Best Tri Suits Review 2014 – Part 1
Part 1 of our 2014 best tri suits review features 7 of the best tri suits from £49.99-£98
This year we’ve tested 21suits across all price points so you can find the best tri suit for your training and racing. Check out our other tri suit reviews here.
B’twin’s tri Suit surprised us last year with its comfy gel pad and sleek laser-cut legs. One of the only sticking points with the 2013 model was a high collar, but B’Twin have sorted that for this year with a v-shaped cutout that sits close to the chest and didn’t allow gushes of water down while swimming. The pad remains a standout feature – the slight rigidity of the gel layer on the run more than overshadowed by its comfort on the bike. It’s not the fastest in the water, but the pad, long zip, quick drying mesh sections and stay-in-place legs make it a winner on the bike. The slit pocket on the rear still gapes open and one gel did manage to find its way out while running, but it’s still a great suit that shows up many more expensive options on the market.
A clear winner in the value stakes that performs extremely well for the price
The Activate from Zone3 features a well-sculpted cut, flatlock seams and smooth material that make for comfortable and supportive racing. While swimming, the Activate seemed to soak up more water than Zone3’s more expensive suits, but it dried quickly enough once out the water. When first cycling, the silicone leg grippers moved around a bit before settling into a comfy position and holding true. The pad isn’t the most substantial, but was fine when paired with a plush saddle. It felt quite stiff on the run, but there was no rubbing to jeopardise performance. Apart from the extra-small size, the women’s version features an attached, inner bra with a central zip that was easy to get on, didn’t chafe and offered good support.
A great beginner’s suit at a keen price with extra support for female athletes
The larger-than-most arm cut outs of the Pearl Izumi Select made for good freedom in the water, the snug but unrestrictive fit avoiding torrents of water sloshing through the suit comfortable neck line. Mesh panels aid ventilation and are paired with a 30cm zip to let extra air flow through. The Select seemed to be one of the best suits here for heat regulation. The fleece pad is a bit basic these days, but should see you through shorter events unless your bike has a particularly firm saddle. The thin insert does mean a joyously free running experience though. Silicone leg grippers held firm without irritation once in place while the rear enveloped pocket kept a couple of gels secure without discomfort.
A great performer if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of bike comfort with the fleece pad
Made from a triathlon-specific version of Speedo’s exclusive LZR Pulse fabric, there’s no sagging or chafing in the water and the suit dries quickly too. The extra-large shoulder cut out gives restriction-free stroking too. The fairly narrow pad was chafe-free on the run, but it’s plush, variable thickness design just feels right on the bike at any distance. The fabric has plenty of give when running but doesn’t lack support either. The women’s version has a built-in bra that was a fiddle to get on, but proved comfy and shock absorbing, though being white, we wouldn’t want to open the front zip too far. The elastic gel loops are a faff and bounce around, but that aside, it’s a very solid suit.
A great value suit that performs well in all three disciplines and has a lovely bike pad
There’s something satisfyingly retro about Zoot kit – the company have been in the sport since ‘83 – and their Performance suit wouldn’t look out of place in the day-glo races of that era. The suit is impressively comfortable and supportive – the wide, compressive BIOwrap hems avoiding jolting muscles while running. It must be said that the simple fleece pad isn’t nearly as comfy as more advanced inserts, but pair it with a padded saddle and it’s fine. The total flexibility on the run might also mean it’s a compromise you’re willing to make. The built-in bra worked well and the easy to work on-off zipper was a bonus. The holster pockets on the legs also held gels securely.
A really comfortable suit, though the pad needs an update
Part of Orca’s entry-level Core series, this well put together suit features a substantial and comfortable pad that wasn’t too bothersome while running but helped take the sting out of riding. There are two swimming friendly enveloped pockets on the rear that hold a gel a piece and performance in the water was great, with minimal restriction. Quick-drying fabric and generous mesh sections help avoid overheating while training too. Rather than silicone leg grippers, there’s a thicker band of elastic on the hems, which was a bit too compressive initially, but seemed to work out a bit during testing. It’s also available in spectator-friendly bright blue and red versions.
Good breathability and a decent pad make the Core Race Suit a dependable performer
The Trigirl Energy’s low neckline avoids irritation or restriction but still keeps water flow out completely while swimming. In fact, swimming performance was very impressive, with no dragging, sagging or chafing. The suit also shed water very quickly indeed. Trigirl’s new female-specific insert was the comfiest women’s pad on test and made for easy going on long rides. Comfort is helped along by a large mesh section on the back and quick wicking fabric. The enveloped pockets on the rear of the suit are ample for emergency run nutrition while the pad didn’t disrupt running form. The suit comes with a separate crop top too, which offers excellent support, while the shorts area is made from confidence inspiring totally opaque Revolutional Energy fabric.
A great suit, especially suited to those new to the sport and seeking a flattering Lycra look
Check out our other tri suit reviews here.