One-piece commute suit in SoFla: 'Stich, Stealth, Motoport? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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One-piece commute suit in SoFla: 'Stich, Stealth, Motoport?

I want to buy a one-piece suit that's suitable for the South Florida climate, doesn't look dorky, and is convenient to me as a medium-distance, non-highway commuter. In my searches here, I haven't found many posts for people with my needs, and that surprises me -- there's no way that I'm unique.

I commute daily, ran or shine, in Palm Beach County on the east coast of Florida. The distance is about 9.5 miles each way, on roads with speed limits of 35 and 45 mph. Typically, I stop at a red light seven times on my way home, in the afternoon when it's hot and often rainy in the summer. This is an important point, because a lot of clothing advice that I see here is geared toward people who commute on 55+ mph freeways, whereas I spend 40 minutes a day in stop'n'go.

Right now I wear Tourmaster (I think) mesh overpants. For a jacket: a perforated leather Dainese or an Olympia Airglide 2. The Olympia is better for rainy or cold days. Donning the gear is time-consuming so I want to get a one-piece suit that's fast and easy to put on and take off.

I'm considering the Aerostich Roadcrafter Light, the Olympia Stealth, and the Motoport Ultra Trek kevlar suit or Ultra Trek Air Mesh kevlar suit.

I have ruled out the Olympia Phantom because of lack of ventilation. Same with the regular Roadcrafter. I have ruled out Teiz products, for a couple of reasons: I have big hands and Teiz pockets are small, and more important, I don't like the look of Teiz suits. Teiz just isn't for me.

My concerns with the Roadcrafter Light: Possibly too hot in 80+ weather, which we have for much of the year here. Without a lining, I worry about accidentally dislodging the armor when putting on or taking off the Roadcrafter Light, and I worry about the fabric sticking to my sweaty skin. But I like the rain protection, and of the suits I'm considering, the Roadcrafter Light looks the least clownish.

My concerns about the Olympia Stealth: Less convenient to put on than a suit with a collar-to-ankle zip. A baggy look, and I'm not sure how protective it is. No built-in rain protection. I like my Olympia jacket but don't love it.

My concerns about the Motoport suits: The Air Mesh looks goofy with the black seat area. It appears that the Ultra Trek can be made without the black crotch area. Both suits verge on the clownish with the big gusseted pockets and black zippers. No built-in rain protection, although there's that zip-in liner for $200. (!) I am leery of Motoport's customer-service reputation.

Do you have experience with one or more of these, particularly in a hot, humid climate with stop-and-go traffic? Let me know the pluses and minuses of these suits! You'll help me and other riders who have similar commutes. There have got to be a lot of us.

Let me explain the sort of advice that I see here frequently, but which doesn't apply to me. Often, people advise wearing a wet T-shirt, or dousing one's clothes, to stay cool on their ride. But I'm not going to douse my office clothes, or strip down to a T-shirt in the parking lot. I truly understand that this is an excellent way to stay cool on a leisure ride -- but the advice doesn't apply to me on my commute, with my office clothes. Maybe you don't mind drenching your office clothes in water for the ride home. Fine. But I'm not going to do that. And to repeat, I live in the humid Southeast, not in the dry West. Ventilation and rain protection are more important here than in the dryer conditions one finds in, say, southern California or Colorado or New Mexico.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 02:56 PM
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I strip in the handicapped stall after wetting my underamour t shirt. Office clothes go in my pack. I commute in full gear during Maryland summers. I grew up in Tampa and can tell you the heat and humidity can rival the Gulf coast regularly.

We went almost all last summer and spring in 90+ weather to 100+. My ride home is the suck. Been known to be 2+ hours when it gets sucky. I have no problem stripping my hot office clothes off for cooler gear.

I wear a two piece setup. Firstgear pants and Tomaster Transition jacket. So no love on the single piece. But I love my setup. The jacket has a lot of venting.

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Last edited by MikeV; 04-23-2012 at 03:01 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 03:12 PM
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Bah stupid phone.

I am watching this because I would like to see what people suggest. Goofy doesn't bother me though so I hope some good products are suggested so I can research this.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 07:13 PM
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One piece solid textile suits are hot above 75-80F and probably not ideal for Florida weather. Vented gear, as opposed to mesh, requires that you be in motion for it to force air in the vents and keep you cool, its not good for slow traffic. Lots of reviews of Motoport stuff and similar on www.ADVRider.com

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 10:40 PM
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Olympia Stealth?

How about an Olympia Stealth mesh one piece suit?

Normally I think mesh is unsuitable as gear, but for what you described it make sense.

For protection from the rain, carry a separate rain suit you can throw over it.

