Having thrown lots of miles and weather conditions at the budget-priced FLM Touring 3.0 textile riding kit, I think it’s safe to say I’ve tested how true it is to it’s ‘Touring’ moniker. This is well-equipped piece kit from a brand few will have heard of, but there’s lots to like (and a few things that fit into the camp of ‘could be better’).
The FLM textiles have definitely grown on me and proved to be a great companion for bigger miles and long-day adventures. Here’s how this £319.98 suit stood up to the challenges of commuting, touring and an extremely mixed British summer on my Honda CB500X…
The FLM Touring 3.0 is everything you’d expect from a touring textile jacket and trousers; a good long jacket with a relatively boxy profile, lots of practical features and real versatility. The design is simple but well thought through with the same outer ripstop Cordura material used in the jacket and trousers. This fabric is relatively thick with a rough but reassuring feel to it, with thicker double layers utilised at the key impact points. Some will prefer a softer finished textile, but at this price point that’s rare.
Both the jacket and trousers have reflective detailing throughout and while this is a nice touch it’s worth noting it’s of the stuck-on variety, and is already loosening/peeling a little in places.
Sizing is a really mixed bag. I’m usually a small or EU48 in jackets, however FLM’s kit begins at a medium, which it lists as a 48-50. I’d say personally this comes up large, enough that initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a usable fit. However, the adjustment in the jacket as detailed below is really good and I was able to get a decent fit eventually. But it is by no means a ‘good’ fit if you’re on the smaller side.
That being said, the trousers faired much better (they also have grippy print on the bum. Depending on brand I tend to opt for a 30 regular or short, and the medium FLM trousers are some of the best fitting trousers I’ve had. Perfect length to suit my riding position without being excessively long off the bike and a decent waist size that, once adjusted, was just right for me. As with all kit, if you can try before you buy it’s worth it. Sportsbikeshop (which FLM is exclusive to) offers a reserve and try service that’s well worth utilising to make sure they work for you, or 365-day returns.
Both jacket and trousers meet EN17092 level A (AAA is currently the highest level in this standard) with ‘Safe-Max’ level 2 (the higher level) protectors fitted at the shoulder, elbows and knees. These protectors are a good size, but without being overly bulky. They’re comfortable and mostly breathe well, although I did find the knees a little sweaty in the summer heat wave. The armour position is adjustable at both the knees and elbows, with a good range of possible positions and it holds in place well once positioned.
The jacket on test came supplied with a DXR Level 2 back protector. This is usully an optional (though very reasonable at £15.99) extra, but at the time of writing it’s actually supllied free with all orders of this jacket. Impressive value!
While level A is not uncommon at this price point, I would have loved to see a higher rating obtained, given the intended use is touring.
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
The FLM jacket features a good number of useful pockets, with two at the waist on each side. These feature a storm flap with popper and velcro closure claiming to be waterproof (something that’s proven to be accurate in my usage). Beneath these are hand warmer pockets that have velcro closures and work well.
The outer jacket is accompanied by twin Napoleon pockets on the chest, which are quite large and closed via discrete hidden zips. They’re not claimed to be waterproof, but I saw little to no water get through save for a couple of really wet, longer rides.
Inside the jacket there are a further three pockets with a fourth in the thermal liner, should you have that fitted. The liner features a clever velcro tab to retain access to the main zipped pocket in the outer shell of the jacket; another valued functional design touch.
The trousers are far more simple in the pocket department with a pair of ‘open’ hip pockets that don’t have any closure mechanism. They’re relatively deep so things do tend to stay in them, but I wouldn’t suggest using them for anything of great importance or value.
The FLM Touring 3.0 uses a fairly standard approach to fastening with a mixture of velcro and poppers throughout. The jacket has a main central zip that’s branded ‘YCC’ and seems to be a good, solid, chunky design. This is supplemented by a storm flap held in place by large poppers and decent quality velcro.
