Motoport / Cycleport Mesh Kevlar review. long w/pics
While preparing for a long South America trip last fall, I had the most frustrating time trying to figure out what riding gear to take. It was not until I was in Mexico and had just passed through California a few days days earlier that I learned about Motoport and what they were all about. :cry
Fast forward to this this spring and I was in the market for some long overdue new gear. If you're like me, you're probably a little apprehensive about dropping some respectable coin on something that you have not had the opportunity to try on first, but the idea of a taylor made jacket and pants sounded interesting. I liked the ability to customize the garments as well; dictating colour, pocket placement and styles, as well as armor options.
All my research concluded a few things;
Their website sucks. Big Salty Balls.
They seem to have very high customer satisfaction.
Most importantly - Their products appear to be very crashworthy.
I was a little unsure of what product would be best for me. I called their number and ended up talking to Wayne, who happens to be CEO. He was more than helpful, taking plenty of time to explain what would be ideal. I took all the necessary measurements and placed my order. I was told the production time would be 3 weeks. My order was shipped on time - to the day. Shipping to Canada was via USPS and took just over a week. I paid duty but no brokerage fees.
I went with the Ultra II Kevlar Mesh jacket and Ultra II Kevlar Mesh pant, both pieces with the optional waterproof/breathable liner, the insulted jacket liner and their standard Tri-armor. I also ordered a pair of their kevlar gloves, in the summer non-waterproof version. I put about 500km on over the last few days in temperatures from freezing to about 15°C, on everything from hiway to some singletrack.
The overall quality is impressive. It is clear that corners aren't cut in order to save costs, and that a lot of thought has gone in to the functional details of the garment. Zippers are oversized, YKK brand with pulls on all exterior places. Stitching is consistent, neat and straight. Snaps are large, secure and plastic covered. Velcro areas are much larger than typical brands. I went with the standard reflective stripes across the shoulders and a small strip up the back of the neck.
The Kevlar Mesh fabric appears very well made. It came out of the box much stiffer than expected, but appears to softening up with use. It is quite a coarse weave, with a unique texture. Areas of flexibility use their Stretch Kevlar fabric. This material is very different. It is thinner, softer and surprisingly stretchy, with a texture resembling a softshell winter jacket or well worn cordura. I opted for a single zipped chest pocket instead of the standard cargo pockets. The standard lower cargo pockets are left free from the jacket on the side giving you additional hand pockets.
Detail of behind the shoulder showing a hidden strip of stretch material.
The feel and fit has taken a little getting used to. The overall bulk and volume of the jacket is substantial. With all 3 jackets zipped together, there is a lot material between you and the elements. The feel is reminiscent of wearing your parents big old canvas winter parka when you were a kid. At first i felt like what that suited up bomb squad guy looks like. There is also an extensive amount of armor going on in the jacket. Shoulder/collarbone, elbow/forearm, chest/ribs and back. All of the armor is a perforated 3 layer foam sandwich that is machine washable within the garment. With all this going on, movement while riding is surprisingly unrestrictive. I attribute some this to a very precise fit. While I say it is bulky, it does not feel oversized. Their specific measuring requirements appear to work well.
Unfortunately it is too cold here to ride with the shell alone yet. I would think the majority of the bulk will be reduced with out the liners.
The liner is a plane jane ordeal, that zips in along the chest and snaps in at the cuffs, collar and waist. I am able to do up all the snaps while wearing the jacket - something i was not able to do with my old jacket and was quite annoying. The front zipper of the waterproof liner has a folding flap with velcro. The insulating liner zips into the waterproof liner at the chest with velcro at the cuffs. Both the shell and and liner have a raised, fleece lined collar that snaps or velcros shut respectively. The neck is one of their required measurements, and again the fit is neither tight or lose.
All 3 layers have an inner, zipped chest pocket.
The liner definitely breathes well, you can feel airflow while riding. After having to muscle the bike out of a couple mudholes and snowbanks, I was warm but dry, something that would have left me dripping with sweat in my old non-breathable liner. I have also had a short ride in the rain, and have yet to get wet whatsoever.
I prefer a gauntlet style glove and usually wear the gloves over the jacket as opposed to jacket over the glove. I am finding both ways possible and comfortable, with the jacket over the glove seeming to work out better, but not as convenient. One notable flaw here; the outer mesh material is quite abrasive, and when you have the gloves off, your wrist tends to rub on the end of the sleeve in an irritate the skin.
The gloves are made entirely from their stretch kevlar material, with plastic reinforcements on all the knuckles. They are quite comfortable and good fitting, but much cooler than expected. I opted for the non-waterproof model in favor of better airflow and was quite surprised at how cold they are. My thin tattered leather gloves were warmer, but my bike has minimal hand guards that don't really protect from the wind. I have also noticed that the material is rather slippery on the levers compared to leather. It hasn't been a problem, but some grippy silicone patches on the inside of the fingers would be a nice addition.
