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Spidi Armakore H2Out Jacket and 4Season H2Out Pants

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Published in: Gear

SPIDIarmakoreSUIT-INTRO.jpg

I’ve always been interested in Spidi, a company that makes top-notch riding suits that typically don’t follow the norm. Even though my job with ADVMoto allows for these dalliances, I take product testing seriously and invest a lot of time and miles with new gear before even thinking about offering up opinions.

Spidi SUIT 900BODY

These days, riding suits are generally similar in many ways except fit and nuances, which is where one needs to look. Spidi is no exception, and their Armakore H2Out jacket’s details are what make it a great choice for four-season riding. The first thing you notice is that it’s well put together, no stray threads or sloppy touches. Spidi seems to adhere to the Euro fit, which is somewhat slimmer and taller than the North American “standard.” And there’s a lot of attention placed on the suit’s comfort when the rider is seated on a bike vs. standing or walking around.

There’s plenty of attention to venting, too. With variable front, back and arm zipper-over-mesh vents it’s easy to regulate, on the fly, most airflow into and/or through the jacket. Sizing and fit can be snugged up at multiple points via pull straps and cinching belts. The jacket also connects with the pants via a zipper, which you’ll appreciate in a hard rain. And, for added windbreaking, there’s a pair of “stirrups” that quick-snap to the jacket and which may be slung around the crotch to help stave off drafts. On super windy or rainy days, you’ll be glad to have that feature.

Pockets are smartly placed and practical. There’s a zippered and waterproof “safety” pocket inside the front left, two deep zippered pockets on the front, a really large zippered pocket in the back (good for stuffing jacket liners and as an added cushion for seating), and a couple of larger quick pockets along the front that aren’t zippered but are practical locations for holding loose items like Kleenex, cravats, buffs, etc.

The rear vent panel also doubles as a holder for an optional Hydroback Touring hydration pack that attaches to and threads through the jacket to the front. It’s practical to leave it in the jacket even without water—making it readily available when it is needed.

Where this jacket excels is in armor. We’re just beginning to see breastplate armor (finally!) in more riding jackets. And it’s about time. Those who’ve made it through spills usually experience some kind of rib or chest injury. The H2Out jacket comes with the option of a fairly comfortable Warrior Chest Protector (two types available) that easily snaps into place. It requires a little more work when suiting up, but is a wise time investment. The jacket comes with excellent shoulder and elbow armor; however, the stock version of the back armor is a little (in my opinion) skimpy. You’ll therefore want to spend a few more bucks for the Warrior L2 Inside Back Protector. It covers a lot more surface area and I just feel a lot safer with it. I also chose the hi-viz exterior because we need to be seen!

As is standard in many jacket systems, there’s the outer jacket, a thermo liner and a rain liner. The thermo liner is made in such a way that it can be worn separately—and that’s a bonus because so many makers only take their designs halfway, and don’t allow for that. I find that the rain liner serves double-duty as another barrier against the cold (and effectively, too!). And it’s thin enough that it doesn’t bulk up the jacket. I often wear the thermo liner in daily use. It’s seen a lot of wear over the last six months and is holding up unusually well. And we all know the value of a piece of riding gear that has multiple practical uses.

Spidi SUIT 900BackBODY

The 4Season H2Out pants are equally well made and comfortable. With excellent armor in the knees and better-than-usual armor in the hips (an area many others fail to properly protect), the pants are relatively lightweight and can be arranged to be either tucked into the riding boots or worn outside. If the latter, they snug perfectly with minimal air drafting. Venting is good, too.

The suit’s shell isn’t waterproof, but it does repel light rain. I’ve also taken to spraying textile suits with Nikwax (Nikwax.com), a product for waterproofing garments, which helps to take them to the next level before one needs more drastic measures.

H2O Pants 900BODY

The H2Out jacket isn’t as bulky as most when “fully loaded” with all layers. After an initial break-in period, I found it extremely comfortable, warm and practical as far as storage and venting tweaks. That’s unusual for a jacket with this much (optional) armor. Personally, I cannot consider armor “optional” and suggest going with the best Spidi has to offer. Pardon the cliché, but it’s the cheapest insurance you can buy. And for what it’s worth, I continue to receive compliments on the jacket, something I’d attribute to the Euro cut and fit.

You can’t go wrong with Spidis H2Out line. It’s a suit I’ve found to be practical, safe and comfortable—a combination that’s unusual, to say the least. But it’s not as loose-fitting as many North American brands, especially if you’re not Euro-slim.

MSRP: Armakore H2Out Jacket—$599.90 | 4Season Pants—$399.90

Options: Warrior Chest Protector—$59.90 | Warrior L2 Inside Back Protector—$69.90 | Hydroback Touring (bladder)—$64.90

Spidi.com

PROS:

  • Well thought-out armor system
  • Great ventilation
  • European fit

 

CONS:

  • All multi-layered suits can be a little bulky
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