Castelli’s SanRemo 2.0 Speed Suit offers the aerodynamic advantages of a skinsuit with the practicality of a regular jersey and shorts, in a unique one-piece deisgn that aims to offer improved aerodynamics for those looking for some marginal gains.
At £230 it’s an expensive way to achieve some such gains, but as about 80% of the air drag you face when cycling is caused by the body, it makes sense to ensure you’re as aero as can be, if going fast is what you want to do. Set against the price of aero wheels and frames, the Speed Suit doesn’t look so expensive.
The Speed Suit first notched up a professional win when Johan Van Summeren rode to Paris-Roubaix victory in 2011, after attacking 15km from the finish with a charging Fabian Cancellara chasing him down.
Skinsuits are aero, but you lose a lot of practicality. There are no pockets for a start, and getting into a skinsuit is never easy.
Forget toilet stops. With the SanRemo 2.0 Speed Suit Castelli aimed to offer the aero benefits of skinsuit with the practicality of separate shorts and jersey. They achieved it by basically stitching one of their Aero Race jerseys to a Body Paint bib short, and removing the bib straps, so you get the very close fit of the skinsuit with pockets and a full-length zip. And yes toilet breaks are easily possible.
The top half of the Speed Suit uses Castelli’s Velocity fabric in the chest and shoulder panels, and an open mesh on the back to help dissipate heat. There are the excellent Giro++ elastic sleeves, which stay in place without the need for silicone gripper tape. The lower half use a combination of durable, abrasion-resistant Action Power Lycra around the crotch, Breathe Lycra designed to keep you cooler on the front panels and Energia Lycra Power everywhere else.
Inside there’s the same Progetto x2 air insert stitched into the crotch that I’ve written nice things about in other Castelli reviews. It really is extremely comfortable. Its two-layer design and multi-density padding ensures excellent comfort no matter how long your epic Sunday ride is.
You get three pockets around the back and, as is usual with Castelli jackets, they omit any sort of small zipped pocket for stashing your house keys. There’s enough space in the pockets for all your gubbins, and the benefit of the one-piece design is absolutely no pocket sag. I did feel the pockets sat a little too low on the back though, they could have been a couple of centimetres higher. And as with the Thermosuit, there isn’t quite enough overlap between the bottom of the jersey and the top of the shorts.
On the bike
If you’re wondering if the Speed Suit is tricky to get into, it really isn’t. It’s a doddle. Once on, it’s impressively comfortable, with the noticeable lack of bib straps the immediate observation. With the jersey zipped up, it feels just like a skinsuit, but much less restrictive. The fabric is very soft to the skin and the seamless leg and arm openings, with their lack of stitched hems and gripper tape, remove any potential for skin irritation.
On the bike the Speed Suit, unsurprisingly, feels fast. There’s absolutely no excess material around the waist and the high tension in the fabric keeps it close to the skin. Castelli claim the Speed Suit can save 10-15 watts at 40km/h. As with all aero claims, it’s nigh on impossible to test their claims in real-world testing, without access to a wind-tunnel. Maybe it was psychological, but I felt faster every time I wore the Speed Suit. For some, that feeling of speed may be enough to justify it.
The comfort it offers is head and shoulders over a regular bib short and jersey combination. The main reason is the lack of bib straps, combined with the excellent padded insert, and the high quality fabrics.
I’ve also been wearing it constantly, it goes straight in the washing machine after a ride and is the first I reach for when it’s dry.
Is it perfect then? No, not quite. The sizing is a potential issue for some. With regular shorts and jersey you can wear different sizes, but you are limited with the Speed Suit. I regularly wear size medium shorts with size small jerseys, the Speed Suit doesn’t offer the same flexibility. I tested a medium and found it a good fit, and not as much of a compromise as I was expecting
Some may balk at the price, but you’re getting a high quality cycling outfit that is cheaper than the sum of its parts, with potential speed benefits if going fast is your thing.
Aero one-piece cycling clothing that offers potential speed advantages with greater comfort.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Sanremo 2.0 Speed Suit
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Castelli Sanremo Speed Suit, So fast we patented it. Skinsuits are obviously fast, but the aren't practical for road racing for two reasons; they have no pockets and, perhaps more importantly, its tough to take a nature break in one. So we created a new and improved aero jersey with a full zip and new fabrics and then stitched it to a Body Paint bibshort. The jersey portion and short portion overlap on the front for full coverage, but leaving the front unstitched allows for nature breaks even from the bike(we tested that too). The three rear pockets are securely held in place all the time even when fully loaded.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Castelli Speed Research Unit, patented road racing speedsuit
Body Paint lower portion combined with Aero Race upper portion
Long zip with overlapping front opening
3 rear pockets with limited stretch back to keep everything secure
Progetto X2 air seat pad for famous x2 comfort and improved air flow
Possibly the fastest bit of kit ever invented for road racing
Weight 291g (L)
It's really well made with good attention to detail
It's as fast as a skinsuit without the drawbacks
Very good, it's been getting loads of use - it's my go-to outfit this summer - and there's no signs of wear and tear
It's lighter than regular shorts and jersey because there's less fabric
The lack of bib straps makes, and the insert and seamless leg and arm openings make it very comfortable
Expensive yes, but cheaper than buying the jersey and bib shorts separately
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It felt fast, but unable to verify the aero claims
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and comfort
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pockets a little low, no zipped pocket, less flexibility with sizing
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.