Castelli unveiled its new "Dress Like a Pro" program at this year's Interbike show whereby regular consumers will now have access to exact same custom clothing pieces as supplied to the Cervelo Test Team - instead of diluted pieces that only look like the real thing.
The program is in its second year, but the line is being re-launched this year with several redeveloped pieces thanks to work with the Cervelo TestTeam riders like Thor Hushovd. The team provided feedback on the clothing this year, allowing the company to refine the fit and materials to satisfy the sport's most demanding athletes.
The work resulted in the "Aero Race" jersey and matching bib shorts as well as the "speedsuit" - all of which are available to the general public with full digital sublimation as part of the custom apparel program. Prices run from $90 to $120 depending on quantities ordered for the jersey, and $90-135 for bib shorts.
The Aero Race jersey is a lighter weight option which grew out of the previous ProTour jersey. The latter was developed with the Saunier Duval team in 2007, and is still available as "a solution for the Northern markets where temperatures are not as hot". The ProTour jersey runs approximately $10 less per piece than the Aero Race.
Both jerseys sport a cut designed to reduce wind drag from excess fabric flapping in the breeze as well as a lightweight fabric, while the Aero Race jersey adds mesh panels to help reduce a rider's core temperature on hot days.
The ProTour jersey is a unisex item that uses a lightweight Velocity fabric with a Prosecco treatment designed to improve wicking capacity. The back uses Castelli's "Flash" fabric which incorporates silver threads into it for an extra stylish element. The result is a close-fitting garment made comfortable by the stretch fit.
The Aero Race improves upon the ProTour jersey by adding the "Giro++" gripper on the arm cuff, removing the hem and replacing it with a proprietary compression band.
"The nice thing about the [Aero Race] jersey is the cuff system on the arms that keeps the garment laying down flat. Unlike others that tend to slowly ride up, this one doesn't," said Rich Franca, Castelli USA's Director of Sourcing and Product Development.
"The cuff is 43% lycra - it's a proprietary fabric we developed with a supplier that won't fray, it lays flat against the skin and stays in position," said Franca. "This is exactly what Hushovd was wearing during his Tour de France stage wins."
The Aero Race jersey also sports a slight gusset in the arm pit to bring the fabric in so it lays down flatter in the riding position. It is made of the same ultra-lightweight fabric as the ProTour, but incorporates a large mesh panels on the back.
Castelli also offers the Aero Race bibshort, which also features the proprietary cuff in place of an elastic band, as well as the "Free" bib, which create a more open front by placing the bib straps wide on the sides of the chest. A T-back keeps the straps from falling down.
The bibs were improved with input directly from the Cervelo TestTeam riders.
"A year ago, we thought we'd nailed [the bibshort design] - that we had the product dialed in over the course of all the evolutions.
"When we started working with Cervelo, our Brand Manager, Steve Smith, rode behind the guys in the car for a couple hours during a training ride in France before the Giro. He noticed that the pad moved a little bit over time. I think it was Thor who said his pad was moving - and he was right. We addressed it, we prototyped several new pieces, and it became the Aero Free.
"We did quite a bit of work on the cut in the hip area to change the position of the flat lock over the hips so it didn't allow the pad to move over time."
The bibshorts are fully printable (except the gusset - the saddle contact area), made with flat-lock stitching, and can be ordered with either the AC or Kiss pad.
The "AC" chamois pad is a seamless, thermo-molded pad with a triple-layer multi-density foam and an anatomical shape to reduce excess bulk. The Kiss pad is Castelli's traditional Y-shaped chamois in a two-layer multi-density foam. The AC pad option increases the cost $15-25 per piece depending on quantities.
"The cuff, like the jersey, is 43% lycra which stays in position and doesn't give you sausage legs."
New for 2010 will be the innovative Progetto X2 pad which features two separate layers: a "skin care layer" which is not connected to the pad anywhere except at the edges, letting it float over the cushion and stay in contact with the body; and a cushioning layer.
"The cushioning layer contains gel inserts which are anatomically positioned to cushion the rider's sit bones."
"If there is any movement of the pad it goes on between the two layers and not against the skin - it's really spectacular."
The final feature of the Aero Race bibshort is a highly abrasion-resistant Action fabric used for the saddle contact area.
The speedsuit incorporates much of the same technologies as the Aero Race jersey and bibs, using a specialized cut designed to be aerodynamic in the riding position - it's definitely not for Sunday rides to the coffee shop.
Spec'd out with the Giro++ gripper on the leg opening, collar and sleeves, there will be no opportunity for wind to lift the edges of this skin suit. It even has an aerodynamic flap to cover your race number on the back.
The speedsuit comes in both short and long sleeve versions, ranging in cost from $115-$175 depending on quantities, pad choice and arm length.
The Servizio Corse program also offers less expensive options in the Team line as well as a complete allotment of cool weather clothing and accessories. All items are constructed in the USA of imported Italian fabrics.
For more information, visit http://www.serviziocorse.com/