Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Zone 3 Lava kit review

I have been meaning to add a few gear reviews to the blog, people often ask about the stuff I use and its true that most of the races really put it to the test. First up then!

It did come back white again, honest! Whinlater Duathlon
Zone 3 Lava kit-

I have been racing and training in this kit for the past 2 seasons and have to say I can only sing its praises. The main focus of my racing season tends to be long distance, off road, extreme style triathlons and can be racing for up to 12hrs and beyond so I think its fair to say that the kit has been well and truly put to the test, not to mention the hours on the turbo and race simulation sessions.

If I found it was not working, or it let me down I simply would not be using it, but it does work, superbly. I have used it for Celtman, Norseman, Slateman and various off road duathlons
involving mountain biking, mud and very tough conditions, plus training sessions.

Its available in a suit or short and top combo, I love both and have been using the top for swimrun training the past few weeks in conjunction with the new Evolution wetsuit.
Personally I prefer to race in the suit, but find the shorts great for the turbo and brick sessions.

So what is it I like so much about this kit and would I change anything about it if I could?


No doubt about it the fit of the suit it great. What I look for is kit that I forget I am wearing, I dont need to mess about adjusting it and fiddling whilst racing. I just want to put it on and race. To achieve this you need athlete led attention to detail in design, great materials and quality construction.

It fits snuggly but is not restrictive in any way with no lose material. I have never suffered from any chafing during a race despite 12hrs of hard racing wearing the suit from start to finish. Nice features are the wider shoulder straps, they spread the load nice to prevent digging in and also provide extra sun protection. The legs also seem to have room for my ample long distance/mountain runners thighs without feeling tight or restrictive. The front zip is great for ventilating and has a nice material backing strip so it does not dig in or chafe.


The suit uses a few different materials which shows the attention to detail. A super soft but hard wearing fabric is used on the legs, it feels like a very light compression fabric and gives a little support without feeling restrictive. My original pair of shorts from over 2 years ago are still going strong and not showing signs of wear in the seat/inside of leg area that gets the most abuse, I have worn through other brands in less than 6 months before. This brings us nicely to the chamois, arguably the most important component of a long distance suit, if that aint comfy you are in for a tough day! Well I have found it is great, a quality CyTech product, good for 202km and 6hrs in the saddle and I dont notice it whilst out on the run after.

The upper part of the suit is made from a lighter fabric that dries super fast and also provides a little support but is much thinner than that used on the legs. Again its easy to forget you have the suit on. The choice of white helps prevent overheating but it also gives great protection from the sun, believe it or not it was very sunny on the run at this years Norseman and I had no issues with sunburn or temperature regulation.

Features and Construction-

Its easy to take the last two categories for granted once the suit is on, but when you are racing, in my opinion its the features and design that make or break a great product.

Every pocket needs to be placed perfectly and be the right size/shape to make it usable in every kind of condition. It sounds simple but its an area that many suits fail to deliver on. No matter how tired or covered in mud I have been racing off road duathlons or triathlons, I have never struggled to get to nutrition or find a pocket to stash empty wrappers.

The rear pockets are slightly angled for ease of access and plenty big enough, you can actually fit a waterproof race cape/gillet easily into one of the pockets, perfect for changeable conditions. I have also never lost anything from them, testament to the fit, fabrics and the overall design. The two leg pockets work fantastically for storing wrappers, less chance of ending up littering trying to fiddle them in round the back, or worse still storing them inside the legs covering you in sticky gel leftovers.

The Ultimate Long Distance Test, Norseman 2015

Simple things but they mean the suit just works. Flat-lock seams throughout keeps the suit comfortable, fitted and fast.

To sum it up, from an athletes perspective that has really put the product through its paces, it has all the hallmarks of the rest of the athlete driven Zone3 range and it just works!
It has never let me down and so far seems to be indestructible. I believe a ladies version is on its way for 2016, not too many women's specific long distance suits out there so its about time.

One thing I would not change a thing about the suit, but would love to see a short sleeved type suit in the future.


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