2018 Gear Review: Our favourites
Here are our top picks from a year of testing and reviews
As the 2018 calendar comes to an end, we picked our favourite pieces of equipment from the following categories: swim, bike, run, transition, training and electronics.
Whether you are an elite triathlete or an age grouper, a high-quality wetsuit can make the difference from a podium finish or a personal best. The 2XU Propel Pro wetsuit is a performance wetsuit that fits great and optimizes your position in the water to help you go faster. No matter where you are on the spectrum, a wetsuit is a key investment when you are a triathlete.
Related: Swim like Frodeno in the 2XU Propel Pro Wetsuit
Having a comfortable pair of goggles for training and racing is important. Rated as one of the best goggles for triathletes, the Speedo MDR 2.4 Mirrored goggles offer comfort and clear vision. Using Speedo’s Goggle Optics fit, the MDR 2.4 adopts an outer eye fit that sits outside of your eye socket. The defining feature of the Speedo MDR 2.4 is its Elastomeric technology. This technology helps reduce the pressure around your eyes, leaving you without any goggle rings after your swim set or race.
There are numerous ways to improve efficiency and help you go faster on the bike without purchasing a triathlon/time trial bike. One way to do this getting a pair of aero wheels, like the Gray Carbon 45/80 carbon clincher wheelset.
The overall shape of the rims is toroidal. This shape allows for better airflow, improving your experience in the crosswinds and enhanced aerodynamics. Besides the shape, the little details are what makes this wheelset fast. Gray manufactures the spokes with the nipples internally mounted, making for a more aerodynamic ride.
Related: Stand out with the Gray 45/80 carbon clincher wheelset
Getting a power meter isn’t going to make you faster, but it will optimize your training, thus making you faster. Of the power meter’s we got to test, the Garmin Vector 3 pedals were a favourite. The easy setup and installation make the Garmin Vector 3 pedals ideal for travel and transfer. With a much cleaner look compared to its predecessor (Vector 2), the Vector 3 looks identical to any “normal” pedal.
Related: Garmin Vector 3 pedals
Besides the expected power and cadence readings, the Garmin Vector 3 pedals offer a wide variety of measurements. For example, the Vector 3 pedals can measure your L/R leg balance. Thanks to ANT+ and Bluetooth – enabled connectivity, you can record and view these parameters on your Garmin Edge head unit. With the easy transmission of data, stats from your ride are easily saved and sent from your Edge cycling computer to Garmin Connect.
With a simple, yet sleek design, the Roka SR-1 provides a secure fit. Outfitted with Roka’s GEKO technology, a combination of titanium inner wires and rubber grips helps the SR-1 stay put despite the jostling in a training session or triathlon. When running, I found the glasses to rest very well on my face. With interchangeable lenses, they can be easily changed out depending on the conditions.
HOKA ONE ONE is quickly becoming a popular shoe in the multisport and running community. One of HOKA ONE ONE’s most popular model is the Clifton. Known in the running community for its cushioning and lightweight features, the Clifton is ideal for those looking for a durable shoe that offers comfort for their long runs but is light enough to race in. Now, in their fifth edition, the Clifton 5, HOKA ONE ONE has made a few changes to this cushioning lightweight shoe.
Related: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5
Related: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5
Staying topped up on nutrition is critical to performing at any triathlon, especially when the distances begin to push past the traditional Olympic triathlon. A key part of staying fuelled is hydration. Skratch Labs’ philosophy is that if you aim to consume a majority of your calories from solids and leave the fluids for replenishing electrolytes, gastrointestinal issues when competing will be minimized. The Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix has two times the electrolytes and nearly half the sugar of the conventional sports drink.
While most sport drink brands, like Gatorade or Powerade, are packed with sugar and overly flavourful, the Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix hits the spot with four different flavours – orange, lemon & lime, passion fruit and strawberry.
You can’t use the Speedo I.M. Tech paddles in a triathlon, but by incorporating them into your workouts you will improve your stroke – both physically and technically.
Related: Review: Speedo I.M Tech Paddles
The large surface area of the paddles creates more resistance, helping develop strength. Because you’re pulling more water with each stroke, your arm turnover rate decreases – encouraging you to get a full extension and glide. The longer glide and slower turnover allow you to focus on the catch and pull phases of your swim, both helping improve your technique.
Wahoo Element Bolt: It may not have some of the fancier features like colour mapping or a touchscreen. But what it does do, it does really well. The menus and buttons are intuitive and easy to use. The mapping is incredibly simple to read and understand on the fly and it pairs super easily with heart rate monitors and power meters.
Garmin 645 Music: For a long time now, I have dreaded the day my iPod shuffle finally dies. It wasn’t fancy, but it got me through more runs than I care to count. I know I could run with my phone, many do, but I just can’t do it. I like the fact that I am unreachable when running. With the Garmin 645 Music, I can now pound out the miles to my favourite tunes or pod, without having to carry anything extra. It’s even better now that it works with Spotify. It’s finally safe to retire that faithful shuffle, long after everyone else has.