Sunday, 19 June 2016

Rev'it Poseidon Jacket and Trousers Impressions

UPDATE: You can find photos of the suit HERE

The Emperor's New Clothes

Having bought a new suit in 2015 for my daily motorcycling needs, the idea was to replace my then 4 year old Hein Gericke suit. The Hein Gericke suit was working just fine keeping me dry and warm in a functional sense, but had gotten very tatty and tired looking. I had also lost some weight and the HG suit was starting to look more like an oversized clown suit on me. So I made a considerable investment into another brand's top-of-the-line suit with my eye on the next 4 years but ended up being very disappointed. Cold and wet is how I often found myself, might aswell been riding naked. After two attempts to have the suit repaired I was left gravely disappointed, and still out of pocket. I had even taken to wearing a heated vest in the winter, which is an absolute first for me after 19 years of riding. 

I rely on my gear too much, it is my second skin, so I needed something better which in turn eventually led me to Rev'it, and their Poseidon suit. To be honest the only reason I did not go for their higher spec Dominator was because of my previous disappointment, it had tainted my attitude towards investing in a flagship product. That said after 6 months and just shy of 20,000 KM in all weathers I can happily say the Poseidon Jacket and Poseidon Trousers are worth every cent. 

Am I so Hard to Please?

My requirements are fairly straight forward. I commute, travel, go shopping,... essentially if I am going somewhere or doing something it is on my motorcycle and I need a suit I can rely on 100%. The layers underneath may change over the year, but I need the suit to perform as needed when I am on, and off, the motorcycle. The Poseidon is well featured with a mix of special fabrics and construction designed to keep us motorcyclists comfortable and safe in the demanding environments we find ourselves in. Note that for me comfortable means being safe, if you find yourself disctracted by the weather or uncomfortable then you are not going to be as safe as you can be while out on your motorcycle. The suit also includes Gore-Tex and some very useful ventilation features which makes this one of the best all weather suits I have worn, no it will not be like wearing a mesh suit but it manages the heat exceedingly well. This system combines large ventilated pockets in the jacket and trousers which are easily opened with gloved hands thanks to oversized zips, and then held in place with a brilliant magnet/latch system. For managing rain the ventilation also has rubber type channels built around them. The whole lot is extremely well thought through, easy to use and functions as advertised as it provides a useful amount of airflow on those hot days without any compromise to warmth and waterproofing for the rest of the time.

Sizing

If you pop into your local Rev'it dealer they will be able to get you sorted with sizing, and Rev'it will allow you to swap the jacket size at no charge if the store orders in and it turns out to be a little snug or large (well my local does). Generally you should get the sizing right first time. Brand new it will feel a bit stiff, but after 6 months now I can say it is very easy to move around in, and comfortable all day long. At the time the Rev'it brace system does not work with the Poseidon pants, and I am someone you loves their braces so you may need an aftermarket solution there. But that is my only criticism of the sizing and fit. The armour used in the suit is comfortable and does not impede on my movement. When on the motorcycle I find it very easy to look over either shoulder and my Scala Q1 does not snag on anything when I turn to the left (as was happening with my previous suit). 

Performance in Cold and Not so Cold Weather

It has never leaked. You do get the usual dampness coming through the seat of the pants on those long runs through heavy rain but that is a given. Either it breathes and brings a little in, or it doesn't and you sit in your own sweat. I don't mind that. Having rain and cold coming through everywhere is what I will not tolerate. I have never needed to wear the heated vest with this suit, and that includes riding in snow and ice conditions, the lowest I observed this year was -6C / 21F in February (excluding windchill effects) . Under the jacket I have a thermal jacket, fleece, baselayer. In the trousers just the thermal liner and underwear. This was on a Triumph Tiger 800 XRx so not too much in the way of weather protection. If I am warm and comfortable while commuting in that then I can not recommend this enough. My longest cold run was a ride to Cork (approx 2.5 hours) at 2C / 36F. This was on a Ducati Multistrada, again, nice and cosy the whole way.

We have had a few hot days too, the highest I have seen is 23C / 73F, just a t-shirt underneath, vents open, no liners, and the collar has a little tab to keep it open for that little extra air-flow. Little touches like that is what makes me love this suit so much, and again I am not uncomfortable while out and riding. Of course walking around in the gear in those temperatures is another thing, but it does breathe and manage the heat very well. Some suits can feel like being wrapped in bin liners, this is not the case. Again, that word I keep coming back to, it is a comfortable suit to live in.

