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Triathlon Suits for Women

Triathlon Suits for Women Review: TYR Trisuit

“Triathlon Suits for Women Review: TYR Trisuit. Will this be beneficial for you on race day? Read on and find out!”

Triathlon Suits for Women

TYR Trisuit for Women Review

What to wear under the wetsuit? What to wear for the bike and the run? Good thing someone invented the wonderful trisuit, to which we’ve become accustomed. It’s supposed to make our lives so simple.

Triathlon Suits for Women – Gear Review: TYR Trisuit

As if finding an outfit for work in the morning or going out on the town isn’t tedious enough, invariably, most of ladies come to the point before our first race with the question: What am I going to wear?

What to wear under the wetsuit? What to wear for the bike, and for the run? Good thing someone invented the wonderful trisuit, to which we’ve become accustomed. It’s supposed to make our lives so simple. They come in the one-piece and the two-piece styles, a slick design that allows us to swim unencumbered with minimal drag, then quickly transition into riding our bike while offering adequate padding in the seat, and finally, go off on the run providing us with enough breast support.

I, for one, never bought into the trisuit. Relating to the reverse order of the triathlon events, and in the order most important to me: trisuits alone lack breast support for running unless you are in the lucky (or unlucky) minority of women with small breasts. I’m the average 36 C wearer, and going without a sports bra is not an option. Secondly, the chamois padding in a tri suit seemed awfully thin, so thin that I couldn’t fathom being in my saddle for even 30 minutes wearing just that little bit of padding. Lastly, if I couldn’t run in a trisuit and had no faith in a thin chamois for a bike ride, why would I ever waste the time wearing it under my wetsuit for just the swim anyway?

Excluding discussion on my helmet and shoes, my previous racing ensemble used to resemble this: for the swim, underneath my wetsuit, I’d wear a sports bra and some kind of quick drying compression short. At T1, I would exchange my wetsuit for some quick drying shirt and pull my biking shorts over my compression shorts. At T2, I would take off my biking shorts, back down to my compression shorts, and run in those.

TYR’s one-piece trisuit changed my mind. They sent BT one for me to try out, and without much time to experiment with it on long rides or runs, I bit the bullet and wore it during a half-iron event to see how it would hold up.

Straight out of the box, I had no chafing issues and it literally felt as comfortable as my own skin. It moved and stretched with me, dried quickly after the swim, and did a wonderful job wicking away perspiration off of my skin on the bike and especially during the run. The elastics on the pant legs kept the shorts in place wonderfully without much irritation to my skin. One thing that I really liked about this tri suit that I didn’t have when I used to make my two changes in clothing was the Velcro pocket in the back. It is large enough for at least 4 gels and easy to access. However, I did wear another sports bra underneath it.

After trying the suit, I contacted TYR and asked why it is that these trisuits aren’t made with much breast support. Their answer is that actually almost 98 percent of women DO wear sports bras underneath their tri suits! Its ¾ zipper has a dual purpose: to get in and out of it, and also for ventilation. Wearing a sports bra underneath would allow one to use the ventilating feature of the trisuit.

The trisuit allowed me to comfortably ride in my bike saddle in excess of 2 hours. As when dealing with comfort issues on the bike, it is already common knowledge that you have to put in the time in the saddle before feeling “broken in”. As a previous gel-padded chamois bike short wearer, I was taken aback at how long I was comfortable in the trisuit padding and how quickly it dried. Getting used to just using TYR’s trisuit padding on my saddle would take no time at all for longer rides – but would have been very comfortable on an Olympic-distance race for the first time.

For those who swear by compression shorts’ function of reducing muscle vibrations while running (thus reducing muscle fatigue), the Power Lycra that TYR uses all over the suit does just that. Not only can the trisuit speed up your transitions, but may very well also help speed up your run. More at Ladies, What am I Going to Wear? Gear Review: TYR Trisuit

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Kestrel Talon Road Bike

Bike Review: Kestrel Bikes

“Thinking of buying a Kestrel Bike for your next big race? Read the review below and let us help you decide!”

