Not long after I evaluated Olympia Moto Sports’ Stealth suit (Rider, October 2008), the predecessor to the Avenger tested here, I crashed while wearing it. Mercifully, we rarely crash-test apparel, taking it on faith that the manufacturer’s claims for protection will hold up should we have trouble keeping the rubber-side down. The Stealth suit was pretty tattered after my tumble, but it did its job well, protecting my skin and bones from harm. (Alas, CE-approved armor cannot prevent damaged pride.) Somehow, amid my flailing and caterwauling, the Swiss Army knife in my right jeans pocket came in contact with the ground. I often rub the scuffmarks on the end of that knife before slipping it into my pocket, a tactile reminder to avoid riding in remote areas after dark.
Even though it often stays cool and foggy along the California coast in the summer, riding just a few miles inland feels like crawling inside a brick pizza oven. The Avenger is perfect for such moderate to hot temperatures because of its large panels of ballistic nylon mesh, which flow air extremely well. Much of the suit—outer arms, shoulders, middle of the back, hips, seat and most of the legs…any part of the body likely to make contact with the ground in a crash—is made of tough 500 denier Cordura. For impact protection, there is removable CE-approved Motion Flex armor at the elbows, shoulders, back and knees, the latter being height adjustable.
Sized to fit comfortably over regular clothes and lined with stretchy athletic mesh, the Avenger doesn’t restrict movement while riding. Fit can be adjusted with hook-and-loop tabs at the cuff, collar, forearms and waist, and a soft neoprene collar surrounds the neck. Climbing in and out of the Avenger is easy even with boots on. A central zipper goes from the neck to the right knee, and dual side zippers open from the ankle all the way up to the hip. Three exterior pockets and an interior cellphone pocket provide a decent amount of storage, but a large pouch pocket at the lower back would be appreciated, especially since the Avenger provides no protection against rain or cold. Bring a rainsuit and a warm base layer if the weather forecast is unpredictable. If the sun sets during your ride, a generous helping of 3M Scotchlite reflective piping well help others see you.
Although a couple of my riding buddies ribbed me good-naturedly about my mesh “onesie,” the Avenger suit has been perfect for summertime riding. It’s ideal for commuting, it’s so light that I often forget that I’m wearing a suit over my clothes and it’s easy to stash in a saddlebag when I get to my destination.
The Avenger suit retails for $349.99, and is available in men’s sizes S-4XL and two color combinations (pewter/black and black/neon yellow).
For more information, see your dealer, call (866) 473-4327 or visit olympiamotosports.com.
(This Gearlab Review was published in the October 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)