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Author Topic: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review  (Read 3715 times)

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Offline marc11

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Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« on: November 26, 2013, 08:28:52 AM »
Review of the Firstgear TPG Expedition suit, which was newly designed at the end of this year (Just released maybe 6 weeks ago).  I have been a big fan of the TPG line from Firstgear for a while, having owned a Rainer Jacket, Escape pants and winter gloves from them.  I have found all their gear to be warm, 100% waterproof, well wearing, long lasting and well made.  I have never had any failures of seems, velcro, waterproofing or any other feature of any of the gear for the years I have owned it. 

So my expectations of this new suit were very high.

General specs that you can find anywhere:

Cost: $585 with little to no discounts currently, however some places offer a “cash back” discount via a points or discount card to be used on future purchases.

From Firstgear:

The Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit is constructed of 420-denier nylon, Hypertex waterproof-breathable fabric for maximum abrasion resistance with optimal weather protection. Featuring cutting-edge, D3O armor throughout for impact protection. Easy entry and egress–even with boots on-is achieved with generous, full length side-zips. Strategically placed, zipper-controlled venting throughout ensures outstanding airflow.

Features:
•   Hypertex waterproof-breathable fabric construction
•   Fully adjustable D3O Evo Pro armor protection at knees, elbows, hips, and featuring the Viper back protector
•   Diagonal main, front zipper ease of entry and egress
•   Strategically placed, zipper-controlled venting throughout
•   Integral under-helmet rain hood in collar
•   Dual, one-hand adjustable waist belts
•   Internal cuff, rain gaiter

My impressions:

Pros:

•   Construction is typical high quality Firstgear.  No loose threads, high quality and LARGE zippers, well made zipper pulls, no loose threads, and overall nothing feels cheap.
•   Armor is the new D30 type, that is semi flexible but stiffens up upon impact.  All the armor is contained in its own external pocket that is held in place by Velcro.  Inside the suit there are large patches of Velcro that allow the armor to be moved in any position for maximum comfort.
•   The armor covers the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and back…yes a real back protector!
•   The main zipper is HUGE and runs from the neck down to just below the crotch area making for a wide opening.
•   The main zipper is covered by a flap the buttons over for wind and rain protection.  The buttons are rubber coated and offer a positive snap.
•   The neck is fleece lined for comfort.  Another unique and nice feature is the neck is adjustable by a couple of inches.  So you can slide the neck snap for a comfortable fit.  This is great for cold weather when layers require a larger neck opening.
•   Inside the neck roll is a tucked away hood.  Awesome to put on under your helmet in the rain to keep it from running down your back.  It really works well.
•   The legs offer waterproof zippers the come up to about mid-thigh.  I can get in and out of the suit with boots on, but not easily.  More on that below.
•   The legs also have an elastic gather that can be snapped around the boot to keep water and cold wind out.  Works well.
•   There are lots of vents, 10 I think.  It is winter so I haven’t used them yet.
•   Cinches on the waist and the wrists allow for adjustment to fit.  Works well, lots of adjustment range in the waist.
•   Pockets are listed as waterproof, with waterproof zippers and fold over flaps.  Past experience with other TPG stuff tells me this is true.
•   This was the only suit I found with a pass through zipper on the sides that allowed for access to your inside pants pockets and to use as a heated gear power pass through.
•   That material feels thick and the suit is heavy.  I believe it would protect very well in crash considering the substantial feel.
•   There is a soft material on the insides of each leg to prevent burning and paint damage.  Nice touch.
•   There is reinforced material in the common impact areas.
•   The zippers have some sort of positive garaging feature.  Hard to describe, but once the zipper is all the way zipped, it folds over with a positive click and stays put, almost like its magnetic.
•   The suit is 100% wind proof.  At speeds over 80 MPH in temps around 24 degrees, I felt no wind anywhere.
•   Looks may be subjective, however I think the black and light grey color combinations look sharp and classy.

Overall from a feature and quality standpoint the suit, with its materials, armor, features and quality items like heavy duty and waterproof zippers, rain gaiters, pass through, rubber coated and quality buttons, adjustment straps and lots of venting, make it feel like it is worth the cost.  It appears lots of thought went into the design of the suit.

However, it is not perfect, nothing is I suppose and there are some cons.  Some are more frustrating than others, none would have prevented me from buying the suit to be honest.

