I bought my Rallye suit like many other people do: when I bought my first GS. If you purchase a bike from a dealer, they usually offer a discount on any gear you buy in addition to the motorcycle (I got 10% off gear). The Rallye suit is a big investment; the jacket alone costs upwards of $900 and the pants are another $600. Since I no longer had a car, I knew I would be riding all the time. This suit is all-weather, in that it comes with the “waterproof” liner (more about that later) to go inside the jacket. It also comes with full CE rated armor, including the back protector.
I’ve put this suit through about 30,000 miles in the last two years – riding in heat, rain, wind and even snow.
BMW Gear is available in European sizing. I suggest trying everything on at the dealer, even if you’re going to order it through a website. Make sure it fits right. I think it’s also a good idea to try it on with the waterproof liner in both the pants and jacket so you know how much room you have for layering, especially if you’re going to be riding in colder temperatures.
This suit has performed really well. It has many different vents that you can open up – under each armpit, two vents on the chest and then two zippers that go up each arm to reveal some mesh to allow more airflow. The back has vents as well, but they don’t close. You can unzip and remove the arms of the jacket and turn it into a vest, though the only time I did that was when I went fishing and it doubled as a fishing vest.
The pants have two large vents on the front of the thighs that zip down and a large leather patch on the inside of each leg where your legs touch the motorcycle. The legs fan open wide so you can fit your pants over your boots. They also have Velcro at the bottom to cinch them tight if you want to tuck your pants into your boots.
In my opinion, this jacket is not waterproof. The main jacket and pant are basically a big sponge. If you have enough foresight to put the waterproof liner in the jacket and pants before it starts raining, you will do ok staying dry. However, the jacket and pants themselves will be soaked and take quite a while to dry. I’ve been on rides in heavy rain with the liners in, and though my chest and legs were dry, my arms and other areas definitely felt wet. I’m not sure how good the waterproof liner is supposed to be, but it doesn’t completely keep the water out in my experience.
My biggest complaint with the suit is that you really need to know in advance if it could be raining where you are going so you can plan to put the liners in. If you are on a long trip, especially when camping, you could very well be riding in a soggy suit the next morning.
I’ve had a few issues with my suit (the most recent I believe will still be covered under warranty), but I haven’t taken the time to get those fixed yet. Within the first few months, the Velcro on the left sleeve started to fall off. The stitching gave way and with every pull, the thread ripped a bit more. Fortunately, this was an easy fix made possible by my wife and her sewing machine.
The second issue is that the right shoulder armor is the wrong shape. Whoever assembled the jacket put two left shoulder armor pieces in the jacket, instead of a left and a right. It seems like it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the pieces are shaped for each shoulder and should be labeled accordingly (I have two lefts). My right shoulder armor does feel a little weird due to the shape being meant for a left shoulder, but I’ve gotten used to it.
As my jacket is aging, I’m now coming into the biggest problems. The top zipper pull completely broke off, to the point of needing to install a whole new zipper pull and/or zipper. I can get my fingernail in there to pull it up, but to pull it back down, there’s actually a small mechanical piece inside the zipper assembly that has to be pushed in to allow it to pull back down. I’ve gotten used to this annoyance, but it’s definitely a problem.
On each arm, there are two Velcro straps that pull the armor tight to your arm, and keep the sleeves from riding up on your arms. On one side, one of the straps completely fell off and the seam where it was sewn in has come apart. This sewing fix is a bit more difficult and will need to be dealt with under warranty.
The Velcro on the neck that pulls the flap over the zipper has also become useless. I’ve just used it so many times that it no longer sticks. This should be an easy fix, I just need to find some new Velcro and sew it into place.
Lastly (and purely cosmetic), the rubber material on the snaps that run down the front of the jacket to conceal the zipper have started falling off. I think this is also due to how many miles I have on this jacket, but it’s worth pointing out.
No matter which suit you end up buying, you’re going to spend a good amount of money on it. Another thing to consider is that these suits, no matter how well-built they seem, are not indestructible. Considering that I’ve put my suit through over 30,000 miles, I think it’s held up pretty well. The great thing about the BMW Rallye Suit is that you get the two year warranty, which I will be utilizing in the near future. It’s an inconvenience that you may be without the suit for several weeks while it gets fixed, but at least it’s free right?
Living in California, this suit is a great option. I can be in the central valley during the day in hot temperatures, then in close to freezing temps in the sierras and be just fine with the versatility of this suit.