The Fusion Speed Suit
Damien Collins’ Adventure Unearthed
With so many clothing options available within the triathlon marketplace these days, it’s hard to know where to start. To make matters even more complicated, unless you’re a sponsored athlete, or ordering more then 10 items at a time, getting 1 off custom printed garments made is near impossible at an affordable price. Fortunately, this is where Fusion differs from the rest. They do custom printing on their suits at no extra charge making it a great option if you’re looking to give your sponsors a bit of kudos, and for $299 its reasonable priced against other suits.
I first contacted John from Fusion Multisport when I was looking at moving into a speed suit from a tradition sleeveless tri-suit for aerodynamic advantages as well as sun protection, as I lost all the skin on my back/shoulders due to peeling after being baked in the sun at Kona last year and didn’t fancy it happening again.
Coincidently he was based at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast, so I arranged a time to meet up with him and try a few on for size. I’m 182cm’s, 72 kgs and settled on a Medium. I was right in-between sizes on a Small & Medium, but racing long course I figured a little less constriction would be nice.
I got my custom kit 1 week before Ironman Melbourne. I’m really not phased on racing in new equipment that I’ve had limited time testing so this was nothing out of the ordinary for me.
I didn’t read the instructions where it says, “wash before first use” (Yes sometimes those bits of paper on washing instructions are actually important especially on performance garments) instead throwing it straight on and heading out for a 2hr ride. For the first 20 mins the suit felt a little scratchy, as it had the crispy stiff new clothes feel.
But after the initial wearing in it really came to life. The whole suit felt super soft and moulded to you skin as though it were painted on, especially the white upper! You couldn’t feel any of the seams and there was no excess room around your crotch so everything stayed in place with no fabric rubbing where it shouldn’t.
Racing in the suit
Swim- Having the extra material around your shoulders wasn’t even noticeable. Just make sure you load up the obvious areas with body glide. I had no chafing issues and once my wetsuit was on I couldn’t even feel the suit underneath.
For a non-wetsuit swim I’ll have the top half pealed down and have a swim-skin over the top so the shoulders are exposed to keep the officials happy. Then running into transition pull up, put on and zip the top half up.
Bike- I remember being on the bike in the cool Melbourne air and thinking “this feels like I’m riding in silk!” The material was so soft and really kept your skin cool. As the day started to heat up, if I had any water left from an aid station I’d pour it over my upper and it would keep the moisture pressed against you skin. This will be crucial in a hot race like Hawaii to keep the core temperature down.
Not only does the bright white ice fabric keep you cool, but it’s actually really easy for spectators to spot you. My support crew said all the had to do was look for the white shoulders and see the fluro green bands around the arms and legs and they could spot me from a distance.
But most important of all is the crotch! This is where a good suit can make or break. There’s nothing worse then going to the toilet the day after the race and upon wiping realising you’ve lost 10cm of skin on both sides of your genitals. They’ve opted to use a cloth chamois rather then the padded type, which I agree with. I tend to find when racing with padding it provides too much movement creating friction. This is the first race I’ve done WITHOUT loosing any skin. Yet it still provides plenty of padding but it’s not excessive.
Run- So all this bright white magic silk like material has to have a down side right? Surely it would be the fact that running a marathon off the bike and spilling coke and sports drink down your top at every aid station would certainly make this suit a 1 time use before its forever ruined??
Well I had a fair crack at this theory. Not all the content from the cups made it to my mouth while tearing through the aid stations resulting in a pretty filthy suit once inspecting it closely after the race.
I can’t believe how clean it came up after a single delicate cold-water wash. It looks like brand new again. There was only 1 very small stain on the shoulder that remained that was smaller then 1cm.
As far as heat management went. The run at the Melbourne Ironman got pretty warm in the back end. I prefer to run with a suit fully zipped up while dousing it with water and tucking ice down my top. This keeps the material wet and creates a placebo effect making you think that the temperature around you is a lot cooler than it actually is.
There was a couple aid stations that were a bit longer apart than others. The zip on these suits come almost all the way down to your belly button, zipping it down gives you some added air flow once the material’s fully dried out and if your getting a little toasty.
What would I like to see to improve it?
To be honest there’s not much I don’t like about this suit, it’s the best thing I’ve ever raced in. Although I would really like to see a slim line back pocket so you have somewhere to easily access stuff on the bike. It does have 2 pockets on each leg which are both large enough to accommodate everything but its just personal preference. One things for sure, tri-suits are a thing of the past.
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