TOUR MASTER MID-WEIGHT SUIT
A cure for common cold?
MA NATURE IS NO RESPECTER OF A rider's desire to stay warm. Dress so that you resemble the Michelin Man and it's still possible for her to throw a climatic punch that freezes your fingers and shrivels your pod.
As a line of defense against the cold, Tour Master offers its Mid-weight Suit, a single-piece coverall, insulated with 4.5-ounce quilted linen lining, that's designed to be zipped on over street clothing and anything else a rider may wish to insulate himself with.
The suit—available in any color you want, as long as it’s black with red piping—incorporates a number of familiar design features, including knit cuffs, double-sewn seams. Velcro fasteners around the suit's wrists and ankles, ankle gaiters, easy-entry waist-to-cuff zippers on both legs and a 200-Denier coated-nylon shell. So equipped, the suit, priced at $99.95 and available at Tour Master dealers, offers fairly effective armor against the cold. But we must offer several caveats.
First, recognize that this is a massproduced item, cut and sewn so that one set of patterns for each size category (X-small through XX-large) will fit everyman. If your specifications deviate from those Tour Master’s designers aimed to fit, this suit, like any other mass-produced, off-the-rack garment, may not fit you as well as you'd like. Ours didn't. We found it to be long in the leg, short in the torso.
Second, our test suit provided a generous lateral fit which allowed for sweaters or vests to be worn comfortably underneath, but which resulted in considerable excess dead air space if worn over street clothes, air space which drew warmth away from the body.
And third, the suit's overall effectiveness was considerably diminished by vast amounts of air leaking into the suit body past the front zipper and the wind flap sewn under it. On fully-faired bikes, ones which kept the air blast away from the rider’s torso, the lack of zipper sealing was unimportant. But on unfaired bikes. this problem was the Mid-weight suit's Achilles heel.
As part of our evaluation of this garment, we took it ice racing; pretty difficult to get much colder on a motorcycle, we figured. Our rider learned that when he heavily layered his clothing, the suit made a dandy top layer, providing he could keep airflow away from the front zipper. He wore the suit during a stint on an ice-racing sidecar. It worked so well, and he worked so hard, he became overheated.
So, as with all things, some compromises are called for. The Tour Master Mid-weight Suit will fit almost anybody, as long as those anybodies aren't really, really picky about the fit. The suit works a lot better behind a full fairing than it does when hung out in nature's frigid airflow. And it works better as the top of several layers than it does as a rider’s only line of defense against body frost.