MC Tested: BMW Rallye 3 Suit

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Scott Darough

Maybe you really are aiming an R1200GS at South America's Atacama Desert, Morocco's Atlas Mountains or Bolivia's Road of Death. Or maybe you just want to look the part. Either way, BMW's new Rallye 3 suit has got you covered. Released last March, the Rallye 3 picks up where the estimable Rallye Pro 2 left off, with a list of evolutionary upgrades. The jacket and pants are still cut from Dupont Cordura, with a breathable proprietary coating. A layer of tougher stuff adds abrasion resistance in all the usual areas, and on the inside there's a comfy nylon-mesh liner. Beyond that, this latest design looks and feels tidier than before.

The jacket's four front pockets are angled for easier access, and the bottom two are genuinely waterproof. Two more in the back of the jacket and another three in the pants bring the pocket count to nine. BMW's flexible, form-fitting viscoelastic NP armor goes unnoticed until you hit the pavement, when it hardens to absorb and disburse an impact. Hip protection is a bit skimpy, but adjustable pockets keep knee/shin protectors in the right place, and all that armor slips out easily enough on laundry day. Both jacket and pants come in men's sizes 36-56 plus 40L-50L. Choose this black/gray/yellow motif or gray/blue/red.

The zip-in polyamide liner is cut from a new type of breathable, waterproof membrane designed to maintain optimal micro-climates for different parts of the body: maximum breathability for your back and the upper seat zone; extra flexibility and a fine fleece surface around the knees, butt, shoulders and nape of the neck; plus maximum rain resistance throughout the front of the suit. The new Comfort Mapping technology works well as far as it goes, keeping you warm when the mercury dips into the mid-50s, and well below that with a good base/mid-layer underneath. That liner is reasonably watertight in anything shy of a full monsoon, but even a middling rainstorm soaks the outer shell and everything inside in 45 minutes. Maybe the Rallye 4 will come with a genuinely waterproof outer shell?

Zip out the liner and a battery of vents keep things surprisingly cool as long as you keep moving, even in 100-degree heat. And the more miles you cover, the more you appreciate the little things. Embossed leather patches at the thighs make gripping the bike with your knees easier. Strategic stretch-Kevlar panels in the pants make moving around on the bike easy. And the jacket sleeves zip off to create a practical vest for après-ride adventures.

Aside from a somewhat daunting price tag, the biggest hurdle between most riders and the Rallye 3-especially for those who ride some other brand of bike-could be the BMW roundel on each shoulder. That's a shame. There are plenty of lower-cost alternatives out there, but you'll have a hard time finding a more durable, well-thought-out suit at any price. After a few hard months everywhere from those Atlas Mountains to the Mojave Desert, we'd trust the Rallye 3 to save the Editorial Skin on any adventure.

BMW Rallye 3 SUIT
Price: $799 jacket, $549 pants

Contact: BMW USA
www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Verdict 4 stars out of 5
All-purpose protection for the well-dressed adventurer.

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