Quintana Roo (or “QR” as the brand’s fans call it) is perhaps the most venerable brand in Triathlon. Founded by former original Ironman finisher Dan Empfield in 1981, Quintana Roo was the first brand to develop a triathlon-specific wetsuit. Several years later, Quintana Roo brought to market the first triathlon-specific bike, in 1989, and continues today to be a major innovator in the sport with exclusive technologies such as the Breakway Zipper system. For a time, QR might have been the only brand on the market today that was excelling at both triathlon bikes, and triathlon wetsuits. That tells you one thing: Quintana Roo is serious about the sport of triathlon, and we triathletes are lucky that they are.
As with many companies who need to focus and make the most of their R&D dollars, though, QR decided to become a bit leaner. They did this by discontinuing their wetsuit product about three years ago. We are sorry they did, but fortunately for us they are still a major player in the world of triathlon bikes. In fact, the ceasing of the wetsuit production coincided with QR putting more bikes in their lineup.
For its last model year, way back in 2013, QR had 3 wetsuits in its lineup, a tried-and-true lineup that had stayed consistent for several years unlike some makers who tend to revamp their lineup seemingly each season. We still think there is value in taking a look at them, and we will let you know of some good alternatives from their competitors.
The Superfull is QR’s top-of-the-line suit, featuring extra-stretchy Yamamoto #40 neoprene throughout the majority of its construction, especially in the chest, arms, and sides. It also features QR’s unique Virtual Pull Buoy (VPB) design. VPB uses hip panels of varying cross-sectional thickness to passively encourage proper hip rotation to maximize stroke efficiency. Also unique to the Superfull is QR’s sharkskin forearm panel, which provides added ‘grip’ on your stroke’s catch.
The Superfull also features Quintana Roo’s renowned transition-shrinking features- the Breakaway Zipper System and Quick Release ankles. QR’s unique Breakaway zipper pulls apart when the zipper fob is pulled straight up, making it the fastest exit system available. The Quick Release ankles incorporate an extra-stretchy panel that slides easily over the widest part of your foot in heat of the race. The alternative: Unless you can find a used or carryover Superfull, you will need to look at other options. Our favorite at this price point just might be the Xterra Vendetta. See our Xterra Wetsuit review here.
With the Hydrofull, QR has created an affordable feature-packed wetsuit that shares much the same design as the high-end Superfull Wetsuit. While the Hydrofull uses durable Yamamoto #39 neoprene throughout instead the thinner Yamamoto #40 of the Superfull, it also shares the same VPB hip rotation technology and the Breakaway Zipper design with its more expensive cousin. It is a good choice if you want something with more sophisticated paneling than an entry-level suit, but may not have the budget for the Superfull. The alternative: With the Hydrofull no longer on the market, we think you would be wise to check out the Blue Seventy Reaction. A true mid-range suit that has engineering only found in high-end suits just a few years ago.
The Ultrafull offers more bang for your buck than most entry-level wetsuits. Featuring premium Yamamoto SCS neoprene construction, it still retains the popular QR breakaway zipper system found throughout the Quintana Roo lineup at a price point that won’t have you digging in the couch cushions for lost change. We also like the fact that the Ultrafull has reinforced seams at key spots, like the other QR suits. This means that your investment in a quality suit like one from Quintana Roo should last longer, if you take care of it, compared to the cheap wetsuits that are often found on Ebay and can be so temping to buy. The alternative: Fortunately there are plenty of good entry-level suits on the market. We would recommend you check out our popular article on finding a good entry-level wetsuit as we are confident there will be one in the mix that is perfect for you.
Quintana Roo also makes it Ultra model in a sleeveless suit, the Ultrajohn. We have used the Ultrajohn and find it to be a nice alternative if you are worried about overheating or are not a fan of how restricting a full wetsuit can make you feel. Note, however, that all John-style wetsuits (not just QRs) usually use the entry-level paneling and neoprene, so if you are going for high quality performance and state-of-the-art technology, you will forego that with any bib-style wetsuit. Still, for some triathletes they can make alot of sense.
While we are sorry that QR got out of the wetsuit business, we understand why they did and we are still blessed with some great bikes that they continue to produce. Check out our wetsuit reviews for some of the best wetsuits from other manufacturers. There are so many great wetsuits on the market today, you will find one you love.