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Review: Olympia Airglide 3 Mesh Tech Overpant

Discussion in 'Pants' started by Motown, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. I'd decided some time ago that kevlar jeans were no longer for me, for various reasons to do with both vanity and functionality. Consequently, I'd moved on to textile/mesh overpants and settled on the Olympia Airglide 3's for the upcoming heat.

    What is it?
    The Airglide 3 is a mesh/textile pant with a removable water-resistant liner (I'm going to avoid waterproof as it fosters unrealistic expectations). It's primarily warmer weather gear that can probably work in spring and autumn as overpants. It may work in northern winters, but it'd be manifestly inadequate for the colder months in locales like Ballarat.

    I wear it, with or without the liner, as overpants over normal dress jeans or, if hot enough, over shorts.

    I confess I'm a bit of an Olympia Motosports fan due to quality and features one gets for the price. I own the Phantom One Piece Suit which is great for winter touring and longer commuting, while my wife and daughter all have Olympia gear (the women's Airglide, in fact). I've done all my purchasing through Revzilla as, unfortunately, we can't get their gear in Oz.

    Olympia deal exclusively with textile and mesh gear, aimed primarily at commuters and tourers. They've a large selection of High-Vis gear as well as the usual basic blacks and silvers.

    You can catch the sales pitch and feature list on their site or at Revzilla.

    The differentiator (or why these and not the others)
    The one feature that sets these and many other Olympia pants apart from the rest, is the full side leg zippers. These are ridiculously convenient if you're using these pants as overpants, allowing quick, standing entry without taking off your footwear (see below).
    With practice, taking them on and off takes less than 15 seconds. You can be in the wine bar, in your designer jeans, chatting up the lovelies in no time flat (;)), while staying safer on the road on the way there and back.

    I'm not going to pretend I'm qualified to pass judgement on the safety implications, but I imagine for one of its intended uses as commuter wear, it's not a major issue. Your opinion may differ.

    One of these men is a professional model, the other a middle-aged, 183cm, 90kg, father of three. Identify which is which, if you have the keenest of eyes.
    Olympia, being an American company, are said to be sized for "American" bodies, as opposed to European. This is code for "fat bastards", a code that, sadly, also applies to Australians, in general. I'm a 34, but on the smaller side of that sizing. Consequently, I bought the 34 with the hope that I could wear them as overpants, without them being too snug. Over normal jeans, they work fine both with and without the liner. I'd bought from Olympia before, so have a fair idea of where I fit on their sizing chart. To be safe, you may want to go up a size to use them as overpants, particularly if you're on the upper end of your size bracket. If you're median or on the smaller end, I reckon you'll be OK going true to size, unless you typically wear bulkier pants.


    It terms of adjustability, the Airglide's bottom 6 inches are not zippered (see above), using velcro as a fastener. The theory here is that if you're a little short in the leg department, you can easily hem away a fair bit without butchering the zippers. The hips also have a stretchable, accordion panel allowing for a bit of latitude if you've over-indulged at the wine bar. It also allows easy access for emergency buttock scratching or a tactical shift of the forward apparatus :p.


    The Airglide has the usual Scotchlite trims (see above) as well as adjustable CE knee armour. The armour fit me perfectly out of the box, so I've no opinion on the adjustability based on experience. The hip armour is only foam, but appears to be replaceable with something better if you're so inclined. I'll get around to that, eventually, as it's sub-optimal.

    The impact areas are 500D Cordura, apparently. Truth be told, I wouldn't know Cordura if it jumped out of my porridge. I know the material on these pants are much lighter than that on my Phantom touring outfit, but that's to be expected given its raison d'ĂȘtre.

    Airflow is achieved by large mesh panels above and below the knees on the front and behind the knee to the rear. There's also a small panel just below the small of your back. In practice, there's oodles of airflow on my Across at normal speeds. On truly hot days (>35ish deg), though, the lower mesh panel can allow the ingress of unwanted engine heat above and beyond what's normal. Other than cooking oneself, it's an unwanted addition to a rider's cooling-hydration equation. On the R1100RT, there's much less engine heat and airflow, for that matter, so the venting is less pronounced. Still, it's clearly ahead of my kevlar jeans and DriRiders.

    Depending on your bike, I'd probably wear it without the liner up to about 38-40 degrees C. Above that, I'd probably wear the liner for anything beyond a short trip and do my best to keep it wet/damp.

    Apparently, the liner is designed to be worn on its own as casual/sport pants. Hmmm. Technically true, I suppose, but I wouldn't be socializing in it, personally. Having said that, it's good enough to wander about the caravan park or hotel, I suppose.

    I'd call these pants water-resistant, probably shower-proof and even steady-rain proof. True deluges, though, will overwhelm the side zippers over time. Having said that, I've got nothing that can keep out the true dumpings for anything beyond a quick commute.
    The only waterproof pockets on the Airglide are in the liner. Obvious, I know, but they're not easily accessible from outside which can be a bit of a bugger. If you have other options, I wouldn't be sticking the Samsung in these if the weather looks iffy. As far as other pockets go, there's two zippered ones on the front and two, fastened, on the seat.

    For those wanting to connect a jacket, an 8" zipper is provided.

    A quick plug. Postage, as expected, was not trivial. The full Airglide jacket and pant outfit set me back $70-odd in delivery charges. On the plus side, it arrived in about a week and a bit. I've had nothing but good experiences with them.

    US$229 at Revzilla. That compares pretty well with many Kevlar jeans. For me, as an everyday item that allows me to dress "normally" (bar the boots) it's great value.

    • Good value.
    • Quick, and I do mean quick, entry and exit.
    • Great airflow for the summer heat.
    • Easily hemmed.
    • The lower leg vent can cook your shins on really hot days if your bike has engine heat dispersal issues. You may consider wearing the liner on truly hot days (>40 deg) to prevent an inadvertant baking and limit whatever the opposite of "wind chill" is at those extremes.
    • Limited waterproof pockets.
    • Not convinced about the waterproofing. Nothing stopping me throwing the Aldi rain pants over the top, though, if it came down to a choice between that and putting on the liner.
    • Lots and lots of velcro. Olympia love the stuff.
    • Has to be ordered internationally, with all the issues that brings with it.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. How are these holding up in the wet/cold Moto? I've been looking for a pair of armored pants to replace my kevlars/overpants. Would you still recommend them in this ghastly weather?
  3. #3 Motown, May 22, 2013
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    Well, I've been wearing them every day over my work pants and they seem fine. Quite a few of those days have been wet, but none I would classify as torrential.

    worn it a few times on trips down the highway to watch the Hawks play and they've
    held up.

    Keep in mind that I ride an R1100RT, though. It is one of the best around at keeping the weather off, so YMMV.

    Still, they've done everything I've asked of
    them and are the most convenient pants I've ever had in terms of getting on and off.
  4. Excuse the formatting, this site and my phone don't get along.