Kestrel Talon Road Bike

Kestrel Talon road bike review

Kestrel Bikes – Kestrel Talon 105 Road Bike Review: Aerodynamic and Efficient Out on the road, the enemy of speed is aerodynamic drag

1. Straight-line aerodynamics. Yes, this bike is very fast on the flats and gentle rollers.
2. Cornering. Not a crit bike for sure, but carving down a mountain pass at 55mph it is steady & will go where you point it–thankfully!
3. Solid “feeling” bike. Inspires confidence.
4. Steady handling. Likes to go straight, so feel free to sit up and say, “look ma, no hands.”
5. Dressed up right, a very sexy bike.
6. Neither strength nor weakness, it has pretty average power-transfer. Depends on what you’re comparing it too.

Weaknesses: 1. Durability. The Talon on made it 3500 miles & 100,000 feet of climbing. The first 2000 miles were great. The next 1500 were Hell. I now know that micro-cracks were beginning to form inside the seat tube, allowing the seat post to slip down. The longer I rode it, the more cracks, the worse the slippage became. And yes, I actually use a torque wrench.
2. Advanced Sports now owns Kestrel. The lifetime frame warranty is now a huge pain. It took 4 warranties & over a year before finally getting them to replace the frame. They sent me a new binder bolt–useless. They sent me washers to space out the binder bolt, thinking I wasn’t getting enough torque. Useless. Now I know that micro-cracking is a known issue to them…they just hope that the warranty process becomes so frustrating that you just buy another bike–maybe a Fuji (another one of their brands.) Customer service is very poor and, at least in my town (of 1,000,000 people), no one carries Kestrel anymore. That should tell you something…when no one in a city this big and this cyclist friendly, with well over 2 dozen shops, will carry Kestrel, things have gotten pretty bad. Will Kestrel even be around in 10 years?
3. The bike is a bit heavy, even for an aero bike. But then again, a pound shouldn’t really matter if the bike is used as it is meant to be used–to slice through the wind (not to climb, not to constantly re-accelerate).
4. Great descender, not such a great climber, but again, that’s not it’s purpose.

Bottom Line:
“Reviews” of bikes that you’ve just bought are not reviews, they are initial impressions, and as such are useless to the consumer looking for objective information in order to make a wise choice. Just sharing how great your NEW bike is or feels doesn’t help others, which is the purpose of a review. In fact, the word review implies that you’re looking back on something you’ve had for a while. For long enough to fairly judge the product impartially.

My review is of the 06 Kestrel Talon, built as a road bike with DA7800 & various wheelsets, depending on the event. I’ve road raced, climbed plenty of mountains with it, done numerous centuries, and two 200k brevets on this bike. I have several bikes, however, so the miles are spread out over time.

From other ‘reviews’ I’ve read, let me say this: it all depends on where you’re coming from. From any aluminum bike, the Talon will feel smooth as though it just eats up the bumps. From a higher-end frame, however, the Talon is extremely harsh. Same thing with power transfer. Same with weight. Though heavy by today’s standards, it’s not actually ‘heavy’ and will feel feather light compared to most AL bikes. But again, it will feel heavy if you’ve ridden–I mean many miles–on a higher end carbon bike. So when you test ride bikes, keep in mind what you’re comparing the bike to, and what you SHOULD be comparing the bike to. You should compare the bike to what you want to do with it, not to your old ride.

That said, the conversation on geometry is pretty cut & dry. No, this bike is NOT made for long days in the saddle. Can you do it? Yes. I’ve done it many times. But if your goals include longer rides (like centuries and brevets of 2,3,600k, etc), then this is NOT the bike for you. It’s also too heavy to be a truly competitive road racer, nor does it handle or accelerate quickly enough for crits. If you like TTs, triathlons, longer road races where the pack opens up, the course is relatively flat, and sprinting is nill, then this IS a bike that would work. It’s all in the geometry. A 10-11cm head tube = shorter rides with a stronger core. A taller head tube, even a couple centimeters, allows for a more comfortable position on the bike = longer rides. Even a lot of pro teams are going to slightly ‘relaxed’ geometries. Research is showing what common sense should have told us, that comfort allows for longer durations of power output. The most aero position (i.e. short head tube) increases fatigue, reducing duration of power maintenance. In English, the longer you stay scrunched up, the short the distance you can cover, despite being more aero. So ride the Talon happily on your shorter rides. Race it if you want to. For the money, if they’ve fixed the seat tube problem, it is a good value. But don’t expect to finish a 110 mile road race or even ride and NOT be crying for your chiropractor or massage therapist.

