Ridingsuits ... what works best ? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old May 1st, 2008, 9:44 am Thread Starter
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Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Well this is most probably one of the most important issues for those that love it to do long distance touring with their bikes. This article is aimed at the Touring bike fraternity and I am sure that most of what I will say is not going to be of much value to those that do dirt road adventure riding mostly because the clothing I discuss is not really suitable for mud and dust.





An all too familiar scene ... traveling merrily along the winding roads of the bushveld
and suddenly an ice cold drop hits you ... thunderstorm. You stop and hastily haul out
your rain gear.

I am sure that many riders stands for hours in front of the display racks in the bike shops and they try and find that illusive piece of clothing that will be the full and final answer to all their questions. The problem for the South African Touring Rider is simply this ... you get up at 05h00 and get dressed for your long awaited trip down to the Mphumalanga Lowveld. It is late April and Johannesburg is cold, very cold. On the bike the temperature will be below zero and you grin as you feel the warm and fuzzy thermal underwear wrap around your skin. Next you climb into your Tourance suit ... yep you are financially secure and costs of bike gear is something that you do not really pay attention to. The mere fact that it looks good and seems to be able to do what it is designed for is enough reason for you to buy it.

Your eyes go over the collection of jackets in the wide cupboard and you shake your head. Reality is that basically every piece of clothing in that cupboard is specifically designed for specific conditions.

As the bike heads out onto the N4 you smile because the indicated ambient temperature is 3 degrees Celsius and the heated grips and seat has turned your Tourance suit into a snug cocoon, protecting you against the wind chill and making you actually enjoy the trip. Here and there the long grass is covered with frost. By the time you go past Belfast the sun is up and the the clear blue sky indicates that the Lowveld will be great. At Milly's you stop for fuel and a snack and as you stand around waiting for your change from the pump jockey you unzip the jacket, it was getting quite warm in that suit now.

By the time you reach the bottom of the Schoemanskloof you are actually sweating in that suit and you are really uncomfortable. The temperature is in the middle twenties and it is still climbing as you go deeper into the Lowveld. By the time you reach Hazyview it is cooking, 34 degrees and no wind. As you fill the bike up you can feel the sweat running down your body and that thermal underpants is no longer your friend. You hurry the pump guy up and you hit the road, it is too hot to even consider stopping for a light snack, all you can think of is to get to your guest house in Graskop and get out of that suit.


You started the day with something along these lines ... good for Antartica.


Now you need something like this ... cool and light.

The winding R355 has lost most of it's charm as you tear down it, desperately trying to get some wind on you but it is of no avail because the air is hot and humid. You feel a sense of relief as you notice the clouds on the escarpment and you rush on towards Kowyn's Pass. Well your prayers are answered, suddenly the heavens open and the rain pours down on the simmering Lowveld, soaking everything and bringing some coolness. Fortunately the Tourance is really weatherproof and you stay dry inside that suit.

You ride into Graskop and park the bike. Before you even open the chalet door you are already out of the jacket because the storm was short lived and now it is getting hot again. Up here it is much better than at Hazyview but it was still hot.

I am sure many of you can relate to that little story and I am also sure many of you have experienced it some way or another.

During November 2007 I was in the Cape and my bike needed a new tyre. Hamman Motorrad was running a sale on some bike gear and the owner showed me the BMW Comfortshell jacket. To my surprise the only one they had fitted me perfectly and once I fitted it and felt how it sits it was all over. Fortunately I had a spare cargo net in the top box so the jacket was nicely folded and tied onto the backseat.

Many claims are being made about the Comfortshell and I was a bit skeptic. The next morning we rode out to Melkbosstrand and there was a cold wind blowing. The first moment of astonishment came as we turned into the wind and I could feel how the jacket shrunk to fit tight over my chest. It is claimed that the fibers in this garment is intelligent enough to sense what is expected of them and then they adapt. Well I experienced how they shrunk up to shut the wind out.

During December I participated in the Swaziland Stone Butt run and on this trip I rode in temperatures that varied from 8 degrees to 34 degrees. I went through numerous thunderstorms and the jacket did exactly what the salesman told me. I must say that at temperatures above 28 degrees the Airflow jackets are much cooler.


The jackets comes in black and a bright blue.

The jacket has 4 vents, two in front and two on the back and when it gets hot these do help a lot to keep you cool. The jacket also have a very well designed strap system around the wrists that makes it possible to really set the cuff correctly for your wrist. Once tied it slips easily into most gloves.

After around 3,000 kms with the jacket in a wide range of conditions except extreme cold I was happy that I bought the jacket and then two weeks ago I splurged again and bought the trousers. I have traveled in rain and in temperatures ranging from 6 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius with the pants and it was comfortable throughout.


I like the cut of the trousers and the jacket. The trousers have good leg movement and
it has a zipper and velcro strap at the bottom to open up for your boots.

In my mind this is the ideal suit to buy, especially if you are looking for ONE suit ... the Comfort Shell is as close as I have seen to a Mc Gyver Suit. What really impressed me is the extent of the body armor in the suit. This suit was not only designed for the ride but definitely also for the fall.


The suit is designed with some style and it it is tapered for a snug fit.

