Olympia Phantom One-Piece Suit Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Summary: The Phantom is a comfortable one-piece suit with removable one-piece, full-length insulating liner. It's claimed to be waterproof and it's loaded with features at a price that begs the question "How'd they do that?".
Perceptions get warped also. Some people are suspicious if a product is priced too low; a high price must mean better quality, right?
I guess I fall into the latter category, because I don't mind spending what it takes to get the quality and comfort I expect, and the more I pay, the better it should be.
So I'm scratching my head when it comes to this new Olympia Moto Sports Phantom one-piece suit. How can they possibly be selling this thing for $449.00? There must be something wrong with it, no?
Well, the jury's still out on whether or not the Phantom will replace the Gold Standard of textile one-piece suits, the Aerostich Roadcrafter.
The Roadcrafter lists for $278.00 more than the Phantom, which is enough to buy the Olympia Phantom and, oh, say a really nice helmet, or a helmet and a pair of gloves, or, if you're a real bargain hunter, maybe even the helmet, the gloves and a pair of boots.
So what do you get for your four-and-a-half Franklins?
Fit and Finish
But the Olympia sizing charts seem right on the money. The Phantom suit, at least with the liner attached, fits me just about perfectly, a bit snug and slightly long in the legs, just as it should be, so that they fit with enough coverage when riding.
The overall quality of the suit is excellent, with no obvious flaws that I can see. Most of the stitching is double row and I'm assuming it will all hold together if needed during a crash 'n' slide. The suit is also styled to complement the owner and Olympia says that the "Phantom" name and the styling are derivative of the one-piece suits worn by fighter pilots.
I'm also happy to report the collar on the Phantom fits like it should, comfortably and with enough Velcro to allow a wide range of adjustment. The arm and leg cuffs are apparently tapered and also use Velcro (OK, hook-and-loop) closures.
Fabric and Colors
The Phantom is claimed waterproof, with sealed seams and a waterproof liner, but the unusual late-March snow storm we had this week prevents us from evaluating this feature. The chest, leg and rear pockets have "Waterproof Pocket" labels inside, while the front hand pockets have what looks like a waterproof lining but aren't labeled as such.
Actually, I think ours may have been mis-labeled, because the top chest pockets are definitely made with perforated lining material, so I think the "Waterproof Pocket" label was mistakenly added to the chest pockets rather than the front hand pockets. A minor issue that is pretty much irrelevant.
Olympia says that the Cordura is specially treated and the added waterproof liner provides an added level of waterproof protection.
Pockets and Storage
These pockets also act as vents. The flap folds in half lengthwise, where another snap and Velcro on the underside will hold the material in the folded position to keep the vent open and also allow access to the zippered pocket.
The pockets each have a strap and buckle on the outside that can be used to stretch the pocket opening down, allowing air to flow in. The arrangement is a bit clumsy but we haven't been able to evaluate the vents due to the cold weather, which has required the use of the liner to keep warm.
The front hand pockets at the hip are rather unusual; the flaps open towards the front, rather than the rear of the suit. I'm not sure why the flap is arranged this way, but I wonder how it will affect the suit's waterproofing. The hand pockets do have zippers and the pocket lining feels like the same waterproof material used elsewhere, so I assume it will keep out the moisture.
Two more patch pockets are located on the front of the suit at the thighs. These also have a zippered opening underneath the flap, and the zippers are located up on the back of the flap, so when the flap is closed and sealed with its Velcro over the pocket, the zipper is actually upside-down in back of the flap material. This should keep the water out for sure.
There's another zippered wallet pocket just inside the left-hand placket that serves as the overlapping seam on the front of the jacket. A single, large zippered pocket is also located vertically, accessible from the outside, just to the left of the placket (photo below). This large pocket also has a Velcro sealed flap.
The back of the Phantom features a big, wide pocket that almost looks like it could hold a sweater, some papers, a lunch or maybe some books? It has a flap running across the top of the back and also features one of the "upside down" zippers (see photo below).
There's even a cell phone pocket and a pen pocket, located in the insulating liner up in the left breast.