But whoever said that this bike was being considered for RAAM is beyond hopeless. Did he mean the RT1000 with a 16cm headtube (as opposed to a 10-11cm Talon). Then yes. That bike was designed to be comfortable and ridden for hundreds of miles at a time. I’ve heard the RT1000 was ridden by team 4mil in the 2011 RAAM, tho I’m not sure. But people don’t ride the Talon long distances unless they have too (say, riding Ironman on a shoestring budget). Or unless they have something masochistic to prove–like me–as in, I know it’s uncomfortable but I can still do it!

In the next few weeks I’ll be getting a new Talon frame (free warranty after trying for over a year), probably a 2011 model if I judge the new company correctly. Hopefully the durability will have improved, but it will be quite some time before I’ll be able to speak to that. In the mean time, I’ll happily ride my heavy steel Surly or my flyweight comfy SuperSix. The Talon will take it’s place as a backup bike, or one to use occasionally just to mix things up.

I hope this review is more useful than the initial impressions given by new owners. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I used to sell bikes (including Kestrels, back when they were actually Kestrel), so I have a lot to say on the matter. Now I coach endurance riders, so, I have even more to say about the importance of FIT and of buying a bike that meets your needs/ambitions rather than ego or simply because it’s so much better than your last bike.

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Affordable Road Bikes

Triathlon Bike Reviews: The Best Long Distance Bikes for Triathlon

“Looking into Triathlon Bike Reviews to give you ideas on what Tri bike to buy? We review some of the best long distance bikes for triathlon. Read on!”

Triathlon Bike Reviews

Triathlon Bike Reviews to help you in choosing the right Tri bike for you!

When looking for a bike for big distances, whether you’re training or competing in a sportive, the needs differ hugely from a competition bike. A race-day bike needs a longer, lower position to help you beat the wind and the clock, and the design of a tri bike means they can do both. But for really long rides, you’ll want something a little more comfortable and a frame that will smooth out rougher road surfaces. For a bike that’ll offer a more comfortable position; look to go slightly shorter in the top tube and slightly taller in the head tube.

The more upright riding position will stave off fatigue for longer, reducing the chance of aches and pains. The wheelbase is usually longer too; the extra length will have the effect of making the handling more stable and less twitchy – ideal for keeping you on the road at the end of an epic ride when concentration is reduced. We’ve chosen bikes that fit the bill, but that all have individual design touches to offer a wide range of options.

Trek Madone 3.1

A firm favourite returns for 2013 but will the revised specification package mean it keeps its status as a respected ride? While Trek’s range- topping OCLV Madone frame has had a successful aero-makeover, the 3 Series has kept the previous design. It’s the same as last year’s 3 Series round-tube carbon that’s constructed with the OCLV process, but with a few upgrades on the spec to potentially enhance an already great value package. The Madone legend may well have been tarnished by recent revelations with the Armstrong scandal but in the midst of this it’s best not to forget that the Madone is one of the true greats.

The 3.1 uses Trek’s H2 geometry. They offer three nominal geometries in their performance range, from the low-slung aggressive H1 to the tall, relaxed H3. The H2 sits in the middle ground and adds a few millimetres to the head tube height and subtracts a few from the top tube length. This gives the 3.1 a ride that’s just the right side of swift with the added bonus of being relaxed enough to relieve pressure when the odometer hits three figures. Our test rides on board the 3.1 coincided with some of the wettest weather of the year, making us wish we’d asked Trek to supply a set of Bontrager-approved fenders to match the frame’s hidden mudguard eyes. For a bike as performance focused as the Madone to include these makes it a fine choice for our weather conditions. If you intended to use it for commuting duties too, then Bontrager even offer a rack, the Back Rack lightweight. As well as having mudguard eyelets, the 3.1’s fork features Trek’s neat built-in ANT+ compatible SpeedTrap sensor which can transmit to any compatible device.

