Avoiding Rainy Day Blues - Waterproof Oversuits
We’ve talked over the years about the differences between leathers and synthetics, the importance of really good quality protective gear, helmets and all manner of safety / comfort wear, but with the summers / winters we have had in the UK this last couple of years, we have decided to look into waterproof oversuits. There is a mind boggling array currently available on the UK market, and prices rang from around £30 up into triple figures. You could choose an unlined oversuit over leathers, or a suit made from waterproof textiles, such as Gore-Tex, which is a lightweight, versatile option which breathes, and tends to offer pockets, body armour and more.
If you do the majority of your biking in Britain, an oversuit is an excellent idea. Lightweight waterproofs will add greatly to your riding comfort, and will also protect your leathers from the harsh realities of our typical British weather. A good quality set of waterproofs is essential here – a combination of lightness and durability is key.
It’s a good idea to choose something which is going to suit as many weather situations as possible, provides some extra protection from impact and is suitable for warm and cold weather. Different suits are designed with different conditions in mind, but unless you have specific requirements, it is probably best to choose something as ‘all purposes’ as possible.
Good quality one piece suits can be seen as an option on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. One piece waterproofs are often preferred from a watertight perspective, as they tend to have less openings into which a leak can develop or areas which can ride up. On the down side, they can be difficult to put on, particularly if you have been caught in a sudden downpour and are in wet leathers to start with. Some come as zip together separates, which can provide excellent protection from the rain but ease the process of putting them on.
Although you want them to be waterproof, some sort of breathability or grommets to allow airflow is desirable – on a warm but drizzly day, totally airtight suits will not be a comfortable experience. Vents should be easy to open and close. Check for taped waterproof seams and high quality closures.
If you prefer a two piece suit, which many do, then there are some very good examples available. Versatility is the name of the game here. With a separate jacket and trousers you can wear them together, or throw on the jacket in a hurry. Separates are usually easier to put on, especially if you are donning them in the rain.
Many come with reflective panels and in high vis colour combos, which can be excellent for added safety, although do bear in mind that the lighter, brighter colours will show dirt more easily.
Sizing is key. A snug fit will obviously increase the suits waterproof ability, but you do want to suit to be easy to put on, and it pays to try out your riding position in the suit to ensure you will be comfortable and movement won’t be restricted. Look for a high collar which will fit into your helmet, ensuring your next stays dry and you don’t get drips down your back.
Choose a suit with heavy duty zips, and out top tip is to choose one with large zipper pulls – that way they can be opened and closed with gloves on; and a textile flap across the zip will protect further from wind chill.
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