BMW Venting Machine Motorcycle Suit

BMW's Venting Machine suit provides motorcycle riders with comfort and protection on hot days.

If you spend much time riding around America's arid Southwest, Ethiopia or some other sweltering locale, you know that when it's hot outside, it's way hotter inside a set of leathers. Usually, about the time we're thinking this thought, some goofball comes ripping by in board shorts and a Metallica T-shirt. We're wondering if he'll end up in the burn ward before we collapse from heatstroke. But fear not. BMW Riders' Apparel has a safer, more comfortable alternative. Comprised mainly of a tough, polyamide mesh fabric, the Venting Machine is surprisingly lightweight for a riding suit. There's enough airflow at freeway speeds to keep you as cool as Mr. T-shirt and much better protected. And because bare skin dehydrates the body far too quickly on a hot day, you're much more comfortable in a vented suit than without one. There's an integral back protector, along with BMW's removable form-fitting Prosafe armor in the shoulders, elbows and knees. And with one understated badge on the jacket, you don't have to ride a BMW to wear it. We've been lucky enough to stay off the pavement in this suit, but it looks to be plenty substantial for anything but track riding.

On a 100-degree tour of Taft, Buttonwillow, Lost Hills and other hot spots along California's Interstate 5, the Venting Machine was a godsend. There's much more air moving between the mesh liner and your skin than in most of the other vented suits we've tried. Strategically placed panels of stretch material prevent the suit from binding when you're moving around on the motorcycle. Silver panels on the jacket's chest, back and sleeves reflect enough light to make it easy to spot after dark—good news on a black suit.

Moving into cooler coastal temperatures, our Venting Machine was comfortable down to about 60 degrees behind a fairing. Below that temperature you need a couple of layers underneath. It lets in water along with the wind, so pack a rainsuit as well.

Complaints? The fabric feels a little scratchy against bare skin at first, and bulky cuffs don't slide under gauntlet gloves as readily as we'd like.

It's an extremely specialized piece of equipment, but we don't know of a cooler way to get down the road without four wheels and air conditioning.

It comes in any color you want as long as you want black and silver, in men's sizes 36-56 and women's 4-16.

**Price: **Jacket - $399.99, pants - $325
**Verdict: **Stout, stylish hot-weather pavement protection

BMW Riders' Apparel
(800)345-4BMW
www.bmwmotorradusa.com