First Ascent Speed Tri Suit review

Who needs a tri suit anyway?

If you’re a triathlete, you’ll know that comfort is key, especially your apparel. Your tri suit has to fit snugly enough so it won’t fall off and embarrass you as you make your swim exit, but also not be so tight that it restricts your breathing.

first ascent speed tri suit on white background 850 pixelsIt’s no secret that good gear makes you feel better and more athletic than ill-fitting, poorly-made apparel. First Ascent has a sizing chart, which I ordered from, and it was spot-on. The fit on the Speed is, for my body type, absolutely perfect. It gets a solid 10/10 for fit.

I’ve tested the First Ascent Mens Speed Tri Suit in over 10 runs, swims, and bike rides, and have enjoyed every session in it. That’s thanks to it getting a 10/10 for a tight but comfortable fit that feels like it’s providing light compression around the midriff, waist, and butt.

 first ascent speed tri suit water exit 2016

Photo: supplied

If you choose the fit correctly, and your body type suits it, you may feel as confident of your abilities as I have while wearing the suit.

The first time I put it on, it just got me in the mood to move – as fast as I could!

The hydrophobic material is awesome: seeing the water in the post-swim shower bead off it is surreal.

I like the fact that it thinks ahead to the final leg of the triathlon – the run – with two gel pockets above the butt, and one on the right thigh. That’s when you need to have the option of carrying small food items without having to use your hands.

The front zip means less faffing to remove it after your race.

Negatives? I can envisage is that the lightweight chamois liner might be too thin for decent comfort for some posteriors, or for distances longer than half Ironman for rear ends used to thin cycling chamois. But everyone’s different, and you might find you have no problems.

first ascent speed tri suit man woman running 2016

Overall, it’s a high quality tri suit I’d recommend for a comfy cut, impressive tech features, and attractive styling.

Just ensure you get the sizing right using First Ascent’s sizing chart.

Colours Available in black and black/cobalt for men, and black and black/aquamarine for women.


The lightweight, thin crotch padding might disappoint some triathletes for comfort on the bike, especially if they’re training or racing longer events. I didn’t get to test this hunch, but I feel that I could comfortably race a 70.3 distance (half Ironman) in the Speed. For a full IM though, I might want a little more padding (or train longer with longer rides to toughen my posterior.)


A one-piece is unbeatable from a time-saving, aerodynamic, and feel-good about yourself viewpoint. If you wanted protection from the elements for events spanning several hours, you could combine it with First Ascent’s Sun-Off Arm Protector (R289 in Dec 2015) or Thermal Arm Warmer (R299 in Dec 2015)

Description on First Ascent site

The Speed Tri Suit is a versatile one-piece tri suit, perfect for training and racing.

Aqua-Pro fabric is used to repel water for hydrodynamic performance. Cellular Mesh on the back adds breathability and comfort on the bike and run.

Buy the Men’s suit.

Buy the Women’s suit.

Second opinion

This is a well-performing suit, ticking all the boxes that triathletes look for. Whether racing competitively, or starting out, I highly recommend this suit for both road and offroad triathlon. The key features I appreciate are:

  •  Its breathability. You can’t keep much cooler than in this suit! Between the complete mesh back, and the lengthy front zip, you are bound to stay cool through all this ventilation when opened up.
  • While mentioning the zip, the attention to detail here is great, being lockable in the top position, as well as a zip protector to avoid any uncomfortable skin cuts or chafing.
  • Its well-balanced degree of paddling. It dries quickly after the swim, and fades into the background on the run. The level of padding is conducive for various distances, whether competing in a sprint distance triathlon, or up to half Ironman distance.
  • Even with the constant in and out of the saddle when on the mountain bike, the padding holds its position firmly.
  • Its quick-drying fabric allows you to dry off quickly after the swim, and minimises sweat absorption.
  • Well-positioned, easily accessible pockets. More than sufficient storage space is provided, whether it’s for a quick gel out the side pocket on the leg, or the longer distance “munchies” in the two back pockets, you will have it out in a flash, without losing focus for a second.
  • The fold-over pockets provide peace of mind that your food won’t bounce out while racing, and avoid any unwanted drag in a non-wetsuit swim.
  • The suit is a great fit, providing total comfort, and keeping everything in place… while looking “lean and mean”.
  • The leg lining has improved tremendously, avoiding unwanted leg creep, and the distraction of having to pull it down.
  • On top of all of this, it is a great-looking suit. Who doesn’t want to look good when racing?!
  • Let this suit be an example of what other brands could achieve at such a competitive price!

Andrew Le Roux, First Ascent performance tester

first ascent speed tri suit mtber 2016

Photo: supplied




  • Aqua-pro fabric repels water
  • Cellular mesh adds breathability
  • Hydrosleek pockets
  • Reflective trim for visibility
  • Lockable YKK front zipper for ventilation
  • Certain Seal elasticated armholes and neckline


SIZES S | M | L | XL | 2XL  |

FABRIC Aqua-Pro and Cellular Mesh



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