I’ve had the chance to test this Lindstrands Sunne (pronounced ‘sooner’ meaning ‘healthy’ in Swedish) suit in a broad spectrum of riding conditions; from the last of the year’s frosty mornings to the downpours of late April and the hottest days of the year so far. Work commitments and injury mean I’ve covered fewer miles than I normally would, but I’ve still ridden around 1400 miles in it to date.
I work 50 miles from where I live in the West Midlands and come rain or shine I ride my (lately not so) trusty Kawasaki Versys 650 and Zero DSR workhorses. It’s a varied route taking in twisty country roads, single carriageway, dual carriageway and urban sections. These days I find myself pottering around back country lanes with grass growing down the middle more often than hooning around the Staffordshire Moorlands, but all in all it’s a good test of any kit I happen to be riding in…
From the outset both the jacket and the trousers impressed with their glove-like fit, being all-day comfy. Light and flexible, the whole suit moves easily and does not impede movement.
The jacket can be adjusted at the upper and lower arm, cuffs, waist and neck with a combination of Velcro and press-stud fasteners to make it fit just so, while the trousers adjust with Velcro at the hips and hem. All that sounds fairly standard, but there’s something about the lining and cut of the suit that makes it feel just that little bit more premium than my Oxford Hinterland. Little things like the oh-so comfy micro fleece lined collar, the way the armour sits just right, the snug feeling when you zip it all up. The devil is in the details and Lindstrands has clearly spent a lot of time in paying attention to them.
On the move there are no pinch points anywhere in the suit, no matter what contorted angles I tried to ride in. The seams in the trousers too are placed so they don’t cause sore spots on your bum and the back of your thighs, which is an all too common feature of riding long distances. If you’re looking for a suit for that jaunt to the Dolomites, this will definitely fit the bill.
The only downside is the magnetic removable storm collar, which I tried in the cold snap in April, but to be honest didn’t get on with. I found that any thermal effect was negated by it deflecting the wind up into my helmet, plus it kept getting caught on the chinstrap when I turned my head to check blind spots. But this is a minor niggle in what is otherwise probably the most comfortable motorcycle clothing I’ve ridden in.
Both the jacket and trousers are rated level AA for protection under EN17092. This is deemed more suitable for touring than the minimum A, which is more for urban riding, but not achieving the current highest level of AAA. Although the textile is light and flexible, because of the quality of the suit I’ve never felt like it wouldn’t protect me if the worst happened. This feeling is reinforced by the extra layer of ‘Hi-Art’ material to give extra abrasion protection at key impact points like the shoulders and knees.
The jacket comes with Level 1 armour in the shoulders and elbows, along with Level 1 armour in the knees and hips of the trousers. While the armour’s comfortable and feels suitably robust, I can’t help but feel that at this price point the suit really should come with a back armour, and I’d prefer the higher standard Level 2.
The armour is held in place with Velcro, which is more customisable than pockets, however all the points are accessed through the bottom of the jacket and trouser legs, which makes it incredibly awkward to fit as the Velcro on the armour sticks to the lining at every opportunity. This made me reluctant to wash the suit, which is important to keep the laminate lining working properly and to reapply the Durable Water Resistant coating, and being light grey it got pretty grubby pretty quickly.
Note that while all manufacturers will recommend that armour should indeed be removed before washing any garment, it can be done at your own risk using a handwash programme. The amour should be fine, but the main problem would be if it got caught up somehow and damaged the material. Ed
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
The suit as a whole has a good selection of well-placed pockets. Externally the jacket has two large lower pockets on the front that easily took my wallet and phone, with a large map pocket on the back that my wife tends to use in place of her handbag. All of them have kept their contents dry even in the heaviest of downpours.
The only slight niggle I have is that there are no chest pockets, which I prefer as when you have bulky items in the lower ones they tend to dig into your stomach or hips while riding. On first glance it looks like there are chest pockets, but in reality it’s just a flap overing the zip for the chest vents.
Internally there’s a wallet-sized pocket behind the storm flap, which I didn’t find for over a month – it’s that well concealed – and a wallet-sized zip pocket inside the left chest. Both are fully waterproof, though I don’t tend to store items inside the jacket.
The outer leg pockets on the trousers are of a good size with the same press-stud and Velcro flap, standing up to a good amount of rain, though they did let a bit of water in during a heavy storm. The contents were damp rather than wet, but I wouldn’t want to keep my phone in them. Interestingly they sit over the leg vents, but I found if you had items in them it reduced how much cool air made it to your legs.
In addition to the leg pockets there are two zipped pockets on the hips that are sufficient for loose change and similar small items. The zip pockets are fully waterproof
The jacket has a chunky YKK main zip protected by a storm flap that isn’t closed just with Velcro, but also with magnets. It’s an unusual design feature and I’m not sure of the reasoning for it, but it works rather well. The vent zips all have rubber seals on them and the cuffs are closed with Velcro.
