Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Xterra Vendetta vs. Vector Pro X2



Xterra wetsuits has a rather convenient problem when it comes to their top end wetsuits -- they have two. Last year's Vector Pro X2 and the all-new Vendetta are both worthy of garnering "top end" status, so it may be hard to decide between the two. I've always been a fan of Xterra's suits and I've been swimming in them exclusively for the last two seasons. I spent last season racing in the Vector Pro X2 and had some of the best swim results of my career. After doing a few races in the Vendetta this season, here are my thoughts on both suits:

THE VENDETTA $595

This suit redefines buoyancy. Wrap it around a cinderblock and I'm pretty sure the thing would float. How do they do it? Xterra Wetsuits created what they tagged XterrAir cells throughout the front of the suit, which are essentially tiny air pockets. It makes a noticeable difference. The suit feels ridiculously fast and helps you ride high on the water. I would give it an 8 out of 10 when it comes to flexibility. It's on par with just about any other top-tier suit out there, but it doesn't have quite the same flex as the VProX2.

THE VECTOR PRO X2 $550

I've tested at least 20 wetsuits and this is one of the only that achieves a second-skin fit. It's tight where it needs to be and flexible around around the joints (especially the shoulder). The anatomical arm design allows your shoulders to rotate free and the thinner rubber throughout the arms allows you to move you arms through your own most efficient motion. It's not quite as buoyant as the Vendetta, but you wouldn't notice it unless you put the Vendetta on right after swimming in the VProX2.

THE VERDICT?

For me, the Vector Pro X2 is the way to go, but my decision comes with a caveat -- I grew up as a swimmer and I'm very comfortable in the water. I feel that the VProX2 is ideal for triathletes who deem themselves "swimmers" -- you know -- those who routinely swim around 55 minutes at Ironman. The incredible flexibility allows an experienced swimmer to perfectly mimic the stroke that they've spent years dialing in. I like to feel like I'm not wearing a wetsuit and that my stroke isn't inhibited at all.

For those who wouldn't dream of deeming themselves "swimmers" the Vendetta is probably the best bet. If your freestyle looks less like Michael Phelps and more like you're having a seizure in the water, you won't notice a suit that forces you to make minor chances in your not-so-perfect technique. Instead, you'll want to maximize you buoyancy to decrease drag and increase efficiency.

Efficiency is the key word. An experienced swimmer will be most efficient in a suit that allows them to maximize their already-efficient stroke. A less experienced swimmer can become more efficient by reducing drag, which will lower their overall energy expenditure.

6 comments:

Brothers Lutz and Till said...

Thanks for the great review. I am about to buy one from Xterra after swimming 2XU before.

Keep rocking,
Till

www.trinited.com

David said...

Thanks a lot for the great review. I just bought myself a Vector Pro X2! They are on sale right now, I bought it for $275. Go to http://xterrawetsuits.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=XWS

Awesome deal here. Thanks a lot for the review - I'm hoping my swim in next years NYC Tri is that much faster...

CM said...

Excellent information thank you. Given you’ve tested a good number of suits it would be awesome if you could provided some insights on the Xterra suits in comparison to the 2XU V:1 & E:1 and Orca Apex & 3.1.

I spoke with Xterra the other day and they suggested that I not buy the Vendetta if I plan to train and race in the suit as it is very fragile thus is basically a race day only solution. How fragile is the Vendetta?

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Nate said...

You posted this in 2008, but your review is still very helpful. I'm buying the Vector Pro X2 as we speak - your review was helpful, thanks so much.

Bill Kellogg said...

Thank you for the review, even in 2013 its still very useful. I'm not a swimmer, but one of those 'trying not to drown' for 2 miles during Ironman. Swimming appears to be a black magic that I don't poses.