Triathlon Gear Upgrades

Look for these key attributes next time you're shopping for some "free speed."

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An expensive price doesn’t guarantee that one product is an upgrade over a more affordable option. Look for these key attributes next time you’re shopping for some “free speed.” Pick up the 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide, on newsstands now, for more on these products. The page numbers where you can find each example are provided below.

Thin rubber on the upper body is often more flexible than thicker rubber, but also less buoyant. 2XU’s X:3 (page 24) combines both key benefits by using stretchable neoprene on the shoulders and aerated panels on the chest. Fit is still king, and this suit is tailored for trim, athletic physiques.

Tri cycling shoes
Strapping shoes on in T1 then clanking out of transition on cleats is slow. Tri shoes can slip on easily while rolling down the road after a flying mount. They should also be light and have a stiff sole. Not every upgrade has to be expensive; the Louis Garneau Tri Lites (page 54) meet all those requirements and they cost half the price of some top-end shoes.

Comfortable saddle
If a rider’s position isn’t right, the saddle won’t feel comfortable, and the reverse is also true. The ISM Attack (page 66) is perfect for getting into an aero tuck and staying there. Try a few saddles until you find one that agrees with your anatomy.

Regardless of lens quality, gasket size or any other feature, if a goggle doesn’t seal reliably, it sucks. The TYR Special Ops (page 16) forms a gentle yet solid bond and is color customizable.

A helmet is similar to a wetsuit in that it has to fit to be fast. Designed for uncompromising aerodynamic performance, the Lazer Wasp (page 56) is incredibly narrow and has a long tapered tail that may complement aggressive positions.

Running watch
The ability to monitor current speed while running can dramatically improve training quality for the all-important final leg. On top of that key function, Garmin’s 910 XT (page 99) adds
a seamless multisport mode to simplify race-day data. Its relatively small package and reliable battery make it the best in the business.

RELATED – 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Running Shoes

Cycling computer
If a cycling computer’s job is to collect and share ride data, the Garmin 510 (page 58) is the first head unit for the era of digital training. It simplistically displays every relevant metric and uploads seamlessly, even allowing others to track your progress in real time.

Running shoe
For a shoe to be fast, it has to match the runner’s stride and weigh as little as possible. The Saucony Fastwitch 6 (page 96) is a featherweight shoe that has just enough cushioning and comfort to make it a burner. Quick-laces such as those from Greeper Sport Laces will have you out of T2 as fast as possible.

Race wheels
Aerodynamic drag sets a wheel’s potential speed, and its stability determines whether wind-tunnel performance translates to faster times. The Enve SES 9’s (page 78) broad rim shape excels at both. It has been proven aerodynamically effective, and also helps stabilize the wheels in heavy winds.

When components are working perfectly, you don’t even notice they’re there. Shimano Dura-ace 9000’s (page 68) shifting and braking performance is so good when adjusted, all you’ve got to think about is the ride.

Race kit
Aerodynamic testing conducted by Pearl Izumi demonstrated that clothing is one of the most essential pieces of equipment when it comes to aerodynamic drag. Blue Seventy’s TX3000 (page 104) doesn’t just fit tightly, it fits precisely, conforming to every body contour without irritation.

RELATED – 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Bikes

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