Olympia AST Touring Jacket, Tour Master Road Boot And More Riding Gear - Tested - Gear Box

We wear commuting and sport-riding gear pretty often around here, which means it's probably a good time to review something different. A set of touring duds, perhaps? Perfect, because I had the opportunity to try out a set of trek-oriented gear during our fourth-annual Alps Challenge Tour through the Italian Dolomites and Austria's Tyrolean region last fall. Most of this is all-weather gear, which means it's a collection that can be used during the winter even by those of you in the upper half (read: the frozen part) of the country, especially with the addition of warmer (and waterproof) gloves and an electric vest.

AGV Ti-Tech Helmet
Sizes: XS-2XL
Price: $619

I've been using this AGV Ti-Tech for nearly a year now, and I can't say or write enough good things about it. Basically the same lid Valentino Rossi wears, the Ti-Tech offers DOT/BSI certification (which means it uses softer EPS than Snell-rated lids), a removable and washable liner, significant venting, a wide peripheral view, superb comfort and even better fit and finish. The Ti-Tech isn't cheap, but it's clearly one of the better top-shelf lids out there and plenty plush for a string of 200-mile days running through the switchback-infested Alps.

Tour Master Solution WP Road Boot
Sizes: men's 7-14, women's 7-10
Price: $119.95

An updated version of a product I've used and written about before, the Solution WP is an ideal boot to wear when the weather's iffy and the miles are many. The boot is both warm and waterproof (waterproof leather and thread is used throughout), and though it's a bit hard to get into (even with a thumb loop integrated into the backside to help you pull it on), it's easily the most comfortable motorcycle boot I've worn, thanks to a soft and padded interior and a rubber sole that also helps damp vibration coming through a bike's footpegs. This is a boot you can wear all day long; you'll not give them a second thought whether you're riding, walking or sitting as you grab a cappuccino and a slice of apfel strudel at a mountaintop caf.

Olympia Moto Sports AST Touring Jacket & Ranger 2 Pant
Sizes: Jacket S-4XL, Pant waist 30-44
Price: $289.99 jacket, $189.99 pants

I first saw this combo in the Olympia booth at last year's Indianapolis Trade Show and just had to have a set. It took me a while to try the stuff out, but the wait was worth it because this is easily the best-performing and most versatile touring jacket/pant combo I've tried. The AST jacket is seriously feature-packed; it's warm with the liner in, cool with it out (and the vents open), waterproof, adjustable at the waist, sleeves and neck, has numerous pockets, CE-approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and lower back, and also includes a back protector and comfortable neoprene collar inserts. The Ranger 2 pant is equally functional. It's cut generously so it fits easily over shorts or long underwear. Like the AST Jacket, it's constructed of 1500-denier DuPont Cordura, is both waterproof and breathable, incorporates useful and easy-to-use pockets and includes a removable Thermolite liner for warmth. Flap-covered zippers run up either leg for easy on/off, and the knee and hip areas offer CE-approved, motion-flex armor. I wore this combo for a week of serious alpine riding and loved everything about it. Best of all, at about $500 for the set, it's reasonably priced.

Lee Parks Design
DeerSport Gloves
Sizes: 2XS-3XL
Price: $109.95

Another piece of commuting/touring gear I've used and written about before is the DeerSports Glove from Lee Parks Design. Built from soft-yet-sturdy deerskin, the gauntleted DeerSports are warmer and more comfortable than a similarly designed cowhide glove and feature a four-seams-only design the company says is preferable in a crash since most gloves that hit the tarmac fail at a seam. Fewer seams mean less chance of a glove coming apart. I've been wearing an unlined pair like these for well over two years of almost-daily riding and love them. LPD also offers a lined version for colder climes for $179.95.

Rapid-Transit Platoon Tail Bag
According to the Rapid-Transit folks, the Platoon is a tail bag. After a few months of use and abuse, we figure it's a tough, well-built one at that. But there's more here than 1000-denier nylon reinforced with tough, rubberized Scratchguard contact fabric. Nicely sized for commuting or a weekend on the road if you travel light, the roomy (11 x 13 x 10 inch) main compartment and three zippered outside pockets keep your stuff dry behind stout, shielded zippers in anything short of a daylong downpour. All four compartments expand easily to fit the complete works of Dread Zeppelin your sister gave you for your birthday. Adjustable plastic bungee hooks accommodate tail sections from supersport to big-inch cruiser and most points in between.

Attention to detail is excellent. Reflective accents make it more conspicuous after dark. And with the four-bungee attachment system furled out of sight, the Platoon doubles as a tidy piece of carry-on luggage when you fly. With its nifty harness clipped into place, it triples as a backpack-albeit a somewhat weird-looking one-when you get wherever it is you happen to be going. On the bike, on your back or in the overhead bin, the Platoon does an admirable job of keeping essential tack safe and organized. What more do you want?


MSRP $79.95

A tough, nicely thought-out tail pack that's considerably more when you need it to be.

Rapid-Transit Performance Motorcycle Luggage
925 Turnbull Dr.
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
(800) 635-6103