We review 4 high-end tri suits.
2XU Endurance Tri Suit
Overall feel of this suit was really good. It’s made using 2XU’s SBR Cool fabric, which noticeably does as it promises: compresses muscles to reduce fatigue, and keeps you cool; this was especially obvious and welcome on the run. The upper half has cooling mesh panels down the sides and is well-shaped to allow complete freedom of movement; it’s a very swim-friendly suit. Our testers weren’t quite so impressed with the bottom half. In our initial test (Issue 17, Summer 2010) seams around the pad caused serious chafing. Things weren’t so bad for subsequent testers but they did feel the chamois was too narrow and short, so when down on the tri bars, skin is in contact with the seam, which was uncomfortable. How big a problem this is will depend on your body shape, so just try before you buy.
Great temperature regulation and brilliant top half; the pad shape isn’t for everyone.
Descente C6 Tri Suit
Carbon junkies will be pleased to hear that the Resistex fabric that makes u most of this suit is a carbon-infused nylon/Lycra mix; we’re not sure about the claims that it increases circulation among other things, but it gives a good fit, is slippery in air and water, and was more breathable than we expected. It’s also treated with Schoeller Coldblack, a process that means the material can lower temperate by five degrees; again, hard to verify this, but it is a nice cool suit. The women’s version has a rear zip which goes through the bra so that, as on the Zone3 suit, you don’t’ have to fight your way in. However, as the zip runs through the bra it’s not a separate compression layer, so not quite as supportive. The pad dries quickly but is very narrow and thin; 40km would definitely be our upper limit on the bike in this.
Technology-packed tri suit that looks and feels cool. Good for short-race speed.
Speedo Racer Tri Pro
World-record breaking swim skins are Speedo’s speciality so you’d expect a tri suit from them to be something else. Sure enough, this is one fast suit. It’s tight-fitting, super aero and hydrodynamic. Using their own LZR-Pulse Flow fabric, not only does it get you down the pool quicker, but it dries in an instant and feels lighter than any other tri suit. If it looks incredibly simple, that might be down to the lack of seams – another major plus. The pad is the best we tested; thick enough to ride in comfort, think enough to run in without feeling like a wet nappy. Of course, there are no pockets on this sucker – they’d add drag, so it’s not one to go long in. There were just two down sides: firstly, it was a bit too tight and hot on the run; and secondly, the price is sky-high.
A top-notch suit that impresses in and out of the water – just a little bit too hot.
PEAK PERFORMER, ISSUE 19, SEPTEMBER 2010
Desoto Forza Tri Suit
Looking and feeling great are closely associated, and that philosophy seems to have informed the design of the Forza. The pad is ‘suspended’ from the inside of the suit – it’s sewn in round the natural seams to avoid that fetching nappy look. All well and good: it’s wide, soft and comfy, but the padding itself won’t get you much further than Olympic distance. In contrast, four gel pockets mean you could store a picnic and carry on all day (the women’s version only has one). Testers really like the compression element of the shorts and the thigh grips stay put nicely, but are also flat and soft. The top half is looser and cooler. The women’s version with rear zip is more hydrodynamic than the blokes’ , but has no bra, so you’re paying a lot more for good looks.
Stylish and cool suit with great compression, but not racy enough to earn that price.