Motoport Kevlar first impressions (long, many pics...)

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Gringo, May 18, 2005.

  1. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

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    Ya, I sucked it up and ordered the motoport pants a week ago.

    FYI. they don't use real gore-tex anymore.

    I'm not real happy about it, but there it is.
    #81
  2. Mr. King

    Mr. King Adventurer Lite

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    ...and ordered the Ultra II Kevlar jacket and pants with the non fleece liner. The jacket is hi-vis and the pants are black with as many acres of reflective material as I could get.

    I spoke with a lady named Christy (I hope I spelled that right) and she was absolutely pleasant and professional. Christy calmly talked me through the measurement process and actually made it quite easy!

    I am happy with my first contact with Motoport and now wait like a little kid for my new riding togs!

    I have been wearing an AeroStich one piece Roadcrafter hi-vis (my 'Chick Magnet' suit) for the last two years and have been happy with it for the most part except when the temp gets over 80 degrees. I really hope the Motoport is the answer to the hot weather riding blues.

    I will try to post a review in a separate thread when the suit comes in.

    MacMan
    #82
  3. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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    I recently got my Motoport gear I ordered at the beginning of December and it arrived a couple weeks earlier than he predicted!

    :clap
    #83
  4. charleshmosesii

    charleshmosesii No skills no worries

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    You are referring to the rain liners of course. I wouldn't be concerned...a friend who works at REI explained how there are many competing waterproof-n-breathable products to Goretex now, and many work as well or better at the same or cheaper price, and being in the business, he often chooses competitor products over Goretex. Its apparently more of a name recognition thing now, kind of like BMW being the standard for quality motorcycles maybe?! :lol3

    That being said, I have the rain liner pants and jacket with my Motoport Kevlar Ultra II gear, and I find it to be of higher quality than I've seen in riding liners. They pack bulkier than the super-thin stuff (probably because they are lined themselves!), but they are real rainwear that will keep you dry and prolly last a long while. The jacket seems the same as my $250 North Face hiking jacket for instance. (Hmmm another analogy...Goretex might be akin to like North Face still being good but no longer being the standard for quality in outdoor gear, having many same/superior yet cheaper competitors now).
    #84
  5. dlew

    dlew Daypass Adventurer

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    Wayne actually has a reference to advrider.com on his site. Of course it's not a clickable link--that wouldn't be in the same spirit as the rest of the site... :D :D :lol3 :lol3
    #85
  6. Gringo

    Gringo simple by nature

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    thanks for the tip, Dlew -

    from the Motoport UltraII jacket page:

    "For the best evaluation ever made go to www.advrider.com Type in Search window (Motoport Kevlar first impressions) (50 or more pages of pictures/evaluations.) "




    kewl! My :205 is gaining notoriety! (wonder if he'll gimme a discount on future purchases?)



    :queenie
    #86
  7. Jabba

    Jabba "HOLD THE LIGHT!!!"

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    Yeah- in about 14 years when you're riding around in threads ya damned luddite!!!:evil :D :wave
    #87
  8. dlew

    dlew Daypass Adventurer

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    Many thanks to Gringo for starting this thread. It was much needed and long overdue. It was important because to me because I couldn't get what i wanted from the website. Presentation is everything.

    My new Ultra Kevlar II pants and jacket arrived a couple of weeks ago and have been trying it out. It arrived a bit earlier than expected.

    I went for black--all black. No logos. Reflective Scotchlite was added to the length of the arms.

    [​IMG]


    The measurements were done per the instructions on the site and I sent in a pair of jeans with the kneecap markings as instructed. It worked well and the suit fits me perfectly.

    [​IMG]

    The reason I bought the suit was that I wanted the most protective and versatile armored textile riding/touring gear I could buy. All the major manufacturers were considered but Motoport stuck in my mind when I couldn't find any reports of suit failure in the the reports and reviews I read. Guys laying it down at 70mph more than once and walking away with the suit and them ok stuck in my mind.

    As far as looks go I always found the suit frumpy looking. It's not that looks are a prioirty in a protective suit but there are times when I have to wear the jacket (and sometimes the pants) into work and the jacket is big and looks "inflated." (My BMW Santiago, otoh, could almost pass as a sporty over jacket.) The black hid a lot of the frumpiness and of course hides a lot of dirt so I went with it.

    The stretch kevlar is very comfortable. When you have a lot of armor in a piece of clothing it sure makes it a lot easier to move if the fabric gives a little. I somewhat regret getting the reflective Scotchlite along the arms as it retards the stretch a little bit although I'm not really stretching my arms that much when I'm riding.

    [​IMG]

    The Ultra Kevlar II gives me more confidence than the other riding outfits I've had. There's a lot of armor and armor in places where I haven't seen armor before: in the thighs and on the chest. It's curious to me that hip pads are an option. If you want them make sure you order them at time of manufacture as they charge more to do them afterwards. I had thought of just velcroing in some myself but they did a good job, sewing two pieces into the lining on EACH side of the zipper opening that accesses your pant pocket.