Each arm has a vertical vent in front. These are covered by a Velcro flap that faces forward, covering a zipper. I'm not sure how well these will work, as there's nothing really to keep the vent open and the Velcro tends to catch, closing the flap over the vent.
There are matching vertical vents in the back, just behind the arms. These are also covered by a flap that seals with Velcro and these also tend to close up during normal movement. One of the nicest features of the Aerostich Darien jacket is the underarm vents, and I'm not sure why other manufacturers haven't copied this successful design.
The liner only has a single attachment at the ankles though, a loop of elastic material holds the liner to the outer shell. The liner feels like it's turning inside-out when I pull my leg out, so I usually open the zipper of both the shell and the liner at the ankle to loosen things up.
A single attachment is used in the arm cuff and at the neck also. These work to hold the liner in place, but my feeling is that it does make the liner feel like it will come loose when the suit is removed. It's never happened, I'm just noting that it feels different.
The liner opens with a zipper that angles down from the upper left to lower right, parallel with the zipper on the front of the suit. The suit and liner zippers end at the crotch. The liner also has zippers on the outside of each leg, matching the outer zipper on the suit. The suit zippers are securely covered by a flap that seals with a full-length Velcro strip. The flap opens towards the rear of the suit to keep out the oncoming moisture.
The knee armor can be adjusted up or down over a range of about 6", which is a real plus for me; I apparently have a shorter-than-normal femur and the location of knee armor in motorcycle pants is one of my continuing problems. We've been begging manufacturers to add adjustable knee armor, and now we have it!
In fact, I distinctly remember talking to Kevin Rhea, the owner of Olympia Moto Sports, about this issue about three or four years ago when we reviewed the very nice Olympia vented leather jacket that I still wear. Kevin had sent along a pair of really nice matching leather pants, but the knee armor was way too low for me and I ended up sending them back. I remember asking for adjustable knee armor back then, so thanks Kevin!
Entry and Exit
The fact that this is the first off-the-rack one-piece suit that actually fits me is fantastic. That it only costs $449.99 is definitely the icing on the cake. Roadcrafter groupies will take their shots for sure, but you just can't beat the price and I'll be there will be more than a few who will be secretly checking out their local Olympia dealer for a look-see.
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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.
From "K.S." (9/10): "I am 5'7'' and about 175lbs. I feel I am average in size. I ordered a medium and swam in it. There was about 6" extra of material in the legs and was incredibly baggy in the crotch and hip area. Very uncomfortable.
I tried on the small and found that it was a perfect fit. I bought it
and on my first commute I found that the it was too snug. I was not
wearing my back protector when I tried it on; with my back protector it was
too tight. When it will be time to put my heated vest on it will get
even tighter (BTW, no provisions for a heated vest cord, they recommend you
cut the waterproof liner in the left pocket).
It leaks on me every time at the top of the arm vents and now it has started leaking right in the abdomen area. It leaked at the top of the arm vent area during my first ride in hard rain and I emailed them again. I was informed that no suit is 100% waterproof and to read the FAQ on their site concerning waterproofing the suit. He also let me know there would be no exchange (that was funny as I did not ask).
It developed a tear in one of the seams that they fixed and after I asked, they covered the shipping both ways and the turn around was okay.
Long story short, ask the shop where you are considering purchasing a Phantom, what their return policy is as Olympia does not have one.
The hi-vis suit has been good to me. I love its visibility. It
is mostly waterproof and it has broken in nicely. If it fits you and
you like it you will not be disappointed. I only wish they had some
sort of custom fit or tailoring option as my suit will be hung up during the
winter because it will be too tight with the liner and my heated gear.
I am sure its high visibility will surely empress everyone who opens my
From "C.B." (8/10): "I think this suit is a great bargain. It's priced right, has lots of pockets and is really waterproof.
I do, however, have two complaints. The first is that no matter how I tried, I just couldn't get the legs to seal out the air. I ended up wrapping bungee cords around my ankles to keep the cold air out.
