Welcome to our first wetsuit review. In this blog we will be reviewing the well-known Huub Archimedes II triathlon wetsuit.
Model: Archimedes II
Price: £275 reduced from £500+ as part of end of year sale.
Ordering Process and Delivery
Unfortunately the wetsuit took quite a long time to arrive, but when it did arrive it came in a very nice box and included a nice looking, useful mesh backpack as part of the bundle. This was a nice touch, the backpack itself is well-made and could easily be used for stuff like coasteering or swim running.
The wetsuit itself is a really nice looking suit. I really liked the design and the lines and the placement of the logo as well as the colouring.
The wetsuit I chose was a 4:4 mm suit, which gave an even 4mm on the core and legs. I personally chose this as I was interested in finding a winter suit. They do a 3:4 mm design too.
There is a 'skeleton' neoprene section in the middle of the wetsuit which extends at the torso and down the thighs. The idea behind this is that it is slightly stiffer and helps you to keep your alignment whilst swimming.
You can certainly feel that the neoprene there is thicker and stronger/less flexible than the surrounding black neoprene, more like the old wetsuits material of the 1980s. Whether it really works or is necessary, we're not so sure!
The rest of the suit is very flexible and comfortable to wear.
There are some additional gimmicks on the suit such as very thin (1mm) patches on the biceps and calves.
This supposedly aids in flexibility but it seems more of a gimmick and had personally I felt it had some converse in the streamlining of the suit.
I found this to be the start of the weaknesses of the wetsuit design as these areas were often quite 'loose' on me, which prevented the suit hugging me like my current Zoot suit does.
This may be due to a feeble physique but my biceps and calves are not all that small; I just think that it's an unnecessary gimmick and the 1mm thick patch is so thin that it actually can flap around if it doesn't hug you tightly.
I noticed this a lot on the calf areas. The one millimetre thick area in red extends down to the end of the leg and this actively flapped around with about a centimetre gap at the end of the leg, which can't have been good in terms of streamlining.
Getting it On and Off
On the plus side however this design on the calves and biceps did mean it was very easy to get the wetsuit off, easily sliding it over my ankles and wrists, something I struggle with sometimes with other suits.
This was a really cool feature on the Archimedes II.
The zipper has entry and exit points at the bottom as all zippers do, but also at the top, allowing you to give a shot tug upwards and then simply pull the wetsuit apart and get it off.
In other words you do not need to pull the zip down when you are running from the transition between swimming and bike, making it less awkward to get off. This is a really great feature of this wetsuit.
My initial reaction on this wet suit when trying it on was not as great as I'd hoped.
It didn't fit as well as I thought it would, even though I am sure I got the right size; the proportion seems a bit 'off' compared to my other wetsuits.
The flexible areas for the biceps and calves are completely useless in my opinion, except maybe making it slightly easier to get off over your feet. The disadvantage was it could affect streamlining as the wetsuit appeared too loose in those areas.
The wetsuit was fairly comfortable when swimming but was quite tight around the groin. Shoulders were flexible enough though and I did notice the 4mm thickness did provide a bit of extra warmth in the winter.
However after just one swim I noticed a small cut on the bum of the wetsuit. I'm usually very careful when handling my gear and I always rinse the wetsuit after use. Maybe I caught it in my bag zipper but it seems rather weak to cut so easily.
Then after the second swim I was rinsing the wetsuit and noticed that the stitching along the scene between the skeleton and the flexible neoprene had split right through.
Needless to say this is really disappointing for a wetsuit of his price range. In hindsight I could see that there are so many other areas on the wetsuit rips could happen again due to all of the gimmicks with stiffening panels and varying thicknesses of neoprene.
I decided not to risk it again and opted get a refund as opposed to exchanging it for a new wetsuit.
As far as the brand goes though they do a really good job on the design of the suits in terms of the look so I may use the refund to get a cheaper model that is more of a 'single' piece of neoprene style.
In the meantime though it's back to my Zoot suit!
This wetsuit has proven to be an excellent piece of kit and has had a lot of abuse over the last two years with no major breakages or performance issues on the wetsuit itself.
Stay tuned for a review of that wetsuit coming soon....