Nineteen's entry to the 'high end' wetsuit market.
A free swim lesson from Wolfgang Guembel included with the purchase of the suit.
The real deal. One of the best performing wetsuits we've used.
We got our first glimpse of the new Rogue wetsuit from Nineteen at Interbike way back in September of 2011, with a first hand introduction from Steve Fleck of Nineteen. We were told that the new Rogue was the company's attempt to break out of the "value" brand wetsuit category and produce a high end suit to compete with the elite suits of the triathlon world. Nineteen hired former pro triathlete and fast as hell swimmer Wolfgang Guembel to help create the new Rogue. We were very intrigued by the suit and it seemed to have an abundance of features that would translate into real world benefits. We were one of the lucky ones to get our hands on the Rogue before it was released, and since then we have spent the entire season with the Rogue.
The Rogue is the culmination of several designs and years of trial and error models that come with the evolution of any product. This suit combines the flexibility and buoyancy of previous models with the added benefit of stability. You might be thinking why would you want stability in a wetsuit, isn't it all about flexibility. Don't get us wrong, we love a flexible, comfortable suit as much as anyone out there. Flexibility is important (in the right places) and some stability or structure (in the right places) is also important. So, if you are a normal age group triathlete who doesn't come from a swimming background, you will probably benefit most from a suit that offers a combination of flexibility and buoyancy and yes, stability.
Let's face it, high end wetsuits these days are not all that different from one brand to the next, at least from a material standpoint. If you have shopped for a wetsuit at all you have no doubt come across the Yamamoto name. This Japanese company produces the materials used in about 90% of the wetsuits worn in triathlon today, regardless of what brand is printed on the outside, there's a very strong likelihood there's Yamamoto material "under the hood" so to speak. Whether it's Yamamoto #39 or #40 or some combination, pretty much any quality suit utilizes the same outer skin.
Yamamoto #39 is less flexible than #40, so an entire suit made out of #40 has to be better right? Not necessarily, Nineteen found that a suit made up entirely of Yamamoto #40 can actually be too flexible. In fact Nineteen has experience with that type of suit as well, they found that the super thin, extremely flexible suits come with their own set of problems, durability suffers, these suits have a difficult time maintaining their shape, and due to the extreme flexibility the suit can be susceptible to areas of ballooning making a proper fit difficult at best. So the Nineteen answer was to focus on an optimal mix of neoprene types and thicknesses.
The new Rogue has been five years in the making, building off the experience of other suits and finding what works in a wetsuit in terms of balancing the flexibility factor with a suit that can be beneficial to the age grouper. One of the areas that Nineteen concentrated on with the new Rogue was the liner or jersey that makes up the backing of the suit. So who gives a rip about the liner of a wetsuit? Well, you do...or at least you should. Why? Because it's the liner that ultimately determines many of the fit and stretch characteristics of a wetsuit. The suit's flexibility and its ability to maintain it's shape is largely a result of the material that is bonded to the inside of the outer rubber of the suit.
The guys at Nineteen have taken this approach a step further, or actually three steps further. The new Rogue wetsuit uses three different jersey materials to "customize" or mold the fit and flexibility characteristics of the suit in a very deliberate fashion. Flexibility is great, and very important, but just as important are the specific areas where a wetsuit is flexible in our opinion.
As you can see in the pictures below with the Rogue inside out, each section has a corresponding liner that is strategically placed to make the suit more/less flexible.
The idea here is to provide less stretch and more stability to the core of the wetsuit. Nineteen's research showed them that there's really no need for much flexibility in this area, they feel it's more important to provide core stability and a compression fabric for the lining. Plus, by using a thicker panel in the torso you also get more buoyancy in a key area that will largely be under the surface of the water.
Another area of wetsuit design that we have seen many variations of lately is with respect to incorporating some type of "catch panel" in the forearm area of the suit. Most of which are made up of some kind of rough or dimpled material in an attempt to provide a better grip on the water. Some research has shown this type of panel to actually slow you down. The Rogue took a different approach and developed a set of paddles into the arms of the suit.
You can just make out the outline of the paddle in the picture below.
There are two paddles on each sleeve that run on the sides of the forearm. Nineteen has placed what are basically neoprene inserts that increase this area to the maximum allowed 5mm thickness.
A view from the inside
The paddles essentially present a wider surface area to the water in the catch phase of the stroke.
We'd call it a very creative use of the rules, and it seems to us at least, the best attempt at gaining an edge with that part of the suit. Will it make you swim like a fish? Probably not, but it's certainly one of the better ideas we have come across.
Designed to form a tight seam free seal to keep water from entering the suit at the neck. This is the tallest collar on a suit that we've tested and honestly it takes a little getting used to at first. The collar feels a little restrictive when you're out of the water. Once you're swimming however, we found the collar pretty well disappears and does a good job of sealing up this area of the suit. Since it does come up on your neck a bit, it also serves as a nice reminder to keep your head down to stay in a good position. The moment you raise your head more than you should, you can feel the "uncollar" reminding you to keep it down.
Another nice touch on the Rogue is the reverse pull zipper, if it gets pulled in the craziness of a mass swim start, there's no worries with the suit getting unzipped. This is another feature we appreciate in a wetsuit and though it's not a new idea, we wonder why more suits don't utilize it.
The Elbow Elevator
Another neoprene insert that is designed to promote a high elbow catch by adding a bit of buoyancy. We could take or leave this feature, in other words, we can't tell that it helps or hinders swim performance.
The Elbow Elevator from the inside.
The extremely stretchy shoulders of the Rogue are some of the most flexible we've tried. This is another strong point of the Rogue design in our opinion and great from a swimming standpoint. The Rogue does an excellent job of providing a functional shoulder panel that is one of the least restrictive we have used.
Another good example of the theme of varying thicknesses with the Rogue. You can see the thicker section which runs up the front of the leg, and the super thin section of the back of the leg from the calf down to the ankle. This design makes for an easy entry and more importantly a speedy exit. Plus it puts the thicker panel (and buoyancy) where it's needed, below the water.
The inside view of the calf section
The contrasting very thin material of the sleeves shown next to the thicker front portion of the leg.
We have been putting the suit to use in races of all distances for the entire 2012 season. The majority of those have required travel, packing, unpacking, etc. It seems to be one of the most durable high end suits that we have tested.
We found the Nineteen size chart to be accurate with our samples.
Like most tri gear, if you are borderline size-wise, we'd say size down for more of a "race fit".
MSRP is $650.00 which puts it right in line with other top end suits.
TriBomb Bottom Line
Among the best suits we've tried to date. Nineteen has done a great job of combining buoyancy, flexibility, stability, and durability into this suit.