Motorcycling is the closest thing to flying you can do on the ground, and Olympia Moto Sports Stealth riding suit takes this to heart. Product names for its riding gear include Recon, Airglide and Stealth. My favorite is Bushwhacker, the name of a dual-sport jacket as well as a bush plane, trail blazer, poisonous snake, Civil War guerrilla fighters and professional wrestling team from New Zealand. Olympia’s gear has a military aesthetic (one jacket is even called Patton). For the Stealth, my choice of battleship gray (Olympia calls it “pewter”) with neon yellow accents stands in bold contrast to the suit’s name. Our stylish art director was aghast at my apparent lack of fashion sense, but I embrace the brightness. If my flashy Stealth suit puts me on the radar screen of encroaching drivers, all the better. If it doesn’t match my helmet or my bike, who cares?
Designed for use in moderate to hot conditions, the Stealth is lightweight and permeable. Its outer shell is made of 500-denier Cordura, with breezy ballistic mesh panels on the chest, arms, back and legs. Because it’s lined with stretchy athletic mesh, you can wear the Stealth naked without chafing. If you woke up in the middle of the night and found your crazy girlfriend had piled up all of your clothes and angrily doused them with an entire case of Heineken, you could run downstairs, remove the Stealth from your locked saddlebag, suit up and ride home without suffering any further discomfort.
Ingress and egress is made easy by a zipper from throat to thigh, and zippers down the length of each leg. Step in, zip up and you’re on your way. The suit fits comfortably over street clothes. On the two-tone suit (also available in more subdued silver/pewter), there are color accent panels along the arms, across the shoulders and down the sides. These panels are bordered by Scotchlite reflective piping for nighttime visibility. Adjustable straps at the waist and elbows customize fit. Wrist and ankle cuffs and the collar are secured with hook-and-loop closures, and the collar is lined with neoprene. Six pockets–two at the chest, two on the hips and two internal pockets–provide adequate storage.
We wear riding gear to protect us from the elements and in the event of a get-off. Since the Stealth is made of nylon and mesh, it won’t keep you warm or dry, but it will keep the sun and bugs off. On cool rides, layer for warmth. On warm rides, the Stealth feels like a jowly dog hanging its head out of a car window, loving the breeze. There is CE-approved armor at the knees, elbows, shoulders, and an articulated back protector, plus foam pads at the waist. The armor is state-of-the-art, but it isn’t guaranteed to be in the right place when you need it. I’ve crashed in a textile suit (not the Stealth) and burned a hole through the fabric at the knee, like wearing parachute pants at a skating rink. The knee armor had shifted out of the way and I got road rash when I should have been protected. When riding, the Stealth’s knee pads shift to the side or ride up on my thighs and leave me feeling vulnerable. Better to make the armor wider and longer, and provide cinch straps to hold it in place like those on the arms. Also, extend the elbow armor down the forearm and make it wider. A layer of Kevlar would improve abrasion resistance, but also drive up the price–a worthwhile trade-off.
Despite my concerns about protection, I like the Stealth. My niggling complaints are fabric flapping at the arms at high speeds, and the triangular D-rings on the elbow cinch straps biting into my arms when bent. Available in sizes S-4XL, the Stealth will keep you cool and conspicuous for $299.99.
For more information:
See your dealer or contact Olympia Moto Sports, 824 Locust Street, Suite 100, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28792; (866) 473-4327; www.olympiamotosports.com