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The 2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide magazine is out on newsstands now (and check out the digital version), and we’re giving you a sneak peek right here. Check out the race apparel from the guide here and check back to Triathlete.com for more Buyer’s Guide content.
Zoot Ultra Tri Short and Tank – Women
The draw: Compressive
Zoot uses a thicker material to make this suit, not a typical Lycra fabric, that helps support the body and offers completely opaque coverage. It gently holds everything in place, and a thick shelf bra gives even more support. The shorts use a very minimalist pad, which should be noted by long-course racers preferring a thick chamois. The leg cuff doesn’t require any gripper to keep it in place—the sturdy, compressive fabric does the job. Seven pockets across the top and short provide a ton of storage, which makes this kit also appealing for a long training day.
Louis Garneau Pro 6 Short and Pro Top
The draw: Bold style
If your typical race season includes a race of every distance, this kit can be your do-it-all uniform. The shorts fit securely across the hips and legs without any pinch points, and the mid-weight pad offers enough support for a long race, yet it never bunches. And the colors! In a word, the options are bold. If neon yellow isn’t your favorite, maybe highlighter blue or pink will match your style. The mesh top is breathable and is moderately supportive.
2XU G:2 Compression Tri Singlet and Short
The draw: No overheating
The sleek, form-flattering compression top features 2XU’s Ice X technology, designed to draw heat from the body while blocking infrared rays to keep you cool. Wear it with your favorite bra. Two rear pockets hold a few gels, while the top is long enough to nix funky back burns. A thick, drawstring-free waistband on the shorts is comfortable and fuss-free, while deep side pockets hold extra fuel. The soft chamois is best suited to sprint through half-iron-distance events.
TYR Competitor Tank and Short – Women
The draw: Comfort in the aero position
This racerback tank features a built-in bra, quick dry material, figure-flattering seams, and a back pocket big enough for a smart phone and full-size bars. The shorts’ thick, long chamois provided ample coverage for testers when riding in aero without feeling diaper-like on the run. They also feature a rear zip pocket for keys, IDs, and credit cards. Tack on UPF 50+ rated material and comfortable compression, and this kit a go-to for long training days and races. Longer eight-inch shorts offer more leg coverage than most.
Sugoi RS Tri Short and RPM Tank – Women
The draw: Supportive top, comfy shorts
Thicker material on this tri top makes it warmer than most in cool temps, and more concealing. Tight around the waist, there’s ample room in the chest for a sports bra. The three-quarter zip lets hot-running triathletes cool off, while two rear pockets will securely hold a few gels. The shorts are so stretchy and comfortable, we had to check that we still had them on. The disappearing chamois is best for sprint- to Olympic-distance races.
BlueSeventy TX2000 Tri Short and Singlet – Men
The draw: Comfy fit
There isn’t a headline-stealing feature in this kit—every piece just does its job well. The Lycra shorts are cut just right for a medium build and the pad is supportive but slender enough to avoid bunching. Its tall waistband holds the shorts in place and has no need for a drawstring. The largely monotone top is breathable and has a forgiving fit. Ample pockets in the rear can hold more than enough nutrition for a race.
Castelli T1 Stealth Top – Men
The draw: Faster bike splits
Finally, the drag-saving technology that has long been available to cyclists has made its way into triathlon. The T1 Stealth is meant to be worn on the bike and then removed in T2 before starting the run. Castelli claims the top will save roughly three minutes over an Ironman for an athlete splitting 5:00 on the bike. Other than its aero benefits, it also provides protection from the sun by covering the shoulders and upper arms. Be sure to buy the size that fits you snugly to maximize the top’s aero properties.
Pearl Izumi Octane Tri Suit – Men
The draw: Proven aero performance
Since the body creates roughly 75 to 80 percent of the aerodynamic drag while riding a bicycle, if a company can create a suit that allows air to pass more efficiently than skin, it will provide an advantage. In a recent third-party wind tunnel test, this suit was significantly faster for a well-fit athlete than other suits tested, including another aero kit. The full shoulders provide sun protection but may create the sensation of extra heat during warm races. The body is cut tightly for a snug fit.
Orca 226 Tri Top and Kompress Tech Pant – Men
The draw: Design to go long
There are 226 kilometers in an iron-distance tri, and testers were left with no doubt this comfortable chamois can go the distance. The kit feels just as primed for a hard, fast half. Solid quad compression on the 8-inch shorts helps keep legs fresh, while two rear pockets securely cradle gels. With two side pockets on the top, excellent arm range of motion and a zipper guard to avoid chafing when the zipper is up, the top will stay out of your way while you chase a long-course PR.