Zone 3 Aeroflow tri suit  £84.99

9/10

Well priced, well designed tri suit that delivers when and where it counts

Contact  James Lock www.racezone3.com Team@RaceZone3.com

by Jon Burrage   August 21, 2009  

Zone 3 aeroflo tri suit

The aeroflo race suit by up and coming UK performance sports clothing company Zone 3 brings a host of new ideas to the Triathlon and Duathlon arena.

I have raced in this suit four times now, twice in duathlons and twice in triathlons, and to be honest I have nothing but praise for the aeroflo suit. I have always seen a traditional ‘tri suit’ as an unfortunate requirement of racing, the benefits of wearing a specific piece of clothing that allows me to swim, ride and run effectively without the need to get changed between disciplines outweighed by the negatives such as lack of movement, poor fit and, for those starting out, the image of wearing a lycra one piece but Zone3 have changed my mind with this offering.

Zone3 say the aeroflo is aimed at the full spectrum of athletes from beginners to elite athletes. This is a long shot in my opinion, great for beginners and those who are relatively competitive such as myself but elite athletes would undoubtedly lean toward the higher end ‘aeroforce’ suit so I would suggest this suit, priced at £84.99, should appeal to anyone at a sub-national level.

Initially, when putting the suit on, it feels a little tighter than my alternative race kit but when it had been on for 30 seconds or so the range of movement and lightweight fabric really became obvious.

The aeroflo race suit is made from Zone3’s own aeroflo fabric, designed to maximise performance capabilities in all three triathlon disciplines. Now, other suit manufacturers such as Orca, 2XU and Foor all claim the same thing but having raced in Orca and 2XU kit over the last four years I can categorically say that, albeit for just four races up to this point, the Zone3 suit delivers where the other brands have not.

The aeroflo fabric itself benefits from a range of exciting features over other offerings. It is extremely light, approximately 50% lighter than comparable suits at just 145grams per metre squared, and this is noticeable when wearing the suit. The suit also benefits from a coating of DuPont Teflon which gives the suit a unique feel and when splashed with water it beads and falls off in the same way that a high end cycling jacket would work, the benefits of this are obvious when in a triathlon or duathlon context, the fabric dries extremely quickly which is great in our lovely British summers and the Teflon fabric has delivered me to swim personal bests in both triathlons that I’ve worn it.

Fit is extremely comfortable, shoulder flexibility was maximised and throughout the ride I didn’t have to adjust my position at all. Thanks to the race specific, Italian pad insert and an innovative double layer of aeroflo fabric on the front and back of the crotch area which adds extra support and comfort, something that I have found to be lacking in other suits.

The Zone3 aeroflo suit has all the features of high end cycling clothing such as specific, thin silicon leg grippers to prevent suit movement when riding and running, a protective soft layer of fabric runs inside the suit to prevent discomfort caused by the zipper. Flat Lock stitching and smooth seams adorn this suit to reduce irritation and maximise hydrodynamics through the water. Time Trial regulations usually require shoulders to be covered but this suit could certainly be used for training purposes, lightweight, flexible and a good fit combined with extremely comfortable cycling additions could allow this suit to be used in more than just Duathlons and Triathlons.

I was asked by several competitors "who makes this suit", reason being that it is a much understated design. The Zone3 logos are fairly small and are front and rear, the largely black with red flashes don’t make the suit stand out in the crowd but then maybe that is a good thing? At £84.99 it isn’t a cheap entry level suit but you don’t get cheap entry level quality.

The Zone 3 is a very good piece of kit, it feels fast, it works well and it has given me top 3 age group positions in the races I have worn it in. If you have £85-£100 to spend on a suit that you don’t want to replace after one year then this has got to be a good option, it has the quality to take you from beginner to age grouper (amateur world championships level) at which point, based on this suit, stick with zone3 and try their aeroforce top end suit.

Verdict

A very good value suit, if you dont mind not following the masses to the 2XU and ORCA kit then this Zone3 suit will do everything you need. The quality of manufacture seems to be top notch and the fit is better than anything Ive tried from the other brands, if you are going to base a decision on wether or not this suit will make you faster, well it did for me. Somthing drastic will have to happen to make me switch back to my 2XU kit.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Zone 3 Aeroflow tri suit

Size tested: M

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The aeroflo suit is primarily aimed at triathletes and duathletes, events where hydrodynamics (being efficient through water) and comfort are paramount. Zone3 say that it is lighter, faster drying and a better fit than other brands and to be honest I think theyre right, it is noticably lighter than my own kit, my shoulders felt like they ahd a lot more flexibility and the fit was perfect for me.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Some of the standout points of this suit are that it has a coating of Dupont Teflon on the fabric, sound over the top doesnt it! Well thats what I thought until I first tried it in the pool, the water just fell off the suit, there was no apparant absorbtion initially which is a big difference to other fabrics. This acts like a high end waterproof jacket in this respect and clearly this technology should provide less resistance when swimming. This is proven, to some degree, by my swim times. I normally can expect a 6:45 400m swim in a sprint triathlon but in the races I used this suit I was exiting the pool in 6:10. Maybe thats all in my mind but either way I got out of the pool a lot sooner than normal.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The fit is great, the only thing that i think lets it down for me is a lack of a small pocket for gels or my asthma inhalor, not a massive issue at all but Im having to be picky to find anything to improve on.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

It worked for me. I have used several brands of kit and they have been fine, at least thats what I thought. This zone3 aeroflo suit will ensure that I am a lot more demanding from my kit in the future now that I know what is available.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Ive only raced in it four times and trained in it for a few hours, its tough to assess durability on this timescale. I believe that a suit of this price should last several years, time will tell if the Zone3 does but there are no signs of stitching coming loose or logos wearing off.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Extremely light, it sounds strange suggesting that weight makes a different in a race suit but it does, itf it makes the wearer feel fast then thats all positive. I felt fast, I felt light and I went quickly in this suit.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
10/10

Again top marks, I havnt been this comfortable on the bike while wearing a race suit before. Normally Im wriggling about trying to find an efficient yet comfortable position but in this I got on the saddle, down on the aerobars and forgot all about my position, it was ideal. On the run too the suit was fine, no chaffing, no tightless and due to the thinner fabric and teflon coating it was as dry as a bone.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

£84.99 is a lot to spend on a suit for your average triathlete or duathlete but if that suit stays with you for a few years and makes you feel faster then I believe its better value for money than the competition. Race suits can go up from around £60 to nearly £200 so the aeroflo is still at the bottom end of that range. If you are in the market for a race suit then give this a good look.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It worked extremely well, I felt fast and controlled in the water, comfortable on the bike and easy on the run. Not to sound odd but it felt like I wasnt wearing a suit. Sometimes they can be restrictive and annoying, even expensive suits, but not this one. The fit and lightweight fabric meant that it did its job quietly and efficiently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The speed at which it dried out. Wearing my 2XU kit earlier this summer at Burnham on Sea on a similarly warm day the suit was still wet at the end of the run which means I am carrying that weight and cant regulate my temperature as well as I should be able to. The Zone3 aeroflo was dry within 5 minutes of being out of the pool which meant I had 20km of riding and 5km of running without carrying extra weight around, this has to make a difference.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I think its a shame that Zone3 have only put relatively small logos on their product. I got lots of questions about it so maybe in the future a more 'statement' colour or logo could adorn their kit to make it obvious who they are.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I will be

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I have done, several times already.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Fit and comfort is unique to every person, try out a load of suits but make sure this is one of them.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 5ft 10  Weight: 66kg

I usually ride: felt ar4  My best bike is: i like my felt and my orbea ora tt bike equally

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, triathlon

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