DSM launches cycling challenge series to encourage people to improve their health through exercise and nutrition
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Born on 1 January 2021, Team DSM builds on an innovation partnership that has grown over the past half-decade. Team DSM will continue to ‘Keep Challenging’ by taking their nutrition, equipment and personal care to a whole new level.
A new team obviously needs a new look which was unveiled in December 2020. It proudly maintains the team’s distinctive two-stripe ‘Keep Challenging’ design but in DSM’s bright blue emblazoned on a high-contrast black kit.
To gain a competitive advantage, Team DSM, with the support of technology partner Bioracer and DSM Engineering Materials, has developed a tailor-made, stretchable cycling rain jacket. The jacket incorporates a layer of Arnitel®, a membrane that not only delivers game-changing levels of breathability, durability and functional performance, but is also 100% fluor free and sustainable.
With professional cycling facing scrutiny on the world stage, cyclists and teams must lead by example for their global audiences. Above all, the sport must operate responsibly and minimize its impact on the environment. Cycling equipment, in particular, must be manufactured with a low carbon footprint, and without unnecessarily amplifying the depletion of natural resources or using harmful materials that could endanger health.
After meeting the basic preconditions of sustainable operation, cycling, like all sports, must showcase the highest levels of athletic ability. Equipment should therefore enable cyclists to deliver their best performance while keeping wearers as safe as reasonably possible. Rain jackets, specifically, are the first line of defense against the elements; their effectiveness in keeping riders warm and protected, without causing overheating or compromising agility, can make all the difference between winning and losing.
To meet the need for high-performance protective clothing, Team DSM, DSM Engineering Materials and technology partner Bioracer pooled their unique capabilities to design, develop and optimize a new cycling rain jacket. The jacket is made of a stretchable laminate that incorporates an Arnitel® membrane. This polyester-based membrane is 100% fluor free, lowering its carbon footprint by 70% compared to PTFE membranes, and enables high levels of performance and protection from a range of cold weather elements, such as rain and wind.
As a monolithic membrane, Arnitel® consists of a closed surface, with no pores that might become clogged or lower the performance of the jacket over time, thereby ensuring a long product lifecycle. The rain jacket has been extensively tested by Team DSM, demonstrating its high levels of functional performance and strong durability over time.
The stretchable laminate contains three layers: the Arnitel® membrane in the middle, surrounded by top and bottom layers made from other polyester-based materials. The stretchability of the jacket not only allows riders more freedom to move, improving their performance, but also ensures a tighter fit around the body, leading to a decrease in aerodynamic drag.
The Arnitel® membrane is designed on the principle of absorption and desorption. Unlike microporous or perforated membranes, Arnitel® allows moisture vapor to pass from the inside of the jacket to the outside, while remaining 100% waterproof at all times – keeping riders warm and protected in unpredictable weather without compromising their movements and athletic abilities. As for the performance of the jacket, it continues to function at a high level throughout its lifecycle.
What’s more, the rain jacket is UCI-approved – a requirement for all garments worn by professional cycling teams – and can easily be printed on without damage to the Arnitel® membrane.
That’s not all, though. DSM’s scientists are working closely with counterparts at Bioracer and Team DSM to develop the next generation of cycling rain jackets with improved breathability and by manufacturing them more sustainably and leveraging recycled-based and/or bio-based materials – ensuring the garments perform both for riders and for the world around us.
DSM has long supported Team DSM by using its materials science to deliver ground-breaking innovations that protect the team’s athletes. Building on this track record DSM helped Team DSM create Dyneema®-based protective elbow pads for sprint sleeves, which were launched in January 2021 and have since been used in tour events such as the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France amongst others.
While professional sport must – in essence – be exciting and showcase the athletic abilities of its participants, it must also be safe for people and the environment. Although not a contact sport per se, professional cycling – with its high-speed crashes and limited possibilities for convenient protection – certainly places its participants in considerable danger. In fact, according to ProCyclingStats, the Tour de France averaged 1.5 crashes per stage, while crashes in the one-day classics are even higher.
A significant proportion of these crashes take place in the final 10km of a stage, when riders often sprint the final distance, come close together to find the best positions, and take higher risks to secure victory. To make their shape as aerodynamic as possible, which is particularly important during the sprint, Team DSM has introduced aero sprint sleeves, which riders wear in these final stages of a race. Indeed, the elbow area is where riders frequently experience abrasion wounds from crashes.
To better protect riders’ elbows without compromising on athletic performance, DSM and Team DSM have developed aerodynamic sprint sleeves with Dyneema® fibers in the elbow pads for protection. By leveraging the unique mechanical properties of Dyneema®, these elbow pads on the sprint sleeves can provide excellent protection at high speeds. Dyneema® fibers primarily prevent the fabric from rupturing on impact, which protects the skin from direct contact with surface. By incorporating Dyneema®, the fabric also has increased abrasion resistance up to 30km/h.
In contrast to other arm sleeves within the world of professional cycling, the new sprint sleeves worn by Team DSM provide both excellent functional and aerodynamic performance and protection at the same time. These thermal conductivity properties of the garment also help to regulate the body temperature, dispersing heat more quickly, and ensuring riders are able to keep challenging.
Our ultimate goal is to eventually develop a complete range of protective cycling gear, so watch this space!
Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see streaking to the finish line during the 2021 UCI World Tour. Of course, we will be keeping you up to date along the way in the build-up to, during, and after the races throughout the season.
Get on your bike for the DSM Keep Challenging Series. Sign-up now!
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