For quite a while, I’ve been looking for a two-piece leather riding suit for use on sporting street rides that could also double as track leathers in a pinch. Yes, a one-piece suit could work, but in the world away from the track, I’ve found them to be more than a little inconvenient. (Think bathrooms and restaurants.) Two-piece leathers offer almost the same level of protection while adding the versatility of wearing the jacket with riding jeans or simply taking off the jacket when stopping at a roadside cafe. So, the Rev’It Replica Jacket and GT-R Pants caught my eye.
The Rev’It Replica Jacket is modeled after the company’s one-piece Replica suit. As such, the construction and fit is virtually identical. Monaco Performance cowhide, a top-grain leather that has undergone treatments to correct surface imperfections and increase its strength, comprises 88% of the Replica’s exterior. The stretch panels that allow for a racer-snug fit on the inner arms without restricting movement consist of Rev’It’s proprietary PWR|shell 500D stretch material. Made from high-performance polyamide yarns, PWR|shell offers high levels of melting-, tear-, and abrasion-resistance. As with other textiles (like Cordura), the density of the product is measured in deniers with the higher number denoting higher resistance. The 500D of the PWR|shell is comparable to the abrasion resistance of textiles used on the inner arms of other motorcycle leathers. The remainder of the exterior shell is made of Lorica imitation leather.
For rider comfort, the upper chest area and either side of the main YKK zipper are perforated for airflow. Exhaust ventilation is also provided by perforations on the upper back in the area where a speed hump would reside on a pure racing suit. Clearly, the level of ventilation is much less than that of fully perfed jackets, but I found the Replica to have a good compromise between ventilation and versatility.
The protection in the shoulders and elbows is ProLife 3D CE pre-shaped armor, containing microporous material with air bubbles inside the pad under high pressure. Since the bubbles are unable to escape, they provide impact protection that surpasses the CE protection standard. No back protector is provided, though there is a pocket for one. The exterior of the jacket also features thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) aluminium protectors at shoulders and elbows. These dual-comp protectors are a pre-shaped TPU honeycomb covered with an aluminum shell. The high-impact aluminum promotes sliding and spreads out the force of a blow over a wider area on the TPU shock-absorption structure. To keep the edges of the aluminum from snagging, they are attached to the jacket shell via plastic covers.
Because I don’t ride without a back protector, I also tested Rev’It’s optional Seesoft CE-level 2 back protector V. RV, which uses an interesting layered technology to take care of impact forces. Constructed of four loosely attached layers of nitrile and polynorbornene rubber, the layers allow the memory foam to move against itself as it molds to the shape of the rider’s body – something I noticed within minutes of donning the Replica jacket. Additionally, according to Rev’It, the shifting of the layers allows them to better disperse angular impacts over a larger surface area. The back protector also has ventilation holes to allow cooling on hot days. The only disadvantage I could see in the Seesoft protector versus a separately worn back pad that the rider straps on is that the Seesoft armor is restricted to the size of the jacket, while a dedicated back pad often hangs down below the rider’s belt line, protecting his/her coccyx. However, this is an inherent compromise of all riding jackets with built-in back protection.
The construction of the Rev’It GT-R Pants is quite similar to that of the jacket. The same leather and armor are utilized in protecting the rider. In fact, the biggest difference with the pants is primarily what they lack. Only two small sections of the leather in the rider’s lap is perforated, so ventilation is minimal. Additionally, the pants do not feature the aluminum-covered TPU armor on the knees. The lower legs of the pants do, however, offer zippered expansion panels to accommodate riders with large calves. The GT-R Pants also feature removable/adjustable knee sliders.
In a nod to cooler weather, the Replica includes a zip-in thermal vest. This extends the jacket’s riding season, but the fit is snug enough to preclude wearing heavier insulating layers in seriously cold weather. I was able to fit a windproof shell under the jacket, though.
On the Rev’It website, the Replica Jacket is said to be a tight, race fit, and the company wasn’t kidding. The good news is that the Euro-sized 54 jacket fits my body quite well. The arms feel like they were custom-made for my dimensions. That said, if you have large forearms, you might find the sleeves overly snug. The adjustable waist allows me to fine-tune the jacket to what I’m wearing on my lower body.
One feature that I was looking forward to trying on the Replica was the multiple attachment options offered by the jacket. The jacket and pants have two zippered means of connecting. The first is an 8-in. YKK zipper on the back of jacket and pants to keep them from separating. This configuration can really improve the rider’s comfort on hot days by allowing cooling air to flow up from the beltline. For additional protection, like what you’d need on the track with the increased possibility of extended slides in a mishap, another zipper wraps the circumference of the rider’s waist, preventing the jacket and pants from separating and exposing the rider’s skin. While I appreciate these options – and took advantage of both – the close proximity of the two zippers to each other makes zipping them a bit fussy when first trying them.
Another nice feature of the jacket is the snapping belt loop that keeps the jacket from riding up when the rider wears jeans. Why most motorcycle jackets don’t include this is beyond me. Unfortunately, the first time I used the snap the female portion shattered into two pieces, rendering the loop unusable. Bummer. I plan on taking it to my local tailor and having the broken snap replaced. This should be an easy, cheap fix since it doesn’t require breaking any of the jacket’s seams.
My first ride in the Replica jacket was several hours long, and by the end of it, the jacket felt like I had been using it for months. I attribute this to the well-placed PWR|shell fabric and accordion leather stretch-panels. Typical places that can be issues with new jackets – the neck and wrist closures – are covered with neoprene fabric, making them soft against the skin. The lining of the jacket allows the jacket to slip on and off easily – even when the rider is sweaty. Overall, even with the snug fit of the arms, I was very comfortable in the jacket. The fit of the GT-R Pants was a bit looser in the thighs and calves but not so much that it would allow the armor to shift in a tumble. In fact, I like leathers a little looser on my legs when street riding, so I don’t see this as a problem.
Unfortunately, there is one inexplicable flaw in the design of the GT-R Pants. Although both the Replica Jacket and GT-R Pants use the same lining material, the fabric on the inside of the knee armor is a much more tightly woven rougher weave. After a full day of riding, my knees were rubbed raw and even developed scabs a day later. Unlike the jacket which also has the same rough material inside the elbows, the softer, slipperier liner was not put over the rough fabric as it was on the jacket elbows. While the shoulder material is the same as on the knees, my shirt provided a buffer from the abrasive fabric. Following these clues, wearing the GT-R Pants with a lightweight polypropylene long underwear solved the problem by allowing the two fabrics to slide against each other, keeping my skin out of the mix.
Overall, the Rev’It Replica Jacket and GT-R pants are a welcome addition to my sport-riding kit. Expect to see them in tons of photos in this year’s road tests. The Replica Jacket is available in black/white, white/black, and black/white/red color combinations in men’s Euro sizes 46–58 for a retail price of $670. When considering the jacket, remember that the Seesoft CE-level 2 back protector V. RV will add $50 to the cost. Despite the abrasion issue, I also recommend the pants. Just wear a liner. The GT-R Pants are only available in black/white and can be used in combination with Rev’It’s other jackets. Sizing ranges from men’s Euro 46–58 and 48–54 short or long for $490. Visit the Rev’It website to find your local dealer.