    Think about this if you have one on order and make sure they get your instructions before the suit is due. It may be made sooner than you think. I had just read two face plant threads where the rider was going to order them post-plant so I decided to get it over with now. BTW, Wayne believes that more initial impacts (the most injurous) are to the thigh area but we all know hips make impact, too.

    I particularly like the Kevlar reinforced seat. I've seen some BMW pants worn through in the seat area and it's not pretty.

    Here's a picutre showing the wide and deep elastic waistband (very comfortable), the Kevlar seat, the back of thigh pad, and two of the four hip pads.

    [​IMG]

    The pants are not as easy to get on as full leg zip pants like the HT Overpants. With the HTs I can stand on the sidewalk and zip out of them. With the Motoports I feel I should sit down to remove them. OTOH, they're nice and snug and i don't feel the knee armor is going to rotate out of place in a get-off. So what I'm saying is I might consider them as overpants and I may not use them as commuter/errand pants as much as I would another pant because it's too much trouble to jump in and out of them several times a day--on the street.

    I also had them add some Scotchlite to the leg cuff flaps because I thought the Roadcrafter reflective patches were effective in this place.

    [​IMG]

    I've only used it in cold weather. I ordered the waterproof liner and the insulated liner, too, and the insulated liner, while warm, is too bulky for my taste. I'd rather wear a Gerbings liner for riding although if I had to spend some time off the bike, too, I'd insert both liners. I'm in the Northeast and once you unplug you get cold pretty fast if you don't have insulation--you're running back to the bike to plug-in. I have not tried it in the rain.

    There have been claims that the Kevlar blend stuff is both cooler when it's hot and warmer when it's cold. I had a hard time understanding that but now I kind of get it. Because the whole suit is breathable, the armor included, I've been standing around in my suit in a warm room and I'm more comfortable than I am in other suits that are more airtight even if breathable. I'm sure riding in the wind with a coolmax shirt will be more comfortable for me than before.

    And warmer, too? I've noticed that the fabric doesn't transmit the ambient temperature as much as other fabrics. When I've ridden (or skied) in cold temperatures I've noticed that my shell is so cold that it's like wearing a cooling blanket and that the coldness of the fabric is making my insulation cold. The kevlar blend doesn't feel cold against my skin like the pure corduras and dynatecs.

    I was concerned the black might be absorb a lot of heat but reportedly the same thing is happening as far as less heat transmission: the fabric itself doesn't get hot. I'll let you know in August. We shall see.

    I'm not sure about the neck. It's a little too big for my taste and it's letting in a lot of air. I never wear a balaclava and I don't want to carry around an Aerostitch triangle.

    All in all I'm happy and would regret the day that I couldn't order another one to replace this one when it wears out. It's a small shop and you never know what will happen.

    The suit definitely has the feel of something that's been handmade. It looks like it took a lot more to put this suit together than the other "mass produced" ones I've seen and I feel I got my money's worth. There aren't too many quality custom items you can get these days that are truly functional and unique at a price that rivals "stock" items.

    Thanks again to Gringo. Wayne SHOULD give you a discount. He mentions you on the phone by name in the same sentence as advrider.com!
    #88
  9. Gringo

    Gringo simple by nature

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    Great! If some fellow riders get into some great gear as a result of this thread, then that'll be a good thing. Also if it boosts Wayne's business and keeps him around longer, I'd be happy about that too...

    :thumb
    #89
  10. LarryGS

    LarryGS Been here awhile

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    Nice review. I didn't know the hip pads were an option when I got my pants made about a yr. ago! Any idea of the after-production cost? I don't dare go to the website.
    I've been really happy with my pants and jacket, got the jacket, 2nd hand, about 1 1/2 yrs ago. Wayne's got a good thing going. Great gear, haven't looked back for my Roadcrafter since putting this stuff on.
    #90
  11. dlew

    dlew Daypass Adventurer

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    hello larry,

    the charge for the hip pads is $49 at the time of manufacture. wayne offered to do it for the same price and added the scotchlite on the pants, too, at no charge. plus, he turned it around in three hours despite saying it was a very busy day and sent it right back out.

    hope this helps.
    #91
  12. Slappy McGee

    Slappy McGee Fatty Fat

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    This thread has been a huge help, and as of last night, I'm in the queue for a set of mesh kevlar pants and jacket for my wife and I. I was wondering if anyone has any good pics of the mesh stuff (completed jacket/pants) and any suggestions/caveats for them? We're planning an RTW ride in 2007 so there will be lots of slow/dirt riding and mesh seemed like the way to go versus stretch.

    Also I was wondering if any of the pockets are waterproof, or if that is an option of some sort.

    We're going to measure up tonight and send in tomorrow, so hopefully we'll be able to use our new gear for most of the season!
    #92
  13. dlew

    dlew Daypass Adventurer

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    I'm curious to know why you decided on the mesh gear. Where are you riding RTW? Only warm climates?

