We put the 2XU Compression Sleeved Trisuit through its paces to see if a sleeved trisuit can compete with its traditional sleeveless counterparts.
Triathlon is a sport that demands a lot of equipment. Wetsuits, goggles, time trial bikes, aero helmets, tri bars, high-tech trainers and optically perfect sunglasses - the possibilities are endless. Yet, there is only one piece of kit that makes it all the way through all three disciplines with you; your trusty trisuit.
Bearing this in mind investing in a decent trisuit does not seem all that lavish a proposition. Australian company 2XU have come to the market offering versatility, performance and most importantly, comfort for everyone from the "haven't swam since I was at school” beginner to the "this is Ironman number 12 for me" fanatic.
The 2XU Compression Sleeved Trisuit sits in the upper section of the 2XU range and is a new addition for 2016. If you are in the market for a trisuit what will strike you is the trend towards sleeves rather than vests. The fear of having sleeves on a trisuit is that they are going to restrict your swimming, be yet another part of the suit that has to dry and, quite frankly, provide the wearer with some tan lines that make you appear like you have dipped your arms in treacle.
"...it fits like a second skin."
That said, sleeves do provide a benefit and the Compression Sleeved Trisuit certainly demonstrates this. Firstly, modern fabrics and construction techniques mean that the suit does not restrict movement whatsoever. Having used the suit both on its own in a pool and under a wetsuit in open water I can attest that it fits like a second skin. In fact, the compression that the sleeves provide enhances your swim by boosting blood flow and reducing shoulder fatigue. This is something that is especially useful if you are swimming long distances or, like me, you are not an especially strong swimmer.
"I am 6’1" and 80 kilograms and opted for the large size, which fitted perfectly..."
In keeping with the theme of the suit's fit, the level of compression on offer is fantastic, especially on the suit’s legs. I am 6’1" and 80 kilograms and opted for the large size, which fitted perfectly without any bunching around the groin or shoulders. 2XU use 105D/CK fabric, which provides a notably snug feeling fit that helps to reduce muscle oscillation and fatigue.
One possible grumble would be that the shorts could be slightly longer. I would have welcomed compression extending further down my thigh like as it does with a cycling bib short.
"The mesh panels allow heat and perspiration to escape while also helping the suit to dry very quickly."
Another possible downside of a sleeved suit is the threat of overheating. Again, 2XU have done a great job dispelling this concern with their Vent Mesh side, back and shoulder panels and the ICE X CT cooling technology. The mesh panels allow heat and perspiration to escape while also helping the suit to dry very quickly.
ICE X CT fabric promises to provide a cooling effect and while days that are hot enough for this effect to be felt are few and far between here in the UK, the technology does come in handy on especially searing bike rides and runs.
"The Memory Tech LD chamois is exceptionally supportive on the bike while also performing a remarkable disappearing act during the swim and run."
2XU's Memory Tech LD pad is exceptional, excelling in every department. Riding or even running with a soggy seat pad is uncomfortable, to say the least so this pad's ability to dry rapidly is a big plus.
The way the pad is cut is also superb. It sits slightly further forwards than many other trisuit chamois. This means that the chamois is invisible during the run and swim section. Having used the suit for 10 kilometre (Olympic distance) runs I can safely say that I suffered from no chafing whatsoever.
Secondly, having the pad located slightly further forwards also helps to alleviate pressure on your delicate areas when you are leaning all the way forward in the aero tuck position.
Two small energy gel pockets keep a convenient gel or bar secure through the ride and run while the full-length front zip allows for full ventilation on scorching days. The way the shorts are combined with the top means that there is a handy gap when nature breaks are needed. The downside of this is that the suit is especially flappy when the zip is fully undone.
Aesthetically, 2XU are market leaders in the triathlon world and the Compression Sleeved Trisuit is no exception to this visually pleasing trend. Striking ‘X’ graphics on the leg exude power and the mesh panelling looks like it takes more than a little influence from the masked vigilantes of movie and comic book fame.
Having used the trisuit over a variety of distances and in a range of conditions it is safe to say that 2XU have perfected versatility and comfort in a suit that feels at home at any distance from super-sprint to full Ironman. 2XU's cutting-edge blend of fabrics provide comfort, compression and cooling through all three stages of a triathlon. The Memory Tech LD chamois is exceptionally supportive on the bike while also performing a remarkable disappearing act during the swim and run.