It’s as exciting and complex as a foreign country, receiving the package was like getting a visa in my passport, putting it on was like finding a hotel with climate control. This isn’t clothing this is body accommodation. Its multifaceted functions and abilities need guide book directions. There’s more to this than meets the eye and I have to get under the surface to discover the hidden treasures and capabilities of this versatile protection.
The first impression was the smartness, not a trait I often display, pre-owned and road warn is my usual choice of bike and clothing, used but still useful. The urge to roll around in a muddy puddle was strong, just to tone down the brightness. I’m a budget rider, I have first hand experiences financed by a second hand lifestyle, this was a contradiction to my ethos, I could feel my credibility seeping through the air vents. However, being able to justify anything, I saw this as a promotion, I have paid my dues worked my way up and now I’d been given the driving seat of the dustbin truck.
Who wouldn’t take this opportunity, its natural progression and having come from such inadequate clothing in such extreme conditions, I was the ideal person to judge the progression in research, development and manufacturing.
The hoodie has practical qualities for more than just the identity hiding chav, most of my tops have hoods, the new found bonus of said clothing being the ability to insulate or shade where once was hair. However with my previous bike jackets, the hood either stayed out like a parachute or if I tucked it in, the Velcro ends of my frayed collar never met. This jacket not only replaced my previous experience with a snap fastener but it was adjustable so I was not strangled by an increased neck circumference be it hood or scarf.
With more zips than a 70’s punk rocker I worked my way into the jacket. The inside pocket in the inner thermal layer held glasses and phone (something old and something new) the arm straps gave tension, fit and snugness, likewise the waste had elasticised and pop studs to compensate for my varying girth.
The temperatures I quote are the ones the sensor at the front of my bike experiences, exposed to both the same wind chill and blazing sun as the rider, shelter and shade are two luxuries I’ve sacrificed in exchange for the 2 wheel thrill and feel. The lowest temperature was a -11C morning start, down by a chilled river in a frozen valley, the engine turned over reluctantly, restricted by treacle oil. It fired up, warmed up and left me to deal with the wind chill. It barely penetrated the 3 layers. After 3 days the temperature increased to double figures…just. Desert day time highs had me learning how to remove thermal layers. The day that reached a high of 27C the waterproof layer came out too and the jacket was transformed. First impression was, it was bigger. I didn’t bother with the reducing adjustments, the breeze came in from many angles. Welcome drafts through the sleeve, chest, and three rear vents made for comfort cooling.
I left the chill spine of high altitude Mexico, and descended through the brown winter death into green thick air, alive with biting, squawking, tweeting life, hairpin debris changed from pine needles to petals and the fumes from fires in the air were replaced with butterflies. An 8000 foot drop to sea level had the dri bag bulging with discarded layers and now the heat was on. I have decided the perfect riding temperature for me is 27C at 50 mph everything is comfortable. As I moved further south the day time coastal temperatures were generally above 30C. In Acapulco traffic it rose to 38C, there is no comfortable way to deal with such situations, captive in stagnant traffic, heat radiating off the engine, the road, other traffic, the tin roofs and untimely the relentless sun. The body sweats, the clothing clings and the fatigue builds. I found the jacket coped better then the trousers. They could use more venting, upper leg, outside thigh. The hip pockets just add to insulation and are not something I found a use for. With the inner layers removed on the jackets I had access to inside pockets on both sides. The Velcro fastener sometime fought with me, I preferred the zipper on the other 2 layers. 3500 miles in 2 weeks and fluctuations of 49C, a tall order for any product. I could have gone colder, I didn’t exceed their insulation limitations, but the tropical traffic has exceeded the trousers comfort zone, the trousers could be improved I’m my view. In the cold they are great in the average they exceed themselves, but above 30c they are out of their cooling element.
Also the ease of inner liner removal and replacement is well thought out, impossible to make a mistake and find an inner sleeve is twisted, the fastenings, zipper, pop stud and elastic are user friendly and logical.
