Testing Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Racewear
Evolution is a constant in motorcycling, and the Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Racewear is the latest edition in the Fly Racing canon. Worn by riders such as Team Honda HRC’s Trey Canard, plus Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Josh Strang (2010 GNCC Champion), and 2016 FIM SuperEnduro World Champion Colton Haaker, this is professional-level apparel. Let’s find out if it also works for the mortals among us.
Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Switchback Pants
Coming up with something new besides alterations of graphics has to be a constant battle for off-road apparel designers. The Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Switchback pants have many of the familiar design elements we expect in premium gear, along with something we haven’t seen before.
Certainly, the most important feature of motocross pants is fit. They have to have room for you to move around on the bike without interference, though not so baggy they can snag on the bike or, for off-roading, flora and fauna. Stretch panels in back run from the tailbone area down both legs to the ankles—excellent. Those ribbed stretch panels are connected to another group of panels that run over the thighs and down to just above the knee. This is aided by a floating design in the seat area. You get a great fit, and no resistance to movement.
I wear Alpinestars Fluid Tech Carbon knee braces, and I need spacious room in the knee area, as well as flexibility to make transitions from standing and sitting effortless. The Evolution 2.0 Switchback pants are perfect in this regard. In addition to large flex areas above the knees, the full-floating knee design eliminates binding and provides free movements. With all these stretch panels and floating designs, fatigue is kept to a minimum—exactly what you want in MX or off-road pants.
Fit is personalized via a traditional ratcheted belt, plus that new feature—the Boa closure system. At the center of the back of the pants, just below the waistline, there’s a rubberized knob that you twist to cinch down the Evolution 2.0 Switchback pants to taste.
The Boa knob tightens internal wires that run around the waist—reminiscent of what you see on Sidi Mag-1 road racing boots—and gives you a custom fit. You may think that the wires would be irritating, but you’re never aware of them when you’re riding. Instead, all you feel is the perfect fit. To loosen the wires, you pull the Boa knob out and the tension is relaxed.
At first I thought the Boa system was something of a gimmick, rather than a truly practical enhancement, but the more I used it, the more I came to appreciate it. It helps keep your jersey tucked in, and it just feels right.
Other features include impressive venting, particularly in the knee and inner thigh area, a durable YKK zipper, cuffless ankles, a half-liner that doesn’t interfere with knee braces, and large leather knee panels (with Kevlar stitching) that protect the gear from hot two-stroke and four-stroke exhausts. A nearly hidden feature is a pair of zippered vents in the outer knee that can be opened or closed, depending on the airflow desired—a great touch.
Without any question, Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 pants are top-teir riding gear.
Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Switchback Jersey
Compared to the complexity of the pants, the Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Switchback jersey is relatively simple. Many of the expected features are there, with a couple of twists.
The Switchback jersey has a solid front, with a mesh back for cooling. The underarms have purpose-built vents (matching intake and exhaust), rather than simple mesh. The result is a more comfortable underarm feeling with directed airflow, and the jersey holds its shape better for increased durability and feel. Mesh is used in the arms, from the wrist to just below the elbow to keep the arms from overheating.
If you like to do Jason Anderson impersonations, keep your jersey untucked from the start. With very tacky silicone strips in the jersey tail that interact with the Evolution 2.0 Switchback pants, once the jersey is tucked in, it’s not coming out no matter how hard you ride, off-road or on a motocross track.
Standard features include a comfortable raglan cut, ribbed neck and wrists, and a loose fit. I was pleased that the jersey fits over my Forcefield Armor Pro Shirt, yet also feels comfortable if I’m going protection-free. There is no padding on the elbows or shoulders, so the Switchback jersey is more about comfort than protection.
Fly Racing Evolution Gloves
A lightweight glove with just hints of TPR protection in the fingers, the Fly Racing Evolution gloves are definitely about feel over everything else. Thin all around, including the palm, there are flex materials everywhere so your hands operate without restriction.
To keep your hands cool, there are perforations in the palms and fingers. A simple hook-and-loop tab keeps the Evolution glove securely on your hand.
The Evolution gloves work great in situations where your hands aren’t open to rocky roost or tree branches. In those instances, you’ll either want handguards on your handlebars, or more protective gloves.
Fly Racing Knee Brace Moto Socks
I also tested Fly Racing’s Knee Brace Moto socks under my Alpinestars knee brace. As they are thigh-highs, I didn’t expect to like them, but the socks won me over.
The trick to making them work for knee brace wearers is that they are a two-section design. The bottom sock that interfaces with your boots are traditional knit design with padding for your toe and heel. The upper part above your boots is a thin stretch mesh that protects your skin from being rubbed by the knee brace.
The fact is, the Fly Racing Knee Brace Moto socks take care of your feet, shin, knee and thigh areas. I went from being skeptical to making the Knee Brace Moto socks an essential part of my riding kit.
Conclusion: Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Racewear
Sitting at the top of the Fly Racing Racewear lines, the Evolution 2.0 pants and jersey are outstanding pieces of riding gear. Having done quite a bit of riding and washing of the Evolution 2.0 gear, I can report that the durability is excellent and it still looks new after dozens of wash and wear cycles.
I usually don’t mention appearance, but the asymmetrical Switchback Black/White/Red color scheme of the Fly Racing Evolution 2.0 Racewear looks fantastic. It sits nicely between overly busy and drab. Throw in the Evo gloves and, for knee brace wearers, the Knee Brace Moto socks, and you are set for any kind of off-road racing or riding.
Location photography by Kelly Callan and Hugh Warren