There aren’t many tri suits that I’ve tried on and thought, “Oh, that looks really cool. And I can wear it with arm warmers!” Nope, in fact I’ve often descried the tri suit as a necessary piece of my training kit. We all know just how versatile triathletes have to be–and let’s face it, some tri suits just don’t meet the mark. Not so with Santini’s latest aero iteration. This kit has all of the flair and every bit of the fast.
Santini Sleek 2.0 Short Sleeved Tri Suit
Design: Fully Customizable, Stock Colors in Black with Blue/Orange, Red, or Lime accents
The Upsides: Seriously cutting edge technology, all-day comfort and aerodynamics with a gel chamois that’s peerless. Quick drying and ultra-light, we’re pretty impressed with Santini’s tech here.
The Downsides: Some triathletes might not be used to the short sleeves on the run, so may take a little getting used to. But for those of you who like to throw on a shirt at T2, this will save you a step.
With the short-sleeved Sleek 2.0 Tri Suit, not a seam is out of place, and it lives up to its name in every form–sleek and smooth where it counts. In fact, it wears like, to use an old cliché, a second skin, with an almost indiscernible transition at each arm and leg band–making for a seriously comfortable grip at the bicep and thigh without any hint of stuffed sausage. There is never any thought of them rolling up or getting in the way at transitions. This suit stays put, and keeps you looking good. And looking good means going fast (always, right?).
Produced with the input of Kona pro triathlete Kyle Buckingham, the Sleek 2.0 has all the high-tech features you’d expect in a high-end tri suit. Cut for seriously aero performance–hence the short sleeves–this suit is surprisingly comfortable.
Quick-dry fabric does its job of wicking away pool and open water quickly. A full-zip front has a heavy-duty zipper that doesn’t interfere with your wetsuit’s rear panel closure. And a generous cut at the neck keeps the material from rubbing and causing irritation. A single pocket in the middle of the back is good for holding a gel or two, though it proved a bit short for bars or other bulkier nutrition.
After testing this suit in several training bricks, open water swims with wetsuit, and in one rather longish Sprint distance triathlon with a pool swim, I put this thing through its paces. It stands up to the repeated thrashing that a triathlete can give it without any hint of seams popping, fraying, or the old school difficulty of stretching out with all the H20 training.
Perhaps the best feature on this suit is the GTR chamois. That’s gel, folks. And gel spells serious comfort. As one who has always been unimpressed by most of the chamois out there on tri suits, this is a welcome find. The pad doesn’t take on much water at all on the swim, which keeps you even more comfortable on the bike. Because the gel doesn’t squash down like normal foam pads, it keeps blood flow up and offers more protection in the saddle. On the run, it’s barely noticeable–and something of a marvel that such a minimal chamois can make such a difference.
The side panels and sleeves are a breathable mesh fabric that work really well to expel heat and moisture. They also are somewhat see-through, which is fine but you might want to lather a little extra sunscreen under your suit here. While the majority of the suit did a great job at blocking the sun–and it’s made for anti-UV–the panels did tend to let in a little extra sun.
True to its Italian heritage, you’ll definitely want to size up on this suit. I generally wear a medium, and the large that the folks at Santini were kind enough to send over fit pretty well, but a medium would certainly have been too small. As with most aero suits, even the right size should be somewhat tight–otherwise you’ll be voiding its aerodynamic benefits.
Available September 1st, the Sleek 2.0 Short Sleeve Tri Suit should suit (oh yes, that was an intended pun) any triathlete looking for a high performance kit that not only looks good but keeps you hammering in comfort. Head over to Santini’s website for more info on the coming launch, and to order your own.