MC Tested: BMW Streetguard 3 Jacket and Pants

By Jack Lewis, Photography by BMW

I heart BMW's Comfort Shell, but it's not the company's most versatile suit. For that, look to the Streetguard series, now in version 3.0.

Suave it is not, but the Streetguard garb has a certain burly appeal. "NP protectors" are installed over elbows, shoulders, back, hips and knees. These are claimed to reduce transmissible impact force well beyond CE requirements, and the elbow and knee pads extend well down the extremities for fracture protection beyond the joints. This is a serious riding suit, not a track-day tuxedo. The fuller fit slips over casual Friday garb plus heated clothing without bunching, although with the Streetguard's included Thinsulate liners in place you won't need a Gerbing south of the Yukon. This is one toasty kit when it's shields-up.

Thoughtful traveling touches abound, including a removable storm collar lined with soft leather and high-cut pants for windproof overlap. The Streetguard has one burly front zipper instead of two fussy ones like the Comfort Shell, and generous fabric lanyards to allow gloved operation of the waterproofed pockets. On a stormy, 5-hour slog over the Cascades, a pair of BMW Atlantis 2 gloves, Allround touring boots, thermal liners and the zip-on storm collar made this suit feel as over-engineered as a nuclear sub in a wading pool.

Pockets are thoughtfully laid out, with two deep interior pockets large enough to hold either a badly refolded map or the fat wallet required to buy this suit. On the right side is a cell phone pocket that is apparently impervious to any radiation you're likely to survive.

Two Streetguard features raise the bar on my excellent Comfort Shell. One is the outside pockets. Both jacket and pants have usable external hand pockets-with easily operated zippers-in which to nestle your paws against the chill while your sweetie fuels the bike. Also, the jacket attaches to the pants with a great, big zipper that's easy to find and work without assistance, just in case your gas monkey quits on you.

This suit also comes tailored for women. Still not a fashion show, but comfortable in a way that no oversized men's suit can be, and authoritative enough to make the boy on the bitch seat gas your ride.

In warm, dry weather, the SG3 dispenses with front and back vents in favor of a long, vertical, zippered opening under each arm. It also features Schoeller's "Cold Black," a proprietary treatment that reflects solar radiation to avoid toasting your fritters on sunny days.

My two mild frustrations with the SG3 are both cuff-related. The sleek sleeve ends with their zips and Velcro flaps look better but are harder to operate with gloves on than the Comfort Shell's block and tackle-style straps. At the opposite extremities, longer ankle zippers would ease the process of putting on boots, particularly for the geriatric and/or chubby. If you hang your gear in the garage, you'll also find the NP armor feels stiff on cold mornings.

Built to a standard instead of a price, the Streetguard 3 calls the Comfort Shell's almost-three-season bet and raises it a wet and ugly winter-or a Northwest spring. If you're sentenced to some fiery hell's pit like Los Angeles, this is too much suit for you. It's really not the thing for posing at the club, and it'll pound a big enough dent in your bailout fund to make you mighty happy that it's as versatile as two or three lesser suits.

But if you ride year-round in so-called "temperate" climes, then you, like me, just may have a new BFF in the SG3.

BMW Streetguard 3 Jacket And Pants
Price: $959 jacket, $659 pants
Contact: BMW Motorcycles USA
www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Verdict 4.5 out of 5 stars
Superbly functional but frighteningly expensive.

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