Okay, they look cooler, but what are the benefits of a short-sleeved tri-suit over the traditional vest? Here’s what to look for when going for race-day sleeves...
Short-sleeved suits are increasingly popular for long-course racing, so pocket choice is key if you’re opting to carry nutrition in the suit instead of/as well as on your bike. Look for easily-accessible pockets that are sizeable enough to securely hold gels and energy bars.
Research from 2010 reported a saving of between 45- 67secs over the course of a 90km bike leg if you choose a dimpled short-sleeved suit over a vested tri-suit. But more important is fit, with any wrinkles in the suit a huge aerodynamic hindrance.
Leg grippers have improved in recent times, with the gently compressive elastic bands (as seen here) largely replacing the restrictive silicon dot/polyester combos, which gave rise to the sausage leg phenonemon.
As opposed to a rearzip ITU-style suit, a front zip is easier to get on/off, and gives you the chance to lower it for ventilation. But check the race rules on how low your zip can go, with many races setting the sternum as the limit. No one wants to DNF for indecency!