I’ve always been an avid supporter of the protective qualities of leather. However I ride in New Zealand, where the weather is as inclement as politicians’ opinions and more often than not it’s in the favor of isolated showers. (Why do we keep on going on about the weather here?)
Along comes the BMW Atlantis. In its fourth incarnation it has progressed faintly faster than our fuel prices but manages with each manifestation to ingratiate with conservative BMW refinements. Previous versions of the Atlantis suit used a zip in gore-tex liner to keep the water out. This current model has the Goretex backed directly to the “hydrophobic nubuck cow hide leather”. Silly as it sounds it instills images of frightened black spotted daisy cows quivery in fear under canopies of leaves mooing in anguish as ominous blacked rain clouds gather overhead. BMW put little effort to explain their product as they plucked “Hydrophobic” straight from the dictionary to effortlessly explain the aptly named Atlantis as an abnormal fear of the water.
BMW Motorrad produces exceptional gear, with a generous price tag to reflect the quality. You can always count on the Motorrad marketing team to come up with dozens of slogans and slick names for the technological advancements in their latest garment offerings. It seems that the newest interpretation of the classic remains as mythical as Plato’s legendary island with all traces of propaganda absent from their website. The only thing to even let you know the capabilities of the Atlantis suit on the BMW riders gear is some tiny text saying “All weather touring”, and of course the use of the term “hydrophobic”. What I would like to know is why then if you have created the biker’s ultimate wish list, a leather suit that repels water, would you not have it in bold on your front page?
Details, nothing more than details…
The jacket and pants combo has an understated elegance, and an air of cool effortless sophistication. Attention has been paid to the overall appearance; the stitching is impeccable and the styling minimalistic and flattering. Additionally pleating is unobtrusively placed in the areas requiring some stretch. The premium key feature is that BMW decided to downplay the fact it’s a BMW suit. The BMW logo is quietly embossed on the sleeves, it’s so faint and you need to squint to make it out. I really dig the retro vibe; taking you back to the basics, what riding should be, the smell of the open road. This water-phobic cow hide induces pragmatic tendencies aiming for a low tech attitude and visible cleanliness. It is a breath of fresh air compared to the dozens of taglines brandished about in the latest textile suit war. It is the only suit that other riders have come up to me and ask me what it is that I’m wearing.
The pants fit me beautifully, not that I’m beautiful man, but it just so happens these pants fit me quite nicely! They are the most comfortable motorcycle pants I have ever worn. As is typical with properly sized leather, they felt as if they were going to cut circulation off for the first half an hour. Once the initiation is completed they become the pants to “Joust a plaisance” all other motorcycle pants you’ll ever try on to.
The jacket is a bit of a different story. The shoulders and their associated protectors fit exactly how they should. I felt the stomach area was cut a bit too baggy as are the arms. Or maybe this is an excuse to eat a lot more greasy food for lunch, and do a few more weights? I also found the zip up on the sleeves didn’t make it all the way closed when you tucked in gloves to the inside of the cuffs leaving the zipper only partially done up.
This suit is made for long days in the saddle, and will not disappoint in that area. It’s a pleasure to wear on your motorcycle. It’s also right at home when sitting down relaxing, having lunch or whatever you happen to be doing off the bike. You will forget you’re wearing protective motorcycle gear.
The next generation armor once molded is so unobtrusive it makes the switch back to standard composite protectors unpleasant. The Atlantis 4 uses the next generation armor from BMW, these mold to your body shape with heat. The pants have two locations for the knee protectors allowing you to customize this suit to feel just right. Touching these NP Protectors they feel a little softer than the standard CE armor in other jackets and pants. The principal is they can absorb low energy impact and will harden up for high energy impacts. They appear to be serious construction and people who are much smarter the me have come up with the type of protector that we are all in desperate need of. Some seriously thick 1.2 – 1.4mm Nubuck leather is on top of all those protectors doing its job as well. The stitches that join all the areas up are comprised of the highest quality. Every stitch appears the same as the one before it. Nothing seems out of place, and no frays anywhere to be seen. Everything about this suit gives you confidence similar to that of a one piece racing suit. The let down in the protection area being in the zipper area, but we’ll get to that later.
I pleat my case
The many stretch zones are located in the shoulder and back area, collar, sleeves, jacket waist, knees and back of pant waist. These stretch areas are well consideration and implemented. Movement is almost as free as if wearing your favorite “rot on the couch” clothing. The pleating in the jacket waist are put to good use after that greasy burger for lunch and you’re feeling a little more like Shamu and less like Casey Stoner.
Proper threshold values
There’s no question you’re wearing something reeking of quality when you ride in the Atlantis 4 suit. It’s nice for me that the reek is something other than the norm. The leather has that top notch look, the stitching is bang on, and I believe most importantly the pants are cut to look almost designer jeans like. The minimalist style of the Atlantis 4 suit makes you stand out and proud like the runway model you always wanted to be.
Hydrophobic or not…
Well the descriptive word of hydrophobic, while accurate or not sure is amusing. Now by questioning the accuracy I am in no way referring to the waterprrof qualities of the suit. I can say that the Atlantis 4 suit is definitely waterproof. It has been subjected to hours of rain at a time with no leaks. It actually doesn’t even get much heavier when it’s at its most saturated point. The only downside versus a textile fabric would be the drying time. It doesn’t take long to to dry to the point of “almost” but after that to completely dry takes patience.
A la Cart or Buffet at Denny’s
The MSRP on the Atlantis 4 jacket is $859.00USD, the pants are $699.00USD. This is not something to be considered lightly. The rationnelle being, if you can have one suit for all four seasons then the price would be a great deal.
Unfortunately this suit is still not a four season suit, and would be far too cold for winter riding. If you don’t ride when the temperature in your area drops below 10 degrees Celsius, then perhaps this is the suit for you. If not then you will need a form of winter suit, or a gerbing heated vest underneath.
An excellent quality leather suit, and a good quality set of Cordura jacket and pants could be bought for the price of the Atlantis 4 suit.
This is one of the best looking touring suits I have ever seen. The comfort is almost unmatched. The feeling of leather, in my opinion, still cannot be equaled by textile gear. This is not to say the actually protective quality, but just the fuzzy wuzzies the gear gives you.
Waterproof leather mean that you can have the swaddled baby feeling all year long. All of this will only work if that silly connecting zipper was done up properly, and the equally inadequate main zipper does its job.
If style and appearances are important, than this should be looked at seriously. This is a hard suit to review, as there is nothing about it that stands out apart from being waterproof leather. With that in mind it does do it’s job very well with the exception of my reservation over the zippers.
I would suggest this product for the spring, summer and fall. Ideal for showery weather conditions and tempature down to 10 degree Celsius
These items are interchangeable with other BMW gear that has the perimeter zipper.
Robust Nubuck leather, superb stitching and removable adjustable protectors. Flimsy adjoining zippers.
I love this suit; I’m just not sure if it lives up to its price tag.