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Wetsuit Review 2013: 2XU Project X:2



Initial impression

The gold and black stands out. Immediately your attention is drawn to the panels on the front of the suit and on the forearm. First impression this suit pulls off looking super cool.



Buoyancy is a dominant feature of the Project X:2. Being from a swimming background, where I arguably need less buoyancy, I was curious to try what seemed to be an extra buoyant suit. The front of the suit has buoyancy panels and these certainly achieve what they were intended for. I felt myself sitting high in the water. The targeted buoyancy panels will assist triathlete swimmers with a higher body position in their open water swimming.

Anna trying out the 2XU Project X:2


Plenty of flexibility with this suit. 2XU have shown that you can have buoyancy plus flexibility. The removal of seams in places where we need extra movement (shoulders) seems to aid in this flexibility.


A standard zipper, however 2XU offer a ‘floating zip panel’, which means no seams at the back to restrict movement in the back area.

Transition speed

The neck seal is simple to operate so no problems there. I raced in this suit and it came off very easily in T1, just need to be aware of those catch panels when pulling at the arms.


Standard sizing. SM for me. I liked the corset type feel when I put it on it hugged my body, almost reminding my core to switch on for the half ironman swim I was about to do.

Calf panels and arm catch panels

The catch panels on the forearms are a standout feature of this suit  your friends will comment on this! The technical terms for the catch panels is the ‘concave water entrapment zone’. To the touch, the panels on the forearm are very stiff, almost like you have a paddle to assist with your power.

The panel on the calves is ribbed and has a titanium alpha coating to increase blood flow.

Why you want this suit

Buoyancy! If you are a triathlete who could use some extra help in the water with body position (which many triathletes do need), then you will see immediate benefits from this suit. Many other features of this suit are worthy of note, but for me the standout is buoyancy. I won the swim at Augusta 70.3 in this suit, so maybe it will be fast for you too.


Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

Gear & Tech

Suunto Introduces Compact, Lightweight Spartan Trainer Wrist HR GPS Watch



The Suunto Spartan family of sports watches grows today with the launch of Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, the slim and lightweight multisport GPS watch for active sports enthusiast. The Spartan Trainer is considerably smaller in size than its older siblings, yet delivers great, versatile training features, daily activity tracking, as well as wrist heart rate measurement by best-in-class biometrics supplier Valencell.

“With Spartan Trainer we are reaching out to active sports enthusiasts who want the features and sport expertise the Spartan family offers, but prefer a smaller, lighter watch. At a suggested retail price from $279, this is a lightweight that delivers a solid, feature-packed punch,” says Daniela Tjeder, Suunto’s commercial marketing manager.

Spartan Trainer keeps up with you every day

Clear, easy-to-follow color graphs provide 24/7 feedback and summaries, while daily targets for steps and calories help you stay active and fit. With heart rate and motion sensing on the wrist, customizable watch faces, and training features for all kinds of sports, Spartan Trainer is ready to take you places.

Weighing only 56 grams (66g with metal bezel), Spartan Trainer is hardly noticeable on the wrist. The well-honed design fits slimmer wrists, too.

The compact yet robust watch is water resistant to 50 meters, so take it for a swim without worry. Ten hours of battery life (up to 30 hours with power saving options) provide plenty of training time. Use Spartan Trainer as a day-to-day timepiece with activity tracking for up to 14 days before needing a recharge.

Indoor and outdoor sports

Exercising with Spartan Trainer is simple and enjoyable. It uses GPS to measure speed, pace, distance and altitude. With 80 sport modes pre-installed, it is ready for nearly any sport, right out of the box. Sport-specific displays for running, cycling and swimming display relevant, real-time information. True to Suunto’s outdoor and adventure heritage, the Spartan Trainer comes with GPS route navigation with breadcrumb view, making it easy to discover new routes and places and always find the way back home. With the Spartan Trainer, Suunto encourages everyone to explore their urban environment. Push the city limits—and go beyond your own.

Wrist heart rate by Valencell

The new Spartan Trainer uses world-leading optical heart rate measurement technology by Valencell, also featured in the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR. In addition to the wrist heart rate measurement, Spartan Trainer can be used with compatible chest heart rate sensors such as the optional Suunto Smart Sensor.


