FE 226 AEROFORCE
Very top-end tri-suit rated by the new Brit/Danish brand
Fe226 is a brand new British and Danish venture, offering high-end multisport clothing using cutting-edge fabrics. With the ‘Fe’ representing the chemical symbol for iron and the 226 being the distance in kilometres of an iron-distance race, the AeroForce shorts and singlet have a host of features to suit the longcourse triathlete: plenty of pockets (two on both the shorts and top), great sun protection due to Coldblack technology, a full front zipper and aerodynamic fabrics. The design is minimal but looks cool, with a discreet logo and some subtle indigo print on the otherwise stealth-black ensemble.
The shorts have a slightly higher waistline than most, stopping them from riding up. The chamois is on the small side but dense enough to provide a comfortable long ride paired with a tri-specific saddle in the TT position.
We really liked the leg grippers, with small silicon dots directly printed onto sizeable hems with bonded edges, giving a compressive form fit. On the bike and run we had no problems putting long sessions in, and the speed they dried out on our race-day test was nothing short of remarkable.
The top also dries very fast, and it’s made to be long in the body to avoid potential sunburn and chafing. Unfortunately, we found the arm cut too straight where it should have been tapered in, and we were left with a big gap at the sides for wind to whip through. It’s a first for this reviewer to find a tri top that’s too wide at the chest and, considering the very high price point, a cut for the barrelchested probably isn’t going to be right for most of Fe226’s potential customers. We also felt it bunching up under a wetsuit, leading to some discomfort on an open-water swimming test.
Despite impressing elsewhere, it feels like Fe226 have fallen short at the easiest hurdle after countless hours of aero and hydrodynamic testing that have gone into crafting the gear. The rigidity of the fabric may mean that it needs to be offered in a wider range of sizes like triathlon wetsuits are (small/tall, medium/short, etc), because it appears a simple small through to XL size range doesn’t cover all shapes and sizes.
While our score comes out around average overall, individually we’d be giving the shorts 85% and the top 40%. Although we can vouch for the quick-drying properties, fabric quality and longevity, it’s difficult to recommend the top from our own experience, and it’s unlikely to fit the majority of competitive triathletes.