FirstGear: Solo Expedition One-Piece Riding Suit
Intersport Fashions West is the maker of the notable Hein Gericke® and First Gear® specialized motorcycle leather apparel lines. Over the past few years the company has been expanding into textile riding garments, with one of their newest offering being the Solo riding suit.
The one-piece suit is made of 500 denier DuPont® Cordura® nylon and features a Vapas® waterproof and breathable inner lining. The Solo suit is claimed to be waterproof, a claim we believe given the materials and construction used - and the fact riders have reported to us that it's 100% reliable. The roomy suit easily fits over street clothes and features a full-length entry zipper system covered by a large double wind flap which batons down by Velcro®. This entry zipper system is claimed to be easier to use than traditional setups.
In use, the somewhat baggy suit is very comfortable and the material feels quite pliable. This high quality Cordura shell material isn't particularly thick or thin, which allows for unrestricted movement and proves comfortable even when bent over in a serious sportbike crouch.
The Solo suit is neither heavy or insulated, so it isn't a suit that will keep you warm in the cold. It's also impossible to use your favorite electric garment as there is no way to run the plug into the suit. The long and awkwardly curved one-piece main zipper, which starts at the right ankle and runs to the top of the collar, prevents this.
Venting is provided by a large rear vent featuring a two-way zipper and waterproof sleeve vents which are covered by a double Velcro closing rain flap. These zippered sleeve vents don't open very far, so the air flow they allow is limited. When riding with the vents open, and the front zipper lowered a bit, the suit does flow a fair amount of air without blowing up like a balloon.
Armor padding is positioned in the knees, hips, shoulder, back and elbow areas. The removable armor, though positioned nicely, is small in size especially for a bulky suit where the armor can move out of its desired position in the event of a get-off. We also didn't like having to Velcro in the the right hip pad every time you enter the suit - very inconvenient.
Exterior pockets include two waterproof bellows type pockets on the front of the legs as well as a well positioned left side breast pocket which closes by way of a smallish strip of Velcro. Inside, there is a hard to get at (very high) closing breast pocket and an awkward small key pocket built into the suits windflap.
Entering the suit is simple enough, but not any easier than with a standard zipper arrangement. You must bend to the ground to start the full-length zipper, and after pulling it up you must still go back and fold then attach the Velcro closing wind flap. This is the price you'll pay to have a storm-proof zipper flap. Once ready to ride, you'll still have to zip the left leg zipper, an easy task, and loop the waist buckle through a belt loop each and every time you don the suit.
The suits comfortable cuffs, attached to extra long sleeves, close and adjust by Velcro straps. The lower leg openings are adjustable by way of Velcro straps which posses a good adjustment range.
The Solo Expedition suit is made with all the quality materials you'd expect from this high-end motorcycle garment maker, and the uniquely designed collar is one of the most comfortable we've used when in the closed position. 3M® and Keprotec® Scotchlite® reflective materials are placed across the front and back of the suit as well as on the sides of the arms.There are many nice touches like the water bottle carrier pocket placed behind the zippered backpad pocket and a flap covered drink tube pass-through to the exterior of the suit.
We obtained the optional bladder and gave it a try. If filled completely (we don't suggest this) the bladder swells up and holds a great deal of liquid. We filled ours about half full so it would lay flat inside it's pocket, fed the long drink tube along the shoulder then fed the tube through the pass-through and went for a ride. We found the bladder to be a very nice addition for warm weather riding. The valve used on the end of the tube is excellent in use. We found the positioning of the bladder on your back tends to pull the suit backwards a bit against the neck. While noticeable, this wasn't too bad for the luxury of carrying liquids with you.
The most difficult part of evaluating this suit was determining just what use it's best suited for. It's a nice fair weather suit for comfortable temperatures, but when temperatures climb or drop the suit becomes a bit uncomfortable. Layering adds warmth, though not as much as with a heavier suit. The ability to open the suit up let cooling air in is hampered by the suits stylish yet still awkward front zipper.
If left to us, we'd have to classify this suit as a comfortable fair weather riding suit or a very high-end and classy rain suit. At this price however, this would be a very pricey rain suit to say the least.
Available from authorized dealerships across the US.
Our suit came with armor padding so soft that it could only be described as simple foam. After contacting the manufacturer, it was discovered the factory had placed incorrect padding in the suit during manufacturing. Upon this discovery, Intersport informed us they would replace the armor, at no charge, for any customer who purchased the suit with the improper padding. All requests must be made directly through IFW. If you have a Solo Expedition suit we highly recommend you do so. We applaud the company for their quick response
We received a replacement armor set and found the new armor to be of high quality though replacement hip pads are not included. . The number for Intersports Fashions West is 800-416-8255.
Product Score Card
|FirstGear: Solo Expedition One-Piece Suit||US - Suggested Retail $ 496.95|
|Quality of Materials||9|
|Overall Score (1-10)||7|
|(product comfort range) >|
|Armor||Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, back||See product note above|
|Pockets||2 leg, 1 breast, 1 internal, 1 key pocket||Limited, especially on jacket|
|Reflective||Front, back, sides of arms, back of neck||Very good|
|Shell||500 denier Cordura w/Vapas lining||Lightweight, waterproof|
|Ventilation||Sleeves and back panel||Waterproof vents|
|Colors||Black/Gray - as shown in photo|
|Warranty||One year limited warranty|
|Pricing||Suggested retail price: $496.95|
Intersport Fashions West
15602 Mosher Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780-6427
(call for a free brochure)
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