BMW has introduced the latest version of a perennial favorite, the Rallye suit, with subtle improvements and new colors for 2015. To say this is a marvel of sartorial engineering would be an understatement. The Rallye incorporates more tricks and functionality than a magician’s cloak.
There are as many adventure-style motorcycle rider’s suits as there are ADV-style motorcycles. One could research this segment endlessly and find features and benefits in every one. The Rallye, pretty much, has them all and roundels on the shoulders.
This year Rallye buyers can choose color choices of blue/grey or grey/red, and BMW is utilizing a new generation of protectors, NP2 by name, which offer state-of-the-art impact protection with less bulk on the back, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees (included and adjustable to 3 different heights).
When a top manufacturer offers a popular and functional garment like this one year after year, the level of refinement to the product is expected to be high – and BMW doesn’t disappoint. The result is obvious and seen in all the details and it’s the little things that matter.
Sleeves are now adjusted above and below the elbow without the old, long straps. The jacket flap pockets were re-designed to better overlap when the pockets are filled and, when fastened properly, are guaranteed waterproof, without the extra inside zipper others use.
The trouser and liner bottoms have been cut differently to improve fit when wearing the Rallye GS Pro, or other large enduro boots. They have even added a silicon band around the hem of the jacket liner to greatly increase the coefficient of friction and prevent the liner from riding up under the jacket.
BMW has trended toward combining what once were two separate layers (Gore-Tex and insulation) into one unit that is easier to deal with and leaves the base layer option up to the wearer. The Bavarian manufacturer has textured the inner side of the Gore-Tex so it doesn’t feel as cold as earlier versions.
In season-by-season use, I rarely ever wore one or the other. Even if it’s cold I use both layers – regardless if rain is not in the forecast. This single layer is not as insulating as the old high-loft polyester liner but adding a sweater, sweatshirt, high-tech base-layer or electric BMW HeatUp vest or jacket will more than make up for this change. It’s also easier to deal with assembling the garment when it’s time to transition to or from liner use.
Of great interest is BMW’s new inner membrane with what they call Comfort-Mapping, in which the membrane fabric has different characteristics and they are positioned in appropriate areas of the body. It is basically waterproof and breathable yet BMW is able to fine tune this for different zones on the garment. Of the three areas, Zone 1 is called “FLOW” for the back and top of the seat and is highly breathable. Zone 2, called “COMFORT,” is located at the knees, bottom of the seat, shoulders and neck, and has a warming, light fleece. Zone 3 is “SHIELD,” and delivers maximum waterproofing capability.
The construction of the suit’s outer material is Cordura fabric (100-percent polyamide, developed by BMW). Those areas with high risk of damage in a crash are reinforced with a wear-resistant mixture of polyamide and polyester. The surface is water-repellent and there is a breathable coating on the inside to make the fabric stronger. All this is lined in 100-percent polyester.
There is a generous amount of reflective material at front and back of sleeves for that “reflective-strip look” and the reflectors have been repositioned so they are no longer covered by the shoulder straps of a backpack, if worn.
When the weather turns hot one may open the typical fold-back vent panels on the chest, a large yoke insert which is open at the bottom, vertical vents on the torso and those running up the inside of the sleeves. The raglan-cut sleeves are attached by zippers and can be removed completely. Naturally, there is a hydration pack pocket in back, designed for BMW’s TrinkPak Hydra, with routing grommets for the plumbing.
The collar is held closed by Velcro, without need of a snap, and the materials around the neck start with a leather-like edge with mesh below for no chafing and all-day comfort. The bottom hem of the jacket has a drawstring closure to pull tight against the elements and the spring clip retainers are, thoughtfully, provided with a retainer snap to keep them in place so they don’t hang down when pulled tight.
ADV jackets can often be defined by load-carrying ability, and the pockets offered here are plentiful. Two slash flap and zipped pockets are on the chest with the waterproof main pockets below. There are two inner Napoleon-style pockets as well as the ubiquitous, transparent left forearm zipped pocket to, of many things, keep a picture of your favorite BMW bike, cat or route instructions. Then there is the flap-covered large, lower back cargo pocket divided 2/3 for cargo with top-entry and 1/3 with a zipped side opening.
Naturally, there is a connecting zipper to connect the pants to the jacket. There are zippered vents on the upper thighs and they do a pretty good job but for the hottest days. The waist and cuffs have Velcro fasteners for adjustment.
There are two zipped pockets in the usual places and a pocket, with Velcro flap, on the left upper thigh. There are Kevlar stretch zones above the knee and the seat with genuine leather pads, highly embossed with BMW Motorad signatures, on the insides of the knees for a good grip on the sides of the fuel tank. The calf areas are covered with stretch material.
At both hips we find a 2.5 x 3.5 inch piece of Velcro loop to allow the rider to secure his heated vest controller, or whatever, to the pants. Above the Velcro is a loop that will allow one to route wires or hang incidentals. This is very well thought out.
The pants are cut with a bit of a short rise. I know that is more in style these days but it rides about an inch lower on my hips than what I am accustomed to in a motorcycle pant. All-in-all, a very well- engineered piece of clothing.
The Rallye Suit retails for $1,548; the jacket alone is $899, and the pants $649. For additional information, visit BMW Motorrad.
For other BMW gear reviews, visit:
- Helmet: Schuberth C3 Pro
- Jacket: BMW Rallye
- Pants: BMW Rallye
- Gloves: BMW Rallye GS Pro
- Boots: BMW Gravel