A hard nut to crack, chosing one’s outfit

Posted By on Mar 8, 2014 | 0 comments

combi2For bike touring around the world in all seasons and all conditions, the choice of the biker’s suit is essential. And I have been struggling with that since some time now. After all, one keeps this suit on all the time for months on end. Most adventure suits are 3 layered with an external Cordura, an inner Goretex liner and another inner thermo liner. I have tried many such suits. When you have all liners, you feel hampered in your movements. It’s too tight. And when you remove all liners, as you would during hot weather, the suit floats and does not fit anymore. Obvious, you can’t have everything. And I have often been surprised at the lack of ideas on the part of manufacturers to device a suit for real adventure bikers. Dainese Teren, Alpinestar Durban, Revit Poseidon or Defender, Büse Adventure, IXS Montevideo, Scott Dual Raid or All Terrain, Spidi Voyager, BMW Rallye, all have three layers. Rukka Cosmic has 2 layers: the Goretex membrane is in the outer shell and the thermo liner is regulating. That’s a good solution.  But frankly, with modern technological clothing nowadays, most of which one can find at sales in sports shops, it is really up to us how we want to modulate our clothing at reasonable prices. Thin breathable windproof jacket, thermo sleeveless, whatever. I personally find, for cold weather, that the most effective is a combination of technical clothing AND animal fibre (wool) and keeping layers thin in multiple options and variations.  For very hot conditions, breathable wicker underwear is supreme.

Also, most suits do not have heavy duty zippers.  Another drawback of most adventure suits is that, either they are black, which can be hot in hotter areas, or much too light coloured, like very light grey, often so light that keeping the suit clean is near impossible.

Some manufacturers have designed suits with Goretex membrane in the Cordura. Most have good aeration zippers. But they are all too hot in really hot weather conditions. Basically only two brands have manufactured a suit with external Goretex jacket and pants: Touratech (by Stadler) and Klim. (Downside: when you go for Klim, you are a walking billboard with over 15 brand large sized logos. They should tone down a bit there or pay their customers for advertising!) But their quality, variety and engineering is amazing. The Badlands protects you from all situations but it is a real armor. Beefy and expensive. The harness inside is a nice invention. But again, what happens when it is really hot? The Latitude Misano is a great option. It is light, has Goretex in the outer jacket. But it is very light coloured and, probably to make it cheaper, they did away with the practical pocket at the back. The Adventure Rally Air looks like a great suit, all meshed, resistant and extremely airy. An amazing suit. But you’ll need to buy the outer Overshell Goretex suit with it. Both together are going to make it the most expensive combination on the market. Is the airmesh material supple enough? I don’t know. I have not seen it in reality. I should give justice to BMW with its colourful style and variety. A few of its suits have a breathable membrane – sometimes even thermo-regulating – in the outer material, but none in the adventure travel series. They yet have to focus on the needs of long term adventure touring yet. (As it is, even their new adventure bikes are so loud, I can’t imagine any globetrotter bearing with that din for weeks and months on end.) What remains is… Touratech Compañero. Have tried it, seen it. It is really perfectly engineered for the job. The inner air suit feels very light and comfortable. It’s really a concentrate of adventure biker’s needs and thinking. It has it all. Also nice and practical colours, nice feel. I find the outer Goretex jacket a bit rigid, bulky and heavy though. This is the only reserve I would make. Bottom line, the Compañero is still the best combination you can find. The investment is important: 1800 EUR. But it is 300 cheaper than the Klim Adv Rally Air + Overshell. Just 200 more expensive than the Rukka Cosmic which does not offer the same versatility. It is 40 to 50% more expensive than most 3-layered offers (1000-1200 EUR). But what is the use of a suit you can’t use in all circumstances for a RTW adventure? They are fine for an “adventure” in the Northern hemisphere. So what’s the option? There is no option: Touratech Compañero it is. Being perfect for the job and well thought-out, its price, though high, is simply right. A few hundred bucks extra to feel good for months on end? That’s well invested. And, if you are socially conscious, it is manufactured in Europe.

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