BMW Atlantis Jacket, Pants and Gloves Review | Old School is Too Cool
The market is profuse with well-designed and capable motorcycling suits, but few have those certain attributes that make them stand out as extra special, highly functional, perfectly fit and extremely good-looking. BMW’s Atlantis suit and gloves are just such items.
This is the Atlantis 5, but BMW now simply calls it the Atlantis Suit, without version designation. With a combined MSRP around $2,150, the Atlantis gear won’t be for all riders, and some readers will scoff at the idea of spending this much on anything, including their bikes.
Those that want their riding togs to be commensurate in appearance and quality with their high-dollar ADV, sport or touring bike need look only as far as this marvel of simplicity and build quality. It’s old school because it doesn’t have any vents, hidden cell phone pockets or liners, yet it is a marvel of modern garment construction.
BMW calls this an all-weather touring suit. It is not waterproof but it is water-resistant. I wore it in a light rain for about an hour and it kept me dry and warm. It also dried with no sign of having been wet as little or no moisture actually penetrated the leather. It might not be the suit I would choose for a 4-season or extended trip because, through various daily temperature swings, I found its comfort range (with a long-sleeve polyester base layer) from the low-50s to about 85 degrees F. I wear it on days when I know the weather will match this range. You may feel differently. I suggest it would be perfect for spring and autumn as well as summer in cold climates and winter in warm climes.
Naturally, one could wear more underneath with a heated liner and rain suit, too. I selected a size that fits me like a bespoke Saville Row or well-fitted race suit. It’s snug but perfect on me, and I have room only for a base layer, but that was my decision. I have other suits for more extreme weather so I wanted a slim, fashionable look that functioned well for most any bike I pick to ride.
It is cut high under the arms yet the shoulders are just right. The arm length is perfect at my wrists and do not hike up when stretching out for the handlebars because the cut is proportioned precisely and there are stretch zones in the shoulder and back, as well as above the knee and on the trouser waistband.
BMW Atlantis Leather
The first thing one notices, and one of the major details that make this ensemble so special, is a combination of the materials, cut and construction. Of foremost interest is the abrasion-resistant Nubuck leather (1.2-1.4 mm). Wiki says, “Nubuck is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. It is resistant to wear. Nubuck is similar to suede, but is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness and a fine grain. It is generally more expensive than suede.”
BMW states, and I think this is important, that “the hides are processed in a German tannery employing environmentally-compatible procedures, with its own water treatment facility, power supply and heat and power cogeneration. Finishing relies on solvent-free, water-based dying materials: No PCP preservatives or carcinogenic azo-compounds are employed in the dyehouse processes (hides are not salted). The hides are processed 90 % fresh.
“This makes the leather soft and supple against the skin while simultaneously reducing demands on water resources. Storage would entail using salts as a preservative. Multiple rinsings would be required to wash it out. Mineral tanning, representing the most ecologically aware tanning process in current leather treatment, is performed with conscientious adherence to German standards. The use of media with a low nitrogen content (in deliming during the tanning process) is easy on the environment and makes a massive contribution to avoiding water contamination in the form of eutrophication. Extended soaking allows major reductions in chemical use.”
Get this – the leather is hand-selected exclusively from bulls of about one-year old from the Alpine region. BMW says, “…because weather variations, diet and country environment produce a skin that is extremely elastic and thick. Hand-selected and exclusively in unexcelled quality. The salient assets of this Nubuck leather with its high-strength water-resistant coating reside in its ability to repel water and its limited moisture absorption (max. 10% of its own weight). These features ensure low weight increase and rapid drying. The leather’s water-repellent coating is restricted to the leather fiber, while the pores remain open. This process preserves the material’s free-breathing properties.”
BMW recommends professional dry cleaning in its literature but somewhere in the zeitgeist is the idea that this suit is machine washable. I have two friends who own earlier versions of this suit. One gently machine washes it yearly and the other does yearly dry cleaning. Many years later both are happy with their suits, still wear them regularly (including off-road) and consider them the best gear they’ve ever had.
Both suits are fading a bit but that only makes them look better and the washed suit looks none the worse for the experience. Personally, I would follow the manufacturer’s directions: Do not machine wash – Regular, periodic cleaning with a damp sponge (to remove flies, dirt) and with a rubberized velour leather brush (for dust and dried dirt) – Periodic sealing with BMW sealant – Cleaning at a professional leather cleaning facility as required (remove protectors).
