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Top 20 triathlon buys of 2020

It wasn't the season any of us were hoping for, but during 2020 tri’s designers continued to serve up cutting-edge kit on a weekly basis. Here are 220’s top 20 products of 2020

Top 20 triathlon buys of 2020

01. WATTBIKE NEXT GEN ATOM

£1,899

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Wattbike Atom next generation review

More refinement than complete overhaul, but there’s much to celebrate in the slicker and more productive Atom of 2020. The resistance unit has been upgraded for more precise movement through the gears, while the flywheel and crank-angle sensors now generate data 1,000 times per second – twice that of the original – and power range is extended from 2,000 to 2,500 watts.

Read our full review of the WattBike Next Generation Atom here

02. ORCA ALPHA

£549

Orca Alpha wetsuit review

The Alpha is Orca’s top-end ‘ Natural Swimmers’ wetsuit, aimed at ‘floaters’ rather than ‘sinkers’. The Alpha has some of the best flexibility around, especially for the all-important shoulder rotation, stroke distance and for easy T1 removal.

03. TRIBAN RC500 JACKET

£54.99

TRIBAN RC500 JACKET

The Triban RC500 winter jacket is an absolute bargain of a winter bike jacket – thick enough to keep you warm when the temperature drops to freezing and below, while doing a fine job of regulating body temperatures on long training rides. Plenty of pockets and even a snood/neck warmer on the inside collar add to the appeal

04 FORM SMART GOGGLES

£156

Form smart goggles

Previously aimed squarely at pool swimmers, a major firmware update by Form has revamped the Smart goggles with an open-water mode that tells you time and stroke rate without a watch. The result is one of the most useful tech innovations for triathletes since the dawn of the GPS watch 

Buy from Form Swim

Read our review of the Form Smart goggles here

05 2XU PROPEL P:2

£380

2XU PROPEL P-2 wetsuit

Aussies 2XU once again topped many of our wetsuit tests this year. The Propel is 2XU’s most buoyant suit, thanks to its 39-cell 5mm front panel, and they’ve got their ratios spot on. The ‘Rollbar’ provides extra core control, supporting swimming without feeling unbalanced even as fatigue sets in.

06 ZONE3 AEROFORCE X

£275

ZONE3 AEROFORCE X

Going into 2020, Zone3 had yet to create a truly leading aero tri-suit. That all changed with the Aeroforce X, complete with dimpled sleeves, pinstripes and a close-to-the-skin fit. The hydrophobic material scores aquatic points and, on the road, the input from aero specialists Nopinz reaped the rewards – it led the way with Endura in our own wind tunnel tests. 

07 MAVIC COSMIC SL ULTIMATE KONA

£299

MAVICcosmicSLUltimateKona.jpg
MAVIC%20cosmic%20SL%20Ultimate%20Kona.jpg

At 239g, the Kona tri bike shoes are crazily light. The Hawaii look is matched by impressive performance – the full-carbon outsole is one of the stiffest around, which equates to optimised power transfer. Neat-looking outsole mesh vents add breathability and drain water. mavic.com

08 HUUB AURA

£140

huub design aura short sleeved trisuit

Huub’s mid-range Aura is a classy tri-suit, boasting breathable Italian fabric and Coldblack tech to reflect heat and UV rays. There’s an instant quality feel and the zip is superior: sturdy, with a large toggle for speed. Its race-fit feels supportive, even though there’s zero lining, and in action there’s no shoulder ache nor chafing.

09 POLAR GRIT X

£379

Polar Grit X multisport watch review

£379

Polar’s return to form continues with this superb watch aimed at rugged outdoor adventurers. There’s a Run Hill Splitter option that automatically detects when you’re ascending and descending, and the FuelWise feature that tells you when and how much to fuel, with all data maximised later in the impressive Polar Flow App

Read our review of the Polar Grit X here

10 THE SUFFERFEST

$14.99

THE SUFFERFEST

Sufferfest upped its game in 2020 to offer an immersive and competitive alternative to Zwift and TrainerRoad. It offers structured training personalised to your fitness, tri training plans and footage of racing in iconic destinations. All delivered with the unique ‘Sufferlandrian’ sense of humour.