Though the H2 geometry is undoubtedly endurance biased, we are hugely impressed with the 3.1’s handling. Even in the wet, the R1 Plus tyres still give plenty of feedback, letting you feel out the limits of grip without getting caught out. We found ourselves taking entry speeds into fast downhill corners that on similar priced, less cleverly specced bikes would have seen us backing off. Combining the compact chainset and wide ranged cassette gives a low gear of 30/34; that’s low enough for even the most climb-averse rider to make it up the steepest ascents without resorting to walking. The compact drop bar is very well shaped and the reduced distance from hood to bottom flat makes shifting between positions a breeze, plus not being overly stretched means we spent more time in the drops when pummelling on the pedals on the flat. The wheels are outclassed by the frame and finishing kit and are a little heavier than we’d like but we didn’t find ourselves suffering much from the extra mass on steeper prolonged climbs. We slotted in a higher spec set and the 3.1 was transformed. The light chassis and sorted handling make it a bike perfect for alpine climbs and epic rides. A full-on race bike like the new aero Madone certainly does have the edge in fast handling, but the 3.1 is significantly cheaper and it offers precisely what most of us want from a big distance bike, and that’s comfort and confidence on the road.

+ Superior comfort balanced with fine handling
+ Massive gear range is a boon to tired legs

– Wheels don’t do justice to the frame
– We’d also like a carbon seatpost

Great value endurance bike. We’d upgrade the wheels but it’s still one of the best equipped for the price.
Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Felt Z5

Don’t be fooled by the understated looks, there’s more than meets the eye with this new 2013 model. The original Z-Series carbon frame set the standard for Felt’s distance bike range as it combined endurance-focused geometry and decent components at competitive prices. More recently though the frame was starting to show its age, lacking provision for electronic drivetrains and in need of losing a few grams to keep up with the advancing competition.

For 2013 the Z-Series carbon has been revamped from the ground up, not that you’d know from its quietly understated looks and thankful lack of overstated acronyms. Up front there are all new carbon forks with a steerer that tapers from 1.25inches to 1.5inches. The fork design features a ridged central spine on the legs that is continued into the oversized head tube. These ridges change the profile of the head tube into a more ovalised shape, which Felt claim bolsters the front-end stiffness. This leads into a squared profile, oversized down tube flowing into a huge BB30 compatible bottom bracket. Oversized chainstays with full carbon dropouts curve upwards in their final few inches flowing in one continuous piece into slender seatstays.

While the bottom half of the frame is all about the business of stiffness and power transfer, the top sections are designed to offer comfort. The top tube starts wide and broad but quickly tapers down to a very slender joint with the equally slender seat tube. Unlike the previous generation Z-Series carbon frames, the new chassis features full internal cable routing. That keeps cables out of the elements and away from grime meaning it’ll keep running smoother for longer. It also adds compatibility to the latest electronic drivetrains, as where the cables enter and exit the frame, it’s a dual fit design to take either wider (mechanical) or narrower (electronic wiring) cables.

The ride is absolutely defined by a beautiful smoothness, that’s impressive seeing as they haven’t resorted to fitting a 25c tyre, relying on Mavic’s standard 23c Aksion’s which come as part of the Aksium wheelset package. We’d love to try the Z5 with a bigger volume tyre as we’d expect it to become a cobble-busting blaster perfect for the classics. The ride position is quite upright and, though the geometry of 72.5° head angle and 72.5° seat angle combined with a 200mm head tube and 575mm effective top tube length isn’t particularly relaxed, we quickly dropped the stem down as it comes with over an inch of spacers below. We’d still like to drop it further but a cone-shaped headset bearing top limits slamming it down any further. We recommend changing this cone spacer as soon as you can, especially if you’d like to use the Z5 for racing duties as well. Despite the slightly elevated position, the Z5 still has impressive handling traits. The front end reacts quickly without getting nervy and the head tube never exerts any drama. The long 102.5cm wheelbase adds to the stability but it does dull the edges a little when you’re snapping through a pack or railing through a section of S-bends.

+ Wide gear range optimised for climbing
+ Future-proof frameset

– Sportive focused design won’t appeal to racers
– Cone-shaped headset top cap limits adjustability

Significant improvement over the old model – one of the finest bikes of its type around. It’s light, smooth and very well equipped.
Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5

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