This suit is not cheap but it covers basically the whole range, heat, cold and wet. I think that in extreme cold you will need thermal underwear to provide some buffer between your body and the jacket because the material is thin and as such I am sure the cold on the outside will be transmitted through that thin layer.

In conclusion I am super impressed with the suit and my initial thoughts that it was too expensive has been dispelled by the performance of the suit.

A bad day on the bike beats a good day in the office.
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post #2 of 10 Old May 2nd, 2008, 6:10 pm
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Thank you for a great review. Now if the price would just come closer to my budget!

Still Just Jerry

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post #3 of 10 Old May 2nd, 2008, 9:56 pm
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

+2 on the BMW Comfort Suit. My SO and I bought them last year and they have proven to be close to perfect for touring through a wide range of weather conditions. We layer them over Gerbings heated jackets and they are still warm below freezing. One complaint...I wish they had included some vent zippers in the thighs of the pants as they can get a bit toasty in +90 degree temps.

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post #4 of 10 Old May 3rd, 2008, 3:33 am
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

I just picked up the Atlantis 3 suit for my Wife and myself. Thye were closing them out at half price and couldn't resist. Beautiful suit and hopefully it tollerates heat as well as they say. If not...I will be getting the comfortshell for the summer months. It can get very humid here in the Midwest in Summer. Although today is May 3rd....and it is now 34 degrees! So today the Atlantis suit will feel good.
Thanks for the review of the Comfortshell!

Bob Thede
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post #5 of 10 Old May 3rd, 2008, 4:21 am Thread Starter
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Thank you for the response ... and thanks for the feedback on "cold" riding with the Comfortshell.

Yes the suit is expensive but not that much more than other BMW suits. It is my personal opinion that this suit is actually "cheap" if you live in an area where the temperature runs between 6 and 30 C because it will be all you need and the added bonus of getting a rainsuit included in the mix makes it a good buy. My Airflow kit is better when the temperature rises over 30 but the downside is that then I need to keep raingear on hand.

I agree with the request for vent zips on the legs.

What I would love is more colour options. At least give us something in a light grey ... this will reflect more heat than the pitch black

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post #6 of 10 Old May 3rd, 2008, 11:03 am
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyn
Thank you for the response ... and thanks for the feedback on "cold" riding with the Comfortshell.

Yes the suit is expensive but not that much more than other BMW suits. It is my personal opinion that this suit is actually "cheap" if you live in an area where the temperature runs between 6 and 30 C because it will be all you need and the added bonus of getting a rainsuit included in the mix makes it a good buy. My Airflow kit is better when the temperature rises over 30 but the downside is that then I need to keep raingear on hand.

I agree with the request for vent zips on the legs.

What I would love is more colour options. At least give us something in a light grey ... this will reflect more heat than the pitch black
My SO's jacket is blue...mine is black. Does it only come in black in SA?

Life happens...you control your reaction.

2018 Honda CRF250L Rally (fun in the woods)
2015 R1200 RT (holy cow…what a bike)
2007 K1200 LT (sold)
2005 DR 650 (sold)
2002 Harley Ultra (sold)
1999 Harley Road King (sold)
1996 K1100 LT (sold)
1990 Honda Shadow (sold)
1978-1993 Raising Kids; Paying Mortgages
1975 Honda CB550 (sold but wish I still had)
Homemade Motor Bike (mounted a 3.5 HP Briggs & Stratton on my bicycle at age 12)
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post #7 of 10 Old May 4th, 2008, 3:08 am Thread Starter
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

We get the jackets in Blue or Black and the pants are only black. In one of the pictures at the top my brother is shown with a blue jacket on.

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post #8 of 10 Old May 12th, 2008, 3:19 pm
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Greetings Colyn!

I opted for the Motoport mesh Kevlar 2 piece. The added lining is waterproof and suited for low temp's (not that I'm admitting to knowing anything about that, however). Makes it a good "all around" choice--if not somewhat pricey.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Some really OLD friggin' White dude who couldn't have possibly known what he was talking about!) WARNING: Official HATE speech!
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post #9 of 10 Old Feb 8th, 2012, 4:30 pm
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

I've had several one-piece suits. THE VERY BEST I'VE USED IS THE TEIZ LOMBARD. Very sturdy, great CE protection, Zip in liner, tons of venting. Those things are bomb proof. Under $300. I used mine everyday, regardless of weather and only wore t-shirt and shorts under the suit (going 60 miles to the gym daily) sometimes weather was in the high 30's. Never uncomfortable. The one I had (it was stolen along with my bike) was grey and looked identical to the Olympia. Styling was cool for a One-piece and has removable knee pucks which I used to drag a few times. The suit was made of Cordura and triple/quadruple stitched in places, heat sealed at all seams. Totally worth looking into if your in the market for a One-Piece. Im buying another one soon.

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post #10 of 10 Old Feb 10th, 2012, 10:34 am
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Re: Ridingsuits ... what works best ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gramiras
I've had several one-piece suits. THE VERY BEST I'VE USED IS THE TEIZ LOMBARD.
I've been looking at these, the Aerostitch and, of course, some BMW gear. I like both the appearance and features of some of the Teiz suits. But, I want something on which the outer shell is waterproof. The idea of stopping to take of the gear and put on an inner waterproof liner after the rain has started makes no sense to me. Are the Teiz products waterproof?

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