In my experience there are two types of motorcycle riders. No, I am not talking about Harleys VS sport bikes, or even dirt bikes VS street bikes. What I am talking about is weekend warriors VS 'Real' motorcycle riders. The former likes to take out their bike when its between 75 and 85 degrees, any hotter or any colder and they take the car. Their bike is always in pristine condition, perfectly waxed, large chicken strips on the tires, and not a scratch or a insect corpse anywhere to be seen. There is nothing wrong with being a rider like this, in fact I would venture to say that they probably have as much fun as any other motorcyclist. There is a different breed among us though. They are the ones that ride in conditions that are less than ideal. Where just about the only thing that will stop them is a nail in the tire or ice on the roads, and even that isn't guaranteed to stop some of them. I am one of those riders. I ride 365 days, through rains that would make Noah nervous and heat in the triple digits. I can't say it's always sunshine and lollipops between my motorcycle and I, but I try to clean the mud and bugs off her every couple weeks. The transformation of a motorcyclist from a weekend warrior to a 'Rider' is usually a slower one, but noticeable. Usually the jeans and T-shirt give way to a leather jacket and maybe some riding pants. Eventually a larger windscreen is added and perhaps hard luggage to the back. The finally piece of the puzzle is a full motorcycle over suit which can keep the cold and rain out, but has the option of breathing during hotter weather. This is the final stage, and where I have found myself lately.
Teiz Motorsports recently contacted me about testing one of their suits, and after perusing through their catalog the Lombard seemed to call to me. The description was as follows: "Named after the world’s most crooked street in San Francisco. This suit is perfect for any curve or condition that you may encounter while touring, commuting, dual-sport, or any other types of adventure riding." San Francisco huh? I live in San Jose, about 45 minutes from S.F. and I don't make it up there too often. Why you ask? COLD! Never a truer statement was uttered than by the man who said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." If this suit is named after a street in S.F. then I just had to see if it could live up to the name.
Zippers and Quality
The first things I looked at when I received the suit were the zippers. Having quality zippers is incredibly important for motorcycle gear because riders tend to zip things up with a lot of force. I've had tons of zippers break on me, or the little tabs just snap off. It is annoying and I think a sign of poor quality control on the manufacturers part. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the suit's two main zippers were over sized YKK brand zippers. YKK is the best zipper company in my opinion, and the fact that they use the over sized heavy duty zippers really speaks to the level of quality Teiz has in their suits. For all the other smaller zippers for the vents and pockets a little strip of cloth is tied to the end of the tab so they are easier to grab, especially with gloves on. A great feature that solves a common problem with other motorcycle gear I've tried. Putting on the suit for the first time was quite the ordeal. I haven't ever worn a full suit before, so I felt a little like a deep sea diver or an astronaut once I was fully inside the Lombard. The suit zips from the top of the collar all the way down to the left ankle. The ride leg also zips up all the way to the hip so you can step into this suit fully clothed (with shoes) once you get the hang of it. It's taken me about 2 weeks to figure out exactly how to get into the suit in the most efficient way possible. Right now suiting up takes me a little over a minute without gloves and helmet. Not too bad. I imagine that I will be able to shave a good 20 seconds off that time once I take out the soft thermal liner which sometimes catches on my shoes a bit. Right now it is the middle of January though and that liner is a blessing from the angels!
This suit is about the warmest thing I have worn on my motorcycle. Normally I have to wear a leather jacket, a windbreaker on top, and sometimes a sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt underneath as well as jeans and over-pants to keep myself this warm. It is really nice to have one item that can keep me toasty and dry through my morning commute, plus it helps me have more freedom of movement the less layers I am wearing. If you do happen to get a bit warm the suit has multiple zipper vents to open, and I can attest that they work great, especially the ones that travel from the elbow to the shoulder. Those bring a lot of air through the jacket even with the liner (which is removable). All things considered this suit is the best form of on-the-bike climate control I have yet to encounter. I love it.
The Lombard also has a ton of features that only a rider would think of. One of the most helpful of them is the fact that there are two zippers at the top of each thigh that let you access the pockets on whatever clothes you have under the suit. This is great since there have been many times that I have forgot that my wallet is in my jeans which are under my riding pants. It's always a little weird to start unbuttoning and unzipping your pants at a gas station just to get money. With these side pockets that becomes a non issue. Another feature I love is the wide reflective stripes. People just don't seem to see motorcyclists and they will often merge into us without even looking. The more things we can do to be seen means we stay alive longer. These stripes are large and placed in key areas so they reflect the most light. The one across the shoulder blades is particularly noticeable at night.