Secondly, the massive amount of Velcro makes this suit a pain to put on and take off. It's just too much. I find myself avoiding this suit even in the worst weather because I dread fighting with the Velcro to get it on. Solving these two issues would make this the perfect suit."
From "S.Z." (1/10): "Was at a local store today that I knew had Olympia and Rev'it gear. There it was, bright as the sun, hanging in a corner, the Olympia Phantom.
I walked over and started fidgeting with zippers and Velcro, just to explore the suit. It was hanging on a wall hanger about 6 or so inches higher than I am tall (I'm 6'2"). The legs of this thing were almost touching the ground!
I pulled it off the wall and held it up against myself. First impression? This sucker's HEAVY! I MEAN HEAVY! I cannot imagine trying to wear this AT ALL in Florida in the summer... period.
Other than that, the length of the garment was pretty good. Long in the leg, and I need that since I ride a Sport Touring Honda Interceptor, and even with my knees in a relaxed bend, ALL motorcycle pants fall short and ride up over the lips of my waterproof boots. Not a good thing, and always the case for me for some reason. Usually for rainy days, I usually slip into my Fieldsheer Sugo Max rain suit (It has stirrups that keep the pant legs from riding over my boots).
B.C. stated he didn't know why the heck the pants zippers on the Olympia Phantom didn't go all the way down. The reason there is 2 inches more textile than zipper in the leg is this:
They state on the website that these suits and some other of their products are premade long for personal tailoring. If you brought this garment to a tailor, and the zipper was the entire length of the pant leg, it would cost you a small fortune for them to tailor the pant leg AND zipper (zippers AIN'T an easy job), rather than just a simple alteration of material on the pant leg alone. They say typically it would cost about $15-$20 to have your local seamstress or tailor shorten the legs IF needed.
The local shop here says that the owner of Olympia, and his wife, come to their shop to explain the new products when they're developed. This is a mom and pop company people. I don't really consider their product all that cheap, price-wise.
I have a 10 year old First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket with Granite pants (the pants no longer named that). That's my cold weather gear. It serves me well, and it's used maybe a month out of the year. Hell, my Cortech Intake jacket is just as warm, IMO.
I didn't pay a fortune for any of them. I think the Kilimanjaro cost me $250 on Ebay and was brand new in the wrapper with hanger, as were the granite pants for less than $100 (also in wrapper with factory hanger). My Cortech Intake was $129, and it can go from super insulated, waterproof, to as flow through as a GX Air. Only things I like my Kilimanjaro better for is length of the jacket and closed, taller collar, the later also aides in less wind noise at the ears through a helmet.
That being said, I still would love to find a one-piece suit for riding, weird, I know. I think I have found it but I want to hear wBW's review of a product that's been out for years... the Fieldsheer Cyclone (389.95 suggested retail). It is less expensive than the Olympia Phantom, and can be found even cheaper on closeout sales. It also looks more flexible and lighter in weight.
I hope you at wBW do a review of this suit."
From "H.B.C.": "After living with the suit for most of this riding season, which is not over yet by the way, even up here in Ottawa, some additional observations can now be made:
1. Weatherproof - with the jump-suit liner and the outer suit, the system is waterproof and very windproof - have now spent last two days riding in the back country in temperatures of 4 to 10C (39 to 50F ) with a constant steady drizzle or heavy downpour. The suit kept me dry, except for one slight damp spot around the waistband of the outer suit, and warm. The waterproof pockets work extremely well and all openings are effectively sealed due to the over-hanging flaps and hook-n-loop fastenings;
2. Neck Opening - while I originally felt that the collar was a bit large, it now seems to be quite effective, with or without a neck-piece. During warm weather the collar can be left loose or tucked under the top part of the suit for increased air flow and when it gets cold, or wet, the whole securing mechanism works well, providing a good seal, especially when used with the ARAI XD and the Nolan 102e helmets. Rubbing is minimal at any time; and
3. Visibility - while (gladly) suffering the slings and arrows of fellow riders, and others, who often wonder just what that bright object approaching them is, the Neon Yellow suit has never gone unseen (a good thing). During track days, group rides or individual forays, there is no way that anyone can miss that distinctive and very effective colouration. Sufficed to say that many (many) other riders in the area are now sporting the same Neon Yellow coloured Olympia Riding Vests.
