Suit Comparo - Rukka APR AirVision – BMW Pro Rallye (new generation) – Rev’It! Cayenne – AeroStich Darien Light (all jackets also paired with trousers)
Everybody knows how hard it is to compare riding apparel since almost no dealers carry an extensive line of manufacturers. To remedy this, I ordered the suits above to compare to my AeroStich. Naturally, I will have to incur the shipping costs both ways on the returned items and possibly a restocking charge on the BMW suit (bummer).
Having been well served since 1992 by an AeroStich Darien Light jacket and regular weight Darien trousers, I decided to try something else with an eye towards cooler gear. Here are my comments about a few suits straight out of the box, not yet ride tested (other than the AeroStich):
The AeroStich is great because it requires no stopping for liner inserts if one runs into rain. The flip side of this benefit is heat. Despite the underarm zippers (nice) and rear vent zipper, the jacket is just plain hot. Also, the collar can really aggravate the neck. The material is also very stiff despite fifteen years of usage. The armor is pretty old school but is known to be very effective. The jacket weighs six pounds with the AeroStich fleece liner. This is the lightest of all four suits. The styling is as plain as can be, although this understatement is not bad either. New Darien Light jacket, regular weight Darien trousers and fleece liner costs ~$950.
The Rev’It! Cayenne jacket and Ultimate trousers are very attractive. I got the gray jacket and it looks sweet. There are some very cool yet understated silver graphics. The jacket is styled like a racing suit at the shoulders, very F1. The accordion material on the sides is a nice look. The construction is excellent. The material is somewhat softer than the AeroStich but not really supple. This is a very nice piece of goods. The quality is equal, if not better than the BMW gear. I like the dual liner feature, i.e. a GoreTex liner and an insulating liner. It is bulky with both liners. The armor is excellent! It molds very well to the body. The jacket weighs about 6.5 pounds. Unfortunately, there is not enough venting to accomplish my purpose of a cooler suit. The Cayenne jacket would be very nice for those in moderate climes but it will be too hot for the southern US. There are many neat features and quality throughout. This is the least expensive of the four suits, delivered by the fine people at Adventure BMW in the Commonwealth of Virginia at ~$850. It is possible that a different Rev’It suit might be more appropriate to compare but I was trying to get a similar style to the BMW Pro Rallye (the Rev’It! website is just outstanding http://www.revit.nl/
). Rev’It! does make an AirForce jacket that is very attractive and would be much cooler than this Cayenne.
The BMW Pro Rallye suit in gray/black looks great, although my bride thought that the styling was a little “busy.” This suit has the added benefit of allowing one to pretend to be Ewen McGregor of Long Way Round fame (also Moulin Rouge, Down with Love). Naturally, BMW gear quality is great. I like the styling with the exception of the “blingy” BMW roundels on both shoulders. The material is much softer than the AeroStich. The leather-trimmed collar is excellent. The venting is good. The full arm zipper is nice and there are two vertical vents on either side of the jacket front and back. There are chest panel air vents. This suit might be very comfortable/cool without the GoreTex/insulating liner. The detachable fanny pack is kind of cool. The jacket weighs 7.2 pounds. My problem with the suit was the shoulder armor. The armor is a solid foam type with definitive cups for the shoulder points. Despite numerous attempts with placement, the armor kept creeping off the shoulder and onto my back. This was very weird. The back armor is also very noticeable. The gear was delivered by the fine people at BMW Little Rock for ~$1,200.
Finally, the Rukka APR AirVision suit. Well, as usual, the most expensive product is clearly the nicest. The styling is outstanding in that Euro way. The outer shell of the jacket allows light to peak through, evidence of the mesh weave of the material (although not visible without backlighting).
Quality of build is evident in stitching, zippers, etc. A supplemental, detachable GoreTex collar is nice. The permanent collar is very soft and should be very comfortable. The jacket is wonderful to put on. There is an immediate feeling of coolness! Supposedly, the “phase change” material adjusts to one’s temperature. The overwhelming wearing sensation is the supple nature of the fabric, creating a very comfortable kit. It feels like wearing regular clothes vs. a tent. The armor is a waffle grid design that allows complete air to flow through. The armor is very pliant yet supposedly strengthens upon impact. The patterned reflective accents look cool and probably create good visibility for other drivers to see you. The GoreTex/insulating liner is very neat. You have very little weight added for insulation as an adjustable air bladder allows one to inflate the liner thereby creating an air layer for warmth. Other jackets add the weight and bulk of fleece/Thinsulate to achieve insulation. The jacket weighs 7.8 pounds.
The trousers are equally comfortable. I really like the supplied braces. Again, the suppleness of the material feels like wearing regular clothes vs. a stiff tent like the AeroStich. The GoreTex liner is very lightweight and not bulky. The BMW Pro Rallye suit is the next most supple of the suits compared here. The Rukka APR AirVision jacket and trousers were delivered by the fine people at Santa Fe Harley Davidson (???) for ~$1,900. I concur with Motorrad magazine - Urteil = Ser Guht!
Conclusion = The BMW Pro Rallye and the Rev’It! get returned, the AeroStich goes to the closet or classifieds and the Rukka will accompany me to the HSTA STAR in Asheville, NC. I am expecting performance perfection from the Rukka (one would hope given the price). I’ll drop a post on the ride evaluation in a couple of weeks.
I hope this helps those of you who might be thinking about a new suit.