In late May, we published an initial review of the Canari Velo II Bike Shorts. These shorts were provided by Canari to replace our previous version that we tested and reviewed. The folks at Canari also provided a sample of their custom tri top for us to test.
We’ve been using this top for about a month during our training. We have not used this top in a competition, but have used it in the pool, in one open water swim, on the bike and for a few runs.
About Canari Custom Gear:
In addition to offering a full line of off the shelf gear, including jackets, jerseys, and bottoms, Canari does quite a bit in the custom and semi-custom apparel field. Canari has two options for custom gear: you can go with the full custom line, where you design the entire jersey or bottom or you can choose semi-custom where you provide some art and logos, but the overall design of the product is based on an existing design.
Canari Custom Tri Top Features:
The sample tri top we received is 82% Nylon and 18% Lycra. The top is sleeveless and features a half zipper front for breathability. The Canari Tri Top also features two small pockets on the back of the jersey. These are not large enough to hold a standard water bottle, but you can use them to carry nutrition or small water/gel bottles.
The tri tops feature flatlock stitching, which we love. The Canari site mentions that these seams are for next to skin comfort, but to us it’s more of an anti-chafe feature. For shorter races, it wouldn’t be a huge deal to have standard seams, but if you’re competing in anything more than a sprint, you need to be careful about the chafing possibilities.
Fit and Comfort:
This top is definitely euro sized. Our sample is an XL and it’s a tight fit, exactly what you want from a good tri top. Clydesdale or not, make sure you pay attention to the sizing chart and know what you need and how you like your tri top to fit. Personally, we prefer a very very snug fit since we generally wear our top throughout the entire tri.
In the water, the Canari Custom Tri Top performed pretty well. We were concerned about the pockets creating a bit of additional drag, but we honestly didn’t notice a noticeable increase in drag or decrease in our normal lap times. The pockets are very elastic and fit very snuggly against your back. However, the pockets do break up the profile of the top, so your experience with the pockets might be a bit different.
Once on the bike, the tri top dried out very quickly. One nice feature of this top, especially since it’s very snug, is that it’s not short. Your tester is 6’1 and had not problem getting into the aero position without having the bottom of the top ride up or bunch. Throughout our rides, we appreciated the flatlock seams for their comfort. In rides up to 35 miles we experienced no chafing or irritation at the seams or at the arm/neck hole. The half zip is a nice feature that allows you to make sure you’re getting enough airflow across your body, depending on your preferences.
We had no surprises on the run: the top performed as well as it did on the bike. We did find the pockets useful,especially for holding gels, small snacks, and a mini water bottle. The bottle was probably the least comfortable and also the most precariously situated, these pockets weren’t designed for water bottles.
We’ve decided to hold off on making any judgments on the durability of tested clothing based on our recent experience with swim shorts. Right now, the top is holding up really well, but anything can happen, so we’re going to withhold any advise on durability.
We’re pleased with the performance of this top. It fits well, is comfortable, looks nice, and doesn’t chafe. It’s very breathable and is quick drying, though the 100+ degree days lately might help the drying….
We’re going to give the top another month or so of testing and bring you a full wrap-up.