A rigid set of rules dictates today’s moto gear market. Race suits resemble other race suits. Touring sets all prize the same multi-seasonal versatility. REV’IT! classifies these well-worn designs as archetypes. In the case of the adventure-touring category, the Netherlands-based brand believes it’s one archetype ripe for a revamp.
To fracture that adventure-gear monolith, REV’IT! draws from diverse influences outside the two-wheeled world. No tradition goes unchallenged. No novelty goes unexplored. From outdoor apparel to high-end sneakers, the design team curates intuitive alternatives to long-held conventions. The direct result of that exhaustive process is the Stratum GTX suit.
The plural form of strata, the aptly-named set plays at the upper crust—in both senses of the phrase. With the Stratum jacket retailing for $1,399.99 and the trousers adding $1,099.99 to the tab, REV’IT! positions the set as the be-all, end-all adventure-touring suit. To test the validity of that proposition, the Dutch gear maker invited us to RawHyde Adventures’ Zakar compound in Mojave, California, for some exploring off the beaten path.
Lay of the Land
Atypical weather visited the Mojave Desert in the days before our big test ride, dusting the nearby Tehachapi Mountains with seldom-seen snow caps. Overnight temps dipped into the low-40s (Fahrenheit). Meteorologists reported day-time highs of 69 degrees, but the ambient temperature reading on my RawHyde-loaned BMW R 1250 GS never surpassed 55 degrees—even in the mid-afternoon.
While that cold front nearly froze my thin Californian blood in the lines, it presented the perfect conditions to assess the Stratum GTX’s bi-layer construction. Composed of a mesh inner layer and a weatherproof outer layer, the adventure set adapts to anything and everything Mother Nature throws your way. REV’IT! accounts for those fickle forecasts with its modular layering system.
Air of Superiority
When more hospitable weather returns, users can quickly ditch the Stratum’s GTX top layer for maximum ventilation. With the brand’s proprietary PWR mesh at the jacket front and back, along with panels at the thighs, the suit promotes airflow while remaining highly abrasion resistant. REV’IT!’s safety measures don’t stop there, either. As opposed to traditional ADV sets, which house the impact protection in the outer layer, the Statum GTX slides its Seesmart CE Level 2 limb and back armor into the form-fitting inner layer.
This approach keeps the protectors from shifting away from high-impact zones in the event of a crash. It also delivers more warm-weather relief than its convention-clinging rivals, flowing air at the rate of a motocross jersey. Though I daren’t test the Air Layer’s aerating properties in the merciless desert, post-event tests along the coast proved the Stratum’s circulating caliber. Air rushed through both the top and trousers with little to no obstruction.
Gallery: REV'IT! Stratum GTX Jacket & Pants
The only downside to the ventilating yet protective inner layer lies in its figure-hugging fit. Put simply, the stretch material leaves little to the imagination. Whereas bulkier gear considerately conceals our ever-growing butts and guts, the Stratum bares all suppressed body insecurities. If you’re able to get past that vanity blockade, however, the Air Layer upholds the suit’s protective pedigree even when the mercury rises. The flagship kit only amplifies those preventative measures as the temps drop.
From the Cold
When encountering the most frigid conditions, REV’IT! strategically designs the Gore-Tex Shell to easily slide over the inner mesh layer. Zips along the outer seam splay each pant leg so the rider can pull on the outer trousers without removing their ADV boots. The Air Mesh jacket provides similar accommodations, with thumb loops maintaining the cuff’s snug fit as the user pushes their arms through the sleeves.
With the GTX layer affixed, the Stratum takes on an entirely different look. The detachable hood and storm collar showcases the jacket’s outdoorsy influences, while the protective print at the knees draws on sneaker sole patterns. In tandem, the bottom and top resemble more of a stylish snowboarding suit than your run-of-the-mill adventure set. Don’t mistake that comparison for a bulky silhouette, though. The Stratum remains trim, all while affording the layers room to swish as the rider sashays atop the bike.
REV’IT!’s materials selection fosters that pliant performance without sacrificing protection. 400D Gore-Tex panels at the jacket front, back, and arms as well as the seat, calves, and shins set the baseline. High-impact and -wear zones such as the shoulders, biceps, and inner thighs earn robust Armacor Gore-Tex sections, while 200D material lines the hood, storm collar, and lap. The patchwork parka and pantalones only supplement the Air Mesh Layer’s AA CE certification with class B protection, elevating the Stratum GTX to a near-AAA rating.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I gently tested that safety rating with a low-speed, off-road tip over. While riding over a novice-level fire road en route to the Trona Pinnacles, the GS and I ran into a stretch of muddy sand the length of a football field. Losing the front and spinning the rear ultimately led to my downfall, literally.
After hoisting the burly BMW to its feet, I trundled through the rest of the desert quagmire with nary a slip. Better yet, the Stratum was no worse for wear, showing no visible signs of the get-off. I’d venture to say that most trail-riding explorers will experience such a tumble at some point. Still, it’s reassuring to know that the Stratum GTX holds up to the majority of on-road spills as well.
REV’IT!’s latest adventure-touring suit certainly earns high marks, but it doesn’t go without its minor faults. With both layers intact, the weather-resistant storm collar yields comprehensive protection against oncoming wind. That tall construction, on the other hand, tended to abrade my throat and chin. The addition of a neck gaiter mitigated the friction, but such accessories may not appeal to all riders.
Aside from niggles like the small pant-front pockets and the lack of cuff straps/buttons to latch the multi-layer sleeves together, the Stratum GTX covers its bases with top-grade materials, thoughtful assembly, and a high-quality finish. Customers can even augment the modular system by adding a base layer, a mid-layer, Seesoft chest protectors, or a Kriega HydraPack. After all, the Stratum GTX aspires to rule the category as the be-all, end-all option—even if that comes at a steep price.
There’s no getting around it—the Stratham GTX is expensive. However, REV’IT!’s innovative features and peerless attention to detail back up that lofty MSRP. With such a stratospheric price, only the most ardent adventurers comprise the Stratum GTX’s customer base. Those on a budget, fret not, REV’IT! plans to trickle down that state-of-the-art technology throughout a new line of gear.
In recent years, the Dutch gear maker has grown significantly—both financially and technologically. That optimistic outlook coincides with REV’IT! U.S.A. shifting its headquarters from Brooklyn, New York, to Denver, Colorado. As the brand takes on this new frontier, we expect even more inventive ideas and archetype-shattering entries from REV’IT! in the future.
Photos: Kevin Wing