Despite a lot of use, there’s no signs of the velcro wearing and the poppers still hold solidly (something that can’t be said for one or two of my more expensive jackets.). At the cuffs, velcro pull-tabs are used with plenty of range of adjustment and a good solid feel once sinched up. The collar also uses velcro with helpfully-placed elastic pulls to make adjustment while gloved really easy. It’s also great to see retaining clips fitted to assist with holding the collar open (plus an additional one on the chest to help when attaching the brilliant helmet hood).
The trousers close with a traditional hook and bar clip, plus a large popper. There’s a good amount of the waterproof material across the fly opening and it’s supplemented by a decent belt plus attachment points for braces (although these are not supplied).
All-in-all the fastenings feel of a good quality and I have no doubt will continue to last well.
The jacket and trousers can be joined with a short connecting zip at the back – it’d be nice to have one extending further around, but I didn’t have any issues with drafts getting up the front, at least on my Honda.
The adjustment is by far one of my favourite features of this FLM suit. Both the jacket and trousers feature a wide range of functional and well thought-out adjustments making it extremely versatile, and in my case somewhat mitigating the lack of a small jacket size.
The main jacket features velcro/elastic pull straps to the upper arms and waist, as well as an elasticated cord pull to the lower hem of the jacket. Both the collar and wrists have a good range of adjustment provided by large velcro pull tabs. While these are all fairly simple means of tweaking the size they work well.
I was initially convinced a good fit would be impossible, but after a few minutes utilising the straps and adjusters I was able to get the medium jacket to a comfortable fit for my small (ish) frame. As mentioned above I’d still prefer a small jacket option but the fact I was able to make the jacket broadly fit shows just how well the adjustment works.
The trousers follow in this trend with velcro adjustment to each hip, an elasticated velcro strap to the calf and a wide range of velcro adjustment to the lower hem and boot flap. The waist is assisted by a decent rucksack-buckle-style belt (included) with attachment points for braces (not included).
The adjustment to the lower leg in particular was fantastic; my usual choice of large adventure-style boots can sometimes be a challenge for trousers but the FLMs worked really well, being wide enough to accommodate my bulky boots but with adjustment throughout the lower leg to keep a snug and comfortable fit.
Waist adjustment was great too; initially they were a tad on the big side but the velcro adjusters did their job without creating too much bunched up material.
Really well though-through design and simple solutions to make for a great-fitting suit.
Ventilation in the touring 3.0 suit is a tale of two halves. The waterproof liner is listed as breathable, but it does cover the areas behind the vents, so there’s no ‘straight to body’ airflow. The jacket’s vents are fairly conventional with a pair of chest vents, one on either side close to the armpits, and a pair of exhaust vents to the rear roughly in line with the outer edge of the shoulder blades.
These are assisted by the large central storm flap that can be retained in the open position at the collar using helpfully-placed clips increasing air flow substantially. The rear vents are slightly larger than those found on most jackets – helping to draw air through – but they are let down by the front vents, which are both quite small and largely remain covered by their storm flaps when unzipped. The result of this is very limited air flow – even with all the vents fully open – makes the Touring 3.0 quite a stuffy jacket in high temperatures. Opening the collar does help with this but I found it to be far from ideal over longer distances in the heat waves of 2022’s summer.
The trousers fair much better, again using largely conventional vent placement with one to each thigh but being significantly more effective than the jacket’s chest vents. They’re slightly longer than most and the natural pull of the trousers does a good job of keeping them open and passing a good quantity of air through.
The FLM suit as a whole wouldn’t be my first choice for summer riding, however as a budget suit that could manage in heat if needed, this wouldn’t be a bad option. I just wish the chest vents were slightly more effective as it would vastly improve the overall usability.
It’s worth noting that due to the sizing challenges mentioned above the jacket was a somewhat ‘airy’ fit for me, which did help to mitigate the venting challenges somewhat. That being, said a more snug fit may lead to the chest vents tugging a little wider and thus improving their effect, so it’s worth seeing how these look in your size.
