Winner: webBikeWorld 2008 Motorcycle Apparel of the Year Award!
Ultra-tech materials and state-of-the-art construction techniques make the Rev'it Infinity the suit of the future, here today.
Suppose you were asked to take a clean sheet of paper -- or more likely to fire up your CAD software -- and design the "ultimate" motorcycle garment with no constraints.
I'd start with Star Trek. Clothing of the future would surely be light weight, thin and comfortable, yet have sci-fi protective qualities that would appear magical to beings of less-evolved civilizations.
From the day that cavemen and cavewomen decided modesty was in, clothing has gone from thick, heavy and scratchy to light, thin and comfy in a curve steeper than Moore's law. That evolution will not slow down in the foreseeable future.
Kirk, Spock, Picard and the rest always wore form-fitting, comfortably stretchy clothing that looked like pajamas, but had all the protection needed for fighting a wild Vulcan sehlat or a Denebian slime devil.
And who can forget the cat-suit worn by Commander T'Pol?! If that's the future, count me in!
You don't have to go back 100 years to see the evolution of protective clothing either -- although the wool and horse hair used by Ernest Shackleton or Robert Scott during their Antarctic forays now seems beyond quaint. All you have to do is think 10 years back, or even 5 years...heck, even 2 years ago for that matter.
For the most part, yesterday's motorcycle jackets and pants had an outer shell that didn't breathe, combined with layers of waterproof lining and insulation that made the poor rider look like an engorged tick. Looks aside, the technology also wasn't very good at keeping said rider warm, dry or even safe.
We've made some great progress over the last few years, and the new Rev'it Infinity suit definitely jumps the curve, setting the bar way high for anyone daring to follow.
This, in the end, is good for all of us; the nature of competition tells us that whenever a new benchmark is set, the rest will scramble to incorporate the new features and then try to improve on them. Good on ya, I say -- let us have it!
The Infinity had already been through a year or so of development at that point, and Rev'it optimistically set a release date of May 2007. I can tell you that based on what I saw back then in February of 2007, the Infinity was light years ahead of anything else on the market.
But Rev'it didn't want just another one-piece suit; the engineers were obsessed with developing the ultimate waterproof, windproof and safe next-gen motorcycle garment. And you know how engineers are -- they'll never stop, always trying to perfect that one last detail.
The Infinity suit was -- and is -- so high-tech, in fact, that Rev'it had to develop new technologies, new techniques and even new methods of construction, many of which had never before been used in the manufacture of motorcycle clothing. And even with all that, it still takes an enormous amount of time to build one of these complex suits in a way that maintains its waterproof integrity, a prime goal -- which other one-piece suit manufacturers have been unsuccessful.
So where do you go when you want the ultimate technology in outdoor clothing? Not to your typical, pump-'em-out-the-door moto clothing subcontractor. You go to the high-tech outdoor, active-wear mountain climbing industry, of course!
The new construction techniques needed to develop the Infinity simply didn't exist in the motorcycle industry, and Rev'it spent the next year perfecting the design and making sure the quality was up to their usual high standards.
The beauty of the new Rev'it Infinity is the way it blends all of its high-tech DNA with ease of use. When I first pulled it out of the box (it's packed in its own suit storage bag), I was struck by how sleek and simple it looks. That's the beauty of the Infinity -- it's ease of use and apparent simplicity hiding a vast array of technology.
Jordan Levitt, the Rev'it Director of Sales in the U.S., told me that the main goals were to give the Infinity the ultimate waterproof and windproof protection along with a higher level of protection than the competition. But at the same time, they wanted it to be comfortable, easy to use and simple to put on and take off.
All of this sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, as many motorcyclists have discovered, it's not easy to find any type of motorcycle garment that can do all of this successfully.
The Infinity's sleek looks are a direct result of its high-tech construction. It starts on the outside, and you can feel something's different right away: the suit is made from a special new patented fabric called "NanoSphere", licensed by Schoeller Technologies AG (Switzerland).
NanoSphere was designed to mimic a peculiar ability of plants -- they're naturally water and stain resistant. Schoeller states that "this natural non-stick and cleaning process, also known as the self-cleaning effect, is permanently transferred to the textile surface by means of nanotechnology".
