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Rapha unveils the Blaerosuit, a wetsuit with room for a hydration bladder

The hottest new trend in gravel, where speed increasingly meets the discipline’s most adventurous roots, is clothing incorporating hydration systems, and the latest brand to get involved is Rapha .

At the start of Unbound Gravel, the sport’s biggest event, on Saturday, Rapha-sponsored athletes lined up in suits with a pocket on the back for a water bladder.

Gravel racers typically wear hydration vests, which are actually small backpacks containing a water bladder, complete with a hose that runs down the strap for easy drinking on the fly.

However, as the stakes for gravel become higher and higher, the technology also becomes more and more innovative. Earlier this week, Castelli launched its Unlimited Pro jersey, which features a pocket on the back for a 1.5 liter bladder, which was soon followed by a dedicated Rule 28 aero suit.

Rapha has just revealed its own system, which is also a full-body suit, adapted from the summer suit worn by some WorldTour pros during the world’s biggest road races.

The suit is called “Blaerosuit”, probably a mix between bladder, aero and suit.

Learn more: Castelli’s new Unlimited Pro gravel jersey features a large pocket for hydration packs

“A pioneering design collaboration with Rapha’s off-road athletes – this modified version of our WorldTour summer suit is adapted to fit a hydration pack to optimize performance over long distances on the terrain the most damaged in the world.

The idea for the costume came from Keegan Swenson, last year’s Unbound winner.

“I’ve never been a big fan of traditional hydration packs because they’re a little hot and they’re slower aerodynamically. Not to mention the added weight,” Swenson said. “So I came up with the idea of ​​integrating a bladder pouch into a skin suit that solves all of these problems. It’s cooler, faster and lighter.

While initial designs suggested an upper back zipper, the pocket is, like the Castelli and Rule 28 models, a top-loading design, although it increases the capacity of its competitors to two liters. There is also an integrated internal strap system to hold the bladder in place, as well as an optional housing on each shoulder for the hose.

Learn more: Editorial gap raises questions about fairness ahead of Unbound Gravel

However, it’s not just about the bladder pocket, as the suit also features more pockets on the back of the arms and legs, for carrying gels, bars and tools. This came at the request of another Rapha-sponsored rider, Lachlan Morton, while Sarah Sturm and Ellen Campbell were two other riders involved in the design process.

“Cycling has traditionally looked to the WorldTour for its new technologies. This shows the legitimacy of the gravel space and the need for innovation in this pioneering area of ​​the sport,” said Thomas Long, Head of Athletes and Teams at Rapha .

“This is a project that will be the catalyst for further developments, throwing the rules out the window, while we still can.”

The Blaerosuit is not commercially available, with Rapha saying that, at least for now, “this design is 100% focused on the needs of elite professionals who race off-road.”

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