Bottom line restated, for the price, there is nothing else currently even close to the Phantom Suit."
From "L.S.": (Editor's Note: L.S. also cross-posted this comment on the ADVrider forum) - "I bought this suit to replace a little used Aerostich that I grew out of (I'd stopped riding for ten years). Sold the 'Stich on eBay.
First impression when I take the Olympia out of the very
nice plastic bag it comes in: Wow, this is one hell of a suit. Second
impression when I put it on: Holy s--t, this suit isn't bullet proof, it's
effing BOMB proof. The Velcro alone could hang me from the ceiling.
This suit is simply awesome.
The neon yellow looks cool (at least my first impression; haven't worn it in public yet), and the suit was proven by one dedicated tester to be 99.9% waterproof in a severe home shower test. This is one hell of an awesome suit, a definite keeper. (P.S. I have no financial interest in or relationship to Olympia, just responding in kind to other Forum writers who wrote to help in the quest for the perfect riding gear.)
And at only $450, what a bargain. Compared with the Aerostich at almost twice the price, the Olympia is a no brainer. The real question is, if the 'Stich and the Olympia were the same price, which would you get.?
Not easy to answer, since they both have their pluses and minuses:
If waterproofness is a major factor for you, you gotta go with the Olympia. If easy in and out is the major factor, the Aerostich Roadcrafter has it all over the Olympia. Size is more diverse, and safety padding may be better and more stable with Aerostich. Aerostich also has relatively inexpensive custom sizing.
Personally, I like the styling of the Olympia way better than the Roadcrafter, esp Olympia's Neon Yellow vs. Aerostich's Hi Vis. And Olympia's Pewter Gray is way better looking that the plain (by comparison) Aerostich gray Roadcrafter suit (which is what I used to have). By the way, the Olympia Pewter Gray suit looks way better in person than it does in the pictures -- very cool.
In terms of pockets, it's a toss up (although I loved the tall right chest pocket on the Stich). In terms of hot weather riding, I can't say which is more comfortable because I haven't tried the Olympia yet, and it's been a long time since I rode with the Stich.
In terms of cold weather riding, the nod would go to Olympia, because of the liner it comes with, in contrast to the Aerostich and the upcoming Rev'it (which is now expected in stores sometime around September -- at a price of $1099). I suspect that I'll wear the Phamtom 98+% of the time without the liner -- ie. the liner will only be used when temp is probably < 35 degrees (F). But it's an awesome liner, and looks like it'll be more than adequate to do the job of keeping me warm in cold weather riding. Add a lightweight Coolmax long sleeve T shirt first layer, and a white water rafting NRS medium weight second layer underneath, and I doubt I'd even need a heated garment. I'm therefore putting off my planned purchase of a heated jacket liner until I prove to need one.
First drawback noticed with the Phantom: This suit has all kinds of Velcro attachments, pockets, zippers, nooks and crannies (which is one of it's great features). It really needs to come with a detailed instruction manual. As my father used to say, I may have to go back to MIT to learn how to use it. Seriously, I hope that once I get the hang of it, it'll go on a lot easier and smoother. As others have noted, the miles of Velcro it uses tend to stick on each other and when first learning the suit, you can get bound up.
Another possible problem: I started to sweat when trying on the suit (without the liner in), so wearing the suit indoors doesn't look promising (The 'Stich wasn't any better). We'll have to see how that goes. When wearing any one piece suit though, even leather, one wants to wear a snug, thin, synthetic, fast drying liner as your first layer (This review was written after trying on the suit while wearing a cotton button down dress shirt).
So in practice, that may not be a problem, although it's highly unlikely I'd wear this suit in temps much over 85 degrees....
