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Wetsuit advice needed...........

Looking at a wetsuit for my 1st open water swim tri this season. Not flush (managed to sell some old biking gear to fund it) so looking at either an Orca S3 or a Blueseventy Axium (from wiggle).

All other things being equal (fit etc) - is one better than the other? Or should I be considering something else?

Cheers is advance!


  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Depends on how good a swimmer you are, if crap (like me) to average I don't think there is really anything between the entry models.

    I have had Orca S2, 2Xu Team 0 and B70 Reaction and happy with them all.

    Fit, fit, fit. Getting the right fit makes all the difference not too big so you drag half the lake around with you and not too small that you can only doggie paddle and takes you 20 mins to get out.

    Anyway that's my two penneth (anyone below 50 won't have heard that one)
  • If you're looking to save money there's the option to hire for the season - often you then have the option to just keep the wetsuit and lose your deposit, the total cost should work out around the same for buying in the first place. I did this for the great London swim last year, ended up with a new Aqua Sphere Pursuit wetsuit, I think IIRC the hire cost was £40 and the deposit was about £80, it actually worked slightly cheaper than buying the same suit from Wiggle.

    If you like the suit you can keep it at the end of the season, if not send it back and you haven't had to pay full price up front.

    You can always size up a suit somwhere else before hiring...
  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 174
    If you find out what size you need, try emailing some of the hire companies. I got an ex-hire one in near perfect condition from Wiggle at the end of last year for £50.

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Forgot to add, if you go to a triathlon where they have stands you can try a suit on (usually in the back of a Transit van). If the retailer has a good rep they will make sure you have a good fit.

    Options: as above, hire and buy; buy ex hire/end of season or if you want to buy on the day take along a print of internet prices and haggle. Sizes bear little relation to the charts and possibly from model to model so if buying elsewhere you need to be aware of that.
  • Cheers guys. What can you tell me about fit? I tried my brothers S3 on - size 7. I got it on and zipped up - needed a hand zipping it up (to pull it together). How should it feel when on?

    We're about the same chest size, but I have much bigger legs (too much cycling!). It felt fine on the legs, maybe tight on the shoulders - but is this too tight?

    Thinking of having a drive to TFN in Nottingham - I guess they'll know. And they stock B70 and Orca. Just not the Axium. Anyone been there before? Whats their service like?

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    TFN are OK, Not the cheapest but I have had some bargains from them.

    Re fit; 2 people to zip up, sounds about right at first, the suit will loosen up a bit. When in the water it won't feel as tight.

    Just did a quick search:
  • Perhaps not the cheapest, but not far off and if the advice is worth it I don't mind - but is the advice worth it?

    Should I make sure the S3 fits right, then get of the net or ebay?!

    Where is good in this case?
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Fit Fit Fit

    A £400 suit is useless if it is too loose and you drag half the lake around with you or too tight so you can't swim properly.

    Get the fit right and for most of us even an entry suit is adeuate. Remember these suits have features that only a few years ago were only found in more expensive suits. Spend a bit more and yes you will find a difference but as with all things it is diminishing returns but then this is triathlon and bling is important

    Re Axium this may be useful:
  • planeetxplaneetx Posts: 4
    I can't give you any expert advice other than I've just bought my first tri wesuit from Chain Reactions.

    It's a Speedo STR Pro UK - selling for £108 when the RRP is £260: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=58330

    Coming from a competitive swimming background (getting to national level) I've always trusted their swimming gear and so I'm hoping that the quality and attention to details carries forward into their wetsuits - fingers crossed as I haven't actually swam in it yet
  • Spotted these seemingly good bargains on CRC. Did you try them on somewhere beforehand?

    Be interested on your thoughts when you do get a swin in.
  • planeetxplaneetx Posts: 4
    No I didn't get a chance to try it on beforehand - I tried on other suits (not Speedo) in my LBS with the intention of buying one of their's but I couldn't fit in any of them, not that I'm overly chubby, ~6ft and 12st.

    I used the speedo sizing chart which uses weight and height to find a fit. I knew CRC are really good in terms of sending things back so I knew as long as I was careful unpacking it then I could swap it easily. I got a size slightly (marginally) bigger than on the size chart, but it's still a nice tight fit - which it needs to be (so I am told).

    I'll post when I get to try it in the water...
  • Thats a bit of a concern - I can find a size that I fit in on Orca's size chart and Blue Seventy (7 and Medium) respectively, but at 5'9" and 82kg (big cycling thighs!) I'm struggling to see where I'd fit on Speedo's chart.

    Any advice?
  • jibby26jibby26 Posts: 261
    Conehead wrote:
    I can't impress upon you enough the importance of going to a shop (TFN or similar) and getting fitted.

    I've got 'XL' people into 'MT' suits and 'MT' people into XL suits - the size charts are the best of a very bad situation. By that I mean we're are all so different in terms of shape - its extraordinarily difficult for wetsuit companies to accommodate everyone.

    If TFN is within striking distance then please go there, ask for Pete or whoever is in the shop. Drop my name and they may call the police or give you a discount. Some shit tri club I know gets 15% off there - name escapes me for now....

    In any case, buy on-line at your peril. I can't tell you how many people I've seen on rookie days with incorrect suits - well I can actually, about 50% of people. So 1 in 2 people with the wrong size suit (1 in 7 with wrong size bike...).

    Get to a shop.
    I disregarded Cone's advice the first time I bought, and got an Orca suit that should have been a perfect according to the size chart. He and Kiddle didn't seem to impressed when I got into it. Somehow Conehead even kept a straight face as I ended up landing on my ar*e in a rather comedy, and very painful, manoeuvre trying to get it off. Needless to say I am now the proud owner of properly fitted B70 suit through BCTTT.com's special discount scheme. Make sure somebody that knows about wetsuits helps you size one in a shop before you buy, not just the spotty young mountain biker in a bike shop that sells tri stuff. If you follow this advice you might get a wetsuit that makes you faster in the water.
  • So, went to TFN today. After wandering round like a lost sheep hoping someone would notice, but didn't - I went and asked someone about wetsuits (thought the shop would be bigger actually).

    Tried on a Orca (which was good as it turned out I was a size bigger than I thought).

    Managed to haggle 15% discount (though they give anyone 10% it seems-so I only got an extra five), but then they didn't have it in stock apart from the demo one!

    So despite phoning ahead and asking about stock and checking I could use my Paypal account in store, taking a day off, braving public transport - I came away with nothing!

    Just got to order online now. I suppose at least I know my sizes!
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