It’s certainly sleek, but how does Santini’s suit perform in our test?
S antini’s third version of the Sleek tri-suit has got even sleeker for 2018, getting an understated look with a mostly grey and black front and a red mesh back panel. You can also get a blue, yellow and black version with slightly brighter colours.
We tested the Sleek 777 both at home and in warmer climes at Ironman 70.3 Colombo. During open-water swimming and when worn combined with a swimskin we did feel some restriction across the shoulders, but certainly no worse than similar slim-fitting tri-suits with sleeves. On the bike and run the suit is flexible and breathable, and the fabric across the chest and arms is possibly the most comfortable we’ve come across in a speed suit. It’s almost cotton-like, very quickdrying and fits like a second skin (and Santini guarantee that the water-repellent treatment works for at least 80 cool washes).
There’s a good-sized housing at the neckline, and we experienced no chafing or irritation in this area. Santini tri-suits never have the plushest pads in our experience, but for us the slim and light GTR chamois is worth it for the extra run comfort. It’s also very water repellent while being comfortable enough for longer races if you’re used to long days in the saddle. The large grippers on the arms and legs give a well-contoured fit, with no loose parts like you can get on some oversized grippers where the elastic isn’t strong enough.
Where the suit falls a little short is with the pockets and lack of front pouch. The small ‘invisible’ pockets are located either side of your lower back and are difficult to access. Stuffing more than one small gel in each is going to prove tricky, too. The Sleek 777 doesn’t have a full front zip opening for toilet stop access either, so we’d be hesitant to use it for the 180km Ironman bike leg.
While you’d possibly get more breathability from additional mesh on the front, Santini’s use of ‘Aquazero’ material – courtesy of Italian fabric expert Sitip – is about as good as it gets without one, and this also means better sun coverage. Fellow pasty-skinned triathletes will be pleased to know the Sleek 777 does a fine job of protecting against UVA and UBV rays.
Overall, the new Sleek suit has mass appeal across most distances. It’s not ridiculously expensive, looks good and is very comfortable. It’s just the small, fiddly pockets and lack of front pouch that make it less suitable for long-distance racing, unless you’re of an elite standard and pure speed is your overriding priority. JS zyrofisher.co.uk