Date reviewed: October 2021 | Tested by: Steve Lamb | Price: Jacket - £349.99, Trousers - £249.99 | www.wolf-moto.com/
I've been wearing the Wolf Fortitude laminate textile jackets and trousers over the winter (lockdown allowing) and well into the Summer, on a range of bikes including Yamaha's recently revamped NMAX, Honda's NC750X and my own Ducati Scrambler. In that time I've racked up over 1000 miles in a variety of conditions from torrential rain to scorching summer's days. So how did Wolf's range topping laminated textiles hold up?
Made from 750 denier, 225gsm laminated brushed nylon, the jacket and trousers certainly feel durable and robust with a pleasingly stiff feel which betrays its synthetic material construction. Being brushed, the surface is softer to the touch than some textiles which can feel shiny and 'plasticy'.
The laminated construction, where the waterproof membrane is bonded to the back of the outer shell, adds some rigidity to the material but the Wolf Fortitudes felt comfortable right from the off.
Usually taking a Large jacket (especially post-lockdown) and 32" waist trousers with a short leg (not always an option with bike gear), I was very pleased with the fit of both the Fortitude jacket and trousers.
Thanks to the laminate construction, the textiles are less bulky than others I've worn, and so do feel a little snug, but once on and secured, the fit is spot on.
At first the trousers seem way too big due to the high-waisted salopettes nature of them, but once fastened they feel snug and secure – the braces adding some much-needed post-lockdown support!
Being a below average 5' 6", trouser leg length is often an issue for me but, thankfully Wolf offer a range of leg lengths with the Fortitude range and the short trousers fit very well, while still allowing plenty of protection when my legs are bent on the bike.
Of course, fit is very subjective so, as always, we recommend trying on a range of sizes and cuts to make sure you get your choice exactly right for you.
The budget price (for laminated kit) of the Wolf Fortitude is perhaps most reflected in the level of protection they offer. Both the jacket and trousers are certified to EN 17092-4:2020 Level A – the lowest level of protection (Level B is technically lower but is for items which require the additional wearing of protection such as under armour). That being said, Level A certified kit still gives great levels of protection while being able to focus on comfort in areas which are less vulnerable to impacts (such as under the arms and between the legs).
The jacket comes fitted with D3O T5 Evo Pro X Level 2 armour in the shoulders and elbows and have a pocket for the fitment of Wolf's D3O Viper Level 2 back protector which is available from Wolf at £24.99. The trousers are also fitted with D3O T5 Evo Pro X Level 2 armour to the knees and has pockets for additional hip protection. At time of writing, no such hip armour was available from Wolf's accessories list, but RST's Contour plus Level 2 armour is available at £16.99. It's a shame that these are not included, especially considering the armour's low price, but I guess the price of the textiles has to be reflected in the spec.
Both the jacket and trousers feature large panels of reflective dots or film (in the Wolf logo on the back of the jacket) meaning that you stand a very good chance of being seen at night - something I am often worried about when wearing fully black kit.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
Whenever I'm out riding, I always like to have plenty of pockets available for house keys, wallet, phone, earplugs, facemask, gum and all the other detritus that I always seem to collect, and with the Wolf Fortitude jacket, I'm well catered for.
The Jacket has two large front pockets big enough for all manner of paraphernalia, all kept in situ with large MAX branded waterproof zips equipped with plastic pull grips, for ease of use, even with gloved hands.
What appear to be two further breast pockets are in fact vents, so we'll come to those later in the review.
On the back, a large map pocket provides additional storage for larger items, again equipped with a waterproof zip which is also covered by a storm flap which is secured with poppers.
Inside, we get two large, zipped pockets in the jacket itself, and two further pockets, one zipped, one open, in the removeable thermal lining.
The trousers are equipped with two waterproof, zipped pockets at the groin – again fitted with MAX brand zips, but this time without a pull toggle, making them a bit trickier to get to, especially when your hands are cold and/or wet. Both zips are covered by storm flaps to protect the zips from the worst of any bad weather.
Overall, the pockets are easy to use, and plenty big enough for warming hands as well as stowing bounty, but I would have preferred to the jacket front pockets to have had horizontal openings rather than sloped, as I feel these would be more secure on the odd occasion that you forget to do up the zip.
A chunky MAX branded zip provides the main fastening for the jacket which is also covered by double storm flaps, which in turn are secured with poppers and hook and loop patches. This belt and braces approach means that, in testing,the textiles remained fully protective against even the worst weather.
The neck is fastened at the front with a single position popper, while the sleeves are cinched with the use of hook and loop material.
The trousers are fastened with a lighter weight MAX zipper, while a single storm flap, secured with a two poppers and hook and loop prevent ingress of water to the groin.
The ankles are secured with zippers and a storm flap which also provides a little adjustment via hook and loop around the bottom of the leg.
On the road, all fastenings feel secure and I could feel no draughts around ankles or wrists. More importantly all storm flaps stayed in place despite heavy rain and winds.
Fine adjustment is always necessary on textiles to help keep annoying draughts out and ensure a tight, yet snug, fit and the Wolf Fortitude allows adjustment of all main apertures.
The jacket neck, while only having a single popper closure, has a pair of hook and loop secured tabs which allow a firm and even tightening. Even at motorway speeds, these do a great job of keeping out the wind.
