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Finally, a wetsuit comparion article

 

   


synthetic

Jul 31, 13 10:12

Post #1 of 24 (2396 views)
Finally, a wetsuit comparion article Quote | Reply

Looks like triathlete mag beat slowtwitch to it...

http://triathlon.competitor.com/...rformance-test_80667

it just 2 people's opinions basically, and another failure is they put a sleeveless suit in the mix. A valid study would have at least 10 athletes, using a calm bay swim.


Fleck

Jul 31, 13 10:51

Post #2 of 24 (2339 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [synthetic] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

With credit due to Aaron Hersh and Triathlete Mag, it's an honest attempt to rank and quantify something that is really hard to rank and quantify.

However, even when you get close and you have a person swimming in several wetsuits that are deemed good for them based on fit. If they swim in 5 wetsuits, and then you rank those wetsuits based on how fast that swimmer swam in them from best to worst. Then if you carefully repeated the same test, with the same 5 wetsuits, the ranking may be very different for you . . or another person. The reason is you can't neutralize or control the tests for a persons stroke mechanics, or buoyancy, micro fit of the wetsuit here and there on the body due to different body shape or weight distribution, etc . . so many things will be different athlete to athlete, even when you try and control them.

So that ranking, is a great ranking, for that person!

BTW - Aaron Hersh, if you are reading this, you missed out on testing a number of wetsuits and wetsuit brands, including the one I used to work for, Nineteen! Curious as to know why?

Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog

(This post was edited by Fleck on Jul 31, 13 11:01)


ggeiger

Jul 31, 13 10:57

Post #3 of 24 (2316 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Fleck, That so common....Triathlete, Inside Tri, ST, all the mags and rags..... We submitted a number of times Kiwami as a choice for testing or articles and were summarily ignored. Not even the "what's new" stuff here on ST. Money pays and the bias is clear. Thank God for good customers! There are so many good brands that the US in particular ignores....including Nineteen!

Fleck wrote:
BTW - Aaron Hersh, if you are reading this, you missed out on testing a number of wetsuits and wetsuit brands, including the one I used to work for, Nineteen! Curious as to know why?
Gary Geiger
http://www.geigerphoto.com Professional photographer, coach and triathlete
Kiwami+++++ http://www.kiwamitri.com


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 11:39

Post #4 of 24 (2246 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The first bullet in the "Test Limitations" section reads, "Different wetsuit features help swimmers in different ways, meaning that these daya, while relevant for everyone, only apply directly to the athletes tested, one who's a power swimming and one who's a balanced swimmer. There's no guarantee these results will be duplicated in any other swimmer."

So obviously we agree that it's a ranking for the individuals tested. We were perfectly clear that this isn't the end-all, be-all.

There are what, about 30 wetsuit companies? We didn't have the opportunity to test them all. We wish we could have tested more, but I decided to test the suits on two different swimmers to create a case study on two swimmers with substantially different strokes and body types instead of running more suits on the same person for the exact reason's you listed in your first paragraph.
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 11:41

Post #5 of 24 (2240 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [ggeiger] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Kiwami was not only in the 2011 Buyer's Guide tri kit section, but it was given an award as the best 1-piece in the review. And the Nineteen Rogue, Pipeline and Frequency have all been in Triathlete in my time here.
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


Fleck

Jul 31, 13 11:55

Post #6 of 24 (2211 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Aaron,

Thanks for the note and for bringing to my attention your qualifier - we are in agreement then.

Hopefully you saw my credit to you, in my first line, for honestly attempting to rank something that is un-rankable! :)

Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 12:11

Post #7 of 24 (2175 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Yes, thanks for the kind words, Steve.

While I agree there will never be a perfect universal "rating" of a wetsuit (like a scale can provide for weight), there is practically zero quantitative info about suit performance currently available. Just because there isn't a perfect solution doesn't be mean we can't all--media and manufacturers--provide much better info than has historically been out there. I think this is a good start, although very far from a final answer.

What do you think is the best way to judge a wetsuit?

Aaron
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


dbos2002

Jul 31, 13 12:31

Post #8 of 24 (2085 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Aaron,

Just wanted to say I generally appreciate all of your reviews and envy your job. Of course there are going to be limitations. You cant aways test 33 wetsuits and 45 wheelsets across 1,000 triathletes, etc etc. I really enjoyed your wetsuit piece and took it for what it was, an analysis of two swimmers wearing a few wetsuits. If I was in the market for one and had a particular swimming style, this would be a decent starting point, or at least a factor to consider when buying a wetsuit. I think you hit most of the major brands that I think of when I think wetsuit... Keep up the good work!

Doran


Rambler

Jul 31, 13 12:33

Post #9 of 24 (2077 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [synthetic] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The pull-buoy between the legs kills it for me.


