According to NOAA, 2012 was the hottest year on record with the average national temperature up a whopping 3.2 ºF over the previous hottest year. I’m not very compatible with high temperatures, and if I’m honest, borderline phobic of the heat. I also love riding as often as possible which lead me on a quest for the best summer motorcycle gear I could find. My search was extensive and culminated in the acquisition of a REV’IT! Levante jacket and Airwave pants. To test this combo I tackled a 3,000 mile ride with a big portion of the route cutting through the high deserts of Northern Arizona in late June. As expected, temps on the return trip through Sedona reached 106 ºF, or well above my melting temp. To my surprise, I was more than comfortable in this combo from REV’IT!.
The REV’IT! Levante Jacket is a touring inspired piece constructed with exceptionally large mesh panels in the chest, back, and arms. Fitted with a multitude of pockets and features, it’s designed for long days in the saddle. Highly breathable with a fully insulated and waterproof liner, the Levante shielded me from more than a few high mountain rainstorms while traversing the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Adjustments at the lower rib cage and biceps kept the jacket tuned for optimal air pass-through and snug enough to avoid excessive flapping at speed. The Levante is a handsome jacket with the refined details I’ve come to expect from REV’IT!. Available in two color options, black or white, I opted for the latter. I was a little intimidated by the all white version, but it has proven to be the wise choice for reflecting the sun’s most intense rays. Okay, the white is a little much. Many have said I look like an astronaut, Storm Trooper, or The Stig, but those witty jabs are easy to dismiss given how well this combo performs. I’m also astounded how easy the white cleans up, even after a full dusting in the red dirt of Sedona’s backroads.
The secret weapon in this system is the integrated Challenger Cooling Vest. The Challenger vest is an evaporative cooling layer that zips into the liner of the Levante jacket creating a comfortable cooling sensation. I store my Challenger vest in a dry bag filled with ice cold water. As temperatures climb into the triple digits, I extract my soaked Challenger vest from the bag and zip it into the jacket. I’m immediately cooled to my core and confidently forge ahead under the searing sun, cool as a cucumber. What I find most curious is how the Challenger manages to keep me cool without feeling swampy or wet. It’s an impressive sensation that endures for almost two hours before the vest has to be wetted again.
For the lower half, the REV’IT Air Wave pants do an amazing job of fending off engine heat and promote refreshing air transfer. Some mesh pants create little more than cool spots flanked by swelteringly warm areas. The Air Wave pants are cool top to bottom, literally. While I tend to think the hip pads could use some additional armor thickness, and the knee pads slip around a bit more than I’d like, the Airwave pants perform well and will be my go-to until fall returns. If I have a complaint it would be the lack of suspenders. I’m a lanky guy and keeping my pants where I want them is a little frustrating at times.
I’ve logged just over 5,000 miles in this combination and couldn’t be more impressed. From snow capped mountain passes to the sun baked expanses of the high desert, this kit has performed beautifully. As promised, even the most sweltering days are easily managed and pleasant. I may look like a movie extra from Tron, but I’m comfortable and that’s what counts.