Photos: Tammy Perry
In early May, I left Florida and slowly journeyed my way north to Newfoundland, spending time in North Carolina and Virginia, before scooting through Maine to visit Molly, then up through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to cross the ferry to Newfoundland.
In my first impressions article, I mentioned how light-weight and easy-to-wear the Tornado 2 suit was, and how grateful I was to have the mesh in the southern heat. After wearing the suit through rain, drizzle, fog, heavy winds, heat, cold and humidity, I can say it kept me comfortable from Florida to Newfoundland.
In hotter, humid weather, I wore a tank top and shorts underneath. In cold rain and wind, the waterproof liners kept me warm and dry, although I did use a heated layer for the cold, and in windy weather I used my rain jacket as an extra layer of windbreak.
The only thing the jacket lacked was a thin waterproof layer. When it’s wet and cold, one appreciates the waterproof, insulated layer. But in warm weather, with wind and rain, the insulated layer was too hot and stuffy, so I passed for the rain jacket on top, or just allowed myself to get wet and dried off naturally in the wind.
Early mornings, regardless of how hot the day might get, are often chilly, and again, the insulated waterproof liner is too much, but the mesh lets so much air through that a long-sleeved sweater is not quite enough. Call me a wimp, but I ended up purchasing a small breathable, windbreaker (runner’s jacket style) to wear under the jacket in the mornings.
Further north, this was no longer an issue, as the insulated layer was needed in the morning.
Prices vary, of course, but the jacket usually lists for around $480 in Canada while the pants list for around $470.
The jacket has a useful collar snap that adjusts to allow for extra layers around your neck.
The main zipper is small, and although not a problem to zip up, it seemed more delicate than the heftier zippers in other jackets I have used (something I also found with the REV’IT Sand 2 suit – Ed.).
The Velcro adjusters on the sleeve cuffs don’t adjust, they just close the zippered portion of the cuff.
The jacket pockets are mesh, great for air-flow, not so much for waterproofing your jacket contents. They are small, and only good for keys, ear plugs and a card. You can’t stick a pair of gloves in them, or even one glove for that matter. The pants pockets, again, aren’t waterproof, and are difficult to get your hand into without scratching the back of your hand as the pockets are tight, even though the fit is loose on me.
The cinching straps on the jacket and pants loosen while riding. Air catches under the back tab of the jacket and raises it up; again, great for hot days, not so good for cold.
To my surprise, the pant liners are 100 per cent waterproof. The liners zip in at the top, with a fold at the slide closure, and a small snap to keep it in place.
The bottoms of the liner also zip to the bottom of the pants. At first I thought this was odd, and I wanted to tuck the liner into my boots, thinking this would be better to keep water out of my boots. In reality, the zippers kept the rain from getting in, partly due to the thickness of the liner keeping it snug against my boot. My boots let in a bit of water at the toe, but other than that I was dry.
In rain, my sleeves ended up wet half-way up my elbows due to rain sliding down my arm and getting in under my gauntlet gloves, then wicking up my sleeve. The next rain storm I tried putting my gloves under the jacket, but they didn’t stay; the jacket sleeves pulled out within the first 10 minutes of riding. I think a better closure system on the cuffs would solve this rain issue. Even better, if the liner had a thumb hole, so it tucked in under your gloves, and the jacket fastened over the gloves, the rain would have no way to get in.
Size-wise I believe I could have gotten a medium size without sacrificing any comfort. I tend to go larger to make sure the sleeves are long enough, but I might be over-thinking it. A smaller size would have tighter wrists and more fitted arms and body, thus preventing some of the wind-lift on the waist of the jacket, and perhaps positioning the armour more stably in the elbows. It may also help keep rain from wicking up the waist and into the sleeves.
Next time I’ll go with a snugger fit.
The pants were a joy to wear, as the knee armour was adjustable to fit my proportions, and long enough to provide good coverage over my boots in the riding position. In my experience, this is hard to find. Again, I think I could have gone with a smaller size in the “long” inseam and been quite comfortable.
I got a lot of compliments on the suit, especially when I was in a motorcycle shop, and from riders. I was a bit uncomfortable with the conspicuous matching suit, as it looks like a space suit, but I had some fun with that in upstate New York at the Star Trek stage reproduction where I got to sit in the captain’s chair, get beamed up, and play with the dilithium crystals in engineering. I fit right in with the set!
Four out of five stars for the Tornado 2 Jacket and pants. Although the suit is meant for warm weather, and performs exceptionally well in in hot conditions, I was pleasantly surprised with the waterproof insulated liner for colder weather. It even held its own in torrential Newfoundland sideways rain, and below 10 C temperatures, with a heated layer. Of course if you are riding in colder areas of Canada, I’d suggest a more cold-weather oriented suit. For those hot summer days though, I’d recommend the Tornado 2 without hesitation.
Check out all the pics that go with this story!