Mesh one-piece suit with many features at a very low list price.
I discovered the Teiz Motorsports "Cross Continent" one-piece suit on the first day of the 2009 Powersports Dealer Expo (report) in Indianapolis, Indiana
Due to some construction in the downtown Indianapolis area where the Expo is usually held, many of the vendor booths were located in the new Lucas Oil stadium.
That was where I made my first stop of the day.
I stumbled upon the Teiz booth whilst trying on a pair of Fitovers sunglasses (review); the two vendors were located right next to each other.
The first thing I noticed about the Teiz Cross Continent suit was the available color selection; both the mesh and the standard "Vented" suit were displayed in a huge array of fabric colors.
The suits are also loaded with features, with coin and map or ID pockets on the arm, a built-in backpack and more.
So we quickly exchanged cards and arranged for a review. That was February; l knew it would be a few months until the weather warmed up to mesh riding temperatures, but little did I know that the cold, wet and nasty winter would evolve (devolve actually) into a cold, wet and nasty spring.
It wasn't until mid-May that the weather decided to cooperate, and the recent mid-80's days finally allowed a proper evaluation of the Teiz Cross Continent mesh one-piece suit.
After sharing the suit among evaluators and riding with it for a couple of weeks, it became clear that there were three varying opinions, which I've combined throughout this report.
It's important to note that many of our comments are relevant only to the mesh version of the Cross Continent suit. We have not tried the non-mesh version, thus the opinions regarding air flow are relevant only to the mesh version.
The Cross Continent suit is loaded with features, no doubt about it. From the three coin pockets and the clear ID pocket on the left-hand sleeve to the built-in backpack and rubbery padded seat, there isn't much missing, and this is both a plus and a minus, as we shall see.
Starting from the top, the collar uses a basic hook-and-loop attachment system and it's lined with what feels like some type of soft synthetic suede fabric.
However, the designers may have gone a bit overboard here, trying for maximum adjustment, because the collar has an added section of the "loop" part of hook-and-loop that faces towards the rider's neck when the collar tab is secured.
This extra section was apparently added on to allow a narrower neck adjustment, but the fabric can become uncomfortable as it chafes against an unprotected neck, especially in the warmer temperatures when the mesh version of the Cross Continent suit will be worn.
Otherwise, the neck closes securely, and the suit is easy to enter with a full-length zipper, covered by a black fabric panel with hook-and-loop running the entire length. The zipper opens from the neck all the way down to the right ankle, and a matching zipper and cover on the left leg runs from the ankle to the crotch.
The "hook" part of the hook-and-loop on these main zipper entry covers is sewn to the body of the suit, rather than the flap. This shouldn't be a problem, but in this case, we noticed that the fine Denier mesh material can get caught on the hooks if the mesh gets folded over slightly and touches it, which it tends to do if the flap isn't secured. Pulling the mesh off the hooks seems to accelerate the pilling of the mesh fabric.
The majority of the suit body is made from mesh. Of course, this is only true for the mesh version of the Cross Continent suit! Solid fabric covers the backs of the arms and across the shoulders, which is all single-stitched. The single stitching is somewhat surprising, but we fortunately have not had the opportunity to crash whilst wearing the suit so we can't comment on the strength of the stitching.
Teiz Motorsports lists the suit material as "abrasion resistant PU coated 1680 Denier nylon", and they use the same designation for the mesh. Both materials have a soft feel, and the suit in size XL weighs 6.75 lbs., which is relatively light.
Two front chest pockets are claimed waterproof; they have waterproof-type zippers and are lined with some type of nylon or taffeta. The opening on each pocket is about 100 mm (approx. 3.875"), narrower than most male hands (from across the heel to outside the thumb) , which makes it somewhat problematic when digging inside to retrieve an item.
The left pocket is about 24 cm deep; the right pocket is a very deep 28 cm (11"). Looking at the photos of the front of the suit, the pockets extend down inside past the waist adjustment belt.
Designing the deep pockets is commendable; however, since none of us can get our hands past the zipper, it takes some extra fussing, usually with both hands, to work a cell phone or other small item up from the depths.
Also, the lining of these pockets blocks the air flow to the chest, somewhat defeating the purpose of the mesh fabric.
The suit also has two lower pockets in the front at the hips. These pockets are wide enough, with slightly more than 130 mm of width and a they're a very deep 32 cm on the left and 28 cm on the right. These also have waterproof-type zippers and are lined, which means that they also block some of the air that might flow through the mesh.
The suit has internal patch pockets on either side of the chest, but the solid fabric used to form these pockets also blocks some of the air flow.
