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By: Michael Allen
Being a test rider I have had the opportunity to test almost every brand of gear on the market. Doing so has really shown me what works and what doesn’t when it comes to gear design, fit, function, durability and overall quality. Being that I ride moto, but really love off-road, I have found that although most moto gear looks and fits better than off-road specific gear, moto gear never seems to last as long as off-road gear. Why? Because to me off-road gear is designed to be abused out in the elements, most moto gear is not. I was looking at the Fly Racing website while getting information for my review on the new Patrol jacket (https://www.keeferinctesting.com/gear-2/2020/1/15/fly-racing-patrol-jacket) and I came across Fly’s Patrol off-road gear line. I was going to be racing the Tecate Enduro and figured this would be the perfect test to see how the gear would hold up. If you’ve ever raced Tecate you know just how hard the tight Baja single track can be on jerseys and pants. It seems as though the bushes in Tecate reach out and grab you and it almost never fails that I come home with at least a ripped jersey.
I ordered black Patrol XC pants (they offer an over the boot version also) as well as the Patrol jersey in maroon/black, and the Patrol XC lite gloves in black. When the gear showed up, I tried it on and was very pleased that the size of the pants as well as the jersey is true to size (and also has extra adjustment both ways). I have big hands, so you know what that means (I wear big gloves) and in most cases I order XL gloves, which I did with the Patrol set, but these XL gloves seemed to be a tad on the small side. Just note that they still fit around my hands, but took a little tugging to get on.
The Patrol jersey uses mesh, multi paneling to help with ventilation while trying not to compromise performance or durability. The cuffs have a relaxed fit in order to not squeeze your writs too tightly while riding. Unlike some off-road gear the Patrol pant/jersey wasn’t baggy and was even slightly form fitting. It wasn’t super tight where it looked like Spandex, but had the perfect amount of material for my 6’ 185-ish pound frame. The jersey also features a slightly longer tail to stay tucked in and it did just that for the hundreds of miles that I logged in this gear. For being as vented as the Patrol jersey is, it has held up surprisingly well and has yet to rip. My only complaint about the jersey (and this is going to sound weird) is that it vented too well. Since I have been riding a lot in winter, the massive amount of air flow can sometimes be too much and if I started the ride without my vest, it tended to be pretty chilly when I would stop on the trail. I think it would be great if Fly offered the same style jersey with a little less ventilation for colder climates.
The Patrol XC Lite glove offers more protection than your typical moto glove, but slightly less protection than the Patrol XC glove. Going on looks alone, they look like they wouldn’t be too comfortable because of the slightly bulbous knuckle protection, but in this case, looks are deceiving. Like I mentioned earlier, the XL gloves were a little on the small side, but once on they were comfortable and I didn’t notice the knuckle protection at all, except when it saved my hands from the harsh Baja landscape. The gloves are secured with a Velcro strap which stays in place even when smacking trees. The area of the glove where the palm meets the writs started to tear after several uses, but I think this could be due to the gloves being slightly too small for my hands and me having to pull excessively hard to get the gloves on. We will be getting larger gloves to examine this further.
The Patrol XC pants come in either black or grey and are offered in “over the boot” or “in boot” configurations. Inside the pants is a mesh liner for comfort and added ventilation on longer or warmer rides. Also to help with airflow, there are zippered vents that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. On hotter days my “manhood” really appreciated these vents as they really do add some airflow. There are also three zippered pockets integrated into the pants, which came in handy on more than a few occasions. The two front pockets are padded, which work perfect for a cell phone while keeping it protected and easily accessible. The third pocket is just inside the waistband and is just big enough to store an ID, credit card, and some cash. The knee panels are durable leather and have yet to show any signs of wear, but can mark up your shrouds when squeezing with your knees. The knee area is roomy enough to accommodate any knee brace, but also not super baggy and awkward looking so you don’t look like you borrowed your larger riding buddy’s pants. Riding off-road often has me out on the trail for many hours and the stretch ribbed panels make the pants extremely comfortable to wear all day long. To keep the pants secured Fly uses a zipper/ratcheting strap in front and one Velcro adjuster on the side in case you need a little more adjustment (some days I’m fatter than others). Overall, I was very impressed with the pants for two main reasons. The first is that they are SUPER comfortable for long rides and have the great fit to them. The second reason is because the options of having the vents open and closed is really handy along with having very functional pockets.
The majority of the time when I ride off-road I wear moto gear and just deal with not having some off-road gear amenities. Usually I don’t mind, but the Patrol gear has really opened my eyes to how good off-road specific gear can get. The quality and durability of the jersey is impressive and I have yet to even have a frayed thread. The extra knuckle protection from the gloves really came in handy when my hands met the rugged Baja wilderness. Most impressive of all were the pants; the comfort, quality, ruggedness, and functionality was really a surprise. The Patrol pants have now become my off-road benchmark to which I will compare any other off-road specific gear I test in the future. The only real downside to the Patrol XC gear set is that the color options are pretty limited. Off-road gear that doesn’t come in many different colorways? Shocking! I know! If you ride or race off-road, I highly recommend you look into the Fly Patrol gear set and give it a try. If you have any questions about the Fly Patrol XC gear, feel free to reach out to me at Michael@keeferinctesting.com.
Patrol XC Pants-$ 129.95
Patrol Jersey- $38.95
Patrol XC Lite Gloves- $29.95