Let’s see — we have riding outfits specifically designed for hot weather and for cold weather. Then we have leather outfits for track days.
Dirt riding? Back road scratching? Cruising? Rain? Yep, got ’em all covered with separate ensembles.
I’ve long ago given up on finding the single perfect all-weather, all-purpose motorcycle riding outfit. Well, maybe not completely given up, because technology seems to take us closer and closer with each passing season, so we may yet see it in our lifetime.
In the meantime, the only solution is to lay out the dosh for an assortment of outfits, or combinations thereof (hmmm, a good topic for a wBWarticle…) that will work in the widest variety of atmospheric conditions.
Unfortunately, that strategy has my wallet screaming for mercy, while still leaving me one outfit short.
Which one? The outfit that will allow me to enter a store, a restaurant (nothing fancy, just good food) or hang out down at the local shaved ice stand without looking as obvious as, say, Gort in a Hi-Viz Darien.
After all, in a land where the definition of “protective gear” is a leather vest worn over a T-shirt, citizens seem to freak at even the sight of a full-face helmet, much less a one-piece leather suit.
“Normal” looking motorcycle riding clothing is especially important when touring, where long days in the saddle call for maximum comfort and it’s important to keep from scaring little kids during the mandatory gas stop, bio break and Pecan Log Roll fill-up at Stuckey’s.
Sure, you can wear something like a Roadcrafter one-piece over some street clothes, but you’ll sweat your patooty off by time you arrive.
So here’s a novel “why didn’t I think of that” idea: how about a riding outfit that looks stylish enough to wear both on and off the bike?
Of course, it would have to offer a modicum of protection, like DuPont Cordura for abrasion resistance; CE-approved armor in the knees, elbows, back and shoulders; some 3M Scotchlite piping and enough vents and Airflow mesh lining to keep things cool during that desert crossing.
But the real key is looks — how about a pair of pants with quasi-military/outback styling, complete with an assortment of cargo and zippered pockets, knee and hip armor and an expandable waistband. Add a matching jacket with 7 pockets, including one for a dedicated cell phone and one for a pen; sleeve and waist cinch adjusters to keep things nice and snug; an 8″ pants zipper attachment; and 4 zipper opening air vents?
That pretty much describes the new Olympia Moto Sports “Recon Transformer” riding outfit — except for one additional, surprising and very unique feature: it also has zip-off pant legs and jacket sleeves! Sure enough, this outfit looks good enough to wear on or off the bike and it also converts to a nice pair of shorts and an adventure-style vest!
In effect, it’s a four-in-one outfit that you can wear to the store or a rally and probably even for a hike in the woods. It has to be one of the most interesting motorcycle riding outfits we’ve ever experienced.
The Recon Transformer pants fit just like a comfy pair of relaxed fit jeans.
They even have a jeans-type waist, complete with 5 loops for your favorite belt, a street-pants type zipper and a waist closure with a hook and a snap, each covered in a matching rubberized material. The two front slash hand pockets are huge, at 6″ (15 cm) wide and about 11″ (28 cm) deep.
There are two more big cargo pockets on the thighs that measure 10″ deep (25.5 cm) and 6″ wide (15 cm). Each pocket has a flap with a rubberized snap button and the pockets have a side zipper that opens up to allow air flow over the legs.
Two more square-cut pockets are located in the rear; each is 5.5″ wide (14 cm) and 8″ deep (20 cm). The pants are lined with Olympia’s “Cool Mesh Airflow” perforated material, which makes them comfortable and cushions the skin from the harsher Cordura fabric. The pants also have a minimal amount of removable padding in the hips.
The bottom of the pant legs can be removed via a zipper that leaves the shorts with about a 10″ inseam. The lower pant leg has CE-approved removable knee armor in a pocket that can be adjusted to any one of three different heights. There’s a nice hem that hides the zipper when the legs are attached or removed.
The inseam is a long 33″ with the lower pant legs attached. This actually works out pretty well because the extra length is needed to keep the pants from creeping up when the legs are bent. The cuffs are designed to be cut and hemmed to create a real custom fit…just like a pair of jeans.
