This month, we’ve tried the last Kiwami trisuit, let’s discover the Rio LD Aero.
Test realized by Sébastien RODRIGUEZ, photos SR@copyrights / test published in TrimaX-hebdo Magazine#141 _ june 2015
You’ve probably noticed this new trend among the pros for two years now, the suits with sleeves especially on long distance triathlon. It’s new, and against the triathlete style with a tank top… In these conditions, it’s difficult to differentiate now a triathlete from a cyclist on the bike! If last year, this «trend» was not widespread, with Kienle’s victory in Kona in 2014 especially thanks to an extraordinary bike, equipped with this new trisuit with sleeves, in 2015 all the best athletes wear it!
It’s the case of Frederik Van Lierde during his domination in South Africa (though he was not likely to wear it last year), but also Frodeno more recently in Barcelona.
Kiwami couldn’t miss this new trend. So, the French brand has taken one of its best model, the Rio range, to make an aerodynamic trisuit with sleeves, maybe the new reference on long distance?
Why a Rio LD Aero ?
Kiwami presents its last model of the RIO range, a trisuit with sleeves, whose cut has needed several months of fixing : the RIO LD AERO.
Aerodynamics is optimal in time-trial position thanks to sleeves which stop right under the elbows. The wind slides then on the arms and shoulders covered of a light and damp-proof fabric : the air resistance is decreased compared to the skin. The trisuit is very well adjusted and the extremely elastic fabric adapts to every morphologies. The big frontal zip facilitates the threading and the outing of the suit.
Why starting on the basis of a RIO ?
With the Rio LS Aero, Kiwami brings a gain on the aerodynamic level, but it doesn’t forget that it is designed for long distance athletes, with real needs of comfort and pockets to put energetic needs. The airy mesh fabric back facilitates ventilation while protecting from the sun. The presence of numerous dorsal pockets and on the legs makes it an ideal trisuit for half and long distance races, and also the very comfortable doubled structured density chamois. It is incontestably a new warhorse developed by the workshop of Montardon where Kiwami creates all its models.
The testing :
It is useless to develop the RIO aspect of this trisuit. Kiwami and this model have already proven themselves, and this new RIO is match for its predecessors. The quality and finishes are irreproachable. Technically, the RIO models are very evolved, the fabrics are perfectly chosen and high quality, damp-proof, compressive, aerated back… Comfort and true performances. The numerous pockets are also very well-thought, very convenient for the cyclist part (back), as for the running parts (thighs). Finally, the chamois is already a very famous model for Kiwami. Anyways, no surprise with this trisuit, we find everything we’re used to find in a high quality trisuit from Kiwami.
The novelties are the sleeves, and it’s obviously this point that we are going to develop. To win on aerodynamics, here is the theory. However, the performance on the field is always a little bit more complex, it sometimes needs compromises.
You can have the most performing material existing on the market, if you don’t feel good in it, the results won’t be here. And in triathlon, compromises are even more difficult because there are three sports, with three different needs. And with this Rio LD Aero, the additional fabric will make you win some watts on the bike, quite insignificant for some of you, and really indispensable for the most competitive athletes! There is a reason why all the long distance top pro athletes wear it this year…
And these additions mustn’t disturb you during the swim and the run, what is the point in winning a little bit on the bike if you loose as much in the two other disciplines? Here is an interesting aspect of this testing, the use of the Rio LD Aero in the three disciplines of triathlon.
And it begins by the swim. We won’t only speak about the swim with wetsuit, that is to say with the trisuit under the neoprene. The reason is simple, if the wetsuit is forbidden, the sleeves will be as well. You will never swim just with the Rio LD Aero. At first sight, an additional fabric on the shoulders, the arms, is not good for the freedom of movement for an efficient swim and with no disturbance.
The fabric is actually very flexible and extensible, it doesn’t make any resistance when you swim, even on long sessions. In addition, this flexibility and extensibility make the Rio perfectly adapted to your morphology and your movements. The sleeves remain perfectly as you had positioned them before. It’s a very important point, so that there is an aerodynamic gain on the bike, you must avoid the folds and imperfections, the surface in contact with the air must be the smoothest as possible. It’s the case with this Kiwami.
The swim and bike are validated, we still have to try on the run. We could be reticent to have the arms and above all the shoulders covered. We wanted to try the Rio LD Aero on every type of sessions : from long runs to VMA sessions. With no surprise, this Kiwami has never been a problem. We even find an advantage on long distances: the sun protection. How many of you have finished their Ironman with the shoulders completely burnt? Even if it hasn’t been developed for this goal, the rio LD Aero also has this advantage to hide your skin from the sun. Regarding how much time we spend on the bike and on the run during an Ironman, often raced under a terrific heat, it’s an important aspect!
Last but not least, the case of the races where the wetsuit would be forbidden, as in Kona. You won’t have the right to wear this wetsuit, or at least not the sleeves. The Rio LD Aero is equipped with a large frontal zipping which allows to put it on quite rapidly, for these (rare) races, it is then possible to swim with this Kiwami under a speed-suit without putting the top. You’ll just have to finish to put on the trisuit in the transition. The bike parks are often very long, you will be able to do that while running towards your bike without loosing too much time.
As we’ve been used to with Kiwami, this new trisuit Rio LD Aero is a very good product. We think that we are now in a transition phase for triathlon, for the time being this kind of suit is «reserved» for the elite, for athletes in search of the least chronometrical gain. But as always, out from seeing it on the pros, it will become a standard, and all the athletes will probably have the shoulders covered in a few years. If the fastest triathletes will first see an advantage in their performances, the others will see an interest in protecting their skin against the sun!
This new Rio LD Aero is available from 219€ and exists for the moment in two colors, the tested version «France», and a sober model in black.