Cons:

•   Sizing is tough for me.  I have a larger chest and arms at around 40-42 with a very small waist at only 28” and only about 5’ 9”.  This puts me dead center between a small and a medium.  I actually purchased both sizes and tried on both sizes.  The small fit perfectly waist down, but I couldn’t get it on over my chest with just a t-shirt on, never mind with a layer of other clothes on.  The medium fits my upper body well, although still a little challenging to get on over my shoulders and chest, and the waist needs to be cinched all the way, with the length being a touch on the long side.  Once on the bike, the length is a non-issue.  Off the bike, it looks a little frumpy. 
•   It could just be my larger shoulders, but often when putting the suit on the shoulder armor on one side or the other will rotate and sit sideways.  Meaning I have to take the suit off and adjust and put it back on, then of course the other side would rotate on me.  There is no way to rotate it back once it gets in this position as I cannot reach it with the suit on.  So frustrating that I just took the shoulder armor out for now until I find a solution.
•   Although the main zipper is long, there is a gaiter at the crotch to help keep water that pools there out.  Nice idea, there is even a drain hole.  But this also makes it a bit challenging to get your leg through with boots on as often I will catch this gaiter.  Could be just a matter of technique that improves over time. 
•   I still do not understand why the Stich is the only one with a neck to ankle zipper.  Sure having two long zippers helps getting the suit on and off, but one main zipper would have been ideal.  I imagine it is due to waterproofing. 
•   As above, since there isn’t one long zipper, getting your legs in around the gaiter and then out of the leg can be a PITA at time.  Especially since the legs have a Velcro flap that goes over the zipper.  This is great for water and wind proofing, but the Velcro often catches while you position the suit to get your legs in, making for an awkward moment or two.
•   There is no thermal liner with the suit.  This is disappointing.  I know Firstgear sells nice base gear, but I would have liked to have at least the option of a zip in liner.
•   Since there is no thermal liner you need to layer up under the suit in the very cold weather.  I have ridden in temps into the low 20’s for up to 45 minutes on the highway.  I had my heated liner and a base layer under my normal work pants and I was comfortable.  No cold was getting in.  So maybe it isn’t a big deal, but something to think about.
•   I do not think this suit, considering its thickness will do well in temps much above 70.  Moving it should be fine, but any traffic in the sun and I am betting you will be hot.  I call it a three season suit.
•   There aren’t enough pockets IMHO.  There are two breast pockets and two inside pockets, that is it.  The pass through zips on each side do allow you to access your inside pants pockets, but I would have preferred two cargo pockets, one on each leg.
•   I would have liked more reflecting material.  It offers a little by way of piping on the back, but they really should, in fact all manufactures should start offering large patches of reflective material on their jackets.

So most of my complaints aren’t real big deals and all are generally manageable; however, just a few minor improvements, specifically in the areas of getting in and out of the suit and offering a zip in thermal liner would have put this suit from pretty good to great IMHO.

Is it worth the cost?  Well it sits just above the Olympia and a few hundred below the Stich.  I would say it is priced right for its features, especially the armor.  I have no doubt it will work well in a crash and serve for many years to come.  And while I have only used it in light rain, I have little doubt about it being and remaining water proof based on past experiences with Firstgear products.
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Offline Rincewind

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 08:46:44 AM »
Nice suit review, thank you. 

Offline hambonee

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2013, 09:40:14 AM »

•   I still do not understand why the Stich is the only one with a neck to ankle zipper.  Sure having two long zippers helps getting the suit on and off, but one main zipper would have been ideal.  I imagine it is due to waterproofing. 
•   As above, since there isn’t one long zipper, getting your legs in around the gaiter and then out of the leg can be a PITA at time.  Especially since the legs have a Velcro flap that goes over the zipper.  This is great for water and wind proofing, but the Velcro often catches while you position the suit to get your legs in, making for an awkward moment or two.
•   There is no thermal liner with the suit.  This is disappointing.  I know Firstgear sells nice base gear, but I would have liked to have at least the option of a zip in liner.

Teiz actually makes one long zipper like Stich...of course they make no claims at waterproofness so maybe that is why they are willing. They also have an option for an integrated liner(mine has one). That is a REALLY nice feature...

Offline marc11

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 09:42:02 AM »
I looked at the Teiz really closely.  However the lack of water proofness, cost and when comparing the armor I felt the FG was the better choice overall. 