BMW Atlantis Jacket
The jacket is waist length and the trousers have a slightly high cut rise to match. Together they have a sporty look that is all business. Both full-circumference and short rear zippers give the wearer a choice on how to zip the jacket and trousers together and allow zipping to other BMW garments. There are two zippered hand-warmer pockets on the outside and two more inside, also zippered. The waist is gathered with elastic to help seal at the bottom while retaining mobility.
Interestingly, there is a full length zipper behind the main zipper in front that secures a waterproof membrane fabric flap. The wearer zips this up then closes the main zipper. This membrane serves to weatherproof the front of the jacket without having to incorporate a storm flap. It is a great idea as are the twin sleeve zippers on each arm. One zipper is on the outside of the cuff and the other next to the torso.
The one outside allows a wide split when unzipped and the other narrow. This offers options for zipping both closed to seal the arms and allow the Atlantis (or any) gauntlet glove to fit over. Or one may open the narrow zipper to wear a glove under the cuff or open them both to allow air to vent up the arms in warm weather. It really is ingenious in its simplicity.
The neck is sealed with a tab snap with two positions. There are understated reflective stripes on the shoulders and standard NP2 protectors on the back, shoulders and elbows. All seams are taped and waterproof and the zippers are rubberized and water-resistant. The interior is lined with a common perforated polyester seen in many brands and high in moisture transferring ability.
BMW’s NP2 protectors are sourced from SAS-TEC of Germany which supplies this material to other manufacturers, as well. They are the latest generation of reactive armor that hardens upon impact to help distribute incoming forces over a greater area. In everyday use they are soft and comfortable and less bulky than some older style protectors.
The Atlantis is positioned precisely where fashion and function meet. Everything about this suit makes you want to touch it and wear it. When worn to my local hangout I had more hands rubbing the goods than I care to count. Unfortunately, they were mostly those of middle-aged men.
BMW Atlantis Pants
As is the jacket, the pants are lined in the same perforated polyester. The waist is secured by a hook as well as a snap and is adjustable on both sides with hook-and-loop straps.
Behind the fly is a non-removable waterproof fabric “inverted pleat,” like you’ve probably seen on rain liners, that will keep out any moisture that makes it past the fly zipper. I’d say it would take a real gully-washer for that to happen.
There are stretch zones above the knees and below the waistband at the rear. I particularly like the cut of the seat that fits nicely and doesn’t have the droopy diaper look of many leather suits. Naturally, we all don’t fit alike but I’m lucky to fit most off-the-rack clothing in my size. If you’re like me, you will drop right in to your size and look good.
There are two zippered horizontally slashed pockets. The cuffs are secured with 9-inch zippers under a storm flap which is secured by hook-and-loop tabs. NP2 protectors are standard at the knees and hips and there is a pocket in the liner for a small coccyx protector that is not included. There are two different-length zippers to match to the jacket or other apparel.
BMW Atlantis Gloves
The Atlantis gloves are a gauntlet designed with hook-and-loop wrist and cuff straps. They can be cinched at the wrist to allow them to be worn over or under the jacket’s cuff and are of medium weight without much loft to the 100% jersey polyester liner, thus well-matching the suit’s temperature comfort range.
The three-layer laminate construction makes the glove easy to pull on and, because of this, the liner never turns inside-out upon removal, as you may have experienced with other gloves on a hot day.
The edges of the hands and base of the thumb are built on a Schoeller Keprotec layer, a Kevlar-like aramid fiber used in many race suits, and have two layers of leather over that. A nod to the modern are the thumb and index fingers that allow touchscreen operation of your smartphone or other capacitive-screen devices.
Gore-Tex X-Trafit, popular in many garments, allows breathability while ensuring they are windproof and waterproof. The palm construction is of goatskin nappa leather and the back of the hand is cowhide suede to match the color and texture of the jacket. Both leathers are waterproofed, as well.
On the back of the hand are stretch panels and ribbed areas over the fingers and knuckles all lined with impact-absorbing memory foam. There is a rubber blade on the left forefinger to wipe your shield in the rain. Reflective panels are placed on the knuckles and wrist area. They really do look great with the jacket.
Now, after half a dozen wearings, in many temperatures, over many miles, there is a patina developing on the leather and the newness is fading. This is just what I was hoping for. If you want to buy yourself a special present, or ask someone else to do so, then look no further than the BMW Atlantis suit even if you don’t ride a BMW.
The BMW Atlantis is available in Anthracite (dusty black) only. For additional information, visit BMW.
Helmet: Schuberth C3 Pro
Boots: BMW Pro Tour