Think tri suits have to be boring? Think again. Epix Gear is shaking up the world of triathlon apparel with some fresh new designs that got our rapt attention the first time we saw them. For our first of a three-part series, we're going big and reviewing the most wild suit in the bunch. This is the Epix Muscle Suit. Not the most creative name in the world, but it's definitely one of the most creative designs we've ever seen. The suit shows of the musculature of the human body, as if you had torn your skin off. It's a striking thing to see. Mario Cipollini wore a head-to-toe muscle suit at the Prologue to the 2001 Giro d'Italia, and we've wanted one ever since. So when we saw the wild design that Epix created, we knew we had to test it out. The suit features an anterior and posterior print, mimicing the muscles on both sides of the body. And the design is fully-sublimated, so it won't crack off or fade away. But we figured that a suit whose key draw was the the design might be short on features. Boy were we wrong.
More Than Skin Deep
The Muscle Suit is based on Epix Gear's "Standard" tri suit. (Epix also has an upgraded suit called the Airflow, which we will review in part 3 of this series.) The Standard suit starts with the regular trappings of a tri suit: flat-lock stitching, a minimal chamois, two rear pockets, and a three-quarters front zipper. But the devil is in the details, of course, and that's where the Epix design shines. We've found that on most trisuits, the rear pockets are frustratingly shallow, and the typically angled openings make it easy for gels to fall out on a ride, especially if you try to put more than one of them in a pocket. If you're out training with anything else (like a cell phone or keys), these tiny pockets are often useless. But the Epix pockets are deep, and have straight openings that keep your stuff IN the pockets.
The other thing that we really LOVE about the Epix "Standard" design is that it has NO waistline seam in front. Most entry-level suits have an uncomfortable seam at the waistline, which eliminates some of the benefit of the tri suit form factor. A good tri suit should fit something like a nice pair of bib shorts, and the Epix suit does so in spades.
This is a very well-made, very beautiful suit. The only question that remains is its long-term durability: how the fabric and the suit construction will hold up in the long run. The suit appears to quite sturdy, but time will tell for sure. We will update this review in a few months after having more time to wear the suit and test its durability. But there's no doubt about it; I'll be racing in this suit at the next available opportunity.