Inconspicuous it's not. Get used to being asked if you're on reconnaissance for the Bundeswehr or a Dakar Rally combatant gone astray. BMW's Rallye gear commands a sort of anxious respect among the civilian populace, especially if it's splattered with mud, sweat and interesting insect remains. We don't mind the attention, but you've been warned. Actually, it's less suit and more personal bivouac. Once inside, you're ready for anything short of a coup d'tat.
Introduced last year to replace the already admirable Rallye 2, the Pro uses Cordura 500-suitably reinforced in all likely impact zones-as your first line of defense. A mesh liner carries new CE-approved soft body armor to protect shoulders, elbows, hips, knees (height adjustable there) and back. There's a separate zip-in Gore-Tex liner for the jacket and pants to ward off wet and cold. Partial fleece insulation inside the Gore-Tex kept us comfy with just a jersey underneath, even in a spring snowstorm on the 9157-foot summit of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon. Zip the liners out and strategically placed vents keep you cool even in triple-digit temperatures. There are enough pockets to stow/misplace an impressive array of adventure-touring essentials, including a zip-off fanny-pack contraption and space for an optional hydration system. Details? A pair of leather patches makes gripping the bike with your knees easier, and stretch panels keep the pants from binding when you're hard at it. Zip off the sleeves and the jacket becomes a natty vest to wear over a jersey on chilly mornings. Dealing with the multitude of fiddly snaps and zippers can be a pain in the midst of an Arizona cloudburst, but it's 99 percent waterproof once the hatches are battened.
An internal speed-lacing system and adjustable shin armor make the matching GS boots a bit fiddlier than average. The payoff, after some careful fiddling, is solid, waterproof footwear that's comfortable halfway through the first ride-not the sixth, or the 16th. And, with nicely thought-out plastic armor everywhere it needs to be plus an articulated ankle hinge, protection is first-rate.
The corresponding GS2 gloves (not shown) aren't waterproof, but they are a whole lot more protective than the flimsy motocross variety. Vents in the hard-shell knuckle protectors admit cool air, and soft-plastic trim atop makes a fine squeegee for splattered goggles. We really liked the Kangaroo leather palms: Stronger and thinner than cowhide, Roo hide also grips in the wet.
The only real downside is the bottom line. The Rallye 2 Pro jacket ($689 in gray/blue or gray/black in men's sizes 36-50 plus 40L-50L) and pants ($475 in men's sizes 36-50 plus 40L-50L) will set you back $1164. Throw in a pair of GS2 Boots ($345 in men's size 6.5-13) and Rallye 2 Gloves ($85 in sizes 6/6.5-12/12.5) and you're looking at a $1600 outfit. Spendy? Sure. But after it saves your skin a few times in Mexico or Mauritania or Moose Jaw, there are worse ways to spend your money. More info? Try www.bmwmotorcycles.com
A great assemblage of all-surface tack that soaks up a great deal of cash. It's also built like an anvil and won't let you down in the middle of bloody nowhere like the adventure poseurs sold elsewhere.