Brand Review: Xterra Tri Wetsuits

Xterra is a different kind of triathlon wetsuit company.  While most wetsuit brands are sold through a dealer network, Xterra wetsuits are only sold direct through the company’s website or at Xterra’s single retail outlet in San Diego, so there’s really no need to price shop for the best deal since the price is always going to be the same.  Xterra is also a prolific marketer, sponsoring many events and groups.  Because of that, Xterra’s name is recognized by most triathletes.  In addition to wetsuits, Xterra makes a line of high-end speedsuits as well as other gear such as triathlon bags.  In the end, though it is best known for its line of wetsuits that are generally recognized as very competitive and good quality — here is the lowdown, as well as some great discounts on Xterra wetsuits using our code (EBOOK).

High End

vendetta-xterra-suit-wetsuit

The Vendetta is a highly-advanced tri wetsuit, worth the investment if it is within your budget range.

The Vendetta is Xterra’s top wetsuit.  Xterra advertises it as very fast – that’s a result of the suit’s nano-SCS coating.  Construction makes use of premium #39 Yamamoto neoprene throughout, with 5mm thick front panels and thinner 3mm thick back panels.  The Vendetta has a 6-panel ‘anatomical’ arm for superior freedom of motion with each stroke.  The Vendetta, just like every wetsuit in the Xterra line, uses X-flex liner technology for comfortable 4-way stretch throughout the suit.  Critics say that the suit can leak around the neck, and that it may not be a good fit for swimmers who are wide through the shoulders.  With a list price of $750, users should expect perfection with this suit.  A high-quality alternative to the Vendetta is the Orca Alpha (see our Orca Alpha review for details), a great wetsuit with comparable technology for the same general price.  At this price point, whatever you decide on, your expectations should be very high, and the Vendetta will not disappoint.

A relatively recent addition to the Xterra lineup is the Vengeance wetsuit, a suit that is still high-end but roughly $100 less than the all-out Vendetta suit.  The biggest difference is in design, where the Vengeance is much more focused on giving swimmers a “downhill” swim feel.  The legs have thicker 5mm neoprene, while the chest and upper is a thinner 3mm thickness (to compare, on the Vendetta, you get 5mm thickness the entire way through).  That will make your legs more buoyant than your upper, providing more of a balanced distribution of flotation.  Because your legs are more dense, they require more support than your air-filled top.  The feeling of swimming in the Vengeance may take some getting used to, but we talk to a few people who love it once they get the hang of it.

Mid Range

The Vector Pro X2 is nearly identical to the Vendetta with the exception being that the high-end nano-SCS coating featured on the Vendetta is been downgraded to a slightly less slick SCS (non-nano) coating.   This means the Vector Pro X2 has a slightly increased drag coefficient, but also a slightly reduced sticker price.  Also, while the Vendetta is available only as a full sleeve suit, the Vector can be purchased in both full sleeve and sleeveless models.  The Vector’s technology and price point puts it in a class with such solid wetsuits as the Blue Seventy Helix, a great, versatile wetsuit that can often be had for a compelling price.  You can get 50% off a new Vector by using our code, ‘EBOOK’, when checking out at Xterra’s online store at www.xterrawetsuits.com.  That means a $600 full-sleeve Vector Pro can be yours for $300.  A no-brainer.

Mid Range 2

The Vortex 3 is a more budget friendly mid-range suit.  While it still maintains the same 5mm front and 3mm back panel thicknesses as Xterra’s higher end offerings, it uses a generic brand of neoprene instead of premium #39 neoprene.  Also, a simpler, 2-panel arm is used instead of the anatomical 6 panel arm found on the Vendetta and Vector suits.  As with the Vector, it can be purchased in either full sleeve or sleeveless models.  The Vortex embodies what Xterra is known for by many in the sport — good, mid level wetsuits.  It has stiff competition at this price point from offerings such as the Sonar by Orca, a very good all-around suit that can be had for under $300 when discounted.  While most large wetsuit makers have quality offerings at this price point, suits like the Vortex should be considered if you are weighing all the options.  You can get 50% off a new Vortex by using our code, ‘EBOOK’, when checking out at Xterra’s online store at www.xterrawetsuits.com.  That discount will make this a $200 wetsuit, very comparable with entry-level wetsuits even though the Vortex is a decided step up.  We did an Orca Sonar review in the event you wanted to compare it to the Vortex.

Entry

At the entry level for newbie triathletes is the Volt.  Instead of maximum thickness 5mm neoprene, the Volt uses just 3mm in the front and 2mm in the back, so it doesn’t have anywhere near the buoyancy that the other Xterra suits provide.   Additionally, it is only available in a sleeveless version.   However, considering that it doesn’t cost much more than the price for a season of event rentals, it can be a compelling choice to beginning triathletes.   If you plan to race in several triathlons, however, we would recommend spending up on something that you will be happy with for a few years, as your skills improve and you seek to turn in faster times.  Moving up into a Mid Range wetsuit will likely allow you to improve with the wetsuit, and the suit will likely be more durable.

 

Conclusion

We have had very good experiences with our Xterra gear, having used a few of their suits.  In fact, the Vendetta is still a main go-to suit for many of our staff.  We would not hesitate to put our readers in any of the models, and our experience is that Xterra is good about making sure you are happy with your product and its fit.  Note that they are not sold in stores, so all transactions are done directly through their website.

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