The Touring 3.0 really surprised me when it came to warmth. The main shell of the jacket is supplemented by a thin, removable thermal liner, which is fairly conventional, and a tad thinner than some but a great length covering the full torso and arms, with the trouser liner leaving no area of the leg or crotch uncovered.
The jacket liner has a couple of really nice design touches with an additional central flap to prevent any drafts getting through the main zip, and lots of additional attachment points at the armpits, lower hem and rear seams of the jacket; small but functional touches that ensure the liner stays where it should.
My first few longer trips in the suit were during the early weeks of summer where the temperatures were fairly average. I initially found it to be very warm, stopping to remove the liner within minutes of setting off each time; something I wouldn’t normally need do in my personal kit.
Unfortunately I found removing the liner didn’t make a huge difference, with the jacket still continuing to be a tad too warm, in part thanks to the venting challenges mentioned above. I assumed this would mean the suit would be great when facing cooler conditions, however when put to the test on some cool early starts I found it was a tad chilly once ambient temperatures dropped below 5 or 6°C. It’s by no means bad, but it requires some extra layers to be truly suitable of late autumn/winter riding.
The outer shell of the jacket has a very lightweight mesh lining; just enough to retain a little room between you and the outer material, and hosting the armour. In both the jacket and trousers the mesh liner is well fitted, not hanging too loose, and providing a little extra breathability.
Both the jacket and trousers use a ‘Clime-max’ waterproof membrane. This claims to be both highly breathable and capable of keeping you dry no matter what. That has unfortunately not proven to be the case in my use.
The jacket itself has performed quite well, water being all but completely kept out even during several long rides in torrential rain. Unfortunately the outer shell does seem to retain water, with no sign of any beading or water repellence, so in the cold you’re carrying a chilly layer of cold water close to the body, and it also stops the membrane from breathing, so you can start to get damp from your own sweat.
The outer does dry quite quickly though after a ride, with both the jacket and trousers being bone dry within a handful of hours of a total wash-out. The sleeves suffer from my pet hate of sky-facing storm flaps on the cuffs. These seem to act as a natural channel for water coming down the arm, and an issue that would be simply rectified by making the flap close in the downward direction. That being said, I didn’t end up with soggy sleeve ends or find my gloves battling too much excess water.
The jacket also benefits from a hidden ‘helmet hood’ stowed in a neat little zipped pocket disguised in the collar, which works really, really well. In fact, having now put it to use in some storm conditions I can’t believe more manufacturers aren’t including them. The hood is part storm collar, part water resistant balaclava. The fact this is joined to the jacket means water simply can’t get though at the collar. Wind chill seems lessened too. Simple, clever and effective.
Unfortunately the trousers have not faired so well. Within 20 minutes of my first ride in heavy rain I was nursing a soggy bottom. This has persisted across several rides with a further degree of damp around the knees. It’s worth noting that this didn’t appear to worsen with length of ride or heavier rainfall, and the persistence of it hasn’t changed over the time of ownership but I can no longer depend on these to be 100% dry.
The FLM Touring 3.0’s Helmet Hood stows away in the back of the jacket, ready for use. It’s a genius piece of design that I’d love to see more widely used. Other brands take note!
With lots of new entrants to the budget textiles bracket there’s plenty of alternatives worthy of consideration. But here are three that stand out as healthily competition to the FLM’s impressive offering:
All-in-all you get a lot for your money with the Touring 3.0. The features are purposeful and well thought-through, and it really looks the part. The design and colourway tested is some of best-looking kit I’ve used visually, and although it’s not without its flaws, I’ve grown to really like it.
It’s a real shame the sizing isn’t more suited for the smaller rider out there. Combining that with the hit-and-miss waterproofing, below-par venting and lack of winter-ready warmth and this won’t be for everyone. But for a budget entrance to touring gear and pairing it with some extra layers – maybe adding in some over-trousers for the worst of the weather – it would be a really good option to consider.
With new brands such as FLM bringing such well-equipped budget kit to market I suspect we’ll see some interesting developments from the big names in the years to come. Competition is good!