How's that for an early impression
I picked up the new Olympia Phantom in 2XL (Grey/Black) at lunch today from MotoLiberty in Dallas. Great folks! They had 2 high vis and 1 grey hanging on the rack. My eyes still hurt from looking at those high vis suits
I will be posting pics and lots of detailed impressions ASAP.
As a reminder, I own both a Darien jacket/pants combo and a 1 Pc Roadcrafter. I have been (and remain) a huge supporter of Aerostich. I just can't get my RC to be waterproof and my Darien works fine for trips but sucks for commuting.
I'm 6'0", 210lbs, 32" inseam, 38" waist (dang it). My RC is a 48R with no mods. I use the 'Stich back pad but not the hip pads.
First of all, the feel and appearance of the Phantom is first rate. It's a solid piece of gear. Without the removable liner, it's somewhat lighter than the RC. It still has a nylon liner (like the 'Stich) but the overall combination of materials for the shell is slightly softer and overall weighs less by a small percentage.
The removable liner has the feel and constancy of a Gerbing jacket liner and will be very rarely needed here in Texas. However, it will allow for some very cold riding without electrics if desired. Since my legs don't tend to get cold anyway, I'll likely skip it even on frosty days and stick with my Gerbing jacket under the Phantom.
Biggest "drawback" to the Phantom vs. the RC is entry/exit time. If that is your first and most important criteria for a suit, you may be disappointed. But keep in mind this is relative. I can don my RC in 20-30 secs depending on if I have to feed my Gerbing wires in/out or not. I can exit the RC in similar time and I can do both with my boots on.
The Phantom entry/exit dance is a bit different. Without the liner, it's a 60 sec. affair (but I've only tried it twice). If you're a news reporter, that's a 100% increase
but to me, it's a non issue. I'll gladly trade that extra 30 sec. for a truly waterproof suit. And trust me, this baby is going to be TRULY waterproof (more on that later).
With the removable liner in place, entry/exit time goes up to the 2-3 min range since you have twice the zippers and more velcro to wrangle. If you commute in really cold climes, this could be a major drawback. Again, for me it's a non issue due to my belief that the liner is staying in the saddlebag for most of its life.
There are zippers running down the outside of the legs. I found you only need these open about 1/3 of the way up from the cuff to get your feet in. You do have to remember to put both feet in first (unlike the RC).
Once on, the suit fits almost identical to the RC. Sleeves may be slightly longer (1/2") but otherwise it felt the same. Leg fit and length was identical to my 48R RC.
Now some details:
Hugh wins for the Phantom:
Venting - Very nice vents run the full length of the arms. These are covered with a zipper and a flap. When closed, no way water's getting in. When open, the flap can be velcroed back out of the way and the other side of the vent cinched open with a draw strap. Same for the vertical chest vents. The vertical back vents don't cinch open but are otherwise similar.
Collar - Very well executed. Lined with comfy neoprene and closes up snug on my 16" neck with lots of adjustment either way.
Cuffs - No zippers like the 'Stich. Just big wide openings that can be cinched down with generous velcro. Easier for me as my gloves always prevent the 'Stich cuffs from closing correctly.
Weather protection. The shell is waterproof so the removable lining is not required (this is a must have for me to consider any gear). The zipper arrangement and the addition of an internal bib that runs from your stomach to your thighs means no water's coming in that way for sure. Good bye soggy crotch!!! :clap The leg zippers are fully covered and have an internal flap (as does the main zipper) so no water is coming in there. Cuffs and collar also cinch down real tight if desired. Damn near a dry suit.
Price - $449 vs. $787
Pockets - Seems to be a wash. I'll miss the giant right breast pocket of the RC but it's replaced by a giant pocket on the back that will also hold my water bladder so no biggie. Lots of other waterproof pockets (and a couple of non-waterproof ones)
No map pocket velcro on the arm or thigh but I never used it on the 'Stich
Reflectivity - About the same number of square inches of 3M reflective material, just distributed differently. i.e. there are fewer big patches but lots more piping.
Big wins for the RC:
Entry/Exit - It just don't get any easier but it comes with a soggy cost (at least for me).
Armor - The Phantom armor (including back pad) is more like that of other vendors. i.e. CE rated but thinner than the stuff 'Stich uses. Seems to be well positioned and doesn't move around so that's OK but I'm guessing it offers slightly less protection. Just speculation at this point.
Much more to follow.