By Marissa Baecker
Fall fashion is in high gear with back to school, runway shows, film festivals and red carpets. Who’s wearing what – what’s new for the season, etc. Motorcycle fashion is no different. As the manufacturers release their new model motorcycles, the motorcycle gear manufacturers are quick to keep up. Not only are they releasing new protective fashion wear, they are giving their tried and true staples slight modifications. This past season, I tested the two-piece ladies Ventura adventure suit by Dutch manufacturer Rev’It.
Having traveled Europe last year, I can attest to the fact that the Europeans are everyday users of two wheels. With the vast amount of racetracks and adventure destinations, motorcycling is a way of life in Europe as opposed to a luxury for most riders in Canada. The other noticeable element in Europe is that the women appreciate good food and wine and proudly sport the curves that come along with the palette.
Adventure riding involves distance, changing terrain and varying temperatures so designing any adventure suit has to consider these three variables. For a suit to endure long distance travel, it has to be comfortable, move with the rider if standing on the bike becomes necessary to navigate the terrain, and be well vented for air flow at lower altitudes and heat sealed as a rider ascends. Comfort combined with protection and functionality – sounds easy enough but finding a great suit that meets all these specs, in addition to a full figure, can be a challenge.
Rev’It has taken their tried and tested European line and jumped the pond to North America setting up a U.S. warehouse in New York. Now North American riders have more choice and can access the product line in their favourite dealerships.
The ladies two-piece Rev’It Ventura comes in three colour combinations – silver black, solid black and silver-blue with matching silver black or solid black ‘trousers’ with strategically placed laminated reflection strips for increased visibility. The jacket reaches hip length with adjustable belted accents at the waist to maintain the feminine style and show off those curves. Accented colour in strategic places maintains a flattering figure in this suit that Rev’It says is “Ready for Paris . . .but made for Dakar.”
The main feature of this jackets is three varying layers of protection from the elements eliminating the need for the rider to layer up before putting on their protective wear. Riders can start getting dressed in a pair of long underwear if they want or Rev’It also has a separate base layer line. A base layer for riding is synonymous to Under Armour for hockey players.
In both the jacket and the ‘trousers’ is an inner quilted thermal lining with inside pockets that neatly zips onto either the outer shell or if the waterproof, middle, hydratex membrane is in place, onto that layer. In addition to attaching with zippers, the liners are fixed inside the main shell with snaps at the sleeves, neck and bottom hemlines.
The outer shell is Polyamide (translation: a heavy duty almost canvas-like fabric) and moves easily enough yet maintains strength against shredding, fraying or tearing. Lining the jacket is mesh with adjustable pockets for elbow, shoulder and back protection inserts to suit the individual rider’s size by lining up the CE-approved Pro-Life armour perfectly with the joints. Keep in mind that those extra layers reduce sizing and will make the suit somewhat snug.
Reinforced knees and elbows paired with surplus material for ease of movement and easily accessible vents with heavy-duty zippers that can be opened or closed without removing your gloves allowing you to adjust your inner temperature while riding if necessary. The mesh lining allows the air to flow through but not the insects.
There are two heavy-duty connection zippers on the inner of the jacket offering both a long or short connection to the pants and sealing out any unwanted air-flow. Openings at the wrists and pant legs offer adjustable Velcro lengths for a snug seal to keep the bugs out. There is nothing worse than something with wings finding its way up your sleeve as you ride and then trying to find its way back out before you get a chance to pull over.
I am thinking the issue of bugs was on the mind of designers when they made the Ventura suit as they even included a removable collar. The collar is like wearing a turtle neck when done up. It protects that few inches of skin on your neck that is exposed between your helmet and your jacket. Riders without a high collar will protect this area with a buff. In colder temperatures this is a welcome feature but in the warmer temperatures it is nice to be able to remove the collar.
The first time I removed the collar, I discovered a design flaw that when shared with Rev’It, they were already aware of and working on creating an improvement. I am guessing that whoever created or tested this feature did not have long hair. When the collar is removed, a foot-long section of Velcro is left exposed and will catch any free flowing mane turning it into varying lengths of dread locks with participation from the wind, so, if your hair reaches past your shoulders, leave the collar in tact.
The only other downside for me was the leg length of the pants. I have long legs and even the long size Ventura trousers could use another inch or two. Leather track suits are designed the same way so that the leg length is shorter than your true inseam in order to tuck inside your boots. With this adventure suit, however, the long length only offers 31” inseam and mine is 34”.
Aside from the leg length and my new-found hairdo, I would recommend trying a Rev’It textile Ventura two piece suit. MSRP is competitive at $450 USD for the jacket and about $320 USD for the pants.