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Holly's Tri mis-adventures
I'm a previously unsporty 20 something that has been trying very hard at tri for the last 6 years with minimal success! I love the sport to the extent that I helped my husband set up 'The Triathlon Shop' three years ago and have recently started working there full-time having given up a career in accountancy.

I'm lucky to be in the industry I love and often get to try out kit before it is released. When I do get to play with fun triathlon toys I tend to write a little review about my experiences. I also like to blog about my pathetic attempts to train and the fun I have in the summer racing and supporting all my friends at races.

A morning of wearing 13 different lycra outfits

twiggyby twiggyMar 25th 2014
Today was my day off from working in the triathlon shop (I started working there full-time a couple of weeks ago after 3 years of only being able to help out on weekends).

For the past week I have been looking at the huge range of womens tri kit that we now have in stock and wanting to try it on. There are a couple of reasons for this:
a) I like trying on pretty lycra
b) I am the main female presence in the shop and in order to be able to give the best service we need to know how each item feels and fits. It falls to me to provide this information!

So on my day off today I decided to try on every piece of tri clothing we have in store, making notes about comfort, fit and general lovelyness of each outfit. Here are my findings.

1. Speedo LZR Racer separates - Top £37.50, Shorts £37.50

Look - Love the bright colour and the asymmetric zip on the top.
Fit - The shorts felt very snug to get on. I had to wrestle with them a bit but once on they felt tight fitting but comfortable. The top wasn't as tight fitting as the shorts seemed to be and seemed more true to size.
Features - Internal bra felt pretty good, also internal pockets and gel loops - though I question the logic of attaching gels to your chest! The pad in the shorts was a simple fleece - probably more suitable for short races.

Overall - The Speedo kit felt surprisingly good for the price. Perfect for shorter races!

2. Orca Core Separates - Top £59, Shorts £59

Look - This is a simple black/White colour combination with a couple of neat little details. The elastic gripper on the shorts is patterned and there are some reflective strips sewn into the top.
Fit - The top in this combination is a much more relaxed fit than some of the other options for anyone who doesn't want to be in skin tight lycra! It is very comfortable to wear though maybe not as aero/hydrodynamic as the tighter kit. The shorts fit true to size and feel very comfortable with an elastic gripper which is non-irritating for the skin.
Features - Back pocket for nutrition and a mesh back to the top for breathability. Shorts have a wide waistband for comfort.

Overall - A nice solution for those who want a more relaxed and comfortable fit.

3. Orca Core Basic Trisuit - £70

Look - This suit has a simple look with a little bit of colour from the stitching. The back of the suit is a white mesh fabric that is very breatheable.
Fit - This suit fits true to size. It has a slight racer-back but doesn't cut in too harshly. The pad is fleece style which is perfect for shorter races and not noticeable in the swim and run.
Features - There is a simple built in bra that provides some support but bigger busts might still want a sports bra. There are rear pockets for any nutrition you might want to carry.

Overall - A simple suit that is perfect for beginners or those competing in shorter tris. This is also the cheapest option we have available.

4. 2XU Perform Separates - Top £60, Shorts £68

Look - I liked the flash of bright blue against the charcoal and black.
Fit - The top felt like it fits true to size and was longer than other tops I tried on which I quite liked. The shorts were quite snug to put on, but felt good once they were on. The waistband is wide and slightly more hipster style than the other shorts I tried on.
Features - The perform has a proper pad in the short making it a good option for short or long rides. There is no internal bra within the top leaving you to choose what you wear for support.

Overall - I especially liked the length of the top and nice flash of colour. The wide waistband on the shorts was a nice feature for comfort.

5. Orca 226 Kompress Tech Pant and 226 Support Top - Top £59, Shorts £75

Look - This is a simple Black/White colour scheme but the beauty of this kit really lays with the lovely cut of the top and shorts with some nice detailing such as wide compression cuffs on the shorts and attractive panelling on the back of the top.
Fit - This kit has a close but very comfortable fit which is very easy to get on. The top has an internal bra with a front zip to make it easy to get on and off. I found the internal bra to be pretty good, and I probably wouldn't bother with an additional sports bra. The wide compression cuffs on the shorts are very comfortable.
Features - The shorts have a comfortable but thin pad that makes these shorts ideal for longer rides. The top has rear pockets and plenty of internal support.

Overall - Orca 226 is super comfortable and perfect for short or long races. Im impressed by the internal bra in the top and love the compression cuffs on the shorts.

