We continue our guide to 2015's best triathlon wetsuits...
Speedo Tri Comp
Price: £220 from www.speedostore.co.uk
The Tri Comp suit is largely made from a combination of 3mm and 5mm panels to provide buoyancy around the torso and flexibility in the arms and shoulders. It’s a very snug fit around the middle, possibly due to the Tri Comp’s ‘Core Stabiliser’ feature, which braces your trunk to help you swim with greater control.
But once you get in the water and get moving, it feels much less restrictive than it does on the land. Flexibility in the upper body is very good and the seals around the neck and cuffs are excellent – they barely let any water in at all.
Buoyancy is reasonable, but not as prominent as in some of the other suits tested here. As a result, the Tri Comp may suit those with a stronger leg kick a little better.
Verdict: Offers good flexibility, but marginally less buoyancy than some suits here, 79%
Price: £285 from www.racezone3.com
When it launched in 2010, the Aspire scored top marks for Zone3 in 220’s wetsuit grouptest. And it remains a competitive product even now, despite the UK brand having expanded its range with higher-spec suits in the years since.
The 2015 Aspire’s 1.5mm arm and shoulder panels combine with 5mm body sections to give excellent flexibility and floatation. Out of the water, the silicone-coated ‘Pro Speed Cuffs’ on the lower legs and wrists allow the suit to glide over itself as you turn it inside out, making for super-fast transitions.
The fit of the Aspire is snug, so it’s worth trying one on for size before you part with your cash. But in terms of performance at a mid-level price point there are few, if any, major holes to pick with this suit.
Verdict: Ticks all the major boxes in terms of buoyancy, flexibility and ease of removal, 91%
Tyr Hurricane Cat 2
Price: £289 from www.tyr.com
The Cat 2 is plucked from the middle of the Tyr range for 2015 but, it has to be said, it actually punches well above its weight in terms of comfort and performance. Despite being slightly thicker in the upper body than some of the top-end suits on test, the Tyr’s shoulder flexibility is fantastic and its neck seal and wrist cuffs do a great job of keeping everything streamlined while minimising water ingress.
It has aggressive-looking ‘Alpha Catch Panels’ on the forearms, but in reality it’s very hard to actually feel if these offer any significant benefit. The ‘Quick Release Ankle Cuffs’, however, do exactly what their name suggests, making it easy to stamp your legs out of the suit in T1 and save yourself a few valuable seconds in the process.
Verdict: Excellent – performs on a par with many costing nearly twice as much, 92%
Price: £330 from www.zoggs.com
This year sees established Aussie swimwear manufacturer Zoggs venture into the triathlon wetsuit market for the first time. A range of three wetsuits has been unveiled and the FX1 is the high-performance model aimed at faster, more competitive athletes.
It boasts a host of technical features, many intended to enhance the flexibility of the suit in key areas. The features do a great job, too, and leave the FX1 feeling very light and supple both in and out of the water.
Panel thickness varies from 1.5mm on the arms to 4mm in the body, so this makes it a touch less buoyant and warm than some of the 5mm suits out there. But if you have a strong leg kick or are more concerned about flexibility than insulation, that’s probably no bad thing.
Verdict: Not the most buoyant/warmest, but a solid performer with terrific flexibility, 81%
2XU R:3 Race
Price: £360 from www.2xu.co.uk
As the name suggests, 2XU’s R:3 Race is aimed at competitive athletes looking for a high-performance wetsuit. The long list of technical features includes ‘Rollbar’ panels in the midriff that aim to increase buoyancy around the hips, thereby improving your body position.
And, it has to be said, in the water they make the R:3 one of the most finely-balanced suits on test. Flexibility around the shoulders is good, with 1.5mm underarm sections keeping everything loose, while rigid catch panels in the forearms help increase your purchase on the water. The neck seal is a little stiff and, as a result, not the most comfortable, but it did a good job of stopping any water from flushing in, even when swimming fast.
Verdict: Flexible and finely-balanced. The slightly uncomfortable neck is a minor niggle, 85%
Continue reading our guide to this year's best triathlon wetsuits (3/3)