The trousers have a 12” zip up the side of the leg with a final Velcro closure, however I’ve never had problems getting the trousers over my boots so have never needed to undo them! The hip pockets and vent zips are rubber sealed, while the main zip is the same chunky YKK storm flap combo as the jacket and fastened at the top with a hook and press stud.
As mentioned in the fit section, adjustment is found at the cuff, upper arm, forearm and waist on the jacket, with hip and hem adjustment on the trousers. All are a combination of Velcro and press stud fastening.
Truly a high point on this suit in the weather we’ve had over the last few days, particularly on the trousers, where the vents are excellent.
The jacket has a 6” vent on each side of the chest with a vent on each sleeve that goes from the cuff almost to the armpit. The large exhaust vent is under a flap between the shoulder blades, which unusually is permanently open. I thought this would make the jacket draughty in cold weather but in reality I needn’t have worried. All this creates a fair volume of air to move through the suit on a bike with a smaller screen, with a pleasant cooling effect.
As is to be expected, if you’re sat behind a touring screen this is greatly reduced unless you stand up. Definitely on a par with my Oxford Hinterland, and beside of a mesh jacket like the Halvarssons Edane, it’s likely to be as good as you’ll get.
The trousers though have the best venting on any trousers I’ve worn yet. There is a weatherproofed 6” zip on the top and bottom of the thigh, either side of the leg pocket, forming a tunnel underneath it. The air travels along this tunnel and through a mesh panel giving a huge amount of cool air to your legs. Stand up and the effect is greatly magnified, allowing cool air to flow all the way down the backs of your legs and across your bum. A very welcome relief from the humid sticky 27 degrees we had yesterday. As mentioned in the fit section, it would be nice at this price point if the leg pocket design could be incorporated into the jacket using chest pockets.
In cold weather all the vents seal fully and let no cold draught into the suit.
Shortly after being sent the suit we had something of a late cold snap in April, with frost on the verges and a definite chill in the air. The Swedes are experts in making clothing for hostile climates since for a fair chunk of the year the north lands can be pretty inhospitable, which is why I’m a touch disappointed that the suit isn’t warmer in cold weather. With temperatures hovering around zero, I would rate myself as being ‘comfortably cool’. So not quite cold, but wishing I had worn my Keis heated vest instead of the Innoborne removable thermal liner. For normal spring temperatures the Sunne would be cosy enough, and is certainly warmer than you’d think considering how lightweight it is.
The jacket liner has the nice feature that when you remove the liner and reverse it, it becomes a jacket in its own right. Handy for when you’re away from the bike, waiting for the outer jacket to dry or camping sat by the stove in the evening.
On the flip side, in warm weather, the venting mentioned above means it’s a great suit for summer touring. Both the jacket and trousers breathe really well and I’ve not felt sticky or clammy yet, despite the hot humid conditions.
Overall, I’d say this is a three-season suit, capable of protecting you from all but the worst conditions all year round. However, in the depth of winter you are going to need a thermal base layer and possibly a mid-layer to be properly comfortable. The Swedes would probably tell you that layering up is much more effective than relying on a single thermal item anyway. “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” as a Norwegian colleague once said.
The removable liner is made from Lindstrands’ own Innoborne tech fabric. Similar to the PolarTec liner found in my Oxford Hinterland suit, it is really light, packs small, yet provides a surprisingly high level of warmth in cooler conditions. However it doesn’t perform as well as the Outlast liner found in my Merlin Peake suit which, though more bulky, allows me to comfortably ride in sub-zero temperatures in just a t-shirt! I’m guessing it was a conscious decision to compromise size and weight with performance based on the average rider’s use. To be fair it’s more than up to the job until you approach the lower end of single figure temperatures. I also love the fact that you can unzip the jacket liner and it becomes a jacket in its own right. A nice touch meaning I don’t need to pack a softshell or hoodie for the evenings.
The Lindstrands Sunne is a laminated waterproof construction
I’ve ridden through some biblical downpours and I’ve ridden through some pretty snotty protracted rain. The sort that wets you to your soul. The Lindstrands Sunne jacket has pretty much laughed it all off.
Arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, back. They have all stayed bone dry, which is a lovely feeling when you’re wiping your visor every two seconds trying to peer through the spray of the car in front. In those conditions you need as few distractions as you can. The only leak I’ve experienced is a stripe along my lower belly where rain has travelled up the trousers and under the jacket, which I think may be due to the jacket not having a very big overlap with the trousers, and me not having zipped the two together!
Unfortunately the trousers don’t perform quite as well. In light rain they’re fine and dry, but if it gets heavier, water gets through the vent in the upper thighs and trickles down your legs. But at least the crotch stays dry, which is more than I can say for most trousers I’ve had in the past.
£818 is a lot of money, but it is really the mid-range price point for quality textile riding kit. Here are some others you might be considering around this price point…
I love this suit. Rich in features and gloriously comfortable for long distance riding. Easy to tailor to a precision fit, comfy armour, brilliant venting and it performs well in the almost all conditions. It just loses a point for falling slightly short in the worst weather and the fiddly armour installation, but these are mere niggles in what is a really well made and specified suit that gains my thorough recommendation.