Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Endurance Junkie Olympic Tri Suit

Endurance Junkie is probably best known for its innovative ‘Sportwool’ trisuit which incorporates a blend of merino wool into the upper body of the trisuit (available in sleeveless and short-sleeved variants) to help with moisture wicking and heat regulation in longer races.

There are a couple of ‘problems’ with the use of merino wool, however. First it makes the suit a little more expensive than it’s more run-of-the-mill counterparts. Second, merino wool doesn’t really like swims without a wetsuit. With a wetsuit, the merino is actually great (thanks in part to the heat regulation properties), but without a wetsuit it can get heavy and cause drag.

Endurance Junkie trisuit

And that’s why Endurance Junkie has developed its Olympic Trisuit, a fully ITU-legal trisuit with a rear zip and sleeveless design (and plenty of space in the right places for name and sponsor logos, if you’re so lucky!). The Olympic suit is designed with short-course, non-wetsuit racing in mind – which means it does away with the merino wool and instead uses the ‘Carbon Power Lycra’ fabric (used on the bottom half of the Sportwool suit) for the whole suit, save the contrast-colour side panels.

I’m already a fan of the ‘Carbon Power Lycra’. I like the mild compression it offers and frankly it just looks better than normal lycra, with an attractive weave that gives the suit a unique look. As with the Sportwool suit (in fact, probably more so), one of the key attractions of the Endurance Junkie Olympic suit is the minimalist design. No superfluous colours, contrast stitching or graphics. Just a really classy-looking suit.

So it looks good; but how does it feel on? I remember commenting on just how good the cycling pad was in the Sportwool suit (see my review from 2011). I’m not sure if the Olympic suit uses the same pad, but it feels just as good. I’d go as far as to say the Endurance Junkie suit is more comfortable on the bike than some £100+ cycling shorts I own.

The rear zip is your typical ‘bottom-up’ design and Endurance Junkie includes a strap so you can fasten and unfasten the suit unaided. The small size suit fitted me perfectly, although I did find the legs a touch long for my liking (purely a personal preference, they functioned just fine and the leg grippers worked as you’d hope).

Endurance Junkie on the bike

So far, I’ve worn the suit for a 20km run (I thought I’d better break it in!) and then a sprint Duathlon (5km/25km/5km). The suit is supremely comfortable both on the bike and the run, with no chafing or tightness. If I was being super-picky, I’d like the option of a ‘top-down’ zip so that it would be easier to undo the back on the run – but the fact is that despite being all-black, the suit doesn’t feel overly hot.

Given the choice, for long distance triathlons, or races where there’s no non-wetsuit swim to worry about, I’d still opt for the Sportwool suit. It’s well worth the extra €30 for the benefits of the merino wool blend. But for short races with pool swims, or duathlons in cold-to-mild conditions, you can’t go wrong with the Endurance Junkie Olympic trisuit. I’ve worn a lot of different suits in the last four years and the Olympic suit is at least on a par with, if not better than, the best non-Sportwool suit I’ve worn.

€150 is a lot of money to pay for a trisuit. But once you’ve seen the quality of materials, the stitching, that cycling pad (which has to be worn to be believed) and the superbly-comfortable fit, I reckon you’ll think it’s money well-spent.

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