FIRST GEAR SOLO EXPEDITION
Solo Expedition High Performance Textile Riding Suit
List Price $496.95
15602 Mosher Ave., Tustin, CA 92780-6427
Phone 800-416-8255 or 714-258-2120
I got wet after about half an hour riding in a downpour, wearing a First Gear Solo Expedition.
The last mile or two home, I was thinking dark thoughts about my new purchase, and whether I should have spent more for an Aerostitch. What to do? I went home and read the brochure again, all about weatherproof this, and waterproof that. I surfed the web page, and felt morose. They make "High Performance Riding Suits" and "Rain Suits" "never the twain shall meet"?
I called and left a message with customer service. A nice lady called back. I said "So, should I have gotten wet?". "No. You should never get wet, regardless of the weather. Take the suit back where you got it, and exchange it for a new one. I'll call the store if you need me to."
Since the store is 130 miles away, and they only had one of my size in stock when I was there, I sent it to FirstGear via UPS instead, for replacement. They don't repair in-warranty suits, they replace them.
I feel better now. I like the suit. The one piece suit has a zipper that runs all the way down the chest and the right leg, so you "apply" the suit, rather than stepping in to a leg hole. The left leg zips almost to the waist, so you step into a loop, but don't actually have to negotiate a leg.
It's got various ballistic pads on knee/elbow/shoulder/hips and a spine pad, all removable if you wash the suit. These are soft pads, not the hard plastic that I've seen in some suits.
There is a pouch in the back for a bota bag, with routing velcro for a drinking tube that can be positioned in a convenient spot for drinking while riding.
The neck flap has velcro to secure it open or closed, something I noted as a complaint about other suits on this list. The neck itself is a padded pillow-like roll that appears to do an outstanding job of sealing. This was a leak point on my DryRider on extended rain rides.
There is also a little pocket, just inside the chest flap, for storing your key. Handy as you first take the suit off, and accessible after you put the suit on. There is no access to pants pockets once the suit is on.
The only thing it might be missing is more pockets. There is one on each thigh, and one on the left chest, all bellows style, with complex waterproof flaps, and one inside chest pocket, with flap. I'd like an additional inside pocket. Maybe I just need to get used to the thigh pockets.
The center chest area, due to the routing of the full length zipper, is flat and blank, which I suspect might be good for long term weather protection.
Clarence A Dold
Pope Valley & Napa CA.
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