    None of the pockets on mine are waterproof but there is one on the inner rain jacket.
    #93
  14. el tortuga

    el tortuga Been here awhile

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    Coincidently, I just got my kevlar (stretch) pants from Wayne today. Really nice, fit is perfect.
    Even though I live in the SW, I opted for the stretch pants over the mesh for 2 reasons. First, I don't feel the heat has that much effect on my core temp and second, the stretch kevlar seemed more comfortable. That mesh seems to be some pretty coarse stuff to have as pants.
    A mesh jacket sounds perfect for my needs and I'll probably end up buying one in the future.
    #94
  15. Slappy McGee

    Slappy McGee Fatty Fat

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    Partly because I sweat like a fat kid at the buffet... seriously though we're planning on starting off in South America and then heading to Africa or Europe. I was originally considering the stretch kevlar, but Wayne suggested that at slow speeds or doing any non-asphalt work, the mesh would be the better choice.
    #95
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Just FYI I found that putting a windproof rain jacket/pants over my streach kevlar motoport suite actually is quite warm. Its a little more hassle than wearing a more normal winter jacket in cold weather (which is what I usually do) but on long trips where there will big temp swings I always chose the kevlar suite and pack a rain suite for wet or cold conditions. If its going to be really cold I'll bring my electric vest too, which combined with the windproof stuff over the kevlar suite is plenty to keep me comfortable in extended sub-freezing temps.

    For the record I have the streach kevlar GPII suit and an Ultra (cordura) Jacket. The armor is the only thing about them I'm not crazy about. Its just kind of bulky and generic. Seems as though it was all cut from a big flat plate of armor rather than specifically molded for each location. Its especially noticeable in the elbows where the armor isn't pre-cureved at all. Kind of like riding with stiff cardboard in your kit.

    The material is awsome, breaths quite well, comfortable and seems very sturdy (have not crash tested it yet).

    I would like to add a mesh kevlar Ultra II suit to my closet as the GPII pants are a bit of a hassle to put on and off for every day commuting.
    #96
  17. harderkev

    harderkev Slab Sucks!

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    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!

    Kev

    2005 BMW R1200GS
    1997 Yamaha YZF1000
    #97
  18. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Congrats, I'm sure you'll like it.

    I would have the liner or a waterproof over-jacket (my perference) with you on those 55°F mornings. Frankly, I'd freeze wearing mesh in 55° F weather, but then I don't really have any wind protection either.

    In 20°F weather you'll want an extra layer or two under the jacket, but will be fine. An electric vest is nice, but not necessary ( I commuted year round for several years in NoVA without one and survived. This past winter was my first with one and I must admit I'm adicted:)).
    #98
  19. harderkev

    harderkev Slab Sucks!

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    Thanks for the tips. I don't plan on going anywhere without the liners unless it's the middle of the summer or I'm going on a long trip.

    It probably doesn't compare to riding with the Kevlar gear but my reference point is that I can do short rides (less than 1 hour) wearing just jeans in temps. down to 50 deg. F as long as I'm wearing a warm jacket (liner in) and warm gloves.

    I'm not real informed on the bulk or cost of thermal underclothes that would keep me warm under the Aero Tex liners down to 20 deg. F. I'm hoping that a medium-weight (Polartec 200?), snug-fitting lycra/poly layer capable of wicking away moisture would work so I can keep the uninsulated fit of the gear as close to ideal as possible.

    Not to change the subject, but does anyone have any suggestions?
    #99
  20. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

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    suggestions which i've placed with my order for pants:

    1) no logo on the front flap. I'm a plain jane type of guy.
    2) Wayne said the elastic-like (??) waist band will go up and down several inches. I asked him to make mine +1 to +2 inches since, having a 31" waist, isn't likely to get smaller, but eventually will probly get bigger


    For the jacket, which I plan to buy maybe next year after I wear out my revit air-flow...:

    1) full, closable, cross-strapping high neck. That's right... turtleneck style. Just how i like it.
    2) small forearm pocket like Gringo referenced from the "stich"
    3) Tightening straps on the upper and lower arms to take out slack. If you haven't seen them, check out the revit airflow jacket's version of this. I don't know if cycleport has such a thing, but it's basically a flap that attached to 2 different snaps. You can loosen and tighten depending on underclothing so that your sleeves aren't flapping in the breeze.
    4) if you want more visibility stripes...


    One more suggestion on the mesh vs stretch debate.
    I live in Florida. For 7-9 months, it's the surface of the freakin sun hot outside. I grew up in Kansas. Get's really cold in the winter.

    You can ALWAYS put more clothes on. You can't always take em off.
    I expressed my concerns about heat and cold to Wayne and he said with nothing but a pair of jeans and the un-insulated liner, you can easily ride in weather down to the 20's.

    Wayne sent me a small envelope of sample fabrics. The mesh certainly seems stronger. Just is a thicker weave. I was worried about comfort, but really, the inside sleeve-like liner will be what you feel and it's the same in both types. He also sent a small document showing the strength and tear resistance ratings of mesh and stretch vs leather, cordura, etc.
    I'll try to dig it up this weekend and scan it and put it on here.

    If I can find the small pieces of fabric, I"ll post here and if anyone wants them, I'll send them in the mail. Kindof a pass-it-on type of thing.