Continuing down the left leg, a clear vinyl map pocket with a window of 140 mm by 165 mm (5.5" by 6.75") also has a waterproof-type zipper; again, this material blocks air flow. The remainder of the front of the leg is covered with the black abrasion-resistant material, which is not mesh, along with shin and knee protectors.
So give the designers credit for adding all sorts of interesting features; however, the combination of the pocket lining material and non-mesh covering greatly reduces the usefulness of the mesh in the amount of air it can flow. The legs in particular seem to have relatively poor ventilation, considering this is a mesh suit.
However, this may only be an issue with the mesh version of the Cross Continent suit; we do not have a non-mesh vented version to compare, and owners of that type of suit are probably more interested in blocking the air for warmth rather than in allowing air to flow through for cooling purposes.
Two large pockets are located on the back of the suit. A square external "backpack" type pocket that is approximately 19 cm wide by 23 cm tall (7.5" by 9") is located in the center of the back. This pocket has "squared" sides and bottom, so it can be overstuffed if desired.
It could probably hold water bottles or a hydration system. The suit has a flap over the right shoulder in the style of a short epaulet, which can secure a drink hose.
A flap along the upper part of the back, just below the collar, covers a waterproof-type zipper. The zipper opens to reveal a large lined pocket that is approximately 28 cm wide by 41 cm deep (11 by 16 inches).
The Teiz Cross Continent suit has several very large sections of highly reflective material on the shoulders, arms and lower legs. As is apparent in the photos above, the suit is highly reflective when this material is illuminated by the camera's flash.
Continuing down the front, the legs feature a single strap with hook-and-loop adjustment system, placed about mid-calf. The pants do not have a method to tighten the lower part of the legs at or near the ankle, and the absence of an adjustment for the ankles gives the legs a relatively loose at the bottom.
The suit features waist belt adjusters on either side, nicely hidden under the mesh in the center, with the belt continuing around the side towards the back, where it meets an elastic section at the lower back.
The belts use hook-and-loop for adjustment, and the belt is attached to a square metal loop located under the mesh section in the center. This loop is attached to a wide section of elastic, which is sewn to the suit. The belt provides a good range of adjustment and the elastic makes it feel comfortable.
The arms have snap adjusters at the mid-forearm and mid-upper arm. These have only one snap for adjustment to make the sleeves tighter, and no elastic on the flap that holds the outer portion of the snap.
These adjusters probably could use a wider range of adjustment to keep the sleeve and armor closer to the rider's arms to prevent movement during a crash. Overall, the suit fits loosely, so the armor may not stay as close to the rider's body as it should when needed.
The Teiz Cross Continent suit features CE-approved (claimed) armor in the knees/shins, elbows/forearm and shoulders. A comparatively thick back pad is also included. The armor is removable; we removed a shoulder and knee section to verify but they are unlabeled.
The seat is covered in a type of slightly rubbery-feeling non-slip material that is padded with a thin but comfortable padding. The design provides a comfortable long-distance seating surface.
The entire Cross Continent suit is lined with a separate mesh material, similar to the type found inside most motorcycle jackets.
One interesting but rather strange feature of the Teiz Cross Continent suit is the sleeve cuffs, which include a zipper that when released, allows the cuff and the sleeve to increase in length by about 25 mm (1 inch).
The cuffs are secured with hook-and-loop straps, but the sleeves are not darted underneath these straps. A dart can help allow the cuff to be more tightly secured so it fits under the glove gauntlet.
Also, the Teiz suit comes with knee sliders attached to hook-and-loop patches. We found these to be unnecessary, thus they were removed.
This Cross Continent suit is size XL, which, according to the Teiz size charts, is the equivalent of a U.S. men's size large. The chart shows the XL fitting a 42-44" chest, 38" waist and 31.5" inseam on a 5'9" to 6'0" male.
Based on this one example, the size charts seem to be correct, with the exception of the legs. The suit feels slightly tight in the crotch, and the legs are about 1" short. The legs seem to ride slightly high when seated on the motorcycle, so motorcycle pants usually have to run longer than street pants to accommodate bent legs when sitting.
Everyone agreed that the Cross Continent suit has many useful features; however, not everyone agreed on the styling and fit of the suit.
The suit appears to be more functional than stylish, but owners of one-piece motorcycle suits seem to be more interested in function rather than style.
But sometimes styling and fit are two sides of the same coin. The Cross Continent suit has a loose fit, and the combination of the fine mesh and the design can't quite support the weight of the entire suit and the armor; thus, the suit hangs more like a pair of overalls than a fitted motorcycle suit.
The suit could probably use some features like behind-the-shoulder arm darts, tapered sleeves with a greater range of adjustments and tapered legs with darts and adjusters from the lower calf to the ankles.