The wrists have hook and loop secured tabs, but I struggled to get a tight seal here due to the sleeve of the jacket having to fold on itself to afford some adjustment.
Finally for the jacket, the bottom hem has an elasticated cord along with fastening toggles allowing you to get a nice tight seal around your hips. These are complemented by zipped darts in the jacket which prevent the jacket from riding up when moving around on the bike. Straps around the waist, ensure a snug fit around your middle.
The trousers (or should that be salopettes) not only have permanently attached braces, ensuring that they won't move when stretching, but also have a high waist panel which can be tightened with a hook and loop backed belt which also fastens through the fly storm flap, meaning that you really can a nice, secured groin area (a particularly vulnerable area for water ingress as most water runs off the front of your jacket into your lap).
The ankles have hook and loop secured adjustment flaps, but as per the wrists, folding of the trouser material limits the amount of adjustment available.
As with any textiles, it's worth spending a while adjusting and readjusting each of the closures to make sure the fit is as good as possible, as making any slight adjustments on the move is always difficult.
While Wolf have clearly designed the Fortitude textiles with bad weather in mind, properly vented textiles can also be your first choice once the weather starts to improve. On the Fortitude jacket, there are two breast vents which are normally covered by magnet secured flaps. Once opened, the flaps can be secured with poppers to keep them open and a waterproof zip opened to allow air to flow through vented material, through a smaller gap in the inner waterproof laminate, and provide air flow to the body (naturally, assuming that you don't have the thermal liner in place). While these do allow some direct air flow, the size of the vent is deceptive, when comarted with the gap in the waterproof laminate, so don't expect these to be that cool in extreme heat.
At the back of the jacket, two large zippable vents allow exhaust of warm air, but air flow is quite limited through these as the laminate waterproof lining also has a much smaller aperture than the vent size would suggest.
The trousers have vents on each thigh, covered when not required my magnet secured flaps, and these are vented through the waterproof inner laminate to provide direct airflow to the legs.
I chose the hottest day of the year (so far) and, with the mercury nudging 30°C, took a typical commuter journey – 22 miles into Peterborough City Centre to pay in a cheque (remember those?). Taking in a variety of B-roads, Motorway and urban parkways (mostly 60mph limits), the Fortitudes performed very well indeed. With both front and back vents fully open, there's a definite through draft of air on the motorway which makes the majority of the journey a pleasure, despite the heat. In town, where the speeds are naturally much lower, the venting was less effective, and temperatures started to rise, but that’s to be expected, especially considering the restrictive nature of the vents..
Due to the laminated construction of these textiles, if you are planning some single figure temperature rides, you will need to install the supplied thermal liners (or get some heated kit). In typical mid-teens temperatures that we see so often in the UK, I found that a long sleeve technical material top was more than enough to stay warm without feeling sweaty. Even with sopping wet outers from a couple of hours on the drenched Motorway, I arrived feeling warm and, more importantly, safe and secure.
My only complaint so far is that my choice of glove made huge difference to my warmth and comfort, simply because the cuffs are quite hard to close tightly. For spring and summer riding I prefer a shorter glove which will fit under the cuff of the jacket, but I did find this difficult to seal against wind ingress. For colder rides I would recommend a longer glove with a cuff able to cover the jacket cuff, for ultimate comfort (though this may lead to rain ingress as the water runs down your sleeve).
Both the Jacket and Trousers are supplied with removeable thermal liners comprising a breathable jersey outer and HD Wool insulation (certified renewable and biodegradable) which is designed to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter, while still being light and comfortable.
The Jacket liner provides plush thick lining for the torso with a lining thinner quilted lining for the arms, to reduce bulk and discomfort, while the trousers provide the full thick lining down to the knee and a thinner lining from there to the ankle.
Both liners are held in place with zips at the ankles/cuffs and around the waist or body for the jacket and provide a nice splash of colour to otherwise totally black kit (how many times have you struggled finding a black pocket in the inside of your black kit!).
Wolf markets the Fortitude Laminate kit as '100% waterproof' – a bold claim, but one that I have found to be accurate. With the intention of getting as wet as possible (not too difficult given our summer so far), I tested the textiles with an hour-plus ride on the coldest wettest Saturday forecast. The majority of the route takes in fast A-Roads and Motorways – ideal for hard driving rain and spray from HGVs and other traffic.
Despite the horrific conditions and the kit being fully wetted out, I, and my underwear, were completely dry underneath. I had taken time to ensure that all fastening were fully closed and that the neck fastening was secured, and adjusted correctly to prevent any ingress, but the Wolf Fortitude laminates did a fantastic job of keeping me dry and performed well beyond my expectation for kit in this price range.
Good performing textiles used to be hard to find at a budget friendly price, being the preserve of premium brands such as Rukka and Aerostich, but the more kit we've tested lately, the more impressed we have been by the lower priced kit. Along with the Wolf Fortitude we also like these…
While the A rated CE certification might put off some in favour of higher rated kit, everything else about the Wolf Fortitude laminate jacket and trousers makes them a sound choice. Even at this price point though, the lack of a back protector and hip amour is a little disappointing but as these are so readily (and affordably) available that even this can be overlooked.
If you are looking for good value all-year textiles that you can rely on to keep you warm, dry and safe while still looking great on and off the bike, I would thoroughly recommend the Wolf Fortitude laminates.