Much better than getting a waterproof suit--won't breath nearly as well. Or something with a removable waterproof liner (not that I know of any one piece suits setup like that).
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, DavidG, an Olympia Stealth is on my shortlist and I wish I lived near an Olympia dealer so I could try taking one on and off. (Darn it, I was at MR Cycle in Asheville a month ago, helping my wife buy gear, and I'll bet they had the Stealth in stock, but I wasn't in me-shopping mode.) I want a one-piece for the convenience, and the Stealth doesn't look quite as convenient as the collar-to-ankle zip suits from Aerostich, Motoport and Teiz. But maybe the Stealth is The One For Me.

MikeV, if "goofy" doesn't bother you, make sure to look at Teiz (pronounced taze). I dislike the look, but I see positive commentary about Teiz's price-to-quality ratio. And Teiz's owner comes across as a passionate guy who listens to customers. I just wish he made something understated and basic (like eliminating the backpack pocket and losing the big vertical Teiz logo on the front).

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 11:17 AM
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I'm actually saving my pennies for a motoport pants and jacket combo after reading a lot of good reviews on advrider about their products.

Heck I emailed them about making pants for my 11 year old daughter and they sent back very detailed instructions on how to measure her and possible armor options they could put in to make her ride safer. They did that within 4 hours of me sending a request for information.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Motoport's stuff seems really good, from what I read. The most expensive, too. One thing I have decided to do: regardless of who I buy a suit from, when it's time to get my measurements, I'm going to take the measurement instructions to a tailor, and have the tailor do the measurements. I'll slip the tailor 10 bucks and feel like I got it done right.

Somewhere online, I ran across a heated exchange of emails between Motoport's owner and a dissatisfied customer, and I think that the problem was that the customer followed the instructions as best he could, but despite his good-faith efforts, he didn't do the measurements correctly. The customer complained about it in an online forum. It brought out the mean side of Motoport's owner. Enough to make me leery of buying from him. I understood where he was coming from and sympathized, but still, he was harsh.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2012, 01:39 PM
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I live in Boca. I have a pair or motoport air mesh pants that I just bought used from a guy on ADVrider. I absolutely love them so far. I've yet to use them in the heat of summer down here but I expect good things. The only thing that is slightly disappointing, is that though the kevlar material flows air amazingly, there is so much padding that doesn't flow air well, that the flow is greatly restricted with all the padding in. That combined with the full-length boots that I have make it less flowy, but I've yet to be uncomfortable in them. We'll see as the temps climb. Either way they have the best protection and have to flow more air than an alternative with nowhere near the protection.

BTW, I've yet to see another Versys down here, is yours blue or green?

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2012, 05:48 PM
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I currently live in Las Vegas, but lived in Pensacola and in NC (Ft Bragg). I know hot and I know hot & humid.

I have a Motoport Mesh Kevlar jacket and pants that zip together (basically a one-piece). Meets the same spec requirements for track days, so that's good enough for me. I commute most every day as well. But my rides are longer and primarily on idiot cage infested freeways.

My thoughts. I would not recommend the Motorport simply due to the fact that you are not taking a regular freeway commute. IMO - I don't think you need the super high abrasion resistance - thus the super high price. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my gear and wouldn't trade it for anything. A simple wind & waterproof bicycle jacket (about $50) works super well in wet and cold conditions. Although I did buy the water proof pant liner.

Anyway - You could most likely retain all your skin using quality textile gear. But also keep in mind impact resistance. Good quality (effective) armor is not cheap. Ultimately - if you are t-boned in an intersection - no amount of riding gear will save you.

To keep cool during the summer, I use a 'phase change cooling vest'. There are quite a few companies that make them. These can be pricey, but when you can't dump a gallon of water over your head, these are worth every penny and make it (almost) enjoyable to ride even when it's well over 100 degrees.

I've also owned a lot of other brands of gear but the only other brand I ever recommend is Cyclegear. Very well made. Lasts a very long time. I recommend Cyclegear almost as much as I do Motoport.

Last thing I'll say about the motorport gear is that it can be made in any of their colors, is custom made just for you and the "dorky" pockets can be left off or a different style can be used. Anything and everything is an 'option' if you get it made from scratch (as I did).

Good luck!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2012, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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BreakingBryan, I'm in Jupiter and my bike is blue. I don't think I've spotted a Versys down here, either. We're in cruiser country, my friend!

Velocibiker, with a name like that, you're my kind of guy. Well, sort of -- since I got my first motorcycle in August 2009, I am riding bicycles much less frequently. My co-workers laugh when I tell them I have four bicycles, plus an old Motobecane that I scavenge for parts. But hey, you gotta have your road bike, fixie, Townie and mountain bike, right?

Anyway, thanks for the phase change cooling vest tip.

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