Five vibrant designs

The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR comes in five distinctive models: Gold and Steel boast an elegant, urban feel with prominent stainless steel elements at $329 MSRP, while Ocean, Blue and Black offer a fresh, sporty look and retail at $279. The Spartan Trainer in Ocean, Blue and Black variants will be available beginning August 31, while the Spartan Trainer Gold and Steel will start with limited availability in September.

Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR range of watches


Glass: Mineral Crystal
Bezel: Polyamide/Stainless Steel
Case: Polyamide
Strap: Silicone
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours in training mode (up to 30 hours with power save options)
Navigation: GPS
Water Resistance: 50m
Weight: 56g
Width: 46mm
Thickness: 14.9mm

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CeramicSpeed launches double 14-tooth Eagle Pulley Wheels



Pulley wheels specifically made to fit the SRAM Eagle 12-speed groupset, now go under the name CeramicSpeed Eagle 14.

The number 14 refers to a 14/14-tooth design in the pulleys. Part of the developing process has been to have Specialized Racing test two different versions of the Eagle Pulley Wheels; a standard 12/14-tooth and an experimenting 14/14-tooth. After thorough testing, the feedback from every rider and mechanic having worked with the pulleys was unequivocally. The 14/14-tooth design was categorized as state-of-the-art in shifting performance and low chain friction.

“As already proven by the OSPW system on the road, larger diameter pulley wheels reduce friction by limiting the amount of rotation experienced by each chain link as it passes. Combined with the precision machining and incredibly high quality bearings inside, the new 14/14-tooth Eagle pulleys are the final piece of drivetrain perfection to get the absolute most out of our mountain bike drivetrains. In addition, the machined alloy pulleys are stiffer and therefore enhance shifting feel and give a more precise and instant engagement than we have experienced with stock pulleys before”, explains Brad Copeland, mechanic at Specialized Racing.

Even before the Eagle pulleys had left the nest, they had won their first World Cup. As part of the thorough testing procedure, Danish MTB prodigy Simon Andreassen rode them at the 2017 UCI MTB World Cup in Andorra, where he took his first ever win in the U23 category of this series.

“I really love the new 14-tooth pulleys, the smooth rotation and fast gear change is a game changer. I’ve tried them for the first time in the World Cup in Andorra, and that worked out pretty good”, Simon Andreassen, rider at Specialized Racing.

CeramicSpeed’s R&D department came up with the same conclusions as Specialized Racing’s mechanics and riders after conducting several in-house tests. R&D Manager, Carsten Ebbesen, explains the difference between 12/14-tooth and 14/14-tooth as a matter of higher watts savings:

“Our measurements show, that the watt saving when using 14/14-tooth compared to 12/14-tooth is 20% higher. Furthermore, the improved shifting performance is a combination of a narrow-wide upper pulley wheel and a stiff aluminium design combined with the unique ceramic bearing with very little play.”

The CeramicSpeed Eagle 14 Pulley Wheels will be available in both titanium and aluminium. The aluminium pulleys will come in two colors; black and gold. The black version is available from today, while the gold colored version will be available from October.

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Does having a lead moto provide drafting rider performance?



In the world of quantum physics, there is a well-known principle that states you cannot measure an object without changing it. This is appropriately called the observer effect. Although the quantum mechanics application of the principle is targeted at unimaginably small objects, are we accidentally triggering this same effect by our need to stay informed and to provide excellent media coverage for cycling and triathlon?

I doubt that many people would argue: excellent media coverage of an event can only do good things for its popularity. As a slightly less than mainstream sport, triathlon can only benefit by having excellent television coverage. Instead of watching the splits pop up in a text based web browser, we can now watch the look of pain on Alistair Brownlee as he fights to keep ahead of a charging Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle at the recent Challenge Samorin race. Watching this unfold in front of your eyes is a fantastic addition to the sport, helping to draw in a new generation to the pain and self-torture, but also elation and accomplishment experienced, in turn, by these athletes. As great as this is, what is the cost of having this wonderful coverage delivered to us? Are we inadvertently changing the outcome by striving to get top-notch television coverage?

