Adventure riding suit
He reckons it makes him look a little fat, but Grant roff is a convert…
Think back 30 years. You’re going for a winter ride with your mates and it’s likely to be wet and cold. First stop was your local Army Disposal store for a $10 fisherman’s wet weather suit. You then raided under the sink for a pile of plastic bags to go over your socks before you put your boots on. While you were there you knocked off a pair of washing up gloves to go under your rabbit-furlined riding gloves. Long underwear would have been good but it’s what your grandad wore and just wasn’t cool.
It ended up just being your jeans, a few woollen jumpers, your leather jacket and you were ready to roll.
Needless to say, you were usually soaked and freezing within 30 minutes of leaving home.
As Guido has pointed out (read here), there have been big advances in riding gear since then but, as with most new technology, the stuff that worked was hideously expensive. Technology does get cheaper over time, though and the RST Pro Series Adventure jacket and pants combo is a great example of this. It’s actually designed to be an all-weather riding suit but for the Woods Point adventure in this issue, its sole function was to keep me warm and dry.
The outer material of the jacket and pants is Maxtex polyester and ballistic nylon treated with Teflon. No, I don’t recognise the brand names either but what the combination does is make water bead off the outer layer. It also repels dirt and grime. The mud and dust didn’t penetrate and a quick hosing to the pants removed any evidence of hard work. The suit should continue to look good no matter how you treat it.
The fact that there’s a detachable waterproof (and breathable) membrane inside the jacket and pants suggests it’s possible for the outer layer to let moisture through. This second line of defence should make the suit entirely waterproof and that was my experience.
Also detachable in both the jacket and pants is a heat-sealed, quilted lining to add to the warmth.
It may not be imaginable now but winter will eventually end. Out with the detachable lining and time to attack the suit’s ventilation system. There are two large, retractable chest panels which fold away into pockets on the side and two more vents at the shoulders. At the back of the jacket are two, large exhaust vents which allow for flow-through ventilation. If you want to stay extra-cool, you can detach the sleeves from the jacket although this removes the armour at the elbows as well.
The pants also have a clever ventilation system and although we haven’t tested it, the suit should also be fine for summer riding.
There are the usual number of pockets for storage but two smart inclusions are provision for a hydration system (Camelbak style) and a detachable map pocket at the back of the jacket which has separate waist straps so it can be used as a bum-bag if required.
There’s CE-approved armour at the shoulders, elbows, knees and back with enough adjustment to allow you to position it so that it would actually work in a crash.
We’ll revisit the suit in summer for an update but for winter we already know it’s high-quality kit and well worth the asking price of $249.95 for the pants and $399.95 for the jacket. They can be used separately or zipped together.
If there’s a negative it’s the weight of the suit when you’re using all the attachments. All you notice on the bike, though, is that no matter the condition you’re riding in, you’re warm and dry. It’s a lovely bit of gear.
RST PRO SERIES ADVENTURE
PROS: Well priced, robust, effective
CONS: A bit heavy with attachments
PRICE: Jacket $399.95; pants $249.95
AVAILABLE: All good bike stores