Le Col has launched a new clothing range that has been developed with McLaren’s aerodynamicists over the last two years. According to the British brand, “Project Aero combines aerodynamic engineering with technical apparel to deliver kit that redefines fast. Wind tunnel tested and WorldTour winning – this collection sets new standards in aero and speed.”
Aerodynamics specialist Matthew Williams claims the Le Col x McLaren Project Aero clothing was: “Tested against team issue WorldTour kit at races, in the wind tunnel and on the track. In every scenario, this kit has outperformed them all.”
Le Col says it has implemented McLaren’s aero research on boundary layers, that a detailed approach to mapping every millimetre has driven advances in aerodynamic performance and broken new ground in cycling.
Le Col and McLaren’s collaboration begin at the end of 2019: the British brand was selected by Team Bahrain McLaren to be its technical kit partner, producing aerodynamic clothing for the WorldTour team in the 2020 season. However, the supercar manufacturer/F1 team pulled out of cycling at the end of 2020 with Nalini taking over from Le Col as the clothing sponsor of the renamed Bahrain Victorious.
Although both companies’ time in the WorldTour was cut short, this new range is the result of their learnings.
The Le Col x McLaren Project Aero skinsuit is the flagship and most specialist item in a range of five garments. Costing £375 and available from July 2021 for men and women, Le Col says it saves nine watts at 50kph compared with the leading long-sleeved skinsuit – Le Col doesn’t say which.
The skinsuit is crafted using a blend of elite Italian tripping fabrics over the sleeves and leading edges. It deploys “mapped use of disruptive, layered fabrics to manipulate three-dimensional flow topology and reduce surface friction so you can pass through the air faster.”
Le Col says the skinsuit is “proven fast with a TT win at the WorldTour” – which of course dates back to when it was in development with Bahrain McLaren in 2020.
Next in the range – and already available – is the Le Col x McLaren Project Aero speedsuit, costing £350, which Le Col says has a proven advantage over the world’s leading aero suits, testing 32 seconds faster than WorldTour leading speedsuits over 40km at 300W.
According to Le Col’s data the speedsuit, which is designed for road racing with its short sleeves and two pockets, is six watts faster at 35kph than WorldTour leading TT skinsuits and is 10 watts faster at 35kph than the best selling aero short-sleeved jersey.
All items come in men's and women's sizes.
We'll be taking at look the new Le Col x McLaren kit ourselves at the Silverstone Performance Centre wind tunnel, so keep an eye out for our report.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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