Clip the curbing: check. Drive to the edge: check. Plunge downhill, butt off, tip in, knee down: check. Find the apex, patience, hold it. Now! Gas...
Suddenly, I’m out of my seat. The bike bucks with a bull's brutality. Like head-locking a longhorn, I hold on for dear life – to no avail. I’m airborne; sent over the handlebars, ass over tea kettle. Smack! My head and shoulder slam on the pavement. I spin, like a toppled dreidel on sandpaper. Sparks fly, spitting from grinding footpegs and shoulder plates.
I grind to a stop, prostrate, and center-track. Riders dodge my downed steed. I bound to my feet, with more adrenaline than logic. Sauntering off the course, I take stock of my condition. Bones unbroken, ligaments intact, I thank my lucky stars—and my gear.
No Dress Rehearsals
Moto enthusiasts know the gear review trope all too well. It typically goes something like “luckily, I didn’t test the crashworthiness of X helmet” or “I can only assume Y jacket will hold up with Z safety features.” I’m guilty of this myself, but for a good reason. As much as moto journalists aim to deliver accurate assessments, we can’t (knowingly) sacrifice our own safety in that pursuit. The approach may favor self-preservation, but it only tells the consumer half the story. I’m both grateful and dismayed to say that isn’t the case when it comes to this review of REV’IT!’s Apex race suit.
The range-topping leathers come kit and caboodle with MotoGP-derived features and a CE AAA stamp of approval. The European Union doesn’t just hand out that elite rating either. The Apex earns its triple-A status with Monaco performance cowhide constructing 80 percent of its outer shell. Abrasion-resistant Neoprene, REV’IT!’s proprietary PWRshell fabric, and safety seams preserve that protective performance while promoting the rider’s range of motion and comfort.
Under the surface, race-worthy BETAC shoulder, elbow, and knee armor absorb the brunt of the blow. CE-level 1 hip protectors and coccyx padding cover secondary impact zones. The leathers only come prepared for REV’IT!’s SEESOFT divided chest inserts (Level 1) and back protector (Level 2), but at $49.99 and $69.99 (respectively), both are worthwhile investments. Fortunately, I added those supplementary defenses to my test unit, and I’d need every bit of that protection for the crash to come.
It’s Just a Flesh Wound
Landing on my left side, the initial impact immediately shears away the shoulder plate’s REV’IT! logo, exposing the metal beneath. The subsequent slide scars the leather along the outer arm, leaving surface-level gashes. When my legs drop back down to Earth, the pavement rips off the exclamation point (on the embroidered REV’IT! Script) along the outer thigh. Not even the metal knee plate escapes unscathed, earning several battle scrapes in the process.
Gallery: REV’IT! Apex Race Suit
Once I peel myself off the tarmac, I only register slight pain in my left elbow. I fully expect soreness to set in once the adrenaline recedes, but even the next morning, any discomfort remains localized to my elbow. Easing out of the suit reveals a mesh-traced friction burn below the elbow and two tiny nicks along my forearm.
In the following days, a purplish, greenish contusion develops around my elbow but never impedes functionality. Considering the speed and violence of the crash, structural damage definitely falls within the realm of possibilities. Yet, I escape with mere flesh wounds.
Some may call it luck, but I’ll point to the Apex’s safety standards as the source of my good fortune. Except, this good fortune comes with a price tag to match. Starting at $1,349.99, the flagship suit commands copious coin, but that cost seems downright frugal when compared to the potential medical bills. For those with no intention of crashing, however, the Dutch gearmaker also validates the Apex’s MSRP with premium comfort features.
Like a Glove
REV’IT!’s latest leathers may protect like a suit of armor, but the model also conforms to the user’s physique. Accordion shirring at the elbow, knees, lumbar, and underarms adapt to the rider’s contortions on the bike. All the while, stretch panels along the inner arms, pelvis, and inner thighs yield a snug fit even off the bike. Though the form-fitting cut remains accommodating, I sized down from my usual 50 EU (40 US) to 48 EU (38 US) due to looseness around the waist. For that reason, customers should try on the suit or, at the very least, adhere to REV’IT!’s sizing chart prior to purchasing.
With the appropriate size selected, the Apex suited my five-foot, 10-inch, 165-pound frame. On the other hand, my calves, which aren’t undersized by any means, couldn’t fill the suit’s bulging lower legs. Nevertheless, the broad cut agreeably accepted the inner bootie of my Alpinestars Supertech R boots. Riders with single-layer footwear may not benefit from those preparations, but the extra material shouldn’t approach the brink of bothersome either.
When it comes to ventilation, REV’IT! favors a strategic yet generous approach. We’re talking perforation zones at the torso, thighs, shins, ribs, inner arms, and back. Even the upper shoulders and speed hump deliver a modicum of airflow thanks to REV’IT’s PWR|Fuse air mesh. Admittedly, I tested the Apex during a moderately cold California winter (mid-50s to low-60s Fahrenheit). In those conditions, my polyester/spandex base layer provided enough insulation to maintain comfort. I have no doubt that a lightweight, polypropylene-based undersuit would maximize airflow during the warmer months.
Of course, the removable inner mesh layer allows users to wash the liner when perspiration is unavoidable. Overall, the Apex’s accomplishes a figure-hugging yet comfortable fit. Sadly, there’s one fly in the ointment: the collar. REV’IT! lines the neckband with Neoprene but its textured finish rubbed light rashes into my skin over the course of the day. Like the brand’s Stratum GTX adventure suit, a neck gaiter quickly solved the issue, but I would have preferred a traditional leather collar instead.
That minor quibble aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the REV’IT! Apex’s tailored cut and fancied the cut of its jib. The suit’s protective properties tower over its form and fashion, though. The fact that I walked away from a brutal highside with minor scrapes and bruises only endears the Apex to me even more. Without tears or holes sacrificing the suit’s safety, I fully intend to use it out on the track again.
The battle scars branding the left arm and leg may not be camera-friendly, but the REV’IT! leathers proved they can take a licking and keep on ticking off the laps. I fully intend to overuse the “not crash-tested" gear review trope for all future assignments. However, should I throw my bike – and myself – at the scenery sometime down the road, I hope the gear I’m wearing holds up as well as REV’IT!’s Apex race suit.