorts that have been stitched together, though. It’s been constructed to be as skintight and smooth as possible, and making it so took Specialized three years.
A lot of that time was spent devising a cutting pattern for the garment to make it close-fitting to a point that would eliminate any wrinkles or loose fabric that might generate drag when it’s being worn.
Carefully positioned seams also help to keep the Evade GC’s profile smooth. Shoulder seams have been shifted away from the front, ‘leading edge’ areas of the garment to areas that are less disturbing to the airflow behind the arms and shoulder blades.
“Combining the [skintight fit and strategic seam placement] and choosing the appropriate garment size, gives the Evade GC its time-saving capability,” said David Alexander of Specialized UK.
It's made from Vaporize fabric, and is designed to be as tight and wrinkle-free as possible
To further improve the airflow over the rider's frontal profile, dimpled fabric has been used on the arms, shoulders and chest. Taking inspiration from the shot-lengthening surface found on a golf ball, the dimples create a boundary layer of air that reduces drag over these crucial sections of the garment.
“The fabric is our Vaporize fabric, which consists of 82% polyester and 18% elastane,” said Alexander, who went on to point out further benefits of the material. “It’s primarily used in Specialized garments for its moisture transfer properties… The yarn size, gauge size, tension and number of needles on the machine all play a part in creating the dimpled surface to the fabric.”
Five more minutes
Brand loyalty leads to more speed, according to Specialized. The Evade GC is part of a battery of aero-optimised items that, when used in conjunction, are claimed to be able to save a rider almost five minutes over 40km.
The figures, generated by tests carried out at the company’s own Win Tunnel facility in California, suggest that a Venge ViAS frame saves you 120 seconds; CLX64 wheels with S-Works Turbo tyres save 35 seconds; a S-Works Evade helmet saves 46 seconds and a S-Works Evade GC skinsuit saves 96 seconds. The proposed savings in that package add up to 297 seconds, or 4.57 minutes.
And if you were to extend your Specialized wardrobe to include the S-Works Sub 6 shoe and Warp Sleeve shoe covers, the company claims you could shave another 35 seconds off that time.