Motos are ever-present in the world of triathlon and cycling. They enforce rules, record images and even provide advanced warning to spectators who are anxiously awaiting the race leaders to come screaming by. A nominal separation distance is kept between the athlete and the moto, but because of an infinite number of outside influences, sometimes this distance falls to the point where a benefit is being handed out to someone who is already leading the race.

At what point do we need to start worrying about influence of lead out motos and how much of a benefit can they inadvertently offer to the athletes?

Figure 1: Our test cyclist, Alex VanderLinden following 5m behind a camera moto


Using the same 3D scanning and software analysis techniques I’ve previously used to investigate athlete drafting, I have now turned the attention to drafting of a lead out camera moto. In this investigation, I’ve considered following distances between 5m and 20m with the rider directly behind the moto, and then subsequently moved to the side by 1m and 2m. There’s no doubt that everyone expects a significant draft benefit close up, but how large is it at 20m? And how quickly does it fall off as you move away from the centre of the wake?

Figure 2: Drag reduction from following a moto.


Table 1: Drag reduction from following a moto

In the direct wake of the lead out moto, drag is reduced nearly by half at 5m, around a third at 10m, but, most concerningly, by nearly 20% as far as 20m out. As the rider moves side to side (or as crosswinds blow the wake around), this effect drops off extremely quickly. At 5m back with a 1m sideways position, a 46% drag reduction drops off to less than 5%. At 2m, this effect is as close to nothing as actually matters.

In Figure 2, we can see that the average windspeed in the wake of the moto forms a fairly narrow corridor, then moves back up to “normal” conditions as you move off the centerline. Once a rider exits this blue wake, the benefits of drafting are minimal.


Figure 3: Following at 10m, but 2m out to the side yields almost no benefit.

Looking at instantaneous results (think of it as a snapshot of the flow), Figure 3, the effects of turbulence and unsteady flow can be seen. This oscillation is the reason that drafting always feels like you’re getting bounced around, rather than sitting in a smooth, calm area.


Figure 4: Instantaneous results showing the oscillation of the wake.

So, now that we know even at 20m, a cyclist can benefit from a massive reduction in drag, on the order of 20%, how does this translate into speed? Well, at 250W, Alex would be travelling approximately 45km/h in calm air. Reducing his drag by 20%? That corresponds with a whopping 3.3km/h increase in speed without any additional effort, the equivalent of an extra 55W! If Alex were the lead rider on a 70.3 bike split, benefitting the entire time from a lead-out draft, this would save him up to 8 minutes! Is this fair? Is this something that we want to allow? Definitely not.

The real question is how do we deal with this? I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to take a step back in terms of television coverage, but education for the camera operators would be a good first step. Asking them to keep a horizontal offset from the rider would certainly help, since the draft benefit is so sensitive to location. Are there other solutions?
Although we may not be able to completely break the laws of physics, we can certainly minimize the impact of our own self-inflicted observer effect.

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Final Surge’s New iOS App Sets a New Standard for Mobile Training Log Apps



Today Final Surge has released their new 2nd generation iOS App that sets a new standard for mobile training log apps (Android coming in October 2017). The Final Surge App makes it so easy to track workouts that workouts actually get tracked… and the tracking contains the detailed data needed to optimize your training to get maximum results without injury. Ideal for runners, cyclists, and multisport athletes and coaches in sports like triathlon, duathlon, Xterra and more.

Key features include a Daily View that shows detailed workout data for each day and is color-coded to show whether the workout was completed as planned. The Weekly View doesn’t require you to awkwardly put the phone into landscape mode and shows planned and completed workout totals by type to confirm with just a glance if you are on plan. The Complete As Planned button on the workout entry screen automatically enters Distance, Duration, and Pace, plus it’s easy to add How You Felt, your Perceived Effort, and Workout Notes. The App automatically syncs through platforms like Garmin Connect®, Strava®, MapMyRun®, and others.

The App shows laps/splits, the workout map and route, selectable workout graphs and charts, and training zones, gear, corrected elevation, weather, and more. The App uses the familiar text messaging format for conversations between coach and athlete for each workout.

Unlike other apps, log in only once if you are both a Coach and an Athlete. Coaches can easily access, review and manage their athletes’ and teams’ workout calendars. Team calendars, internal message boards, and individual messaging make this App ideal for high school, collegiate, professional and club teams.