11 MONTANE GECKO VEST

£90

best hydration backpacks for cycling and running
best hydration backpacks for cycling and running

Long, endurance runs were the theme of our summer (and winter) and the Gecko Vest was a mighty companion.  Situated on the side, the 500ml bottles feel easier to carry and are simple to access, while the multiple pockets are roomy enough for all your essentials.

12 ARK KORP

£285

Ark Korp swimrun suit

The Korp is Ark’s mid-range swimrun suit, and the first thing you notice is just how light it is. So it’s brilliant for running in (as brilliant as any wetsuit can be on land), which gives a big advantage on the run sections of swimrun races. The suit comes with removable neoprene arm sleeves for when you need extra thermal protection

Find out more about swimrun, including training plans, in our swimrun section

13 SELLE ITALIA CARBONIO SUPERFLOW

£240

SELLE ITALIA CARBONIO SUPERFLOW

You’ll have to fork out a huge amount if you want the same saddle as two-time Ironman world champ Patrick Lange. Yet we think the Superflow is worth the spend. Weighing 203g, there’s more padding than you’d expect from a saddle this light, with a sizeable central channel for pressure relief. 

14 PARCOURS STRADE

£999

PARCOURS STRADE wheels

This new full carbon wheelset was subjected to countless hours of R&D, starting with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to design a disc brake, tubeless-ready wheel optimised for 28mm tyres and refined in the wind tunnel. The 56mm depth is no problem in crosswinds, they roll smoothly and they’re fairly light at 1,520g. 

8 of the best bike race wheels under £2,000

15 SCOTT KINABALU ULTRA RC 2.0

£140

SCOTT KINABALU ULTRA RC 2.0

The Kinabalu Ultras tip the scales at a lean 270g (for trail shoes) and, for a shoe with an ‘ultra’ tag, they instantly feel nimble. The responsiveness is due to a combo of Scott’s Kinetic midsole foam and an aggressive outsole traction, while the rock plate in the midsole heightens the versatility. Pricey, though.

11 of the best trail and off-road running shoes for men and women

16 DHB HYDRON

£110

dhb hydron tri wetsuit

The Hydron 2.0 is a budget suit that’s very hard to fault. The construction is durable, the fit true to size and the buoyancy is surprisingly moderate for an entry-level suit thanks to the 3mm thickness on the hips and 2.5mm on the thighs. The zip’s a standard bottom-up affair, while removal is swift thanks to the calf panels.

17 SWIM FOR TRI TRAINING AID

£8

SWIM FOR TRI TRAINING AID

Instead of stuffing paper under a bottle with your set written on, why not just have it on the bottle? SFT’s 750ml ‘Intelligent’ bottle does just that, with warm-ups, six main sets and cool-downs printed on, varying between 2.8km-4km per session.

Buy from swimfortri.co.uk

18 TRI-FIT EVO

£179

TRI-FIT EVO

The Evo is an outstanding package from Aussie brand. The suit is comfortable, the pad is great for long-distance races, and the focus on aerodynamics across the shoulders, back and arms doesn’t inhibit flexibility. Pocket space is amongst the best, too.

Buy from tri-fitathletic.com

19 QUINTANA ROO PRSIX 2

£9,895

QUINTANA ROO PRSIX 2

The changes made on the PRsix2 are evolutionary rather than a complete overhaul, with the frame weight
brought down by 10%. The result is a refined ride feel, multiple tri-specific accessories and huge adjustability. If
you want one of the most advanced tri bikes on the market, this one is very
hard to fault.

Read our full review of the Quintana PRsix2 here

20. HOKA ONE ONE RINCON 2

£105

HOKA ONE ONE RINCON 2

We were largely underwhelmed with Hoka’s 2020 releases (see the TenNine, Clifton Edge and Clifton 7), but the Rincon 2 bucked that trend, and then some, with a road shoe that encapsulates all that’s good about Hoka. There’s support and forward propulsion from the Meta-Rocker, and also nimbleness from the lean 218g weight. 

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