We’ve just heard from Shimano that for 2017 they have expanded their road sponsorship of the LottoNL-Jumbo pro squad to include the race team’s cycling kit as well. While we aren’t usually too worried about who is sponsoring who, this is a bit different as it suggests that Shimano has decided to get serious with expanding their clothing offerings to include top pro-level performance kit. In the past few years we’ve seen Shimano move in fits and spurts to enter the cycling clothing market. But, at least until this summer with their well thought out and complete urban & touring Transit line, it hadn’t seemed like they were making much progress.
Well, earlier this year with very little fanfare, Shimano did introduce an update to their Accu3D road clothing line, with a new jersey, pair of bibs, and a race skinsuit dubbed Accu3DR. Developed with their Japanese pro continental team, they’re likely to form the base from which Shimano plans to flesh out a full pro-level head-to-toe range for everything from winter training through to summer racing, with kit also available to consumers in 2017. Check out what Accu3DR includes so far, and more hints of what is to come, all after the break…
Shimano says that they developed the new Accu3DR lineup to deliver improved fit and performance in a kit designed to “sheath your body in a wind-cheating layer of pure speed.” The over arching principle of the kit is a 3D cut of the kit developed by analyzing on-the-bike rider movement to provide a close, comfortable, and supportive fit with aero benefits.
The latest additions to the line are the new Accu3DR racing skin suit, short sleeve jersey, and bib shorts. All of which seem to be designed to blend hot weather breathability performance through the use of mesh back ventilation panels, paired with optimized aerodynamics through the use of textured boundary-layer disrupting fabrics and flat hems & cuffs.
OK, so the teaser image at the top is still LottoNL-Jumbo’s 2016 kit produced by Santini, fairly easily identified by the unique reflective stripe on the back of the leg (a feature not very common in the pro peloton.) But while LottoNL-Jumbo has already been racing in Shimano drivetrain, wheels, Pro cockpits, RC9 S-Phyre shoes, and glasses, now they will round it off with Shimano kit as well next season.
The new kit offering is said to include a complete selection of “summer and winter on-the-bike race clothing, including arm warmers, leg warmers, winter buffs, socks and overshoes“. That means a rapid broadening of the currently very limited offering.
The team sponsorship is said to be key as Shimano refines their elite-level performance clothing – from wind tunnel testing to everyday training & racing, which may suggest that it could be a full season until the majority of the new kit trickles out to consumers. But Shimano does assure us that the new elite gear will be available to consumers in 2017 through some of their existing premium dealer network. More details on what that will include will have to wait until the start of next year though.