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Review: Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 Travel Bag – Worth the Upgrade?



Nothing worries triathletes more than travelling to a destination race with their bike. Losing your wallet, phone or first-born must be covered by travel insurance. But your bike? No such luxury.  You only have to stand around the over-sized baggage area with the rest of your nervous brethren to see just how popular the Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 travel bags are.  Bag after bag being wheeled/thrown out by airline staff, nervously greeted with a passion akin to welcoming a child into the family.

I’ve travelled with the Scicon Aerocomfort bags for several years, so I will focus not so much on reviewing the bag itself. If you’re travelling with a triathlon bike, get one. I will focus more on differences between the Aerocomfort 2.0 an 3.0 and whether or not there’s sufficient reason for an upgrade.

Pro tip: Make sure your mark your own bag so as to not snag yourself a free upgrade or the horror of a downgrade.

Hard shell vs soft shell

The Scicon Aerocomfort 2 has become the de-facto standard for soft shell padded travel bags. But with hard shell cases available, why do most triathletes travel with them?  Well, with the growing trend of integrated headsets on aero frames, the ability for a rider to simply push their bars down to fit in a hard-shell simply isn’t there. Unless you’re paying for your mechanic’s holiday.  Also, there is the question of weight. Something that can sting you if you travel internationally. Soft shell bags simply weigh less. With sufficient planning, strategic purchasing of additional padding and the occasional prayer most triathletes can be assured their carbon child is in safe hands.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 new thicker material will ensure longevity

As you can see on the Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 on the left, thicker Nylon and greater external re-enforcement.

Related7 Essential Tips When Travelling with your Triathlon Bike

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 Build Quality

First thing you will notice is the external bag build quality.  Scicon have replaced the 840 Nylon with a new weave called Scicon D-TEX860. This Nylon seems more flexible but is also tougher and thicker whilst maintaining the 8kg weight.  They have also added key reinforcement points where you tend to bang the bike on the base.  I’ve heard several reports of the bag ripping at the points that Scicon have now re-enforced and I’m glad Scicon have listened – you can see this happening in the photos.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 new design and material should last a lot longer

Scicon have thought about the new design, re-enforcing areas that were often damaged. Note the normal wear and tear on my Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 on the right


The second key improvement concerns the wheels. They are a big improvement and seem to respond no matter where you push the bike, freely rotating in 360 degrees. Previous versions of the bag could see you careering off in strange directions, given the often varied terrain that overseas travel brings.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 new wheels are a welcomed change

Check out the build quality of the wheels, reinvented and redesigned. A huge plus.

Internal Improvements

One of the big attractions of the Scicon Aerocomfort range of bags is the integrated mounted frame. Not only does the bike frame keep the front forks and rear dropouts stable but it also serves as a bike stand, allowing you to quickly assemble your bike at your destination.  It’s certainly a very simple process to slot your bike into, with minimal fuss.  In previous versions of the frame, the front forks were secured with a T-bar, which was not statically secured to the mount.  This meant that it tended to wobble about a bit and could result in the front forks detaching from the frame.  Scicon have now fixed this with the T-bar being secured to the mount via an adjustable screw which also aids assembly.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 new T bar is the best change

With the new Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 the T bar is now securely locked into place.

The bag also comes with a steel rear derailleur protector, which protects the mech from being damaged during transit. The chain is now kept out of the way via a new chain keeper function to hold the chain in place.

 Pro Tip: pull your derailleur forward, using a cable tie or string so it’s fully under the guard to maximize protection.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 has all the axel support you need.

Removal rear dropouts, thru axle support and a chain protector.

For you disc brake riders out there, the Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 now supports thru axles, so no compatibility issues there.

As you can see in the photos, once the bike is secured in the mounted frame you simply place your wheels in the internal padded bags, hook up the jockey straps (now with tightening cords on both sides rather than one, a small detail but it helps when your tightening) and close the bag at the top.

What does ‘no disassembly required’ really mean?

I’m a 6ft 3 rider on a 58cm bike with aggressive reach out front and, true to the brochure, I have never had to adjust my bike… much. For larger riders there isn’t enough space at the front of the bag to fit your aero bars in as you would ride them. The arm pads stick out too much, even with the additional 1cm of height this bag provides.  It’s simply a matter of loosening the bars a little and turning them inward so the pads are inside the bars.  Nothing major, just something to be aware of if you are a taller rider. Shorter riders don’t seem to have this problem.