The NanoSphere fabric also meets Schoeller's "bluesign" standard, which "guarantees the highest possible exclusion of substances which are harmful to humans or the environment and promotes the economical use of resources in manufacturing", according to the company.
The fabric is also claimed to be highly abrasion resistant and breathable by its nature, and Schoeller says it will keep those properties even after washing, which can be done in cooler water than normally required for this type of protective material.
They also say that in testing with "mechanical exposure to 5000 abrasion cycles and 30 wash cycles (with subsequent heat treatment) the finish is certified as having a very high and lasting level of hydrophobic and oleophobic (oil repelling) properties".
In fact, in the unlikely situation where the NanoSphere material does lose its unique properties, Schoeller also states that "heat treatment provided by ironing or placing in the tumble dryer reactivates the function. This applies to the entire service life of the garment." I'm sure Captain Kirk had a few in his closet! You can read more about this interesting new textile in the Schoeller NanoSphere FAQ.
So the advantages for motorcyclists is that the fabric has a level of waterproof and windproof capability along with breathability that is virtually built in to the fibers of the textile at the atomic level, not something that's added on top.
But just to make sure, along with the NanoSphere material used in the outer skin Rev'it gave the Infinity suit an additional very thin membrane-like waterproofing material bonded to the interior, and then another ultra-thin membrane over that as wear protection.
By the way, the obsession with waterproofing has evolved another interesting feature: a special maze-like opening in the left-hand side of the chest that allows an electric cord from a heated vest or jacket to be passed through to the outside while still preventing water from leaking in (see the Lightbox photos).
All of the very unique pockets that hold the SAS-Tech CE-approved armor inside the suit at the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders and the SAS-Tech Level 2 back protector (which is included with the suit) are thermal welded and bonded to the suit, rather than stitched. Stitching allows water to intrude and also can theoretically weaken the fabric.
The photos below illustrate this; you can see the black bonding material that allows the internal seals and seams to be attached without stitches.
To ensure waterproof capabilities in the seat, there are two extra waterproof fabric sections that are bonded to the seat, or "butt". This is to prevent water from leaking through from any water that might collect in the saddle. The fabric that is bonded internally here also serves two other functions, as I discovered.
It provides a slightly slippery finish that helps prevent the suit from binding or bunching in the seat because it give the rider some wiggle room down there, and it also provides extra wear protection in this crucial area.
The bend points on the Infinity suit are articulated, but since this could be a weak point for water intrusion, they are all backed with thermal welded extra waterproofing material.
There's one very interesting feature you may have missed when looking at the photos of the Rev'it Infinity suit. One of the reasons why the suit looks so sleek is that there are virtually no flaps, and no flaps means no Velcro (aka "hook-and-loop" or HAL).
In fact, HAL is used in only two small areas only on the entire suit: in the hidden waist adjusters on either side in the front and on the sleeve cuff straps.
The Infinity suit does a great job of keeping the high-tech stuff in the background, serving the rider. The objectives have been met -- make it comfortable, secure and easy to wear. It could have gone the other way -- feature the high-tech stuff for marketing purposes and who cares about the rider inside.
A good example of technology serving the rider is the main zipper. No wimpy little pull that looks like it came off of Granny's bloomers would do here; instead, Rev'it installed a big brute of a zipper called a "TIZIP" Master Seal 10, made in Germany.
In fact, the word "zipper" seems too old-fashioned for this device, so how about we call it something like a "Ziptronic Enclosure System" instead?
It's unlike anything you've ever seen on a motorcycle garment -- a huge, rubberized waterproof (claimed) monster that looks like it came off a drysuit designed for deep sea diving.
Wait a second! It did come off a drysuit!
The big rubber "T" handled pull on the TIZIP is needed to overcome the tension of those big zipper teeth. The Infinity suit uses two TIZIPs; one is used in the main zipper that extends from the left inside ankle all the way up to the top of the collar. This zip peels the suit open from top to bottom.
The other TIZIP is used in the right leg. This one runs from the inside ankle up to the crotch.
There are two variations that can be used to enter the Infinity suit. Since the Infinity is designed to wear over street clothing, I put on all the regular gear I'll be wearing underneath, plus my boots. With both zippers open, I step through the right leg, put my arms in the sleeves and zip up the right leg first, then the full zipper on the left side.
