The Modular System
There are some terrific two-piece motorcycle suits out there that will keep you safe, warm and dry.
99% of motorcycle garments use a 'drop-liner' membrane for water and windproofing. But if you can live with a slight discomfort and a higher ticket price, a laminated suit from somebody like Rukka will keep you dryer for longer. A laminated suit will also dry much faster after it has become wet.
But just about all the suits on the market share a fundamental weakness when it comes to keeping you dry. And that is that the waterproof membrane sits inside the external fabric. Which means it can only really start do its job once the outer material is already pretty much soaking wet. Now the problem with this is that, if your jacket and/or pants are water logged, you're going to start feeling cold much sooner, especially with a 70mph wind-chill factor, as the body will lose its heat through water far faster than it will through dry air.
In a perfect world, the membrane on a motorcycle garment would sit outside the protective layer. In such a scenario, the garment you wear next to your body would never get wet.
It's a concept that has been accepted by walkers and mountaineers for years, but nobody has ever really cracked it when it comes to motorcycle clothing. One company in Germany has developed a suit that works in this way but, in our opinion, it's too heavy and cumbersome to be practical for the non- professional rider.
Scott Sports, however, seems to have created a suit with an external waterproof layer that really seems to work.
Based on the layering principle, this is how their Modular suit works.
The base garment is like a normal motorcycle suit. It has pockets for armour, and all the bells and whistles you would expect of a modern technical motorcycle garment. But this inner layer doesn't have a waterproof membrane of any sort. The suit in this configuration is wonderfully comfortable and easy to wear. Because there's no membrane, it is particularly breathable. When it's really hot, you'll find the air flow through the zippable vents is brilliant, as the air will pass almost directly through to the body.
If it's cold, the suit can be worn with Scott's excellent, and well insulated, Hybrid Plus mid-layer.
But the secret of the Modular suit is the outer jacket and pants. These are made from a stretchy Polyamide fabric that has a waterproof membrane laminated to the inside. This outer jacket can be fitted with the armour if you so wish, although normally you'd wear the armour in the inner jacket. We wouldn't call this outer garment a proper motorcycle jacket, per se, but it's much more than a 'waterproof '.
By using the different components as the conditions demand, you'll find that this is a suit that can accommodate just about every riding situation: hot and dry, cold and dry, wet and warm, wet and cold.
This could conceivably be the motorcyclist's 'holy grail'; the one suit that does everything. You could commute in it for most of the year, tour in it, go off-road in it, travel around the world in it, or you could just wear it when you go out for a ride to pick up a bacon sandwich on a Sunday morning.
In the UK, it's exclusive to Motolegends. We've been testing it over the winter. it's an extremely comfortable and pleasant suit to wear. It really does keep you dry, and Scott's Hybrid Plus mid-layer does a great job of helping you to stay warm. Only in the most wintry and extreme of conditions will you find the thermal limits of the suit, so if you commute daily throughout the winter there might be better options.
We think this new suit is something special, but as the concept is so new we think that, if you're interested, you should perhaps try and visit us in Guildford to take a look.
The combined price for all five pieces is almost dead on £1,000; not cheap by any means, but potentially a great deal if this is the one suit that does everything your would ever want.