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Offline Max Wedge

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 10:33:39 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to do this review, I was very curious about that suit, as a lower cost competitor to the 'stitch. So did you actually plunk down the cash for two suits and send one back? That seems like an ideal, although temporarily costly idea. I'm in the same boat more or less, at 45/34 and 5'7", so I end up being medium/large. That is probably the main reason I look at the roadcrafter, but I just haven't been able to justify the $$$$....yet.

How quickly can you ditch/don the suit?

Are you going to visit this again when the temps get over 70 and give an update?
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Offline marc11

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 11:07:14 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to do this review, I was very curious about that suit, as a lower cost competitor to the 'stitch. So did you actually plunk down the cash for two suits and send one back? That seems like an ideal, although temporarily costly idea. I'm in the same boat more or less, at 45/34 and 5'7", so I end up being medium/large. That is probably the main reason I look at the roadcrafter, but I just haven't been able to justify the $$$$....yet.

How quickly can you ditch/don the suit?

Are you going to visit this again when the temps get over 70 and give an update?

Yep I actually paid for two suits and returned one. I worked with Revzilla and they were very accomdating, even paying for the return shipping on one suit.

I will post an update I. The spring and once I use it in heavier, prolonged rains.

Right now I'd say it takes about 90 seconds to get it on and off. Most of the time is spent with the three zippers and front buttons and wrestling with my foot over the Velcro. I should be able to improve on this as the suit loosens up (its pretty stiff) and I get some technique. But it'll never be as fast as a stitch.

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Offline BMW-K

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 09:12:03 PM »
I bought one of these (*earlier model) about 4 years ago for my wife - it became her favorite riding suit in a matter of minutes.  Vents well enough in the warmer months, waterproof enough for normal showers (*I wouldn't trust it to a true frog drencher but then again I wouldn't trust a 'Stich for that either), reasonable protection and comfortable.

It's a good suit and decent value for the dollar.
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Online RBEmerson

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2013, 08:06:35 AM »
 :needpics:
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Offline SWriverstone

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 09:19:00 AM »
Interesting—as a Stich owner, I didn't even know this suit existed. Looks VERY nice for half the cost of a Stich! (I might well have bought one had it been around when I got my Stich.) Sizing is always tough with these—one advantage of the Stich is that I was able to fork out a bit more $$$ for custom sizing.

A side point: I pretty much only wear my Stich on all-day, dedicated rides when the temp is below 70. For around-town rides I just say to hell with ATGATT and go with an older riding jacket, helmet, and gloves.

In summer I'd never survive in my Stich—too damn hot (even with all vents wide open).

I'd love to get one of these for summer riding...
http://www.motoport.com/index.php?option=com_redshop&view=product&pid=38&cid=18&Itemid=22
...but I'll probably never have one cuz I'm not forking out another $1200 on a riding suit.  :-\  (I really wish someone like Cortech would make an affordable all-mesh one-piece suit.)

Scott
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Online coho

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Re: Firstgear TPG Expedition Suit Review
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 11:54:23 AM »
Interesting—as a Stich owner, I didn't even know this suit existed. Looks VERY nice for half the cost of a Stich! (I might well have bought one had it been around when I got my Stich.) Sizing is always tough with these—one advantage of the Stich is that I was able to fork out a bit more $$$ for custom sizing.

A side point: I pretty much only wear my Stich on all-day, dedicated rides when the temp is below 70. For around-town rides I just say to hell with ATGATT and go with an older riding jacket, helmet, and gloves.

In summer I'd never survive in my Stich—too damn hot (even with all vents wide open).

I'd love to get one of these for summer riding...
http://www.motoport.com/index.php?option=com_redshop&view=product&pid=38&cid=18&Itemid=22
...but I'll probably never have one cuz I'm not forking out another $1200 on a riding suit.  :-\ (I really wish someone like Cortech would make an affordable all-mesh one-piece suit.)

Scott


I have an Olympia Stealth mesh onesie I bought as they were clearing them out for the new model Avenger. It's the tits in hot weather.
Considerably fewer monies than the Motoport.

Old one (which I have):
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New one (which I do not have):
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If it weren't for the therapeutic properties of the occasional off-camber decreasing radius downhill right-hander I'd almost certainly go completely sane.

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