Off the fence...
Many thanks to Gringo and all others who have posted to this thread. I was completely unaware of Motoport apparel until about 1 month ago. I have been wanting to replace a pair of Firstgear HT Overpants that have become too small (mid-life spread) and have always been too short and bulky. I've done some exhaustive research trying to find a reason NOT to buy Motoport. Here's what I've found:
The biggest complaint I've heard is isolated poor customer service which I mostly attribute to overly demanding consumers (no offense intended) and a "one man" operation at Motoport. I myself am a very conscienscious consumer and the ~$900 I'll be spending on this suit does not come easily to me. I understand the dynamics of operating a small business and having limited staff. In my opinion, being able to talk to Wayne himself nearly every time I call, or having him promptly return my calls make up for the lengthy production time or frustration of dealing with someone who can't answer my questions or gives me bad information. My first conversation with Wayne was on a Friday ten minutes after his closing time when I recieved his return message. He said in his message that he would be at work a little late and he answered the phone himself when I called. Although Wayne had to make a delivery that evening, he spent more than 20 minutes talking with me and answering my questions. Try and get that level of service from a larger manufacturer!
All other complaints I've heard on the Motport apparel have been rather scarce. They were regarding price, the internal liner catching velcro easily, a weak jacket coat hook and the apparent inconvenience of internal rather than external liners.
We all know price is a personal decision and based on one's financial situation and desired level of protection. If it's worth it to you, you'll pay for it.
If the internal liner catching velcro is a problem I feel I can deal with it. I am notoriously easy on nearly everything I own (except tires and the throttle!).
Wayne told me he uses a pretty durable material for the coat hook (I don't recall what he said it was) and has received very few complaints about it. Wayne said he uses his coat hook all the time and has had no problems with his.
The claimed overlapping temperature ranges between having the Aero Tex liners in and out answered any concerns I had about internal liners. First off the liners breathe so it's not like I'll be wearing a plastic bag. I talked with Wayne in detail about going with the stretch or mesh Kevlar. My riding temps. will range from 20 deg. F to 115 deg. F and all weather conditions except snow or ice. I decided to go with the mesh (central Ca. weather) and should be comfortable with the liners out from 120 deg. F down to ~55 deg. F. With liners in, Wayne said I should be comfortable from 70 deg. F down to at least 20 deg. F with as little as jeans on underneath. Where I mostly ride, the temperatures don't usually fluctuate more than 20 degrees when the highs are 70 or below.
In the end, it was the quality of production, custom sizing, durability, warranty (7 years!), ability to be repaired and year-round wearability that made my decision. I'm going with the Air Mesh Kevlar pant in black with hip armor and the Aero Tex liner. I'm also getting the Ultra II Air Mesh Kevlar jacket in black and blue also with the Aero Tex liner. I decided I should be able to wear thermals and a single layer of polar fleece under the liners to keep warm most of the time. If that's insufficient I could get some heated gear, but for the limited cold weather riding I do here in Ca. I don't think that will be necessary.
One other thing I learned while searching for information is that Wayne will give a discount to MSF instructors. Some older reviews claimed as much as 20% to 30% off. I sent Wayne a copy of my instructor card and happily accepted the 15% discount he extended to me. I didn't press the issue with Wayne, especially since I think the gear is worth the regular price. If there is any truth to the previous discount amounts I would chalk up the difference to Wayne's gear gaining popularity.
Again, if anyone has any recommendations on how I might want to customize this suit, please let me know. One week down, 11 to go!
2005 BMW R1200GS
1997 Yamaha YZF1000