Super versatile suit with lots of novel features and a well-thought out design that’s more than a “cycling-brand-gone-tri”
Great storage spread out over four small, well-placed pockets
Fantastic two-piece/one-piece design
Unique mesh ventilation in the armpits
A little warmer than you’d expect
Minimal pad (though the custom version can go thicker)
Though Giordana has been a small-but-popular name in the cycling clothing industry for a few years, it has yet to make a big mark in tri. The Italian brand is well-known for quality construction and materials and some pretty funky Euro-ish designs—the kind of stuff roadies go wild over. Though Giordana (wisely) toned the designs down a little bit for triathletes, its commitment to good construction shows in its brand new FR-C Pro Tri Doppio Suit. Surprisingly, this new suit has some very tri-centric details that are not only clever, but actually pretty novel in the tri suit world. In other words: This isn’t just another cycling clothing company phoning it in with a tri suit.
Giordana FR-C Pro Tri Doppio Suit: Suit Salutes
Even though this is “just” a tri suit, there’s actually a lot to cover here, so we’ll start at the top and move south, hitting some highlights along the way. First, the Doppio has a very cool scalloped neckline, likely to accommodate for a lower TT position that could crunch up the back of your neck with extra fabric—something I can’t remember seeing before. From there, the armpits have a super super light mesh fabric for ventilation—likely scrapping the UPF 35 sun protection that the rest of the upper body’s fabric has. On the back, we have two medium-small stealthy pockets that are just big enough for maybe a thin vest or a couple thin arm warmers. We got a smartphone in there, but if you have one bigger than an iPhone 11, you might be in trouble. On the front of the suit, below the top half (we’ll get to the zippered top below, it deserves its own section), there’s another pair of pockets on each side of the front of the hips. These pockets are super tiny and could maybe fit two gels, but they’re also super stealthy—a good sign for aerodynamics/hydrodynamics without a skin suit. Down below, compressive fabric (way different than the top, by the way) wraps your legs tightly, but in a uniform way, and the pad uses aloe-infused fabric—again, another feature I can’t remember seeing elsewhere.
Giordana FR-C Pro Tri Doppio Suit: Get The Top Down
Though Giordana isn’t the first brand to use the two-piece/one-piece design, it’s worth noting here because I think we’ll likely see the extinction of one-piece suits that don’t have this feature. The idea is that the top is connected around the back and most of the sides, but stops as it comes around the front of the hips. The zipper zips down to the waistline and then disengages, allowing a “barn-door” effect that lets the front open wide and lets you remove the top (if race legal), letting the entire top come off down to your hips without pulling the front down with it. This disconnected front also helps with any bunching you might feel while in the aero position on the bike or any pulling you might feel across the front while running. Best yet, the bottom half goes up pretty high behind the detached section, giving you a sort of “modesty wall” for your tummy. It worked very well in all situations, swimming, biking, and running.
Giordana FR-C Pro Tri Doppio Suit: The Ok
While I really liked this suit, there were a few little details in the basic construction that kind of surprised me. Not enough to give it three stars, but enough to avoid five. First, though this suit’s top is touted as a “Aero High Speed Light fabric” according to Giordana’s site, I actually found it much warmer than I’d expected. In fact, in the unboxing video, one of my concerns was that it would be too light and only good for super hot races—as you can literally see through the top fabric when you hold it up to the light. Though I could feel the top venting through the back very well—I was in no way overheating—I also felt the wind being blocked from the front more than I had expected. I worked up a decent sweat, despite the fact that it was overcast and well under 80 degrees F, and I was not riding particularly hard. Similarly, I was warm on the run—but not too warm. I think this only means that the Doppio is a more well-rounded suit for all conditions than I had initially suspected, and not the “super hot only” suit it looked like at first. The only other slight surprise was that the pad was a bit thinner and compressed more than I’d expect from a cycling-first brand, but it also ran very well, so this is more of a note to those who like a thicker pad. The custom version allows you to specify a pad thickness (the stock one we tried comes in “medium”), so you can always go a little thicker if you go custom.
Giordana FR-C Pro Tri Doppio Suit: I Do Conclude
This is a great suit. The price isn’t overwhelming for the features you get (you can also get it in custom colors), and the minor surprises aren’t even negatives, just things to think about before you buy it. Overall I love the fact that Giordana took some time and put some real research into this suit, rather than just slapping their logo on some cycling fabric, labeling it a tri suit, and calling it a day. There were a lot of good surprises here, and only a few iffy ones that I didn’t see coming. Here, they nail the basics, for the most part, and (hopefully) set the bar for other brands to follow.