A layered system for all-weather riding.
I was excited when I received my set of Olympia Women’s Expedition II jacket and Expedition pants, as I had the perfect trip in mind to test them. Riding slightly more than 1,500 km south into Washington State for the Touratech-West rally was a good opportunity to see how the gear endured a variety of weather and riding conditions.
Olympia created its Expedition outfit to fit all budgets and offers female riders a well-rounded package for the price – removable armour, thermal lining (jacket only) and inner or outer rainwear. Although there are a lot of pieces to zip in and out of the gear, it does offer great all-weather versatility when used correctly.
Being an eternal optimist, I packed my rain layers away for the ride, but soon regretted my choice. Rain began falling only a few hours into my trip. I pulled over after a few minutes – my gear wet from the rain – and proceeded to put on the rain jacket and pants, both of which offer lots of room for ease of putting on and taking off.
The Expedition gear uses an AquaRes waterproof membrane, which doesn’t stop water from getting through the outfit’s many zippers. Olympia does state that the jacket requires a two-piece rain jacket and pant system to be truly waterproof, and both liners can be worn either inside or outside the gear. Outside is much more comfortable and easier to put on before it rains.
Pockets, Vents and Zippers. O My!
The Expedition outfit makes life a breeze! The jacket has two large zippered roll-down vents on the chest along with almost full-length zippered arm vents. On the back, there is one large zippered roll-down vent, which completes the cycle of airflow. On the pants, two large zippered roll-down thigh vents allow for great airflow on the legs. The zip-down panels are easy enough to open while riding, but you will need to stop to tuck them securely into the gear.
The Expedition gear offers a slim, flattering shape, although, like a lot of women’s gear, pocket space is diminished because of that. The jacket has side pockets along the hip and an inside pocket for a phone. The pants have a deeper pocket, but it runs along the vent zipper and may be prone to getting wet in rain. Putting anything in the pockets on both the hips and thighs can be difficult and, as such, felt awkward once sitting on my bike.
The gear looks great and fits regular overall. I’m 165 cm and 57 kg, so I went with a medium jacket and size 4 pants. The jacket has a nice, broad shoulder fit and narrows through the waist and hips. Olympia added a neoprene-lined collar, along with adjustable arms and waist clasps to customize fit and comfort. However, I believe this jacket fell short in its hip adjustment and shortness of the torso. The hip adjustment consists of a Velcro cinch with elastic ribbing underneath. While this feature allows for some adjustment, the elasticized ribbing can ride up if you move and prevents the waist from returning to its rightful spot over the hips. The Expedition jacket and pants have a 20 cm-long zipper that joins the jacket and the pants to help prevent the jacket from riding up, but I still found that to be an issue.
The Expedition pants fit well and have elasticized ribbing on the side of the thighs and tops of the knees to improve flexibility in the pants. A full-length zipper from foot to waist makes the pants easy to put on while wearing boots.
The jacket and pants are well equipped to withstand abrasion. The jacket is made from 500-denier Cordura fabric with 1,000-denier Cordura fabric in protective areas. The pants are similar, with 500-denier Cordura and 2,000 denier Cordura in abrasion-prone areas. The jacket offers CE Level 2 armour in the elbows, shoulders and back, while the pants have CE-rated kneepads and EVA compression hip pads to keep you safe in case of impact.
After riding in the gear for my weekend trip, I believe Olympia is onto something good, but the gear still needs a few tweaks to make it better. The five-piece outfit is a great all-round package at an affordable price and you could save money by not having to buy additional mid- or outer layers. The Olympia Expedition II jacket retails for $599.99, while the Expedition pants are $465.99. Olympia gear is distributed through Motovan and can be purchased at most motorcycle dealers.