Suited for Speed
Aero clothing isn’t as sexy as aero wheels, but it can be worth just as much speed. “Since the rider is a major portion of the total drag, we can make a bigger impact on [an athlete’s] total effort than even the most aerodynamic wheels or frame,” says Pearl Izumi’s director of innovation, Ted Barber. Pearl Izumi makes three changes to its tri suits specifically to reduce drag. The suits are designed to fit tightly, are cut to be worn on aerobars so the fabric doesn’t bulge or wrinkle and they’re made with textured fabrics that help to shape airflow. Barber says these aero alterations save a rider wearing the company’s premier P.R.O. Tri Suit ($240, Pearlizumi.com) 15-25 watts at 30mph over its entry-level race kit. “The beauty is the materials are relatively inexpensive when compared to frames and wheels. We can achieve those gains at a level of affordability everyone can reach for.”
This article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Triathlete magazine. Subscribe to Triathlete magazine and save 51% off the cover price.