Well, I've gone and done it. I've spent good money on something I've been drooling over for quite some time now: new gear.

I've wanted a "real" touring suit since before I even got the Strom. I had textile gear that matched and worked, but it wasn't a perfect fit and I was starting to wear it out. A button here, zipper there... until before you know it, you've burned a hole in the leg from a dirt bike exhaust!

So I started my search and knew I liked touring gear more than sport gear. I enjoy a 3/4 length jacket MUCH more than a waist-length jacket, both for abrasion and weather protection as well as the look.

Here in Texas, it gets hot in the summer. So hot that you sometimes contemplate staying indoors with the luxury of air conditioning vs. a backroads ride through the country. In anything less than 90F there's no chance I'm staying inside - but it gets tough over that. I want a full suit like an Aerostitch, but I want mesh.

Last year while wandering through the back of Wild West Honda on a random window shopping trip, I found the little hidden corner in the back with the KTM stuff. Orange everywhere, and a few racks of silver/grey gear. Mesh gear. Mesh TOURING gear!

Nestled in with their cordura line was Olympia's new Airglide and Bushwhacker fully-lined mesh gear. The Bushwhacker was a dream come true.

Back then, I convinced myself I had enough gear to carry me through all four seasons, although while all of it was "good", none was really "great".

Fast forward to Saturday, March 17th. St Paddy's day. I guess my luck was in full force, because when I went window shopping with David, not only was the Olympia gear still there in the back, but the line had expanded.

Behold: the Ladies Airglide II

Yeah, that's nice, but I have never fit into women's gear. The arms are too short, they aren't long enough in the torso, and they rarely have large enough sizes in stock for me to even try on.

Until now.

It fit perfectly. It fit better than any mens gear I'd ever worn. Granted, I was still going with mens pants for length - but the jackets are interchangeable so the connectors are perfect.

For those shopping for gear, a few blurbs about what made this particular set perfect:

- Full liners top & bottom - insulated for cold and waterproof. I'll never need to carry rain gear again! (I know inside liners are more annoying than donning rain gear, but I usually make the rain/no rain determination before the ride starts and press my luck from there)

- Full mesh. In Texas, that will pretty much cover March/April through October. I've never had mesh pants before, so this summer should be interesting.

- CE-rated armor. Knees, shoulders, elbows, back. The back and hips also have an extra layer of padding sewn in. (Just what I need - MORE padding on my hips!)

- The liner itself zips closed underneath the shell with an offset, so the rain can't get through the zipper and leave you with a rain line when you get to your destination.

- Reflective piping. I like to be seen, and coming from all-black gear I already felt I'd be more visible with a lighter-colored suit.

- Yes, it just happens to match my bike... It was a choice of silver or black, and like I said - this is Texas. We have sun. Lots of it.

- Comfy neck. Not sure what type of fabric it is, but the top roll on the neck line is like a dream. I know this is a weak point on many jackets, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

- The liners can be worn independently. I can recall many a situation when I wanted to be warmer and/or protected against incliment weather and this would have been the best option, again without having to carry extra rain gear or layers.

Ok, time for my non-modeling self to brave the horrible lighting and just snap a few pics to show it to you.

Mesh on the front and back of the legs, as well as lots of reflective bits. The length looks a little bunched at the ankle standing, but in the riding position it's just right.

Hip zippers allow for freer movement but can also be zipped up for highway speeds to prevent air from catching underneath and trying to flip the lower edge of the jacket up.

Phone pocket inside the liner. It's positioned at the belly, so I would hope I've got enough padding right there to prevent a thin phone from having any impact on my ribs in the event of a get-off.

The full liner worn alone:

And the full suit. VERY reflective!

I've not ridden too many miles in it yet, but so far I'm very impressed and I believe I'm really going to get every penny of enjoyment and protection out of this purchase.