Teiz Revolution

OK, kids, I’m going to try to do a review of Teiz’s Revolution suit.  Bear in mind that it’s a Saturday morning, I’m in the middle of a (admittedly quiet) war room at work right now, and I’ve been working 13-hour days all week.  So the quality might be exactly what you’d expect from that situation. 😉

I first heard about the Revolution suit when Teiz posted about it on ADV —  I was super excited to hear about a custom-made one-piece textile suit. I love my custom-made two-piece leather suit from Helimot because of its impeccable fit, but I do prefer textiles for everyday riding and touring.

Photo to keep you reading and clicking through:

The obvious first choice for a one-piece textile suit is the Aerostich Roadcrafter, but I’ve posted before about how that’s not an option for me.  That blog post was written nearly 6 years ago and as far as I can tell, it’s still accurate.  C’mon, Aerostich, really?

So, when I heard about the Revolution suit, I threw caution and my credit card to the wind and ordered one as soon as they became available.  The ordering process was very easy — Teiz includes a very clear diagram of which measurements they need and how to take them (you can see the diagram on the Revolution product page here).  10 minutes with Peter and a fabric tape measurer and we had our numbers.

The total cost of the suit including shipping was $924 — very similar to the cost of a Roadcrafter, or, indeed, to the total price of the BMW Santiago jacket + FirstGear pants I’d been wearing previously.   The Revolution is intended to replace the rest of my gear, which comprises 4 jackets and 3 pairs of pants, the total of which would well exceed $1000.  Plus, of course, the other gear isn’t custom-made.

I ordered the Revolution suit on June 5 and received it in the mail on August 18.  That’s slightly longer than the 6-8 week wait time, but Ghazi was very communicative and kept me posted as to the order status along the way.  Mine was part of the first production batch, so I’m happy to attribute the extra wait to that.

The suit comes in three pieces: the outer shell, an inner thermal liner, and an inner waterproof liner.  I don’t plan on ever using the inner waterproof liner (I prefer to wear a rain jacket/pants on top of my normal gear) and it hasn’t been cold enough to wear the thermal liner yet.  So this review doesn’t cover either of those liners but instead focuses on the main shell.

The suit is really very attractive and well-made.  You can see a ton of photos of it on Teiz’s product page, but here are some that I took.

(Yes, I realize I completely blend into the background of that pic; apparently my photography skills are slacking as much as my blogging)

One of the things I really love about the Revolution suit is that it has a ton of vents, but isn’t annoyingly drafty when those vents are zipped up.  For example, my BMW Santiago jacket has some nice zippered vents, but it gets very cold to wear it on the freeway without a thick layer underneath, even with the vents closed.  I fully realize that my internal thermometer is jacked up and I’m pretty much only comfortable when it’s exactly 75F, but still, it’s nice that the Revolution seems to support my thermal idiosyncrasies.

Here are the five vents on the Revolution. The thigh vents are Velcro and incredibly easy to open or close while riding; the rest I’ve had to open or close at stop lights (or, in the case of the back vents, while off the bike).

Thigh:

Chest:

(ugh, sorry that one is blurry)

Underarm:

Arm:

Back (there’s one on each side of the back protector):

The armor in the Revolution is very confidence-inspiring.   It has Sas-Tec armor in the shoulders, back, elbows, and knees, and I think they’ve also started shipping new orders with hip armor as well.  That was one of my biggest pieces of feedback (I’d really like hip armor), so I’m glad they’ve since added that.

Sas-Tec armor falls within the category of “strain-rate sensitive armor”, which means that it’s soft and flexible under normal conditions.  When shock is introduced, the armor changes at the molecular level and becomes hard and rigid.  That there is awesome.  For those unsure of whether this new fangled sciencey thing will really protect them in a crash, other applications for strain-rate sensitive armor include Olympic slalom skier armor, bomb-proof suits, and body armor for police and soldiers.

The shoulder/elbow armor looks good from the outside:

Knee armor:

Close up of the knee armor:

Even with all the armor, wearing the Revolution suit is pretty darned comfortable.

Getting in and out is pretty similar to a Roadcrafter — a zipper goes from the left ankle up the leg, up the torso, and to the chin.  Another zipper on the right leg goes from the ankle to the knee.  I don’t have any trouble getting it on and off even while wearing my Ladystar boots (though I have to make sure that the right leg zipper is unzipped all the way to the knee, otherwise the platform of the boot snags a little).  Teiz claims it takes about 30 seconds to don the suit…I think my record is about 45 seconds from holding the suit to wearing it with the velcro attached and neck snap in place.  The first few times I put it on, it was a little bit of a battle — particularly with the neck snap — but now it’s a breeze.

Here’s Teiz’s video of putting on a one-piece suit:

Once on, the suit is very comfortable.  It was a little tight in the crotch when it first arrived, but it stretched a bit after a few wearings and is now just fine.   Similarly, the neck snap was very difficult to use the first few times (there was much swearing when I practiced putting on the suit), but that also eased up and I have no trouble anymore.

My only current fit nitpick is that the right hand knee armor wants to twist inwards a bit — I have to remember to reach down and rotate the suit leg to the outside a little before getting on the bike, otherwise the edge of the armor digs into my knee a bit.  That’s a pretty minor issue, though.

I haven’t crash-tested the suit, of course (knock on wood!) but the armor stays in place very well on the bike and I feel confident that it would remain in place in case of an accident.  One of my biggest complaints with previous jackets in particular was that my arms are thin, so the elbow armor would slide around like mad.  That doesn’t happen with the Revolution suit.

So far, I’ve worn the suit with jeans and T-shirts underneath; on chilly mornings I’ve added my standard Arcteryx fleece base layer.  No issues fitting this stuff under the suit.  I haven’t yet tried wearing my Gerbings heated liner under the Revolution, but as it’s about the same thickness as the Arcteryx, it should be fine.  The Revolution has zippers at the hips to allow a cable to pass through, so plugging into the Gerbing hookup will be a non-issue.

Style-wise, I think the Revolution looks pretty good.  My only complaint is that the hip pockets are a bit bulky (who wants extra bulk at the hip?) but it’s pretty obvious to an outside observer that the bulk is from the pocket flaps, not from extra cheeseburgers, so hey, OK.  I also wish the stomach area didn’t pouch out so much when I’m sitting on the bike, but I don’t think there’s anything to be done about that — the extra fabric is needed when standing upright.  *shrug*

Stomach pooch below, though this was the first night I got the suit, and it’s not quite as stiff anymore now that it’s broken in a bit:

Frankly, the best thing about the looks of the Revolution is that I look like Midget Stig.  This is made of awesome.  If I had to retire Evil Robot, the very best thing is to replace it with something just as dorky.  It’s been years since I got excited about taking pictures of myself making a fool of myself in my gear and I’m really looking forward to it again.

Did I forget anything?  Our war room at work is winding down and frankly, I’m looking forward to leaving and going for a ride. 🙂  Hit me up in the comments for anything else you’ve got questions about — I’m really happy with the Revolution and would love Teiz to keep selling it. 😉

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