There can’t be many better testing grounds then Mexico and Guatemala, from costal swelter to high altitude low cloud shelter, layers go on and off like a strobe light. When the rains came I decided it was time to put in the Gore-Tex layer, the jacket was easy. There was no modesty when installing trouser liner, stripped to my underwear crouching behind my bike to zip in the layer of exposure resistance. But the effect was instantaneous and efficient, in and out like a thief in the night, with altitude changes in tropical climates. Learning the zipping methods made me and expert in pit stop whether protection. Even further south in Guatemala the road ran up to 10,000 foot but not beyond the limits of the Gore-Tex layer it has insulating and wind stopping qualities.
The day came when along with side saddle pillions and t shirt riders I took a lake route, over dressed and overloaded I got in the procession along a winding shore hugging road. A diesel spill on a slow left hander and the bike slid from under me, ‘ah’ I though ‘a graceful low sider only the pannier stickers will suffer’. Then, too late the bastard tyres decided to gripe, the bike flipped and I catapulted ahead of it and landed on all fours. Adrenalin pumped, embarrassment sweated and concern came from all around. I bounced like and elongated ball. All points of impact were covered. The bike didn’t fare so well but with no broken skin or even a bruise, the bending and re fastening maintenance with cable ties and duct tape was not a pain in my arse or any other part of me. Who tests to such rigorous and meticulous extremes? All I need now is a thunder shower to make my test complete. Like a slippery corner the learning curve is steep but I’m finding my way round this outfit and its multifunction’s, like Spanish, the more I figure it out the more I like it. It was never misunderstood just undiscovered.
I chose the silver/ black design, several reasons, I didn’t want to be solid black, it’s to intimidating at police and military check points. I didn’t want a colour that matched my bike, I didn’t want to look like a power ranger, I wanted a light colour to reflect the heat. The down side of this is, I went from unnaturally smart to downright dirty. Light colours show the grease, chain oil, dirt and stains. There’s credibility and then there is just plain scruffy.
Pockets like panniers on a long trip become packed with regimented regularity. I know where to find every article I carry in my luggage but when inner layers have varying pockets, systems have to be changed and in a stressful situation of a border crossing or police demands, locating certain items was not automatic. In 3 months and 9000 miles I never experienced really heavy rain, but the precipitation I did encounter never penetrated, that’s the only experience I have of the effectiveness of the waterproofing. But despite the high temperature discomfort of the trousers I wore them every day because after an accident that was uneventful, based solely on the protection they offered I realised a little daytime discomfort was nothing compared to bruises and abrasions.
Also I had the Rev-it undergarments for the extremely cold days, looking like a male ballerina in the cracked mirror of a chilli guest house I slid effortlessly into my triple layered trousers, on my bottom half that was all I wore. On top I had the addition of a thin but thermal top. So I wasn’t too cumbersome with bulk and there remained an element of dexterity in my movements. No drafts perpetrated and the snug undergarments clung comfortable like the last hug goodbye. They washed easily, dried quickly and stashed away at the bottom of a pannier with low volume once I’d reached pacific warmth.
To Summarize. This suit can cope with anything the UK climate can throw at you, for longer distances and more extreme destinations I’d take the jacket again but rethink the trousers. The jacket remains a pleasure to wear, I’d give it 9 1/2 out of 10 its only failings the inner pockets, one pacifically for glasses would be handy.
TROUSERS: Rev’it, Sand 2
Ladies Sizes 8-16
Mens Sizes S-XXL
Colours: Silver/Black, Black
Mine: Size S and I’m 30’’-32’’ waist
JACKET: Rev’it, Sand 2
Ladies Sizes, 34-46 Sand only (not sand 2, seems the same and is same price)
Mens Sizes, S-3XL
Silver/Blue, Silver/Red, Black/Orange, Black/Silver, Black/ Silver
Mine Size L and I’m 38 Chest
Rev’it Oxygen Pants
Sizes Available M-2XL
Mine: Size M, I’m 30W 32L
Rev’it Oxygen Shirt Long Sleeve
Sizes Available: M-2XL
Mine: Size L I’m 36 chest