Baboonator

Jul 31, 13 12:46

Post #10 of 24 (2051 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

So, in that spirit, would it be possible to rank/classify wetsuits based only on a person's body proportions/measurement? A F.I.S.T protocol of sorts to determine which wetsuit would fit the best? Inseam relative to total height, chest, shoulder, maybe calf size as metrics? Trying on several wetsuits and choose the best-fitted is pretty much impossible. Or do all wetsuits fit all morphology, and you will find one that fit no matter what in any range of any manufacturer? I think I remember seeing an article from Dan at some point, but it was not very exhaustive and if there was a follow-up I missed it.

See from my point of view of MOP swimmer, fit is the most important thing, the rest is gravvy and are sorts of options. I bought an XTerra initially and sticked with it, I'm not overly pleased with it but since I don;t know how the other suits fit I'm not changing. If you look at the swim portion of long/semi-long course tri (that's where you use wetsuits the most) difference in speed will not play that much but comfort in the water will. For example, a suit might be "tested" faster, but if it's too tight or loose in the wrong area it will make you slower over the course of the day. Thick rubber will make me float no matter what, so fit is king.


(This post was edited by Baboonator on Jul 31, 13 12:48)


arby

Jul 31, 13 13:09

Post #11 of 24 (1977 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [synthetic] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Wetsuits are like bikes and running shoes and most anything else. What works for me might not work for you. Thats why you can really pay much attention to what anyone wears or rides. You have to try them for yourself.


Fleck

Jul 31, 13 13:11

Post #12 of 24 (1974 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [dbos2002] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

You cant always test 33 wetsuits and 45 wheelsets across 1,000 triathletes, etc etc.

The difference is that you can put a wheel in the wind tunnel or even do more real world roll-down tests and get some real numbers back that you can work with - Wheel-A will in almost ALL situations and conditions be faster than Wheel-B, and that will be true regardless who is riding the bike. You can't make the same claim with wetsuits. Aaron, and anyone who knows anything about wetsuits, and even those working in the business honest enough to tell you, will tell you that. A wetsuit that is a dog on me may work extremely well on you, and vice versa!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog

(This post was edited by Fleck on Jul 31, 13 13:48)


Fleck

Jul 31, 13 13:20

Post #13 of 24 (1940 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

What do you think is the best way to judge a wetsuit?

Aaron,

Obviously if you kept repeating a set protocol enough, over enough of a range of athletes, sizes, shapes, speeds, etc . . some commonalities would come out. But this would be hundreds and hundreds of tests. That's why when I was at Nineteen we focused on fit - that's something you can control. You can rule in or out certain suits based on fit. But then you get into this whole issue of fit - and what is truly great wetsuit fit. The optimal fit for speed, is probably tighter, more restrictive and uncomfortable, than many triathletes realize or are willing to put up with.

Brian Stover aka Desert Dude here on the forum, came to this conclusion a few years ago when he was doing some testing for Trisports. Ounce he zeroed in on the suits that fit him well he did some speed testing and found that the fastest suits, were the ones that felt the most uncomfortable, even restrictive. Point being if you are just buying for comfort( which many triathletes do), you'll not get the fastest suit!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 13:41

Post #14 of 24 (1893 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Like you said, fit is foremost, but comfort and fit are two different things. The subjects in this test had a similar trend that you're mentioning from Stover's test (which I haven't seen), that suits subjectively deemed to be restrictive were in fact the fastest. This is contrary to what many athletes have come to believe.

In order to focus on fit, we have to agree on the definition of a good fit. Dan and others have done a fantastic job defining those criteria for triathletes, but the same hasn't yet happened for wetsuits.

I think most triathletes would say that a subjectively comfortable suit is best when in reality a suit that feel compressive and maybe even restrictive around the chest could be a good thing for people looking to go as fast as possible (many people are of course not in that category). Or maybe Brian's results and these results are due to another factor and a compressive fit isn't beneficial.
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 13:46

Post #15 of 24 (1872 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

While I think you're correct, how do either of us know it to be true? Wouldn't many people have said the same thing about running tires at 150psi not too long ago? Saying that fit is the only factor and resigning to the idea that wetsuit performance can't be measured--maybe it is a fit protocol like mentioned above--is counterproductive. Aero testing still isn't as accurate as weight testing, but it's very, very valuable. If wetsuit testing approaches the effectiveness of aero testing, which is far from perfect, wetsuits will become much better than they are today.

Aaron
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


AaronH

Jul 31, 13 13:48

Post #16 of 24 (1856 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Baboonator] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

For sure. And speed doesn't have to be the only objective in wetsuit design. For example, the Orca Predator in this article was most comfortable for both subjects, but performed poorly. That may be a totally worthwhile tradeoff for a lot of people. No reason there can't be two top-level suits from a manufacturer, one design for speed and another for comfort.

Aaron
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


sp1ke

Jul 31, 13 14:00

Post #17 of 24 (1824 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Rambler] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Rambler wrote:
The pull-buoy between the legs kills it for me.