Two problems for me: I'm 6'1", 190 lbs, waist 35, inseam 34. The suit only comes in whole sizes (med, large, XL, etc.), and I'm really between a large and an XL. The large *without the liner* was barely OK when standing and walking, but too tight while sitting in the riding position, so that was out. The XL was very good with the liner in, a little big with the liner out but not a real problem, and I didn't look like a fat man either. I kept the XL.
One other problem with the XL for me: The overall length of the suit was perfect. In particular, when in the sitting position, the knee protectors were at the perfect height, right at knee level, not riding up above my knees. I only wish the crotch was a little higher. The crotch being low (ie. the inseam being short) makes the suit just a tad baggy on me, although hardly noticeable (If this was a Stich, I'd have ordered a 44 long, which has the crotch pretty much in the right place for me, and then ordered another inch of length in the thighs, to bring the knee down and make the overall inseam a little longer). In the future, once the sales of the Phantom ramp up, and the company's owners see how predictable demand is or isn't, perhaps Olympia will make short, regular, and tall lengths, along with numbered sizes.
Last problem, which I assume will be true for most people,
and may well be the biggest problem with the suit, from a functional point
of view: The knee protectors are squarely in front of the knees, maybe even
a little medial (i.e.. towards the middle of the knee). In fact, they need
to be about
I confirmed that on the carpeted floor of my home: When my knee went down to the side from a riding position, the protective padding rode towards the midline, leaving my knee basically unprotected. I'm gonna take the suit to a seamstress and see if she can fix that by taking out some of the stitches from the inner liner holding the knee pads in, and then putting in some other stitches or rubber cement to create a box in the liner to hold the pads more towards the outside of my legs.
Last note about color: I ordered the Pewter Gray (which really looks good, a lot better than the pictures), and the Neon Yellow, so I could try them both out and see how they looked. The Pewter makes you look cool, like a seasoned BMW rider. The Neon Yellow definitely looks striking, somewhat cool, but not as suave as the Pewter, although not dorky either. In fact, I can't come up with a good description of how the neon suit makes me look, but it's not bad. The Neon will almost certainly get most people's attention on the road, while the Pewter will not, at least not during the day. Both suits have excellent reflective panels and piping, which looks especially good on the Pewter."
From "B.C.": "(I) wanted to give you some feedback on my Olympia Phantom suite, Neon Yellow/Black, which I got from our local dealer, MotorSportsWorld, who is now carrying a number of Olympia products.
Given some sizing experiments, we ordered a 2XL, as I am just under 6' 3" with about a 33.5 inseam and longish arms, which precluded me from buying most other Olympia products previously. I am glad to report that several of their jackets now fit fine, although the pants in general are still short.
The suit, now worn for two weeks, works well. Our spring weather has been running hot and cold, but the suit has performed well in keeping me warm, and cool as needed. The inner jump suit really goes on quickly, its very comfortable and it just plain works - the neck seal is especially good without any rubbing.
While the outer suit does take some work to get into, the more its done, the faster it gets. Being able to unzip both the inner and out layers is great for putting on various footwear of differing heights or for putting the outer layer on with footwear on. The inner suit legs can either be left on the outside, or with my Triumph all-season boots, tucked into the boot for extra warmth and to lessen any chance of air flow up the outside.
With the suit fully on and zipped up, there is only a bit of tension regarding height (waist to collar) when sitting on a full sports machine, but no issues when sitting on a more upright motorcycle (BMW K1200R and BMW R1200GS Adventure).
The overall leg length could be about one inch longer to preclude it riding up the boot when on the sport machines - this is not really an issue on the other motorcycles however. As way of example, my HT Air pants (next most trusted and relied upon item) has a full 34 inch inseam, and they do not pull up whatsoever when riding any motorcycle.
Outside of the inseam issue, the design, build, fit, form and function of the suit is excellent. As I mentioned, even in temperatures of 5 to 10C (41 to 50F), the suit with liner, and only a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath, provides very good protection, although some wind chill was noticeable on the 'naked' style motorcycle, but a light fleece liner cured that issue.
