Sailfish Ultimate IPS triathlon wetsuit review
Can the latest top-end triathlon wetsuit from Sailfish justify the almost £800 price tag?
Although not as visible as Huub, Orca and Zone3 in the UK, Sailfish are huge in Europe and their native Germany and have been producing high-end wetsuits for more than 10 years, also sponsoring the reigning Ironman world champion Patrick Lange.
The Ultimate IPS is the German brand’s latest flagship offering and is constructed from Nano Space Cell 2 neoprene, which is said to provide impressive flexibility, while the surface of the suit is designed to produce minimal water resistance. So is it worth that considerable €875 (around £770) outlay?
The suit is intended to appeal to swimmers that prefer a higher position in the water with an even buoyancy distribution, rather than a natural position or with raised legs. The Ultimate IPS’ enhanced buoyancy is achieved by using Aerodome neoprene – which has enclosed air cells – in the chest and side panels. Running down the outside of the hips is the Ultimate IPS’ most visually striking feature, the Stability
When first putting on the suit we couldn’t avoid noticing the extra support and, in the water, it felt like the panels helped improve our body position. This is something that could be particularly beneficial for those who are lacking core strength or have a tendency to over rotate or zigzag. Often the clearest difference between entry-level and high-performance wetsuits is shoulder flexibility. The combination of 1.5mm thick neoprene and what Sailfish call the Zero Resistance Panel, situated under the armpit, is said to provide ‘unlimited freedom of movement’. Sailfish claim that at the extreme front end of the stroke with your arm outstretched, there’s no material resistance that, in turn, reduces the effort required per stroke. And the shoulder flexibility is very impressive, with little arm fatigue even towards the end of longer training sessions, and it feels comparable to other high-end suits such as the Roka Maverick X (although we think the latter just edges the Ultimate IPS).
Saving seconds every 100m is all well and good but it’s pointless if you have a poor T1. Yet slipping out of the Ultimate IPS is quick and easy as the suit has a comfortable low-cut neck (so no chafing issues), the rear zipper is a classic pull-down-to-undo style, and the wetsuit’s Avevia Super Dry inner material stays relatively dry, which assists removal. So the Ultimate IPS is undoubtedly quick and is refreshingly robust compared to some of the wafer-thin, top-end competition. But whether it warrants a buy comes down to your racing goals and pay packet.
Verdict: A competitive high-end wetsuit, but it’s hard to ignore the price 91%
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