+1! What's the point of that? You already had a balanced swimmer and a leg dragger for comparison, the equivalent of the front pack swimmer and the MOP/BOP typical triathlete. Most "leg draggers" will wear a wetsuit precisely because it corrects their poor body position. It would have been interesting to see which wetsuit helps more with that aspect.

Also, your "leg dragger" is not exactly a slouch in the water with a 21:30 1500m PR! that's gotta be a "misprint" :)


Emilio

Aug 1, 13 14:47

Post #18 of 24 (1535 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I think that magazines, and more importantly their readers, are better off not seeing wetsuit tests like this. There are many reasons I say this, but the most important is the fact that they are being tested in a pool as opposed to a longer and straight, controlled distance in open water such as a lake, a bay, etc. The first questions that come to my mind are:

Why do people test wetsuits in a pool anyway?
Who races in a wetsuit in a pool?
How many flip turns do you do in a triathlon?
How many walls do you push off?


Emilio De Soto II
emilio@desotosport.com http://www.desotosport.com
For deals or updates on new products, "LIKE" us De Soto Facebook


AaronH

Aug 1, 13 16:15

Post #19 of 24 (1470 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Emilio] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Emilio,

Thanks for looking at the article, I appreciate your feedback. Give the methods section another read. Data is taken after the swimmer reaches a steady speed following the push-off and stopped once the swimmer crosses the flags on the far side of the pool. This is repeated six times for each suit with speed increasing for each length.

I don't understand why you say swimming in a pool isn't a fair way to test suits. Sure, sighting, drafting etc. plays a big role in real racing and isn't factored into this test, but you can say the same about bike handling skills and a wind tunnel test. This is a test, although of course an imperfect one as acknowledged in the "test limitations" section, of straight-line performance in a suit.

Aaron
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine


GMAN19030

Aug 1, 13 16:17

Post #20 of 24 (1467 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Emilio] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Emilio wrote:
I think that magazines, and more importantly their readers, are better off not seeing wetsuit tests like this. There are many reasons I say this, but the most important is the fact that they are being tested in a pool as opposed to a longer and straight, controlled distance in open water such as a lake, a bay, etc. The first questions that come to my mind are:

Why do people test wetsuits in a pool anyway?
Who races in a wetsuit in a pool?
How many flip turns do you do in a triathlon?
How many walls do you push off?

Don't worry, Emilio. I still prefer my DeSoto Concept 5 over my Tyr Hurricane Cat 5. :-)


Emilio

Aug 1, 13 16:49

Post #21 of 24 (1441 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Answers to your questions are in the questions that I asked in my previous post. It isn't about Lifting your head up out of the water, it isn't about swimming straight it's about flip turns and pushing off-the-wall those two things benefit one PC it's over two PC but again that's why I asked those questions.


Emilio De Soto II
emilio@desotosport.com http://www.desotosport.com
For deals or updates on new products, "LIKE" us De Soto Facebook


synthetic

Aug 1, 13 17:05

Post #22 of 24 (1423 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [AaronH] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

AaronH wrote:
Emilio,

Thanks for looking at the article, I appreciate your feedback. Give the methods section another read. Data is taken after the swimmer reaches a steady speed following the push-off and stopped once the swimmer crosses the flags on the far side of the pool. This is repeated six times for each suit with speed increasing for each length.

I don't understand why you say swimming in a pool isn't a fair way to test suits. Sure, sighting, drafting etc. plays a big role in real racing and isn't factored into this test, but you can say the same about bike handling skills and a wind tunnel test. This is a test, although of course an imperfect one as acknowledged in the "test limitations" section, of straight-line performance in a suit.

Aaron

arent you guys located in san diego? many calm currentless bay swims you can do...ventura cove . Also many will tri club members willing to help out for your sample size


DarkSpeedWorks

Aug 1, 13 17:18

Post #23 of 24 (1414 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [synthetic] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

An interesting test would be to make a nice flexible suit, maybe one just 2mm in thickness everywhere. Put a single moderately fast swimmer in it, have him swim at 85% of their VO2 max and see how fast they go. Then make an identical suit, but increase the thickness of the suit in the lower chest, lower back, hips, and legs to 3mm. And put the same swimmer in it, swimming at the same effort and again see how fast they go. Continue this testing process with a new suit where the 3mm thickness is then increased to 4mm. Continue then to 5mm. But in these custom wetsuits, make no changes to the thickness/flexibility of the neck, arms, or shoulders.

For that single swimmer, the thicker suits will be faster than the thinner suits.




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AaronH

Aug 2, 13 7:42

Post #24 of 24 (1259 views)
Re: Finally, a wetsuit comparion article [Emilio] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Flip turn and wall push-off aren't part of the data.

Aaron
tech editor, Triathlete Magazine

   
 
 
 



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