The Blue Seventy Reaction has been my wet suit of choice these last 4 years and has turned out to be a quality and long-lasting product that has served me well. When competing in triathlon it is always interesting to see the different makes of wet suit that turn up and everyone has their favorites but there is always a sizable contingent of Blue Seventy suits and I think this speaks for itself.
Within this Blue Seventy Reaction Wetsuit Review I will go through some construction elements of the suit and how this can benefit you in your training and open water be it competitive or purely swimming for the pleasure. I will also include some personal feedback on how I have got on with the suit and overall whether and where it meets Blue Seventy’s claims and I hope that this will be of help if you are looking at purchasing a wet suit for the first time or as a change to your existing choice.
Why Blue Seventy?
Some love their wet suit, some are happy but not so sure they made the right choice and some just don’t get on with theirs but balk at the thought of having to buy a new one and there are many makes of wet suit such as Huub, Orca, Xterra or in my case Blue Seventy.
In the end it comes down to personal choice and in this review I will detail how the Blue Seventy meets my expectations of how a quality wet suit should fit, feel and function including a breakdown of the technology and design of the product.
The Reaction is Blue Seventy’s mid range wet suit and it comes in cheaper than the Helix, retailing at around £390/$500, and the next step up from their entry Fusion suit. For the price you definitely get a quality wet suit for racing or training in open water and it is a sound investment that will last you for several years minimum (mine is already in its 4th year and still going strong).
Also, Blue Seventy’s customer service if buying on-line is excellent and they will help you out to make sure that you get the correct sizing and fit.
What am I looking at in a Wet suit?
A quality durable product at a competitive price that has a comfortable fit that does not make me feel restricted in my movement or breathing and helps me to maintain a good body position in the water.
Fit is all important, the wet suit should be a tight but comfortable fit, one that gives enough flexibility across the chest and shoulders so that you are not restricted in your breathing or stroke. Also, the suit should not let any water in through areas of the neck, arms or legs and should not feel to short in the body or leg area. You should be looking to having unrestricted movement in the suit and should be able to freely rotate your arms.
Along with the fit is the actual construction of the suit and whether you are looking for something at entry level that would provide more buoyancy but less speed, intermediate or competitive i.e. thinner but more flexible material used giving less drag and more speed. Also, that the suit separate areas are will woven together so that you do not have any splits in the seams of the suit once you have the correct fit.
Finally, depending on the temperature you are looking to swim in you might want to consider a thermal version of the suit and Blue Seventy provide this option in their ranges.
The Blue Seventy Reaction is a quality wet suit that has recently been improved with a more flexible upper body and also thinner lower leg panels that aid a quicker removal in T1 for those racing in triathlon. Throughout the suit there are varying levels of neoprene thickness between 2 – 5mm to give flexibility and/or buoyancy in the different areas as required. In addition, I have had no issue with how the panels are woven together and unlike other wet suits I have owned no splitting has occurred along any seams.
In my opinion it is an excellent wet suit and I think I would be hard pushed to find any better in its price range. It delivers a quality performance for both training and racing and some main construction elements that enable this are as follows:
- Chest panels featuring a centralized split enabling greater expansion across the chest and therefore unimpeded breathing. In addition, there is a good stretch across the shoulders for a greater reach whilst negating any restrictive feelings that can make swimming in a wet suit uncomfortable and in some cases mentally affect the confidence of the swimmer.
- Thinner (2mm) material on the lower leg panels for improve flexibility and quicker removal in T1 if racing. The legs can also be safely cut by up to 6 inches to aid removal (which I have done as I have fairly large calves and this has not impacted at all on the effectiveness of the suit).
- Varying levels of neoprene thickness throughout the suit and side panels to improve fit and body rotation in the water, also allowing as claimed a natural stroke and good speed whilst swimming.
- The silicone cuffs incorporate a 4-way stretch fabric which seal the wrists from unwanted water entry and also aid removal.
- The panel design of the suit centralizes buoyancy around the core so that the hips are raised in the water. This does help to give a “downhill” swim experience where the hips and legs ride higher in the water whilst the chest area is pushed down.
The thin paneling in some areas of the suit can be susceptible to nicks and cuts so you must take great care when putting the suit on and it is good practice to wear some soft gloves whilst doing this. Mine does have a hole in the front where I swam into a water ski ramp, but this was fixed with some Black Witch Neoprene Repair Glue and a patch and all is good.
The Thermal Reaction is a variation on the Reaction wet suit for those who find themselves swimming in colder temperatures.
It incorporates a zirconium thermal liner that absorbs less water and therefore provides protection from the elements with a minimum temperature of 48F/8.5C.
So is the Reaction a Good Buy?
In my opinion and experience of four years with the Reaction Wet suit I believe this is a quality product and a sound investment for all types of open water swimming and whether they incorporates training, swimming, racing or all three.
The styling of the suit itself with its subtle orange on black lines make it stand out within the masses of black suits when starting off in a race. Also, the paneling, different levels of neoprene thickness and quality seams make it a great fit and gives you a confident feeling even before you are in the water.
The price of the suit comes in at £390/$500 (with the thermal version retailing at about £40/$45 more) and is highly competitive within the mid-range versions of other brands and the Reaction also shares a lot of quality enhancements with Blue Seventy’s premium Helix suit. If you are taking your swimming or racing seriously or are looking to upgrade your existing suit to the next level you will not go to far wrong with this choice.
I hope the above helps and please feel free to leave any comments below.