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Long Term Test: REV’IT! Dominator GTX Jacket and Pants

Even here in the Southwest, the warm days of summer are a distant memory. My mesh suit hasn’t seen the light of day in months, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped riding. Like many adventurous motorcycle riders, I welcome the colder months, daring unpleasant weather as it comes, but only because I have the appropriate riding gear. For me, that means GoreTex. Although it has been around for ages, Gore’s famous fabric is only recently enjoying common use in motorcycle suits. The advent of GoreTex Pro, ideal for use in motorcycle applications, has become the gold standard of weather thwarting layers.

Most motorcycle suits made of GoreTex Pro are top tier products that offer superb protection and features. Only a select few are as well designed and constructed as the new 2015 Dominator GTX suit from the Dutch motorcycle apparel mavens at REV’IT!. Their newest flagship suit is made with a selection of cutting edge materials in a jacket designed for three-season capabilities. It provides some of the most complex safety features we’ve seen packaged in a jacket and pant combo.

 

Outer Shell

Not content to simply wrap the Dominator in a layer of 600-denier GoreTex Pro, REV’IT! included GoreTex Amacor and Talisman fabrics, as well as PWR Kevlar stretch panels, Lorica synthetic leather, Neoprene, and large patches of highly reflective tape. This is a supremely technical piece designed for a lifetime of hard use.

Our sample suit was delivered with the various layers easily identifiable in their different colors. The main body of the suit is constructed of off-white GoreTex Pro waterproof/breathable fabric. Over the shoulders and outer arms is an even more abrasion resistant layer of grey rip-stop Armacor. The most high impact areas at the shoulder caps, elbows, and knees, are patches of black Talisman. Woven with hundreds of little exposed ceramic plates, or dots, Talisman is a material designed to offer better sliding attributes than nylon, leather, or polyester. This reduces potential injury as sliding is always preferred over tumbling in the event of a get-off.

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The torso of the Dominator has two direct vent panels and two vertical zippered vents at the rib cage. The monkey-paw lycra cuff, ideal for sealing out harsh weather, can be removed for warmer temperatures. 

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The two large vertical back vents import more air than expected and even have rubber rain gutters for use in bad weather. The four individual waist adjustment straps are on sliders and can be moved up or down for optimal fitment. The two black panels at the armpits are stretch GoreTex, placed for maximum mobility.

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The bellowed rear cargo pocket is a nice touch as are the zippered expansion pleats at the waist. The rear cargo pocket is 100% waterproof.

The Tallisman fabric with its thousands of ceramic-coated dots, provides unrivaled protection in a crash. Tallisman is placed over the ultra-durable Armicor fabric at the shoulders, elbows and knees.

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To achieve the certification required by GoreTex, REV’IT! had to invent their own unique rubber rain gutter system to seal out water from their direct panel vents. There are additional rubber gutters inside the vertical torso vents as well.

 

Because GoreTex suits of any variety run the risk of becoming hot and stuffy, REV’IT! was forced to aggressively attack their ventilation design. The jacket has a total of 10 vents. The two most prominent are the direct vent panels at the upper portion of the chest. There are two vertical vents below those and at the back of the jacket. Two small vents on each sleeve move air into the main part of the jacket. It is worth noting that in temperatures pushing 80ºF, the Jacket was quite warm, but not uncomfortable.

The refinements to the shell are extensive and include small details like anti-snag micro velcro behind the main storm flap, a five-position snap at the collar, bellowed waterproof front pockets, and an expandable waterproof rear pocket. There are removable “monkey paw” cuffs, adjustable side rail straps to fine tune fit, 4-inch lower gusset zippers at the hips, neck brace attachments, and a full compliment of internal security pockets. There is an internal kidney belt for added support, a nice touch that also helps keep the jacket from flagging at high speed.

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The two front pockets are well placed and if left unzipped, will not dump their contents when the rider assumes a seated position. The side cargo pockets are well placed and waterproof. The only negative is the lack of any vents – at all.

Two small traction patches at the sit bones help keep the rider from sliding on the seat. The knees are protected by Tallisman patches over the Armicor fabric and CE-level 2 knee armor. 

 

The pants have many of the same build features of the jacket with the addition of leather patches within the inner knee area. The pants have two front pockets and two cargo pockets on the thighs. In what I can only describe as a most unfortunate oversight, the pants lack any ventilation––at all. In any temperature over 80ºF, they are undeniably hot. It would have been nice if they included the direct vent panels on the thighs as used in REV’IT!’s own Poseidon pants. As it is, I would consider the Dominator pants impractical for use outside of fall, winter, and early spring.

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Leather patches at the inner aspect of the knee help to protect not only the pants themselves, but the finish of the motorcycle. Reflective highlights are placed at the lower leg, shoulders, front and back for full, 360-degree visibility at night.

 

 

Protection

Adding to the defensive features of the Dominator suit is the use of SEEFLEX CE Level 2 protectors in the knees, elbows, and shoulders. The included back protector is made of CE Level 2 Seesoft foam as are the protectors placed at the hips. Combined with the outer Armacor and Talisman fabrics, the Dominator suit offers comprehensive protection, perhaps superior to any other suit we’ve tested in the last year.

The fit of the jacket and pants is trim and lean, which tends to accommodate my tall and thin build. The pants are available in regular, short, and long lengths, which again helps insure good placement of the armor at the knees.

Overall comfort is superb with soft-touch materials at the neck, wrists, and waistband, and the liner of the jacket and pants have a soft interface when placed directly against the rider’s skin. Although the outer fabrics are stiff as the proverbial board when new, they do soften gradually with use.  After 1,000 miles in my test suit, it finally started to relent and has become more comfortable with each ride.

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The full coverage See-Soft back protector is playable and comfortable in all temperatures. The inner liner is made of wicking fabrics and is soft against bare skin. Two security pockets keep essentials secure and within quick reach. For maximum safety and comfort, the jacket and pants can be joined via a large gauge zipper.

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The collar is secured with REV’IT!’s unique 5-position adjustable snap, and is lined with soft-touch materials for a comfortable interface with bare skin. The large YKK zippers are easy to actuate, and don’t easily clog or jam when inundated with dust and grime.

 

Armor

The protection afforded by the Dominator suit is impressive. The CE-certified level 1 and level 2 pads are flexible, soft, have excellent ventilation properties, and add a minimum of bulk.

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The Dominator is available in two subtle color choices. 

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Unlike many suits in this price range, the Dominator does not include additional insulation liners, something I find refreshing. I have a closet full of liners and layers, so not having them add to the price of an already expensive suit was fine by me. As a user of other REV’IT! suits, I anticipated pairing their Challenger Cooling Vest with the Dominator, but it just didn’t quite get enough air passing through it to really work as I had hoped. As much as REV’IT! asserts the Dominator is a four-season suit, I think that depends on what defines your summer season. Anything over 80ºF and the Dominator feels stifling. When stopped at a light or intersection, the pants alone can be miserable. Then again, anything over that temperature usually falls within mesh suit territory and I have long been a fan of REV’IT!’s Airwave mesh pants.

As grandiose as it sounds, this really is about as nice as motorcycle suits get. With far more protective elements than average, it is a safety-bug’s dream. Although it may not cut it for summer use, I can guarantee it will keep you warm and dry when ugly weather intersects with your route. At $1300 for the jacket and $900 for the pants, the purchase price is a bitter pill, but chances are high that this will be the last motorcycle suit you ever need to buy.

 

 

Visit the REV’IT! USA website for more information: [click the banner below]

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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.