Right now I only have 3 major complaints, they are small but worth mentioning to first time suit wearers. 1. The suit feels slightly constrictive and bulky. You aren't going to want to walk around the mall while wearing this suit, the astronaut look is a hard one to pull off. But you don't get a full suit to be cool, you get it for the comfort and the ease of use. If you plan on using the Lombard as your primary gear during your daily commute to the office then I think you will be VERY happy. Save the leather jackets and the Fonz hair-do for the weekend. 2. Full gauntlet gloves are hard to put on with this suit. Normally the wrist part of the glove will overlap any jacket you are wearing, but this is not how the Lombard was designed. I tried slipping the gloves over the suit and under the suit but they only seem to fit when the gloves are on the inside. It is sort of hard to velcro the wrist portion of the glove then slip it on your hand and tuck it inside the suit, especially when one of the hands is already gloved. It's the slowest part of putting on my gear right now, and I can't seem to find any trick to make it faster. The only thing I can think of is to buy some shorty gloves and avoid the problem all together. The good thing (and probably the reason it was designed this way) is with the gloves tucked in it helps to protect you from the elements. 3. When I first received the suit I looked online and noted that it was described as 'Waterproof' with a DrenchQuench breathable liner. Luckily for me in my second week of testing the weather in California started to get pretty nasty with lots of cold, wind and rain. On one of those rainy days my girlfriend and I decided to go see a movie; I was to meet her at her house and we would drive to the theater in her car. The ride from my house to hers was about 20 minutes, and it was raining. Not the hardest rain I've ever encountered, but it wasn't a drizzle. I suited up in my Teiz Lombard suit and prepared to brave the elements! About 5 minutes into the ride I was pretty happy. The suit seemed to be doing it's job well and I felt extra protected with all those reflective strips making me stand out in traffic. About 7 minutes in I started to feel something cold on my forearms. I was pretty sure it was just because of the low temperatures, but the longer I rode the more the 'cold' started to feel like 'wet'. By the end of the ride there was literally a small puddle of water in each of my sleeves. There was a sizable wet portion starting at my crotch and running down each leg and the side of my shirt was soaked through. To be honest I was surprised and slightly annoyed to find my clothes wet when the suit was advertised as 'Waterproof'. Thankfully I usually have a contingency plan so I had another full set of clothes in my Givi luggage just in case something like that were to happen. Long story short, a few emails were exchanged between me and Teiz Motorsports on the definition of waterproof. Teiz was incredibly kind and patient with me in describing how the suit was designed and the choices that were made (A+ for customer service!). In the end it all basically boils down to compromises. To make the suit REALLY waterproof, it wouldn't be breathable which would make the suit almost completely useless in the summertime. Sacrifices were made for the sake of airflow, and I understand and agree with those in the big picture. That all being said, I think that 'Water Resistant' fits the description of the suit much more than 'Waterproof'. I was told that although a lot of other users have had great things to say about the water proofness of the suit, Teiz would be rexamining just exactly how the products are described online.
I feel incredibly protected in this suit. Not only is the whole thing made out of 600 Denier high performance polyester the ballistic areas are made of 1680D high performance abrasion resistant nylon. CE approved armor in the elbows, shoulders, and knees is pretty standard, but I love that they also included shin armor and a back protector as well. It seems a lot of companies include a pocket for the back protector, but you have to buy that separately. I think that is just another example of Teiz Motorsports going above and beyond for their customers.
The one thing that I haven't used is the knee puck sliders that are included. They are quality pucks, but I try and not to drag knee when I am riding in the street, things are just too unpredictable. Since the suit does have the sliders though you could wear it during track days if you are so inclined. Instead I've covered up the Velcro areas with the patches they include and saved the knee sliders for more adventurous days.
Best Feature: Price!
Hands down the best feature of this suit is the price. $330 Dollars gets you a full riding suit! For that price usually all you can buy is a leather jacket. Other comparable suits of this quality go for nearly $800, so with the Lombard you are really getting a bargin. I really can't ephasize enough how quality this suit is for the price. If you commute during cold or rainy weather (anything below 60) then I really recommend you pick it up.
There are really so many things about this suit that I love it is hard to find the space to mention them all. This is one of my longest reviews and I still don't think I've done it justice. It's just the little things that only someone who rides a LOT would notice (like the padded seat!). This suit would work for the weekend warrior, but it is really catering towards the daily rider. Even if the Lombard was a few hundred dollars more it would still be worth the price. For how little Teiz is charging it really is a must buy for the commute rider.
- Waterproof and warm with lots of vents if it gets too hot!
- Easy to put on
- Really good quality zippers that are unlikely to break
- VERY inexpensive for the quality you receive
- Superb customer service
- A little bulky and constricting
- Not as fashionable as a leather jacket
- Hard to put on full gauntlet gloves
For more discussion feel free to check out this forum post: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433219&page=84