Wetsuits are a bit like bikes, fit is paramount. All the technology in the world is next to useless if a wetsuit doesn’t fit well. That being said, if you get a fit that works then all the tech is an added bonus. The downside to this is that the technology generally comes at a cost and with wetsuits the disparity between the cost of brands and models is pretty immense.
Dare2Tri’s motto is “Great gear at great prices” and this wetsuit is no exception. The Mach3 is Dare2Tri’s top of the line wetsuit yet retails for only $388.00 a far cry from the asking price of other brands flagship suits. Don’t feel however that Dare2Tri are skimping on technology to achieve a price point. If you were to rad the features list for this suit without knowing the brand you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading the about the latest $900 suit. Sponsored athletes and their opinions don’t often carry great cachet but if you are going to have an athlete use your wetsuit then Benjamin (The Fish) Sanson is a pretty good option.
The simple but effective zipper and neck closure.
The shoulders of the Mach3 are made of a supple 2mm rubber to provide freedom of movement, and the soft flex collar is said to cause no irritation. The back is 3.5mm and the chest is 5mm, a combination used to give maximum buoyancy and stability while maintaining a good swim position. The forearms and shins include a grip panel and kick panel respectively which are essentially a grooved panel which are to provide maximum traction and propulsion. The Mach3 also contains stabilisation panels running down the sides of the torso which are to help “put your spine in line”.
The side stabilization panels.
While some current suits feel delicate and a bit precious in their pursuit of flexibility, and have you living in fear of tearing your substantial investment the Mach 3 feels quite substantial while still remaining soft and flexible.
Each year Readers Digest publishes a list of Australia’s most trusted people, usually headed by the likes of doctors like Charlie Teo and Fiona Wood. If “Transitions” did the same there is a good chance “Nealo” would be near the top of the tree, and this is what he had to say as our guest reviewer of the Dre2Tri Mach 3.
I’m writing this review with pretty much no knowledge of the product.
It’s the Mach 3 wetsuit from Dare2Tri.
The wetsuit I was provided is a Large size which has a guide to fit people in the 78-90kg range. Given I’m currently 91kg I was always going to be putting this suggestion to the test.
The first time I tried it on it felt very restrictive in the torso, like it was pulling down and rounding my shoulders. Due to this I was going to pass on testing the wetsuit. I went to the webpage to check the sizing and there I saw how far up the leg the model had the wetsuit pulled. With this knowledge I tried it again and with the adjustments of pulling it all the way up the suit now felt comfortable and unrestrictive.
The Mach 3 feels very durable and in no way delicate or weak. As I said before I was making it work hard to consume my ample dimensions.
In comparison to my Huub Aerious I found doing up the zip and making the back of the neck and the “extra little flap to stop chafing” easier to get right on the Mach 3. After my swim I had no chafing at the back of the neck which seems to be a bit of hit and miss on my Huub, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t, all depending how I finished doing the wetsuit up I guess.
The day was a beautiful blue sky day and I headed down to Gunnamatta Bay baths to do some laps. It was 2pm and around 19 degree’s. Putting the wetsuit on in the beautiful sun I was beginning to get rather warm and couldn't wait to get in the water. Boy did that quickly change once I hit the water. I’d swam about 30m before I turned around and went and grabbed a couple of swim caps to put on as my head was screaming from the cold. Google tells me Cronulla beach water temp is around 18.5, the bay certainly felt a lot colder than that.
The suit felt super buoyant and put me in a comfortable position, I had no restriction in the shoulders or under the arm as I stroked forward. I’m not sure what else really to say, I didn't feel super-fast but I also hadn't swum for 3 months……………
A little thing I noticed is some wetsuits have a little bit of Velcro on the end of the zip string, you know to be able to attach up at the neck so you know where it is, well the Mach 3 doesn't have that. That doesn't bother me as I don’t use it but it’s not there if you wanted it.
I have no hesitation in recommending the wetsuit, for equivalent money you’d be hard pressed to find better.
The shin "kick panels"
As I was embarking upon this review it turned out that “Quack” was looking to purchase a Mach3 of his own.*
I had the opportunity to try the new Dare 2 Tri Mach 3. Bill sent me down a suit which arrived following day - cost is $388 including shipping –which is less than half the price of most high end suits on the market and Bill said their policy was that you can try it and send it back after a swim or two for a full refund if you are not satisfied. The suit is different, in a good way, to the other suits I have had recently (Orca 3.8 & Helix) – the construction and materials feel strong and I am not worried about easily putting finger tears (or worse) into the suit. They use a different, more durable material to most of the other manufacturers. The suit is comfortable, and I had zero irritation around my neck despite no lube. The buoyancy is the biggest thing I noticed at first – it is very buoyant and I felt fast in the water. Flexibility around the shoulders felt no different to my current suit (Orca 3.8) despite the material appearing to be slightly thicker. I would highly recommend that anybody who is looking for a tough, high end but good value suit at least try this suit – thumbs up for the great service from Dare 2 Tri too.
The forearm grip panels
The boy’s reviews had me curious so I braved the winter water and took the plunge myself. Those that know my aversion to cold water will know that this really is testament to my commitment to the fullness of these reviews. I also found the suit to be light and flexible, which is interesting given that it does contain 5mm rubber. As someone who has not swum for some time, I was impressed at how well the suit made me feel, I was expecting to be wallowing but the extra buoyancy had me almost enjoying the whole cold water swimming experience. I’m at the lower end of the suggested weight range at 79kgs and the suit still fit nicely. It took a good few minutes before the cold water made its way into the suit which gave me enough time to get up the courage to put my head under. The neck is indeed supple enough to not be noticeable, even when swimming “polo style” with the head raised.
If I had to be picky I would say that the arms and legs were a little more difficult to get off than my usual suit, but I wasn’t lubed up, nor had the extra strength that race day adrenalin tends to give and to be fair my current suit has had the arms and leg trimmed for this very reason.
Would I buy it? Well seeing as my existing wetsuit is a few years old now and testing the Mach3 made me realise that technology has moved on a bit, I may now need to look at shopping for a new suit for the upcoming season. The Dare2Tri Mach 3 luckily, suited me really well, I couldn’t have asked for a better fit. So with that in mind I would be reluctant to feel the need to look to spend more money. If you were blind testing and were told this was an $800 suit, given its fit, features and flexibility you would probably think that was as good a deal as many other brands. Given that it’s only $388.00 it seems a steal.
*In the interests of full disclosure, Quack did not end up buying the Mach 3 purely due to sizing issues.
“Nealo” and “Quack” provided their reviews in their own words without inducement. Their reviews have been edited for spelling and grammar but not for content.