I am super stoked to finally have my hands on my new racing kit from Epix Gear! Unfortunately, I don’t have any races planned until Raleigh 70.3 to officially break it in. But when asked if I could do a review about the suit and what I love/hate about it, I couldn’t let that stop me! So without further ado, here is my review on Epix Gear’s Custom GoFierce Aero 1-Piece. (Disclaimer: while I am a sponsored Epix Gear athlete, I generally consider myself an honest person, and will attempt to shed light on all the good and bad features of this suit)
While I only have a couple rides in my new custom suit, I have done a number of different distance races in the retail “SuperAero” version of the same suit. Considering they are virtually identical to each other in everything other than the design (which is also similar), most of my review will be based on experiences I’ve had with the “SuperAero” suit.
Probably the most important aspect of any triathlon suit is the fit. If a suit is tight or baggy somewhere then things can get very uncomfortable, very quickly. This is also a factor that can be very personal based on your body shape/size and the cut of the suit you are getting. Always looking for any time savings I can get, I’ve trended towards getting tighter fitting suits so as to be more aerodynamic on the bike. The problem that this can create though is while it may fit well while riding, swimming and running in a snug suit can create a number of issues. In their latest design though, Epix Gear went with a type of dimpled material that is much more flexible than any of the suits I’ve had before, including their previous designs.
Fatigue in the shoulders and upper body has given me problems in the past with other suits but hasn’t seemed to be an issue yet with this new material. It just seems to move a good bit better for swimming and doesn’t have that constant tugging on the shoulders while running which I would really feel at the end of a longer race. The only issue I’ve had with this newer material is that the sleeves like roll up a bit during swimming. It’s still snug and doesn’t create any issues, but I just have to remind myself to pull them down so as to be as “aero” as possible during the bike. Depending on the shape and size of your arm, I could see this as potentially being an issue for some but maybe not others. The legs, on the other hand, have wide and flat grippers that tend to stay in place quite well during the course of a race. Though they may slide up if you’re putting on a particularly snug wetsuit or swimskin.
Chafing is a make or break consideration with the fit of a suit. I can happily say that after many sprint tris, duathlons, 70.3’s, and an Ironman in this suit that I haven’t had any appreciable chafing! Despite me still having thigh rub chafing when wearing short shorts, I have yet to have any significant issues in any of the common areas such as my thighs, groin, arms, or neck (disregarding feet, because that would hardly be fair to the suit). Considering how much chafing was an issue in the starting years of my triathlon career I pretty much assumed that it would become unbearable when stepping up the distance. One contributor to this would be the relatively small chamois pad that is used and fits well into the curves of the suit. Many other pads I’ve had may not have fit quite right or been too bulky which just gets in the way rather than make things any more comfortable.
One thing that pretty much all tri suits are going to have as a feature nowadays are options for storage. Generally meaning pockets sized to fit anything from a gel for a sprint, to a small buffet for an Ironman distance race. This suit comes equipped with 3 “official” pockets for storage. A pocket on each leg which is just the right size for a gel or two, and a zippered pocket in the rear which could likely fit a few bars or whatever else you try to shove in there.
I don’t often use pockets when I race so it is nice that they lie flat and out of the way. But, with recent changes to my hydration and fueling strategies, I may find them useful in the future to carrying things such as salt pills/tabs or other small things while I race. I will say that during a couple of the training rides I have done in the suit, both my wallet and phone easily fit into the rear zippered pocket while still lying flat and secure. Though you certainly would not have room for a hefty amount of nutrition such as bananas or the like.
Considering most of my races tend to be on the warmer side since I live in the Southeast, temperature regulation becomes an important part of racing for me. My preference is to take off as many clothes as possible when things start to heat up, but that is often frowned upon and many times against the rules for triathlon racing. This suit has a zippered front so I can at least pull that down to the allowed point by Ironman which allows for a bit more openness. The aforementioned dimpled material of the upper body/arms is also pretty light which allows it to be a good bit more breathable and that extends down to the rear zipper on the back. The extra material with there being sleeves is also supposed to provide additional sun protection, but unfortunately doesn’t protect much against the humidity!
As any of you know that have raced in a long distance triathlon in hot conditions, it is standard practice for volunteers to hand out cold sponges and/or water. A good thing that I will do is shove those sponges wherever they will fit in the suit to help cool off. This is where the flexible shoulders and sleeves are great as the sponges slide right in without distorting the suit too much or making it way too tight. If you remember back to the storage section, there is one additional “unofficial” storage space I found that may or may not have been intentional. In the lower abdomen/groin area there happens to be a piece of material that I believe was included to help with the fit of the suit, but I find to be a great place to shove sponges! Considering this is a great place to provide cooling to the body, I was pretty proud of myself for thinking of it.
There are some signs that pop up when a suit has lost its luster for racing. The first sign I typically experience is the top getting loose and either getting wrinkled or not staying tight in the front while in the tt position. And typically this is exacerbated in any suit when it is wet. I can’t say I’ve gotten to that point yet with my suit after maybe a dozen uses during racing and a handful of times in training. Of course, there are recommended instructions for washing and drying the suit to increase its longevity, but I’m pretty lazy and tend to just throw it in with the rest of my training clothes.
One of the things that Epix Gear prides itself on is their ability to create an awesome custom designed suit for clubs or individuals. They also happen to do all the design work for free. After loving my “SuperAero” suit design, I asked if we could retain a similar look but add some more personal elements to it. Thus was born my suit design which I believe has become known as the “Triathlon AF” design. I love the way it turned out with my initials of AF as well as my home state of SC being a major part of the theme and even including a subtle cross over the heart of the suit. I certainly would have never come up with anything this cool on my own as my stick figure drawings often even look sickly.
So obviously I’m a big fan of this suit. I hope I was able to give you a good idea of some of the features and considerations if you’re looking at getting a new race suit for your upcoming season. If you have any other questions about this suit or even others that I’ve used before, then reach out at any time. Overall, I think you would be hard-pressed to find as good of a quality suit, especially when considering pricing or when looking at custom designs. But if you want to prove me wrong or have other opinions then I’m all ears!