Editor's Note: The Mustang Suit has been discontinued, but there are still a few left ifyou're intersted in purchasing. Contact Gateway BMW in St. Louis to check for available sizes: 314.427.9090.
Carla King wearing the Mustang suit next to the Moto Guzzi Breva that took her on her six-week overseas journey.
I couldn't bear the thought of wearing leathers on a six-week journey around the Adriatic Sea but wasn't convinced that a mesh suit would stand up if I fell down. I finally chose the Olympia Moto Sports Mustang jacket and pants made of a tough Cordura fabric that turned out to be exactly the right compromise between safety and comfort. I decided on khaki instead of grey because lighter colors reflect and keep you cooler -- and resigned myself to being streaked with dirt by the end of the trip. However, six weeks later, I was astounded that it was still bright and clean looking besides having ridden through two rainstorms at the beginning of my trip in Italy and bumping along some very dusty roads in Greece and Albania several weeks later. I had rinsed the suit out, at least partially, a couple times a week, lightly soaping the liner in key areas whenever I noticed I was becoming rather too aromatic, so to speak. The fabric dries quickly but the foam armor pads don't, and one ripped when I jerked it out too roughly to wring it dry.
The inner, perforated nylon liner feels silky and comfortable against your skin. I regularly pulled it on over a bathing suit. A bit "crunchy" when new, the legs make a swish swish sound when you walk (in contrast to leather's creak creak), though it's flexible enough to easily and comfortably jump on and off the bike. There are lots of very well-placed zippers and straps on both jacket and pants that adjust fit and air flow with just a touch. One sunset in the mountains of Montenegro it suddenly got cool, so I tightened the straps with my gloves on while riding and was cozy and warm in an instant.
Model Tina Fischer showing off a few more details of the Mustang outfit. It's hard to believe this good-looking suit actually has protective armor in it.
The Cordura fabric lets the warm summer air flow through, and in extremely hot weather I stayed fairly sweat-free except for the padded areas: knees, hips, tailbone, elbows, shoulders, and back. The back pads came out for good once I got to Greece, but no matter how hot it got I was never tempted not to wear the suit, as I have been with leather.
Olympia Moto Sports did a great job designing this jacket. On a couple of cool evenings I removed the jacket pads to wear it out on the town. Without the bulk, I must say that it looked quite respectable, if not downright fashionable! Jacket price: $149.99; pants $99.99, http://www.olympiamotosports.comwww.olympiamotosports.com
Carla King has traveled many miles around the world solo on a motorcycle. Visit her Web site at http://www.MotorcycleMisadventures.comwww.MotorcycleMisadventures.com