D2Z Aero Collection - A Closer Look
During the blizzard conditions of early March 2018, we took shelter in the Derby Arena Velodrome with some of cycling’s biggest names to witness the launch of Endura’s D2Z Aero Collection. We joined a select group of journalists to rub shoulders with the likes of current British Time Trial champion Claire Rose, Challenge Roth winner Nils Frommhold, and cycling legend Graeme Obree.
Recent technological developments in cycling aerodynamics have determined that in order to make further gains, it takes dedication to the point of obsession. Endura’s goal is aerodynamic progress, and their method is renegade. By collaborating with cycling’s leading aerodynamics consultancy, Drag2Zero, the partnership has achieved a series of step-change technological advancements.
Key to the success of the partnership is a small team of experts obsessed with the rapid implementation of their wind-tunnel findings. For instance, while working with time trial expert Alex Dowsett, they made a discovery in the wind tunnel on a Monday, and by that Friday had a new suit to test on their subject. 54 suits later, Alex Dowsett smashed the world hour record wearing the Encapsulator Suit; the halo product of the new Endura D2Z Aero Collection.
From this process, Endura developed their Surface Silicone Topography (SST™); carefully designed 3D silicone patterns strategically placed on the garment for maximum aerodynamic gains.
“By creating turbulence, SST tricks the airflow to stay attached to the body for longer, effectively making the rider’s profile perform more like an aerofoil shape. There’s a small window where you can reduce the drag by up to 50%, which is massive.”
Simon Smart, industry-leading aerodynamicist at Drag2Zero.
SST is present across the range of Endura D2Z Aero clothing, and perhaps most evident on the Encapsulator Suit. Fully optimised for riding in the Time Trial position, SST helps the Encapsulator Suit out-perform competitors' products at a range of speeds between 46-58km/hr.
“Guys like me in their 40’s and 50’s; unless something changes, they’re never going to think they can get a PB. Then along comes a suit and reinvigorates them. It can be good for how people feel about their sport. So it’s not just going faster; it actually improves people’s quality of life. Here’s something someone can get off the peg and it can actually give them a lift.”
Graeme Obree, twice World Hour Record Breaker and 4000m Pursuit World Champion
The Sigma Sports Encapsulator Suit
At Sigma Sports, we’re excited and privileged to fully benefit from the collaboration between progressive cyclewear pioneers Endura and cycling’s leading aerodynamic consultancy Drag2Zero; with the creation of our very own Sigma Sports D2Z Encapsulator Suit.
Endura claims it to be the fastest speed suit in the world, bar none, and we’re absolutely delighted with how it looks.
With a speed suit that looks the part and promises so much, we just had to put it to the test.
The Aero Test
We brought our very own test subject; valued customer and long-standing friend of Sigma Sports, Phil Brown. Perhaps best known for his podium finish with his team of four at the 2016 RAAM, Phil’s consistency and dedication to riding made him the perfect subject to determine the exact aerodynamic gains available with the new Encapsulator Suit when pitted against our former speed suit, with which he’s very familiar. Phil used his precious time on the track to great effect, performing tests in two clothing set-ups:
- New Sigma Sports Endura Drag2Zero Encapsulator Suit.
- Old Sigma Sport Speed Suit.
Phil's First Impressions
Phil was instantly impressed with the overwhelming comfort of the suit, snug but not overly compressive. The longer sleeves help the rider achieve total arm coverage while the 1000 Series Aero Pad is optimised for riding in the TT position.
“I’m very excited to be racing in this suit next season. Particularly in the Sigma Sports colours, it looks really really nice, and it feels really really nice, so if it’s fast; game on.”
Phil Brown, 2016 RAAM Podium Finisher
After two identically paced warm-ups, Phil rode two sets of six laps around the Derby Arena Velodrome. To the best of his ability, he kept his power output at a constant 470 watts, targeting 18-second laps. Between the two sets, he changed suits.
We took the middle four laps and calculated the average time for each set, with the old suit coming in at 18.47 seconds, and the new Encapsulator Suit at 18.09 seconds.
Considering 80% of total resistance when riding on the flat comes from drag created by the rider’s body, it makes total sense to minimise this impedance by suiting up in the most aerodynamic speed suit in the world. In terms of price per watt saving, the Sigma Sports Encapsulator Suit represents excellent value, especially when costs are compared to top-end framesets and disc-wheels.
Handmade in Scotland, the Sigma Sports Encapsulator Suit is given the same care and attention Endura treat their professional athletes to.
“Not only is it the exact same technology and development but it’s also manufactured on the same lines by the same people using the same equipment as we’re issuing for Mikel Landa (Movistar), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) or Ashley Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo Bigla), and that’s a big step forward for us. It’s taken a while for us to do that because we want to ensure the suit works through wash cycles and these types of things that pro teams don’t have to worry about.”
Jim McFarlane, founder and MD of Endura.
Endura D2Z Aero Launch - Sigma Sports Encapsulator Suit
“When it’s you against the clock, it’s a huge advantage knowing you have kit with such great attention to detail.”
Claire Rose (Cervelo Bigla), British National TT Champion 2017
“The first suits from Endura and Drag2Zero were a game changer, but the Encapsulator is a big step up and that’s why they can say it’s the fastest suit in the world. You could independently test that suit, and see the difference.”
Matt Bottrill, Current 50-mile TT competition record holder
“A fast suit for triathlon is not just about aerodynamic benefits, it has to work for swimming and also running. You have to find a suit that works for all three disciplines, that’s key to saving watts or finding free speed. After two or three years of development, the result is very impressive.”
Nils Frommhold, Challenge Roth winner 2015