Overall

My only real regret is not just going for the Dominator suit, if the Poseidon is any indication of Rev'it's quality then I can not help but think I am missing out on that little extra bit of luxury. But I look forward to the next few years of riding comfort with this suit. My two-year old Alpinestars boots are just about on their last and I am probably going to replace them with a Rev'it product, I have also just got my hands on their Hoody Stealth and some H20 Oralndo jeans (both are waterproof but for a biker that also means windproof), so expect to hear about those later in the year once I have a few months and miles in them.

All-in-all if your product research has put the Rev'it Poseidon onto your list of considerations then I really cannot recommend enough.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Blow & Snow - Some Winter Riding in Ireland

"Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish."
~Robert Brault

Glad to see the back of that week, after the storms we had on the lead up to January, January then has brought us the snow and ice. Last week saw a high of 7C and a low of -4C. On the grand scale of things we get it relatively mild, except unless you live on or beside a major motorway or national road then you probably are not going to see a gritter. So leaving our general attitude of "Why be prepared?, sure it'll be grand" to one side I will share some of my own observations about riding in these conditions.

Keeping the Rubber Side Down

First I would like to highly recommend that anyone who is anyway interested in learning or improving their riding skills to spend some time on the Roadcraft Nottingham Youtube channel. For this post I am going to include two of their videos below.

The first deals with how to deal with snow and ice.


And the next deals with how to deal with black ice.


I know many riders will not go out on a wet day, never mind when conditions get anywhere like this, but that does not mean you will not be caught out some time. I would also stress that when we carry out some planning and training it is amazing what can be accomplished, not just on two wheels, but in any endeavor you may find yourself undertaking in life. End of the day, preparation is better than relying on luck.

Dress for the Occasion

It goes without saying that if you are out in these kind of conditions you need to be dressed for it too. This is where the mantra of "be prepared" needs to kick in. With the right gear it really does not matter if your bike ends up being laid up in a hard shoulder. Any gear or clothing that can deal with -4C temperatures, and the additional wind chill factor of speed, is going to be able to deal with you walking (and getting very bloody warm) to the nearest safest location. This is also another good reason to be wearing some hi-viz.

The most basic way of dealing with these kind of temperatures is layering with base, mid, and outer-layers. Spending a little time and money on these items will give you a four season riding option. The stuff should also last for years if looked after. Any motorcycle outerwear that is waterproof can also deal with the wind as that will not be penetrating that layer either. What you need to do now is manage the heat coming from your body. This is where a tight fitting base, and good quality thermal mid-layer come into play.

This year I have also been experimenting with my first heated clothing, an EXO2 StormWalker 2 Heated Gilet. I should do a specific review for this item but my overall impression has been highly positive. This was my own first experience, after 19 years of riding, of heated clothing. Essentially you get to just wear a base layer, heated layer, then outer. Forget about the thermals, even take all your linings out of the outer. But my mistake was ordering the vest and not going for the full heated jacket. Your limbs end up so cold you still need to layer-up. So for anyone looking at heated gear for serious cold weather riding, do invest in the gear with heated limbs and torsos. The vest really are an Autumn morning/evening device.

Personally I am currently riding in some new gear from Rev'It (the Poseidon GTX Jacket and Poseidon GTX Pants). I have only covered a few hundred KM's in them so far and just in this cold weather. They are performing superbly so far and looking forward to some proper wet days to see how they hold up. But expect a full review in due course.

Positive Mental Attitude = Happy to Ride

Ride because it makes you happy, or if you are looking forward to it, but always try to avoid riding (or anything else which needs your attention for that matter) when angry, upset, or otherwise distracted. There is something called an OODA loop. Orient, Observe, Decide, Action. The action at the end may will be to re-orient (thus starting the cycle again). It is a good way to keep focused and to keep your head were it needs to be. If you are tensing up, unable to ride loose/relaxed, then you should pull in. If you are feeling the cold, then you need to warm up too. Trust your instincts, and if you treat riding more like chess then snakes and ladders, then what you get a lot more out of it.

And as always... peace and keep the rubber side down!