Deboer Floh 1.0 tri wetsuit review
With a £1,249.99 price tag expectations are high for the Deboer Floh 1.0 tri wetsuit, but does it deliver? And does any wetsuit justify a spend of £1,000 plus .. Jack Sexty find out
Deboer have burst onto the triathlon scene this year with the launch of their premium wetsuit range. The company was founded by Alex Deboer, who also runs the multisport brand Dare2Tri, and for this project he tells us he’s created the finest wetsuits in the world “by far.” These big claims have attracted plenty of big names, with multiple Ironman world champions Daniela Ryf and Jan Frodeno already on board.
More headspinning is the price tag of £1,250, seeing it edge Tyr’s Freak of Nature as the most expensive production tri wetsuit around (you get a bag, cap and a t-shirt to sweeten the deal). Deboer tell us patent and fabric costs – plus R+D to produce their ‘WhaleSkin’ neoprene – were factors in them arriving at the price. Deboer don’t use the ubiquitous Yamamoto neoprene, so the whole thing is designed and produced from the ground up.
The Floh here is recommended for colder water temps down to 12°C, while the Fjord is recommended for 16°C and beyond. The key difference is the arm thickness, with the Floh featuring their UltraFlex 1.5mm neoprene and the Fjord featuring DuraFlex in 0.3mm thickness; both have a thin polymer treatment to prevent fingernail tears. The ribbed ‘WhaleSkin’ neoprene that appears throughout the suit is limestone-based, which Deboer say is 20% lighter than oil-based neoprene and extremely high density, making it stretchier and more buoyant.
The high stretch makes the Floh a breeze to put on, and there’s also a large flap over the zipper at the top to keep the suit sealed and the draw cord tucked away. The slightly- jagged cut on the neckline is underwhelming, but Deboer tell us that’s because each one is made by hand. Through the water it’s comfy and unrestrictive from the off, but not other-worldly compared to other top-end suits. At Windsor, we had a fast 1.5km split of 20:19min without shoulder fatigue, and our times in a set of 100m pool repeats were what we’d expect from a high-quality suit. There’s no definitive way of quantifying how fast or unrestrictive a wetsuit is and express it in figures, so we’re left to simply assess how it feels compared to others and how fast we can swim in it.
Based on our tests, the Floh swims like many top-end suits. We want to assess the differences between the Floh and the Fjord to see if the even thinner neoprene in the arms and shoulders is the holy grail when it comes to upper body freedom of movement. So, while the Floh is undoubtedly an excellent suit, we can’t justify the outlay when there are other very good options out there that cost far less.
Verdict: A fine wetsuit, but not so fine that we think it justifies the enormous price, 74%
Buy from www.triuk.com