6. 2XU Active Trisuit - £86

Look - This suit is almost entirely black apart from the logos and a strip down the back. Its a pretty classy looking little black number.
Fit - The top half fit me snugly and felt very comfortable. There is no internal bra in this suit so you need to wear your own. The bottom half of the suit was definitely more suited to a powerful thigh! My skinny little quads didn't fill the leg cuffs.
Features - Fleece pad perfect for shorter distances and a suit with mild compression.

Overall - A great value suit with fleece pad. Will suit those with powerful thighs!

7. Castelli Core Separates - Top £60, Short £70

Look - This comes in a black and lime option and a black, white and pink version. Both are pretty stunning in my opinion! The best thing about the way these look is the exceptional Italian cut.
Fit - Castelli always comes up a bit small, but actually this kit seemed to be more true to size than Castelli cycling kit tends to be. The fit was very nice and the cut very flattering.
Features - This set had a fleece chamois making it ideal for Olympic distance and under. The best feature of these separates is that the top and shorts can be hooked together so you get no riding up of the top.

Overall - I'm a bit of a Castelli fan and this tri kit does not disappoint. It is great value for money and makes you feel good wearing it. The ability to attach the shorts and top is genius.

8. Castelli Free Separates - Top £70, Short £70

Look - Classic Castelli cut and a bright blue colour make this a very attractive set.
Fit - Much like the core set the fit was relatively true to size and I didn't find I needed to go up a size. The fit was snug and comfortable with the hook and eye system to keep the top and shorts together, though I would suggest buying this set as the top is a little short compared to some of the others and may ride up without the shorts to hold it down. There were no seams under the arms which is great to prevent any possibility of chaffing in a long race.
Features - The shorts have a proper Castelli tri pad which is quick drying but amazingly comfortable. I would be happy to wear these shorts as cycling shorts as well as for longer distance tri. The top also has side entry pockets making it easier to access your stuff while riding or running.

Overall - The perfect set for longer distance tri. This set was the most comfortable thing I wore.

9. Orca Core Trisuit - £89

Look - The cut and panelling on this trisuit is very flattering with areas of light fabric to make you look slimmer than you are!
Fit - This was a well fitting suit that was true to size. It was easy to get on and had a well fitting internal bra with a zip to the front.
Features - The core has a pad rather than a fleece making it a comfortable option for the bike. I found the leg elastic to be comfortable compared to a silicon gripper. A mesh back also makes this suit very breathable and quick drying.

Overall - A great value suit that is perfect for short or long distance and has a flattering cut and comfortable fit.

10. Orca 226 Kompress Trisuit - £109

Look - This is probably a love it or hate it kind of look, but personally I love the bright pink front to the suit! It has flattering black panels and a racer back design which I think looks great.
Fit - With a front zip and zipped internal bra this is an easy suit to get on but is nice and snug when it is on. There really isnt any extra fabric to slow you down in the swim or bike but I felt very comfortable in the suit.
Features - being a suit designed for longer distances there is a very comfortable pad in this suit as well as some built in compression to aid with muscle recovery.

Overall - I have always been a fan of this suit having raced in a version of it two seasons ago. This latest version impressed me and felt very comfortable. I also like the bright statement colour.

11. Zoot Performance Tri Cami and racerback - Both £60

Look - These are the most eye-catching tri tops we have in our range with stunning vertical stripe design. They also offer a very feminine option for women who want an attractive look when racing.
Cut - Both tops include an internal bra which was probably the most supportive feeling out of all the internal bras tried. This did make it a bit of a battle to put on though with no zips! The cami has beautiful straps which I really loved but I would suggest this would suit smaller chested women more. The racerback was an attractive alternative that was a good length and very comfortable.
Features - Both tops have pockets for nutrition and a great built in bra.

Overall - This is a lovely feminine option that is sure to get you noticed!

12. 2XU Perform Trisuit - £105

Look - Green and grey maybe isn't the most obvious colour combination for a womens suit but it actually looks really good when on. The suit feels really high quality and I really liked the cut of the suit.
Fit - The suit fit true to size and I didn't have the same skinny thigh problem in this suit as I did in the active. It was very comfortable to wear. Like the other 2XU there is no internal bra.
Features - This suit has a comfortable pad for the bike and pockets to store nutrition. The Legs have elastic rather than silicon which is my personal preference.

Overall - A well fitting suit that feels really nice on and not overly girly!
A morning of wearing 13 different lycra outfits
Hopefully some of this information is useful for any women looking to get a suit for this season. I certainly enjoyed trying everything on and I know what I'm going to be going for in 2014 for my race season - but more importantly I've gained a really good understanding of the fit and features of each of these different items.
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