The neck of the oversuit is still a bit large for me (typically wear a 16 collar), but given that the inner suit seals so well at the top, its not a major issue and I typically use a neck-piece when its really cold out. The positioning of the padding and armour is good overall and there have been no really pressure points felt anywhere, which is good when wearing the suit day in and day out.
While the suit gets a bit more expensive up here (Editor's Note: Canada), given what was the exchange rate when the suit was ordered, and the fact that we pay additional duties on textile goods, etc…the suit is still well priced, especially when compared to most of the other one piece, and many two-piece suits.
While the suit has not been exposed to long term rain conditions yet, it seems to work well in keeping me dry and it is definitely wind proof. Returning from a morning ride today, I had to open up some of the venting to increase the air flow.
The only other issue, outside of the inseam length, regards the leg zippers and bottom fastener strip. The zippers, for some reason, are not full length, but should be and the bottom few inches is only secured/sealed with the hook-n-loop fastener strip. As the diameter of the bottom leg portion is quite narrow, and while a snug fit is good, for many reasons, the bottom few inches becomes very tight when pulled over heavier, all-weather boots and the fastener strip just barely catches.
All my other pant items are cut a bit fuller at the bottom, have full zippers and a hook-n-loop fastener, to seal the zipper and, typically, a loop fastener to pull or relax the bottom diameter as needed to provide movement, or seal it from air, etc.
Bottom line, with the two observations made addressed, hopefully through future iterations, this suit would be just about perfect. As it is, its probably the best one piece deal for the money and one of the best of breed, period."
From "D.": "Glad to see you had a chance to review the Phantom One from Olympia. I liked it so much at the Indinapolis Show that I bought one as soon as it became available and I have not been disappointed. Like you, most of my testing has been in surprisingly colder weather Texas riding where the suit and liner have been more than adequate but I expect to have it out this weekend in more, ummm, typical South Texas conditions and am very interested to see how well ventilated it really is.
One note on the sizing: I started with the 2x which felt pretty good on my 6' 3" frame; good sleeve and pant length but it did feel a little restrictive from waist to collar, particularly when hunched over the bike. I went ahead and ordered the 3x just to be sure and it was clearly to big, both bulky and long in the sleeve/pant leg, so I returned it and kept the 2x. I don't know whether I'm just a little long waisted or maybe this is the way many one-piece suits have to fit. I also feel as if the suit has relaxed just a bit over a few rides as the fit feels much better now.
Anyway, thanks for the review - I really think this product needs to get more exposure, especially in light of the price difference with Aerostitch, RevIt and other full suits."
From Kevin Rhea, Owner, Olympia Motosports (Edited):
"Just want to point out a few things...
1.) Color options - You mentioned that the suit is offered
in black plus neon yellow. Should be pewter grey plus neon yellow. The
pewter grey color reflects sunlight better than basic black.
2.) Chest pocket vents - The waterproof labels were added to
mesh pocket bags because any personal items stowed in these pockets will
stay dry provided the water tight zippers are shut and the pocket flaps are
in the down position.
3.) Flaps that cover the sleeve and back vents - Note that
both male and female Velcro is included at the underside of these flaps so
they can be folded under and secured. This prevents the flap from
closing over the vent, allowing maximum airflow. The elbow cinch
straps serves a dual function as they hold the sleeve vents open and better
secures the elbow protectors.
4.) Side hand pockets - The over hanging flap for the side
hand pocket zippers face toward center to direct water over and not on to
the pocket zippers. These hand pockets are not 100% waterproof but
having the flap overhang the zippers in this manner makes a huge difference.
All other pockets are waterproof.
5.) Neck opening - The collar detailing and size specs on
the Phantom are identical to our AST jacket that
WBW reviewed in 06. I
note that (you're) OK with the Phantom's neck sizing. Your (very slim
necked) reviewer had problems with the AST neck fit." ... "Note that many
riders have gotten back to me just to state that they were perfectly fine
with the neck fit after purchasing the AST. I also have multiple
consumer testimonials posted on our web-site from very happy customers for
this jacket. No one else has complained about the neck fit."