Pro Tip: Mark where you bars are with tape before adjusting.


Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 has improved straps but lacks the extra room for longer bars.

Improved adjustable straps keep the bike rigid and in place. If you are a tall rider you can see the need to turn your bars in. Something to fix next time Scicon.


The Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 now comes with clearly labeled top tube, seat and aero bar protectors which is a welcome addition but this leads to my biggest gripe with this bag – the lack of frame padding that comes default with the bike.  Scicon sell a series of additional padding options to cover the seat post, forks, aero brakes, and importantly the drive chain, and I suggest that you invest in each and every one of these.  Problem is, even on sale this can add another $200 to the overall cost.  I would like to see Scicon include more of these options by default in the base bag in future releases.

Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 TT padding for your bike.

The optional extras on the left including the drive chain, aero bars, and seat post protector. Check out the custom additional padding on the right, simple and cheap for peace of mind.


Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 TT has new padding and is labelled compared to the Aerocomfort 2.0

Scicon clearly labelled all of the new components however its never enough to fully protect your bike.

Given these bikes cost around the price of a small car, many of us with these bags also create additional padding (see photos) to help cover almost 100% of the frame.  Maybe overkill but the safety of a loved one is surely worth it?


So, would I recommend it as an upgrade?  Well perhaps.  The Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 improves over the 2.0 in all areas, particularly securing the forks to the frame and in its mobility, so if your travel bag is getting a bit old in the tooth, it’s certainly worth an upgrade.  However, I would be hard pushed to say that any of the features warrant a must upgrade recommendation.

Would I recommend the Scicon Aerocomfort 3.0 to someone who is considering travelling with their bike for the first time?   Absolutely, although the price of the bag at retail is twice that of some of its competitors ($949 AUD, with most of the competition around the $500 AUD mark). Its build quality and integrated protection are top of the line.  It’s worth noting, though, that you can still pick up the Aerocomfort 2.0 on sale for $550 AUD. This, with only a few less features is the smart buy.

All in all a great travel bag with advanced features, sure to get you to the start line with your precious intact. Just remember the additional padding required and nuisance of protecting your components and frame.

Trizone Review

Product Name: Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 TT

  • Structure
  • Wheels
  • Material


All in all a great travel bag with advanced features, sure to get you to the start line with your precious intact. Just remember the additional padding required and nuisance of protecting your components and frame.

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Strava Unveils Club Posts, the Newest Way for Groups of Athletes to Connect



Today Strava introduces club posts, the newest way to share content and information on the social network for athletes. Strava club admins can now share a variety of posts with club members including announcements, questions, stories, photos, routes and segments, articles, product reviews, and other engaging athletic content. Once posted, content now appears in club member’s Strava feed as well as in the Posts section of the club. Learn more about club posts here.

Strava clubs are increasingly the place to find information, share inspiring stories and build community among athletes, with clubs ranging from casual groups of friends to local shops to global brands. Club posts offers a new way for club admins to keep Strava athletes up-to-date about what’s happening in their communities. Club admins can also share the post link with their social media network to grow an even larger Strava club following.

“We are committed to making Strava the home for people’s athletic life, where you are not only tracking activities but also connecting with other athletes: sharing tips, discovering new routes and races, and getting inspired,” says Aaron Forth, Chief Product Officer at Strava. “With more than 160,000 active clubs on Strava, we saw an opportunity to offer even more ways for athletes to engage with each other, keep clubs active and growing, keep athletes motivated, and ultimately provide an even richer Strava experience.”

Club posts are the latest addition to Strava’s social platform, and another step toward making Strava the comprehensive home for athletes to share content with each other, get inspired, and discuss relevant topics with other athletes.

Late last year Strava introduced club posts in beta to a limited set of clubs, which not only helped to improve product features for wider availability but also resulted in increased engagement with club posts. On average, over 20% of athletes on Strava who saw a club post engaged with it. This newest content feature on Strava joins other recent milestones for the social platform including the billionth shared activity and athlete posts, a new way for individual athletes to share content on Strava.

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