BMW offers an amazing riding suit called the Rallye that is the envy of many adventure riders, whether or not they ride a BMW. The design is such that it’s suitable for on- and off-road riding in all kinds of weather, and the styling and construction really are a cut above. Trouble is, together the Rallye jacket and pants (which we tested back in August 2008) now cost almost $1,500, so it’s more of a commitment than some of us need.
To that end, BMW now sells the GS Dry suit for men and women, which has similar versatility and a rugged look as well, but costs $599 for the jacket and $399 for the pants. Unlike the Rallye with its numerous liners, the GS Dry is a single, lighter-weight shell with a much simpler design. Instead of a removable layer, its C.A.R.E. (Concept of Advanced Rider Equipment) windproof, waterproof and breathable lining is sandwiched between the outer Cordura 500 shell and the mesh nylon lining inside. Although water will eventually penetrate the water-resistant coating on the outer Cordura fabric, it can’t get past the C.A.R.E. lining. As with most riding pants, since I was basically sitting in a puddle, some dampness eventually crept into the seat and crotch after riding in a solid downpour for 30 minutes, but the jacket kept me completely dry.
Worn alone, the GS Dry is light, comfortable and breathable enough for summer and the exertion of enduro riding in cool-to-warm temperatures, with large chest and back vents with waterproof zippers that can be opened when it gets hot. Even without fleece or electrics layered underneath, it’s good for surprisingly cool weather as well. The sleeves are not cut as generously as the jacket, which can make the fit over a thick sweatshirt a bit tight, but there is plenty of room in the jacket itself. Hook-and-loop straps at the waist, cuffs and soft-lined collar allow you to snug the jacket up nicely, and a snap-closure storm flap covers the main zipper.
Two zippered waterproof inner pockets and a pair of water-resistant outer cargo pockets with flap-snap closures provide plenty of secure storage. There’s also a large zippered hunter’s pocket across the back, and two vertical zippered pockets on the chest. These lack waterproof zippers, but are still good for sunglasses and such. Their primary purpose is to conceal a pair of reflective flaps that fold out and snap to each breast, increasing the total area of the jacket’s reflective material to the level required for it to be sold in France. Don’t ask me; I just work here.
More reflective material is on the back and sleeves, and very sturdy, removable NP2 armor protects the elbows, shoulders and knees, along with a back pad the size of a baking pan. No worries about protection here—in fact, the adjustable knee armor is so large, thick and hard, I found that wearing a base layer underneath the pants was required for comfort. The pants’ fit is trim but flex panels in the knees and lower back enhance comfort, and leather trim inside the knees prevents scuffing the bike. Hook-and-loop straps snug the waist and pants cuffs, the pants pockets are zippered (but not waterproof), and the pants zip securely to the jacket in back. Matching GS Dry gloves are available, too.
The BMW GS Dry suit comes in gray/black in men’s sizes 36-50/40L-46L and anthracite/yellow/white in sizes 36-50. Women can choose black/anthracite in sizes 4-16/4P-14P or gray/red in 4-16.
For more information, see your BMW dealer or visit bmwmotorcycles.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the March 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)