A variation is to unzip a second, semi-hidden shin height zipper on the back of the left leg but don't unzip the left leg all the way, leaving about 2-3" connected at the bottom. Step into the right leg, then the left, then zip up both.
Which method to use may depend on the size of the boots you're wearing. If you haven't put on the boots yet, you could leave both legs zipped about half way, then step into the legs, then arms and zip it up.
In any case, getting it on is a snap -- it probably takes me longer to describe it here than to do it. The Infinity is a perfect commuting suit, and I definitely will be using it as my all-around riding outfit and will report back with updates as the season progresses.
Here is a series of photos, taken in reverse order, illustrating the basic entry into the Rev'it Infinity suit:
The Rev'it Infinity is also being made available in a wide range of sizes, from S to XXXL in regular lengths; M, L and XL in Tall lengths and XL, XXL and XXXL in Short lengths.
The suit shown here is an XL and it fits a 5'10" (178 cm) rider, 44" chest (112 cm) with 36" waist (91 cm) as illustrated in the photos, wearing jeans and a cotton shirt. It has enough room for a sweater and/or jacket underneath, or heated vest or jacket and thermal underwear plus pants, or various similar combinations, but without being too bulky. The legs may appear slightly long in the photographs, but they perfect for riding as they still cover the bottom of legs while riding.
This XL regular length suit weighs 3 kg, or 6.75 lbs.
The Rev'it Infinity has two vertical front vents, covered by waterproof zippers. The suit also has two rear vents, controlled by hidden vertical waterproof zippers on each side.
Maintaining the desired levels of waterproof capabilities meant eliminating features like a through pocket that would allow the rider to access clothes pockets, but since I never use those anyway, needing only a pocket to stow a wallet, cell phone and ID, I'd much rather gain the waterproof integrity.
The Infinity has three pockets; a chest pocket on the right side and two waist height pockets in front. These are bonded on to the outside of the suit to maintain the integrity of the waterproof seal. The above-mentioned exit for a heated garment wire is located on the left.
Rev'it Infinity Suit - wBW Lightbox - Click photo to view.
|Reflectivity||Cord Passage||Bonded Internals||Seam Close-up||Articulation|
Clothing manufacturers have told us that in reality, it is nearly impossible to create a truly waterproof garment. Every pocket, seam or vent is a potential leak point.
As recently as about 8 years ago, the standard method of making a motorcycle jacket "waterproof" was to either use an impermeable material on the exterior or to treat the outside of the shell with some type of "waterproof" coating. There are several problems with this method, which is now generally obsolete.
First, as the material or the coating wears, it can lose its ability to resist water.
Second, this type of process usually means that the outer shell material will not breathe, making for a miserable user experience, especially in the rain, when you want maximum breathing capability to exhaust the moisture buildup inside the jacket.
Most modern motorcycle jackets, pants and one-piece suits use some type of breathable moisture permeable liner, either permanently bonded or attached, or removable.
Typical trade names for these are Gore-Tex, SympaTex, Porelle, etc., many of which are familiar to motorcyclists because they are now used in many different types of motorcycle clothing.
The type of membrane used in the Rev'it Infinity, its capabilities and specifications are classified at this point, but Rev'it has stated that they guarantee the waterproof integrity of the Infinity suit; I do not know the exact details of the guarantee.
I do know that the waterproof integrity of the Infinity was tested using the AATC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) Test Method 127-2003 internationally recognized standards for waterproof textiles, and I have seen the test reports, which were conducted by an internationally recognized testing laboratory.
This test is the standard for textiles or material labeled "water resistant" or "waterproof".
ISO 811(E):1981 standard for material labeled as "water resistant" states that the material must withstand a minimum of a 600 mm tall column of water for 12 minutes. A material classified as "waterproof" must withstand a minimum of a 3,000 mm tall column of water for 24 minutes.
The test for the Infinity suit material indicates that it withstood up to a 10,000 mm column of water and, in fact, it far surpassed the standard by surviving a test of 8,000 mm of H2O for 24 hours! In addition, tensile strength and other tests were completed and passed.
[UPDATE 1*: The outer material of the suit is Schoeller FTC Dynatec with the NanoSphere treatment. It is composed of 95% polyamide and 5% polyester.