It must be remembered that the mesh version of the Cross Continent suit has a list price of $249.00, which is definitely a very low price for a one-piece motorcycle riding suit. And since mesh one-piece suits are uncommon, it does have a certain unique appeal.
Note however, the comments above regarding the parts of the suit where air flow is blocked due to pockets and other features. Of course, expecting 100% air flow is unreasonable, because of the necessity of abrasion-resistant fabric surfaces, but considering this is a mesh suit, it may have been better for the designers to leave out some of the pockets, or to make the pockets out of mesh, rather than solid material which blocks air flow.
For example, perhaps one waterproof pocket down at the hip would be enough to carry a wallet. More waterproof pockets in a suit made from mesh may or may not make sense. If the chest pockets were also made from mesh fabric, air flow would be increased (as long as the pockets were empty).
The temperatures finally reached the low-to-mid-80's recently (28-29 C); warm enough to break out the mesh clothing.
Comparing the Teiz Cross Continent suit with a standard hot-weather riding outfit, the Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 jacket (review), a pair of Rev'it Mistral partial-mesh pants (review), with Bohn Cool-Air Bodyguard armored underwear (review) underneath, we found that the Teiz Cross Continent offers good air flow across the top of the chest above the pockets, but overall, the Joe Rocket jacket felt like it offered more air flow and was cooler.
The pants are about equal, due to the amount of solid fabric used for the abrasion-resistant covering.
However, one big advantage of a one-piece suit is that it can be worn over street clothes. This is where the loose fit of the Teiz has its benefits, as the suit can be worn over casual clothing during a commute. Just don't get caught in the rain!
The Teiz Cross Continent suit is a very good first effort by this new company. It's always good to see a newcomer come online with a breakout product; more choices and more competition is a good thing!
One of the biggest attractions of the Teiz Cross Continent suit is its price; at $249.00, it's at least half, if not 1/3 of the cost of other one-piece suits, and this may be its most important selling point.
Based on our conversations with Teiz Motorsports, they seem to be serious about providing motorcyclists with alternative products designed by riders for riders, and they welcome your suggestions.
Ours would be this: the temptation with any new product is to compete on features, and the Cross Continent suit certainly is loaded with them -- perhaps to a fault. We'd suggest that perhaps fewer features and a sharper focus on fit and construction would be appropriate for "Version 2.0".
For example, it's really not necessary to have two back pockets, and the overuse of lined pockets in a mesh suit somewhat defeats the purpose. Most of the pockets could be made from mesh, which would probably greatly increase the overall air flow of the suit.
Also, the low price seems to have resulted in some loose threads here and there and not-quite-even seams, along with some fabric pilling that started to show up after the first time the suit was worn (although this shouldn't be a problem with the non-mesh version of the suit).
So we'd like to see another $50.00 or so spent on tightening up some of the tolerances and shaping the suit with more accurate tailoring. This would still price the suit much lower than any equivalent.
In any case, if you're in the market for a one-piece mesh suit, the Teiz Cross Continent may be the only mesh one-piece suit available -- especially at this price.
Remember that we can't vouch for the protective ability of the materials or construction in any of the motorcycle clothing items reviewed on webBikeWorld.
But obviously, the Cross Continent suit is not the equivalent of, say, a Rev'it Infinity (reivew) or Aerostich Roadcrafter. And there are other mesh suits available. However, the pricing of those suits may be out of reach for Teiz customers, and at $249.00, Teiz has the lowest priced mesh suit on the market!
UPDATE: We received this message from Teiz Motorsports:
"First, a big thank-you to the webBikeWorld team for reviewing the product. I'd like your readers to know that the suit that was reviewed was an early production version. We are continually making improvements to our products based on customer feedback, and significant improvements have already been incorporated since the first versions of the suits were manufactured.
For example, the armor in the latest suits has the CE certification tags, and significant improvements have been made in the suit, especially regarding the stitching and overall quality. We will try to update and improve our product as quickly as possible and we have (this page) on our website to document the changes.
Regarding pockets, for those who need the pockets, they are there. For those who would like to remove the pockets for some additional airflow, you can simply snip them off. A 15 second DIY project and you get increased airflow. You could also get the same effect by folding the pocket in to the flap and securing it with the Velcro.
Lastly, I just want to re-emphasize that your feedback is very important so please feel free to contact us."
wBW Review: Teiz Motorsports Cross Continent Suit
|Manufacturer: Teiz Motorsports||List Price (2009): $249.00|
|Colors: Black or gray mesh.||Made In: Pakistan|
|Review Date: May 2009|
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.