I typically wear my riding pants over only boxers or thermals depending on the weather. The Ultra II pant is much more of an over pant than what I am used to. There is enough room to wear a pair of jeans underneath. It has the same thick and bulky, but not oversized or restrictive feel as the jacket. It is surprising how much this bulkiness feeling disappears once you are on the bike in a riding position. The right leg has a zipper that goes from the ankle to an offset position on the waist with a double zipper pull. The left leg unzips from the ankle to about crotch level. The waterproof liner also shares this same zipper configuration. This allows you to don/doff without taking off your boots. I tried it, it works. Stretch material is again used in key areas. The waistband is a very wide elastic with an integrated belt and buckle cover. There are covered zippered openings on both sides for accessing the pockets of whatever pants you have on underneath. I went with the two knee positioned cargo pockets. Like the jacket the opening is rather small compared to the overall volume of the pocket, but on the pant they have sewn down the bottom bellows of the pocket restricting it. I am not sure why they would do this.
Detail of the stitching and seems.
The standard reflective stripes are on the outside of the leg from ankle to the knee. Very large velcro patches are on the ankles to keep the pant tight over the boot.
Again the armor is the same perforated 3 layer sandwich as the jacket, with pieces covering the knee/shin and thigh. I went with the optional hip armor that a is a thinner material. Just like the jacket, the armor is well placed and is unrestrictive on the bike.
Donning and doffing the outfit is a bit more of a time consuming ordeal than I am used to as each layer has its own zipper, and each zipper has its own flap or snaps. That's eight zippers in total for the full deal.
There is no hanging loops on the jacket or pants. A sturdy hanger works for the jacket, but I have yet to find a good way to hang the pants.
Overall, I am very happy with the performance, fit and quality of the garments. I have been out riding comfortably in single digit (Celsius) temperatures wearing nothing but some long underwear and a t-shirt. Stayed dry when wrestling my pig of a bike around in the snow and mud, and in the rain. Hopefully the hot weather performance is equally as good, and the large cinch straps keep the sizing in check without the liners.
I will update when I get a bit more time in it and some more varying conditions, but at this point it gets two thumbs up.
Hmmm... no hanging loop on jacket or pants?
I've got a hanging loop on both of my Motoport jackets.
Not sure on the pants, but I hang them on a hanger when I'm at home.
I'm glad you're happy with your Motoport gear. I love both of my suits...
Been riding in the same jacket for about five years. Love it. The mesh is the only way to go in Phoenix summers. No problem, even in 110 degree heat. I have always felt totally protected in this jacket, like I have on a suit of armor. Also, the mesh Kevlar does break in an become more supple. Some great gear. Enjoy.
This tread will more than likely be merged with the existing one that has been out for years. Having said that I'm another satisfied air mesh jacket/pants with liners customer here - four years and 55,000 miles later holding up extremely well.
The only issue I've had is that the High Viz faded to a dark green and for a winter project I re-dyed it with Tulip Lime Matte soft fabric latex paint and it restored the color back to like new (riding buddies thought I got a new jacket this spring) :deal.
If you ever needed it - it's some of the Best Protective Gear on the planet IMO,
Here's a progress photo - no issues with rain or ventilation.
Another shot of just how faded the jacket was and its restoration in process:
Great write up! We're almost twins...
One more thing making me want Motoport more and more.
Except I can't figure out if I want one piece, or two piece. Sometimes it is nice to be able to take off just the jacket, sometimes (more often) I love the handiness of one piece when in uniform, as I can't walk around with M/C pants on over my uniform.
This is a good example of a homegrown product kept studiously faithful to its original quality and purpose by its creator. Hope Wayne is able to keep it in-house and never go the way of a distributor which would only make it cheaper, unfortunately in more ways than just price.
Thanks very much for the review.
An outfit of this stuff may be my post-diet reward (if I can ever get around to starting the darn thing:rofl:rofl)
I'm not positive, though-do KLR riders ever buy this stuff? We have this reputation for being cheap:lol3:wink::lol3
It's cheaper in the long run.
Just buy some motoports and then let the cost amortize.
If I had bought these when I first started riding, I'd have saved money.
Instead, if went through 3-4 jackets and pants.
Again just my opinion. Motoport told me that the 1 piece suit offers no protective qualities over the jacket/pants combo but for me the piece offers a more protective package in that I will always have on both the upper/lower piece due to being a single suit. I have a bad habit of once it gets hot only wearing the mesh jacket and leave the pants at home. With the one piece I can't do that. :)
Thanks for the thorough review, I have narrowed my choice for my next gear to Klim/Rallye Pro/Motoport, and I think the Klim will win. I really like the idea of the back harness in the Klim jacket as well as the outside GTX so that the need for an inside water proof liner is gone.
If someone has favorable arguments for either of these I would be glad to read them
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