The membrane type used in the Infinity is called Hydratex. According to Rev'it documentation, the waterproof Hydratex membrane was tested at 8,000 mm of H2O and the breathability was tested as passing 8,000 grams of H2O per square meter over 24 hours.]
The fabric is also very high-tech stuff, in that it can actually open and close the microscopic pores to breathe, based on inputs like body temperature, external temperature and humidity conditions.
Although seasonal weather conditions have not allowed us to fully evaluate the Infinity suit, I do know that no other manufacturer of one-piece motorcycle riding suits that we are aware of can claim the same type of testing and guarantee for waterproof integrity.
UPDATE: January, 2009 - I've been riding with the Infinity for about a month now, in a wide variety of weather conditions from near 50 F down to 38 F, in rain and through two snow showers (not advised!).
The suit has performed admirably. I had doubts about its ability to block the wind, but it does a fantastic job of that and, in fact, I was actually too warm on a couple of occasions because I overdressed underneath. I also find that I don't have to turn on the Tourmaster Synergy heated vest unless the temps are below what I normally ride in anyway.
A friend of mine had to drop off some personal paperwork in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania one day, and he talked a couple of us into riding up there with him. I was kind of skeptical, because it was very cloudy that day and about 48 F. Although the weather report called for clearing, the sky looked ominous. You never know what type of weather is coming over those hills that I can see in West Virginia...
I wore only my street clothes underneath; jeans, a Duofold undershirt, a cotton turtleneck and the Synergy vest. Again, I was amazed at the windblocking ability of the Infinity, which I think goes a long way to keeping one cozy even though the suit has no insulation.
But, sure enough, only about 5 miles out it started to pour. We kept hammering through it and it only turned to a drizzle about 3/4 of the way to Harrisburg. But I didn't feel a drop inside the suit, and I was also impressed at the ability of the material to breathe, meeting all of Rev'it's claims.
The downside? A couple of nitpicks: UPDATE: I just learned how to secure the big T-shaped handle from the TIZIP at the leg cuff.
There's a short strap at the leg cuff by the ankle that's designed to hold the TIZIP upright and flush to the leg! Doh!.
I also wish the front vents had maybe 1/2 size T-handles also, which would make it easier to open or close when riding with gloves.
Also, the big, thick TIZIP main zipper can be a bit fussy; the teeth have to be started just right and where the suit legs meet the body at the crotch can be...interesting when the zipper passed over.
UPDATE: Rev'it sent us a tube of the special TIZIP Gleitpaste, a special zipper lubricant (photo left).
It looks very much like silicone or dielectric grease, available at your local Radio Shack and used for electrical connections. Perhaps the zipper could even be lubricated with a bar of soap. This problem is very minor though....
But other than that, I'm very impressed with the design of the suit and the way it works. It seems so simple, yet it's complex, and it does the job with aplomb, sort of there in the background without demanding notice. I think this is also due to the relative suppleness of the material, compared to other heavy nylon-based jackets or suits (or leather) I've worn.
UPDATE: June 19, 2009 - Infinity owners and others may want to check their SAS-Tec armor. There have been reports of armor splitting at the bends, especially in the shoulders. You may want to remove and inspect your SAS-Tec armor on this suit and any others using that brand of armor. If your Infinity suit or other Rev'it garment has a problem, contact Rev'it, or contact the manufacturer of the garment. SAS-Tec has been notified of this problem and is developing a solution (More below in Comments section).
The Rev'it Infinity is here, in stock and ready to go at RevZilla, in Black or Grey (shown here). The black color is apparently very popular, so if you want one, better act fast.
The price has now increased to $1,299.00 on January 1, 2009. Cost is relative here; if you're looking for the highest-tech one-piece motorcycle riding suit currently in production, and the only one we know of that's guaranteed waterproof, there's only one game in town.
When you add in the SAS-Tech armor and back protector and the waterproof capabilities, it's a few bucks more than the competition. Not everyone will want one and I'm not saying this is the only suit in existence.
But some riders want only the best or the highest technology, or they demand a suit that is waterproof. I've become an Infinity believer and I'm reporting it the way I see it; it's up to you to make your own purchasing decision.
