Epix pt 3 - Airflow Suit
article & images by Nick Salazar
Oct 23, 2010
Epix is a company that's getting things right. As we discussed in parts one and two of this series, where we reviewed their Limited Edition print suits, their suit design is excellent. Those suits featured front zippers, deep rear pockets, and eliminated the front waistline seam. For its Airflow suit, Epix chose a slightly different feature set, but kept the most important feature of its other suits - the comfortable fit. The design is slightly different, but still feels great, and importantly lacks a front waist seam. That goes quite a long way to making the suit more comfortable. After using one-piece suits with this smart bit of design, you won't want to consider going back.
So what's new with this suit? For one thing, it obviously doesn't feature a wild print like the other suits did. Instead, Epix gives the Airflow some upgraded design points. The suit features their upgraded Airflow chamois, which is supposed to keep the chamois area dry. In practice, we rarely notice an abundance of moisture with any chamois, so we weren't really able to compare that feature. But if you notice some unwanted swampiness in your nether regions, this might be an important bit of technology for you. In any event, we did find the chamois to be comfortable even on long rides, which is a nice plus. Minimal tri chamois only work well if they fit you well, and don't bunch up and chafe. The Epix chamois worked well in our test rides.
The suit features two leg pockets, made of a thin mesh to help minmize drag in the water if you're swimming in it without a wetsuit. It's a nice feature at this price point. However, if your focus is races that don't allow wetsuits, you might want to look for hydrophobic-fabric suits, although these suits invariably cost a lot more than the Airflow. Usually about double.
And on the subject of pockets, Epix has consolidated the rear pockets to just one on the Airflow. It's also mesh, and features a zipper closure. We're a bit torn about this choice. On the one hand, one pocket means less storage. On the other hand, that means your gear is centered, and easier to get with either hand. The zipper is also nice for those long rides when you don't want to risk anything falling out. For racing, you might want to be sure the zipper is open so you don't have to work at getting your stuff out.
The Price is Right
Probably the nicest thing about these suits, considering their fit and features, is their price. The Airflow retails for $99, and is an incredible value for the price. Some of the Epix Limited Edition suits retail for the same amount, and you trade some features for a more eye-catching design.
Like the other suits in this series of reviews, the only mystery here is the suit's longevity. We haven't had enough time to really put the suit through the rigors of a full triathlon season to see how it fares. The fabric is definitely thin - so thin that we can read the inner fabric label from outside the suit (see the picture in the gallery below). But going by feel, it seems to be of sound build quality, and we expect it will last through several seasons of use.
Epix is on a roll; we can't wait to see what they do next.