Some gear we evaluate here at Rider is aggressively tested in a short period of time, used while racking up as many miles as we can but against a tight deadline so our review will be published in a timely manner. We want you, dear readers, to get reliable tests of the latest gear as soon as possible, as we do with just-released motorcycles. Other gear stays in rotation for months or even years, providing us with the opportunity to write a long-term test.
Such is the case with the gear tested here. Olympia Moto Sports sent me its AST2 Touring Jacket and Ranger 2 Over Pants at the same time it sent matching gear for my girlfriend, in the spring of 2010, almost two years ago. Carrie and I wore our Olympia gear on multiple local rides and on a two-week tour of Spain and Portugal, and we published a review of the Ladies AST Touring Jacket and Pro Max Over Pants in the March 2011 issue of Rider. We’ve continued wearing our Olympia Moto Sports gear year-around, including a week-long tour test of the Kawasaki Concours 14 in July 2011 and a two-week tour of the Western Balkans last September. To say that we know these garments inside and out would be an understatement.
AST is an abbreviation for “All Seasons Touring,” which gives you an idea of the jacket’s intended function, which extends to the Ranger pants. Both have outer shells made of durable, coated 500 and 2000 denier Cordura nylon with seam-sealed waterproof/breathable membranes. The AST2 jacket is lined with cool mesh that facilitates the circulation of air when the waterproof zippers for Olympia’s Airflow Ventilation System are opened. Long vents run from the shoulders to the forearms and down the sides of the back, plus there are two torso vents (the latter have slide buckled straps to adjust the size of the openings). The AST2 jacket circulates a good amount of air, providing you’re riding a motorcycle that allows sufficient wind to hit your body. The Ranger pants, unfortunately, have no vents despite also being lined with cool mesh.
Although billed for “all seasons,” the jacket and pants are really too heavy to be worn in really hot conditions. Carrie and I found that out during our week-long tour through the redwoods last July (coastal areas were cool, but interior valleys were sweltering) and our two weeks in the Balkans, during which Europe was assaulted with record-high temperatures. Despite having all of our jacket vents open, the thick jackets and non-vented pants trapped too much heat. The pants got so bad that after a couple of days riding in the Balkans, the accumulated sweat and “funk” took on an offensive personality of its own. I had to turn my pants inside out and hang them out the window of our hotel room in the hopes they would air out. For hot conditions, check out Olympia’s nice selection of mesh gear.
On mild fall and spring days or cold winter ones, rain or shine, the AST2 jacket and Ranger pants are ideal. Being doubly waterproof—coated Cordura plus a seam-sealed waterproof membrane, plus storm placket front closures and vent covers—they eliminate the need to carrying a bulky rainsuit that probably won’t be used that often. Also, the AST2 jacket has six zippered, waterproof, outer storage pockets; the Ranger pants have six pockets as well, two of which are waterproof (cargo pockets on the thighs). Both the jacket and pants have removable, Thermolite insulated liners that can be worn separately.
Olympia Moto Sports has a reputation for quality, and it is evident in the cut and style of its garments and in the attention to details such as closures and pockets. For example, Carrie is particularly happy with the feminine cut of her jacket and pants, rather than just being a smaller size of gear designed for men. The AST2 jacket has removable, CE-approved Motion Flex armor at the elbows, shoulders and back, and the Ranger pants have it at the knees (height adjustable; there are EVA foam pads at the hips). The fit of each garment can be adjusted at multiple points on the body, and there is generous use of 3M Scotchlite reflective piping. The only problem we have had has been with zippers. The fly zipper of my Ranger pants broke (though the hook-and-loop storm placket keeps the fly closed); the zipper for the inner chest pocket on Carrie’s jacket is stubborn and likes to catch on the inner fabric. Most zippers work just fine, and the ankle-to-waist zippers on the pants make it easy to get them on and off (the zippers stop six inches above the cuff to allow for inexpensive tailoring for length). There is also an 8-inch back zipper to connect the jacket to the pants.
Olympia Moto Sports’ AST2 Touring Jacket is available in sizes S-4XL for $349.99 and its Ranger 3 Over Pants (some details have been improved over the Ranger 2 pants) are available in waist sizes 30-44 (see website for corresponding inseam lengths) for $249.99. As their name implies, the pants are designed to be worn over regular pants such as jeans, so they can be a little roomy if you wear them on their own without the insulated liner.
See your dealer or visit olympiamotosports.com