Ski and mountain-wear apparel brand Spyder has re-engineered its speed suit for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Spyder reports that its new F10 race suit system, to be worn by the U.S. and Canadian ski teams, incorporates three key innovations that will improve the suit's aerodynamics and result in significant time savings for North American athletes.
"The focus of Spyder's research during the last few years has been about how we can make our speed suits more slippery against air," says Spyder product director Phil Shettig. "Our goal is to manipulate airflow properties to make all of our suits faster against the competition."
Spyder refined the surface texture on the top face knit, reducing the co-efficient of friction against wind. The new slippery surface has less texture than past fabrics, and was tested in wind tunnels to shave off precious hundredths of seconds from racers' times, a margin by which many ski races are won and lost.
To replace traditional padding, Spyder worked with d30 Labs to create a pad that has 40 percent less volume than prior protection. d30 pads are made from intelligent molecules that flow during movement, but reactively lock together on impact to absorb shock. The padding system is more aerodynamic due to its lower profile and a lack of abrupt edges that can "catch" wind.
Finally, Spyder moved its protective pads from its slalom and GS suits to a separate underlayer in order to reduce the amount of thread, and the number of seams and needle holes on the outside fabric, all of which contribute to wind friction.
for more information: www.spyder.com, www.d30.com