Cycling clothing and protection seemed to be two different worlds until very recently, when we (Team DSM) became the first professional cycling team to integrate protective fabrics into our race kit.
Crashes are an inevitable part of our sport, as are the wounds and abrasions that come with them. That wound recovery has impact on the optimal recovery between races or stages, and precious energy is wasted that can really make the difference out on the road.
A quick analysis of the technical possibilities soon showed the team’s experts that it was not feasible to then integrate these protective fabrics in more types of specific high-performance race wear at speed, considering other key performance aspects (aerodynamics, lightweight, stretch, breathable) of race clothing for use at the highest level of elite sports.
So, what next? The team made the decision to step away from a traditional commercial model to faster integrate protective materials into more items of their race wear and it was the world’s most premium brand Nalini, who partnered with the team to work on the project. This means that our in-house R&D, Aerodynamics, and Textile Technologies Engineer specialists now work together with Nalini’s state-of-the-art MOA Lab. This ensures that the development of a wider range of specific high-performance race wear can be accelerated and at the beginning of last year, another huge step was made as the team launched its own high performance athletic race wear.
Amazing news for the team! But to make this happen, some challenges had to be solved.
At this year’s edition of the Vuelta, Team DSM presented the latest edition of their line of clothing. The Team DSM science group, DSM, and Nalini set a benchmark with the last sprint suit in terms of aerodynamics and speed – faster and also protective! Impressive work from the team. The suit is another benchmark in terms of speed and a huge step towards rider safety and protection in case of a crash.
We are still busy at work as we approach the 2023 season with the goal of integrating protective fibers into more and more products in our custom clothing line. We hope to continue to set benchmarks and raise the standards in cycling with regards to protective race wear, and hope that in the future more cyclists can integrate protection into their race wear too.