Rising American brand Roka promise their latest aero tri-suits will be faster and more breathable than the first iterations. As per the industry standard with high-end tri apparel in 2018, the second generation of the Elite Aero has done plenty of wind-tunnel time to refine the aerodynamic benefits.
There are short-sleeved and sleeveless versions, and the medium sleeveless suit tested here has a compressive fit, yet felt hugely comfortable right from the off. It’s available in eight sizes including small/tall and medium/tall options, so those over six foot tall can find a size with the extra length in the torso required for a better fit.
For an all-black suit, this is as cool as you’re going to get. The Coldblack technology and aero mesh fabric on the back produced superb ventilation on our run tests, while the breakaway YKK zipper further aids cooling and means easier loo stops. It felt luxurious against the skin, a highlight being the carbon knit front panel courtesy of Swiss fabric experts Schoeller Eschler. It really keeps the core stable while moving with you on the run, eliminating the boxed-in feeling sometimes experienced with tri-suits that can leave us yearning for a loose run tee instead.
We were blown away by the leg grippers, which conformed perfectly to our limb shape and prevented any chafing on extended rides. The seamless look and fit of the leg openings are due to a strategically-placed silicone print, which also eliminates the unsightly ‘sausage leg’ effect to create a clean join between the gripper and your skin.
The side-loading pockets can house a couple of small gel packets each. While it’s not quite as convenient as having three across the back, it’s a much stealthier and streamlined way of storing a small amount of nutrition, so time-conscious PB-chasing triathletes will appreciate this.
Overall, our only real criticism is the chamois pad, which looks like an afterthought and is crudely stitched on, something especially disappointing at this price point. A long ride with a minimal race saddle was quite tough going, falling short compared to much comfier, yet slim-fitting pads on race suits from the likes of Huub and Zone3 we have tested (although it did dry quickly like the rest of the suit after our swim-to-bike testing).
With all Roka kit, apart from their Wiggle-distributed wetsuits shipping straight from the US, import duties will make the Elite Aero 2 price tag higher. But, if you do bite the bullet, expect a superbly-crafted suit with some of the best leg grippers we’ve come across in a tri-suit.
Verdict: super comfy high-end suit, slightly let down by poor padding 90%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk