When we kicked off Transitions, Fusion's tri kit was among the first things we were given the opportunity to test. The results of that review were very positve. My only comment to John was that personally I prefer a suit with sleeves to kep the sun off. He told me it was in the pipeline and a prototype version was currently being usd by Tim Don. Well now it is here and "Lostkiwi" took one for a spin around the Hervey Bay course to see how it performed in the Queensland sun.
Here is his report:
I have always wanted to try a sleeved one piece suit and the heat of Hervey Bay would be a great place to put it to the test as it is hot, humid and a non wetsuit swim. John from Fusion (ferg from Transitions) sent me the suit a few days before the race and I followed his care instructions of a quick hand wash with some white vinegar. This is to keep the red and white colours looking sharp.
Ferg gave me the instructions to hitch it up like a wetsuit to make sure that there was no restrictive movement around the arms. This was good advice. I thought that there might be some chafing issues under the arms whilst swimming, but this did not prove to be the case. In fact there were no chaffing issues at all through-out the whole race.
I used a medium size and at 182cm and about 83kg (I know, I know, I’m a fatty) this seemed perfect. I do have a longer body and shorter legs, but this was not a problem in this suit.
The compression around the legs felt good and the sleeves were tight around my arms down to just above my elbows. There was no looseness any where on the suit which made it feel like it would be fast and perhaps prevent the dreaded chafe a bit during the run……
The ‘chamois’, I think is best described as a thin ‘microfibre’ strip. There is really no padding at all and because of this it is completely non obtrusive. I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to testing out the comfort levels of it on the bike or not…..
Whilst in the 25degree water, I never once gave the suit a thought (this is a good thing!). The longer arms didn’t rub, the pockets on the leg didn’t drag and it certainly didn’t feel like the suit was holding any water anywhere. I came out of the water with no chaffing on the neck either. Now that the rules seem to be changing around wearing sleeves in the swim, this suit fits in nicely for the swim leg of any non-wetsuit triathlon. In a wetsuit swim, I would probably still wear the suit up under the wetsuit as well.
This was going to be the big test for the suit. I have never (not once) done a race over 80km or more where I haven’t got completely uncomfortable from sitting on the seat. I have tried all manner of saddles and knicks and nothing has ever worked.
So I guess I was going to be a hard marker with the fusion suit. I think the low profile nature of the chamois is a really good thing as there are very few spots where chaffing can occur. In fact, I had no chaffing at all on the bike either.
For the most part I was also pretty comfortable and given that I have had endless issues, I would put this down to the suit being a good fit and the chamois certainly being comfortable.
I didn’t expect a suit to stop all my discomfort issues, but this one nearly did.
One aspect that is hard to quantify is how ‘fast’ the suit is. Certainly the feeling of it being ‘fast’ on the bike was there, but I have no way to prove that it was. Given that the sleeves go down to the elbow and there is the correct amount of tightness to stop any flapping around in the wind, you would have to think that it’s better than a normal non sleeved version.
Having sleeves also brings the enormous bonus of not getting sunburnt. It has a 50 spf rating and I certainly did not get sunburnt through the suit at all.
Another feature of the suit that is promoted on the website is the cooling ability. Being white it definitely has that effect, but it really comes into its own when you poor water over it. There is a definite cooling effect that sticks around for a while even in the hot Hervey Bay sun.
Don’t take this to mean that it holds water. It definitely doesn’t do that. According to the website, it promotes the natural cooling effect of the body. Weather this is a placebo effect or it actually does do as promoted, I don’t know. But it certainly feels cooler for a period of time.
The tightness around the shoulders provided no discomfort and all up for the bike leg, I would give it a big thumbs up.
I used the ‘cooling effect’ to its maximum on the run. It was hot. Ferg suggested pulling the zip down a touch when I ran just so the suit would allow me to be vertical properly. I did do this for half the run, but the other half I kept it zipped up so the ice I was putting down the suit would stay where I wanted it. There was no feeling of ever being hunched over when the suit was done up all the way.
The suit has a pocket down the side of each leg. It is supposed to fit two gels in each pocket. It would easily do this. I carried a little gel flask which fitted perfectly into the pocket. There was no jiggling and access was easy.
Again I made it through the run without any chaffing at all. In fact as far as making comments about the suit on the run, things were very uneventful. I really did have the response of not really noticing it at all on the run. For me this is a good thing. A suit should be used to keep us covered up and comfortable. Thankfully for everyone it did both things.
I really didn’t want to write a review that was all positive, but I really can’t think of any aspects of the suit that I would change. It did as advertised. It protected me from the sun, it was potentially faster on the bike when compared to a non sleeved version and it was extremely comfortable. Not sure what more you could want really?
For those after a personalised look or "low-run" custom kit, Fusion are now doing in-house dye sublimation printing specifically available on all Fusion WHITE fabric triathlon garments and the mesh Vent Pro Top. Including two men’s and women’s tri tops produced specifically for custom printing. Check it out here. With FREE printing till Christmas.
Text and images by: "Lostkiwi"