The Drag2Zero speed suit is the result of a partnership between Endura and Drag2Zero, a team of aerodynamic specialists who wind tunnel-tested the QDC tirelessly to create an aero beast, favoured by Tim Don and Joe Skipper. Our not-so-pro reviewer found the medium was spectacularly tight across the chest, so for most of us without ultra-lean body shapes you’ll definitely want to size up. It’s packed with tech and dries very fast, with good-sized pockets for a speed suit.
If money’s no object and you want every gain possible, the Drag2Zero suit is undoubtedly a fine piece of engineering. But for most age-groupers it’s perhaps a bit too extravagant to warrant the huge price tag.
Verdict: You can’t argue with its pro credentials, but definitely try before you buy!
The X-Vent is the new mid-range short-sleeved suit from 2XU, and is made with advanced fabrics to assist with cooling and breathability; ironically this is where we felt the suit fell a little short as the material is quite thick and rigid, and we felt the heat got to us in this suit more than others on test. The neckline sits a bit low for us, which means the suit feels a bit stretched across the chest area. A ‘rummage pouch’, three small pockets and a nice firm chamois pad make the X-Vent suitable for long-course racing as well, so if you like how it fits more than we do and don’t suffer from overheating, then this is an option.
Verdict: collar issues and lacking breathability 75%
The latest version of Zone3’s Activate is comfortably under the £100 mark, offering great value with pleasing aesthetics and a quality cut. We’ve previously had issues with the large padding in Zone3’s suits, but it’s been slimmed down considerably, sacrificing no comfort at all. The silicon bobble leg grippers feel a bit cheap, but they’re not big enough to cause too much friction and give a secure fit. A top zip cover prevents chafing, and the venting is good across the suit. The single back pocket isn’t the roomiest, but for shorter races, where we think the Activate+ best serves its purpose, this won’t matter.
Verdict: Cool, comfortable and good value 88% (Awarded the Best Value title)
The sleeved tri-suit verdict
Owing to the growing popularity of short-sleeved suits, this year’s line-up is a mix of budget options and those claiming to offer serious aero advantages. The price differential between short sleeved and vested has closed considerably, and triathletes have never had more choice.
Both 2XU and Heart Sports offer suits with the aforementioned ‘rummage pouches’ to give them long-course credentials, and we’d favour the latter due to the better cut, pocket design and padding. The lack of grip in the legs and arms of the Zoot disappointed us, and we had concerns over the longevity of Z3r0d and Huub’s suits.
Our overall winner is Blueseventy, who have put themselves firmly back on the tri-suit map with the new TX2000. The cost-cutting shows in those cheap silicon bobble leg grippers but, this aside, it’s aero, offers decent padding and is thoroughly comfortable on the bike and run, as well as quick drying from the swim-to-bike.
Thanks to… Club La Santa in Lanzarote for hosting us while we tested these tri-suits (and next month’s wetsuits) in their warm weather and formidable facilities. Head to www.clublasanta.co.uk for more info on the tri destination.