NOTE: The Rev'it Infinity suit is no longer in production as of 2012.
Winner: webBikeWorld 2008 Motorcycle Apparel of the Year Award!
wBW Product Review: REV'IT! Infinity One-Piece Motorcycle Riding Suit
|Manufacturer: REV'IT!||List Price (2009): $1,299.99|
|Colors: Black, Grey||Made In: Designed in the Netherlands, manufactured in various countries.|
|Review Date: First Look - February 2007. First Review - December 2008.|
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "T.B." (12/10): "Thought I'd offer a follow-up to my previously published comment on the Infinity suit (below). It's been [almost] a couple of years. I'm on the fourth or fifth suit. I ride every day, rain or shine.
It seems the suit was not designed for more than occasional use. The most common failure mode for me has been the seams and the sealing around the crotch. Waterproofing seems to fail in other areas too.
On the plus side, Rev'it have stood behind their warranty, replacing the suit every time. This time though, I am hoping for better results, as they've promised me a replacement Defender GTX outfit.
I know from speaking with them that they are no very happy with the materials and production quality of the suit. I hope, for them, that the Infinity suit proves to be an isolated mistake."
From "G" (10/09): "I love the site, and really hope you are able to keep up the good work, got to be the #1 site for reviews of gear and accessories. Really a go-to resource!
Anyway, I'd like to add my owner comments for the Rev'It Infinity suit. I've owned the suit for now nearly 25,000 miles of riding, having bought my first one this spring. The suit fits well, although it really should come in the same range of sizes in Tall fittings as its regular fitting - the Tall range does not encompass the same XXL fitting as the Short and Regular cuts do.
The suit itself has been excellent in the dry, and vents well in warm to hot weather - naturally, with a back protector you are going to sweat somewhat, but that's a given. As a minor point - I'd echo the issues others have had with too-small pockets being nearly unusable.
However, in its key area of waterproofing, the suit is an abject failure. My experience of the suit in rain was initially excellent, however after the first exposure, the suit began to leak around the heated cord gasket. This leak spread rapidly until the entire left side of the suit was water-permeable.
I contacted Rev'it USA who happily exchanged the suit. With high hopes I tried the replacement in the next rain...with exactly the same result. Soaked to the skin, with water ingression all from the left side.
Fast forward to today - now on my fourth suit, and now utterly useless as a waterproof riding garment - water touching the suit surface is absorbed quickly, and riding in any kind of rain results in the wearer being totally soaked underneath.
While Rev'it USA initially were most responsive on this, my most recent pictures and emails have gone totally unanswered.
In the suit's defense - I will give it very high marks for protection. I suffered a lowside accident in which it held up without a scratch. The suit was subsequently exchanged as it was already the subject of a pending warranty exchange, which was very good of Rev'it.
Given the $1300 price tag, and much-vaunted claims from the manufacturer, I'm deeply disappointed with the suit overall."
From Rev'it USA (10/09), regarding the SAS-Tec armor issue: "We are inspecting and addressing any issues with the Infinity. We replacing the items that out and out fail and looking to correct whatever is wrong in future production runs.
Anyone with problems should contact us directly and our dealers know this. To date (we) have only had three people approach (us) about the SAS-Tec armor and all three have been sent replacements. I've been in contact with SAS-Tec and I am now equipped (as of the first week of October...they were very slow to address our concerns) with lots of pairs of the "new" armor.
All I can say is that a phone call or email to REV'IT! will get the attention it deserves!"
From "T.B." (2/09): "I have been an owner of the Infinity suit since just after Christmas. Overall, itís awesome. Fit is good. Itís definitely waterproof and getting in/out is pretty easy. However Ė itís not perfect.
Unless you have hands the size of a four year old the pockets are waaaaayyy too small. Try even putting a wallet in one then get it out without turning the whole pocket inside out is next to impossible (and with gloves on it *IS* impossible).
Draughty legs Ė unlike the Aerostich, thereís no way to cinch down the lower legs, so if like my suit, itís a bit loose on the lower legs, you get a nice draught up the leg. Whatís odd is they provide a mechanism to snug the sleeves down via pop-studs, but not the lower legs. Odd. On the plus side though, itís about half the weight of an Aerostich."