Sunday, 2 November 2008

Cargo! #1

Earlier this year I bought a new bike suit.

My old 'every day' Weisse over-trousers had bitten the dust (when I sliced open the lining to see, the 'waterproof' coating on the outer had flaked away in tatters), and my 'heavy duty' BMW suit (actually 1.5 suits as I had 'summer' and 'winter' jackets as well as single pair of trousers) had gone off to the Beaulieu Autojumble.

So I'd been looking for a reasonably-priced replacement for both suits.

The AeroStich Roadcrafter one-piece attracted, but despited the [then] favourable exchange rate they're still expensive. And unlined. And not fully waterproof.

There are other one-piece suits. But the best candidate, the Rev'It Infinity, seemed to be ever-delayed, and increasing in price with every delay.

In the two-piece style I came close to the Halvarssons, but at the budget end of their range.

But, eventually, I stumped up the courage to order an 'unknown quantity' suit from the USA.

After a few e-mails to Bob's BMW in the USA, and an evening phone call, an Olympia Phantom suit would be mine!

A few days later, and a cheque for VAT, import duty, and fees later, and there it was! Total for the suit was under £400. (Although I made the mistake of browsing their 'shop' pages and ordering some other odd bits . . . like a camera tripod!)

Rather than me tell you all it, here's a link to the manufacturers:

Olympia MotoSports

If you've just clicked the link, and your eyes now hurt, I'll both apologise :) and explain that I bought the 'gunmetal' not 'yellow' option!

So does it do what it says on the web site?

In short: 'Yes' - I'm really pleased with it!

Waterproof? Yes
Warm? Yes - with the liner in, use from 0C-10C, depending on your own thermal properties, take the liner out above 10C, and undo the vent zips from 20C upwards - and get a lovely cool (or warm on the occasional hot days!) breeze.

I had to do 120 miles one day last week with early-start temperature of 1C, so wore my heated waistcoat. Now, this is a conundrum: how to get a cable through the two main zips . . . Aha! Double-ended zips! So I had a friend make up an extension which meanders throught the bottom of the zip, up over the gusset, down under the inner zip, and up over the inner gusset. Toasty!

But why 'cargo'? I usually stuff my pockets full of assorted rubbish (wallet, phone, pen, cash, hankerchief, first aid gloves & facemask pack, and other odd bits and bobs). The Phantom has two large 'cargo' pockets on the thighs - ideal for carrying all the stuff - like pens - that you shouldn't really put near vulnerable ribs, lungs, etc.

And talking of pockets:
1. I've managed to loose stuff, there's so many pockets
2. One day I thought "Hand warmer pockets would be nice" . . . and checked, yep, there they are!

It's not perfect, and I doubt it'll have the longevity of a 'Stich. But at half the price I'll accept that!

PS Not me in the pic!


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