Friday, February 8, 2013

Skins Tri400 Review

I've now had the Skins Tri400 tri-suit for about 2 months. And since I'm a firm believer in the axiom that nothing should be new come race day, I've done a couple sessions in the suit. Here are my impressions.

First off, I'm 5'7", ~133lbs, which is right between XS and S on the Skins size calculator. I stuck with a size XS, the idea being to get to race weight, which is around 127lbs, putting me solidly in the XS size.

I'll say right off the bat this is hands down the most comfortable suit I've worn so far. The Memory MX material is true to it's MO, even though I stretch the suit since I'm on the far end of the size range, it has always returned to it's original shape and size. But it's also very soft and doesn't chafe, unlike many suits, whose durability comes from harsher-feeling polyester/lycra blends. The Tri400 pad is made up of high-density foam, but is also small and light, reducing drag in the water and bulk on the run, while providing enough cushioning for a 4 hour ride (the longest I've taken it) without soreness the next day.

I'm not sure that Skins "carbon-infused" fabric panels on the inner thigh are any more effective than regular panels, but to be fair, I haven't tested any others, and true to the claim, I've suffered no chafing on the run, a welcome relief. I also haven't gotten an opportunity to test the suit in the water (and I'm leery of jumping in a chlorinated pool) so like the TYR Category 5, that performance test will have to wait.

Bottom Line: I enjoy this suit immensely. The $300 price tag is hefty for aspiring racers, but I know Skins has occasional sales (I got mine for $150) when there are a few sizes left. Stay tuned for an in-water test in the spring.

Edit: I just raced IM Kansas 70.3 in the Skins Tri400 suit! While I immensely enjoyed the experience, I think I'll use it primarily for shorter triathlon events in the future. The lack of a sizable pocket for nutrition and a thin chamois bugged me almost the entire bike/run. It's a wonderful suit, and I may buy and pair the Tri400 bottoms with a top that has a bigger rear pocket for future 70.3 events as opposed to the suit, which I wore this past weekend.

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