Inspired by the F-4 Phantom jet, Olympia Moto Sports’ Phantom One-Piece motorcycle riding suit is designed to fuel your fighter pilot fantasies while keeping you cozy in the cockpit of your earthbound two-wheeler. The 500-denier Cordura nylon suit features a seam-sealed, breathable water barrier and mesh lining for weatherproofing and comfort. Fastening the front storm flap carefully is the key to a dry ride, as I discovered when the suit leaked on my first garden-hose dousing. With attentive sealing, the Phantom kept me dry on the second attempt. Protection comes from flexible CE-approved armor at the elbows, shoulders, back and knees, plus closed-cell memory foam pads over the hips. The kneepads adjust for different leg lengths, and 1000-denier nylon panels reinforce abrasion-prone areas.
The Phantom’s ventilation is both abundant and innovative. Air enters through chest and arm vents and exits via two rear vents, all of which seal with waterproof zippers and weather flaps. The chest and arm vents use a clever hook-and-loop arrangement to prop them open for maximum flow. I was comfortable cruising in 85-degree temperatures with jeans and a T-shirt underneath. For cold weather Olympia adds a toasty Thermolite insulated jumpsuit liner that kept me warm into the low 40s, the lowest temps I experienced during the test. With full-length leg zips and a long torso zipper, the liner is easy to slip into whether it’s zipped into the suit or worn separately; separate was simpler. An elasticized waist snugs it up comfortably. Cordura at the cuffs protects the liner fabric from boot scuffing, and liner and suit inseams are easily tailored because the last several inches of the legs close with hook-and-loop instead of zippers. Another plus: the liner makes a warm sleep suit, so campers can pack a lighter sleeping bag.
Donning the Phantom is simple, even while wearing boots and street clothes. It zips to the hips up both legs while a two-way zipper opens wide across the torso, revealing a weather-cheating gusset. Step in, find the sleeves, fasten a few yards of zippers and hook-and-loop, and you’re good to go–whatever the mission. The neoprene-lined collar seals up or tacks out of the way with more hook-and-loop and the cuffs adjust likewise, though their rubber grab tabs will catch on glove gauntlets. Dual waist belts and anti-flap cinches on the sleeves fine tune the fit. The knee armor slid off my bony knees with just long johns underneath, but stayed put when I wore jeans instead. At 5 feet, 8 inches and 145 pounds, I fall between the small and medium sizes and was testing a medium.
By now you’ve noticed that the Phantom comes in not-so-phantomlike high-visibility yellow/black. Fear not, would-be wallflowers–it’s also available in sedate pewter gray. Several yards of reflective piping on the extremities and strategically located reflective patches light up with the slightest hint of a headlight after dark.
I’m a rider who likes pockets, and the Phantom doesn’t disappoint. The liner has a cell-phone and pen pocket, while the suit includes a vest pocket that’s accessible without unzipping the front; two deep, zippered slash pockets; and two waterproof cargo pockets on the legs. A large, zippered chest pocket rounds out the front storage. On the back is a waterproof pocket that’s not very handy, but makes a decent place to stow something soft.
Construction quality is excellent, and is backed by a one-year warranty. The Cordura is a little stiff when new, but softens with use, making the suit a comfortable place to spend the day. The sleeve cinches create some binding with arms bent in a sporty crouch, but sport tourists and cruiser pilots shouldn’t notice this. We can’t all fly jets, but for $449 we can dress the part, in sizes S-4XL.
For more information contact Olympia Moto Sports, 824 Locust Street, Suite 100, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28792; (866) 473-4327; www.olympiamotosports.com