We think the pants look great and they’re very comfortable. They’re also very light weight at only 794 grams, or 1-3/4 lbs., including the armor. This is actually lighter than a pair of my relaxed fit street jeans, which weigh 893 grams, or 1.97 lbs.!
Remember that the Recon Transformer pants (and jacket) are only 500 Denier Cordura, so they obviously won’t provide the same levels of protection as, for example, a pair of perforated leather riding pants, but they probably offer better abrasion resistance than a pair of cotton jeans for sure.
I honestly don’t think there’s any way someone would know that the shorts have been “transformed” from a pair of motorcycle riding pants. They look just like a pair of hiking shorts that may have been purchased at REI or L.L. Bean.
The Recon Transformer jacket is designed to match the pants, with the same rugged adventurer look. The jacket has a street-style collar that can be either turned up and secured for some extra protection against the elements, or left open and connected to the jacket with metal snaps. The jacket has two zippered openings towards the top of the chest, one on each side, to allow air to flow through.
The jacket has two big square external expandable front pockets, each about 6″ wide (15 cm) and 8″ deep (20 cm). They’re covered with flaps which have the same type of rubberized snap buttons that are used on the pants pockets. Each square pocket also has an individual zippered pocket on the outside, each about 6″ wide by 6″ deep (15 cm by 15 cm).
Inside the left breast flap is yet another huge pocket, this one is about 11″ deep (28 cm) with a 6″ opening (15 cm). I don’t know how they did it, but the Recon Transformer outfit definitely gets the prize for the biggest pockets we’ve ever seen on any type of motorcycle riding clothing, bar none.
There’s also a cell phone pocket with an attached pen pocket inside the left breast. The jacket is also made from 500 Denier Cordura and has the Airflow mesh lining to keep it comfortable and to help circulate the air flow.
The jacket includes big elastic side panels and a Velcro waist adjuster. There are two additional Velcro side adjusters on each side of the jacket under the arms, which help to keep the jacket snug when the arms are attached and after it’s been transformed to a vest.
Speaking of which, the sleeves zip off at the shoulder, converting the jacket into a vest that’s reminiscent of the type seen on outdoor photographers, which is exactly how I’ve used it a couple of times. It’s a darn handy vest both on and off the motorcycle, and those big pockets make it very useful for many projects.
The jacket includes some nice, CE-approved “Motion Flex” flexible back armor. The same type of Motion Flex armor is used in the elbows of the removable sleeves.
By the way, the sleeves have a Velcro cinch strap to keep the armor snug and to keep the material from flapping around in the breeze. The sleeve cuffs use Velcro adjusters to cinch them up, which works nicely when worn either under or over a pair of gloves.
The jacket has a full-length YKK zipper. Olympia didn’t scrimp on the zippers; they all have a quality feel and haven’t given us any trouble.
Wow, with all those features, did I miss anything? Oh yes – the jacket also has a pair of zippered vent openings in the rear, one on each side, located vertically at the lower back.
And the Recon Transformer outfit is available either in khaki (shown here) or olive colors.
One thing to note is that although the legs can be easily removed when wearing the pants, it’s difficult to unzip the sleeves while wearing the jacket. Maybe a younger and more flexible arm could do it, but I can’t.
The legs don’t have side zippers or openings, so motorcycle boots will probably have to be removed before the legs can slide off. If you’re traveling with a companion, he or she can easily unzip the sleeves and they can be removed without having to take off the jacket.
And Olympia apparently makes no claims that the clothing is waterproof. I think that would incompatible with the goal of providing a light-duty riding outfit that converts to near-street clothing once the destination is reached.
By the way, if you think all this functionality comes at a steep price, think again: the pants retail for $119.99 and the jacket is $169.99. A definite bargain.
The Olympia Recon Transformer jacket and pants constitutes one of the most unique and useful riding outfits we’ve seen in a long time. It’s definitely the type of “out of the box” thinking that is refreshing in the world of copycat motorcycle clothing design. We predict that this outfit will be very popular with summer touring riders and adventurers.
Product Review: Olympia Moto Sports Recon Transformer Jacket & Pants