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ADV Products“Battle-Ready” Adventure Motorcycle Gear on a Budget?

“Battle-Ready” Adventure Motorcycle Gear on a Budget?

 We test the Battle Born suit to see if you can get good gear on a tight budget.

Published on 02.16.2016
We put the new A.R.C. Battle Born Adventure Jacket and Pants to the test to see if this budget-friendly gear makes the cut for serious adventure riding.

It’s all too common to see Adventure Riders out there rolling the dice wearing inadequate gear. It’s hard to blame people for skimping though when the average waterproof adventure riding suit costs $800 or more!

Used gear can be hit or miss and cheap motorcycle gear can leave you wondering whether or not it’s a good investment, and that’s where my thoughts first drifted when the guys at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC told us about their new budget-minded Adventure Riding suit from house brand “A.R.C.” called the “Battle Born.”

I had a healthy amount of skepticism at first, considering the low price of $149 for the jacket and $99 for the pants (launch sales price). Although, having ridden with the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC product guys several times before, I knew how hard they ride Adventure Bikes off-road and the abuse they put new products through before bringing them to market. Living in Utah, they also understand the need for Adventure Motorcycle gear that can handle both hot and cold extremes.


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I had good experiences in the past with their other house brand “Tusk” that builds affordable accessories for Dual Sport and Adventure Bikes, but could they also pull off making budget-friendly gear that can handle the rigors of adventure riding? Let’s look at the details.

Adventure Motorcycle Gear Battle Born Jacket and Pants
The A.R.C. Battle Born Jacket and Pants feature CE-Level protection, a waterproof shell and direct venting to the body.

Features and Technology

Abrasion Protection: The shell of the Battle Born jacket and pants is constructed with abrasion-resistant 600 Denier reinforced in the shoulders and knees with Ballistic Polyester fabric.

Waterproofing/Windproofing: Both jacket and pants incorporate a windproof, waterproof, breathable layer, built into the shell, called a Z-Liner membrane. The Z-liner membrane is made of a Polyester Tricot Fabric with TPU Film coating.

Venting: Six cooling vents on the chest, arms and back of the jacket and four front and rear vents on the pants feed cool air directly to the body, bypassing the Z-Liner membrane, for maximum cooling effectiveness.

ARC Battle Born Suit features

Thermal Layer: Both jacket and pants have a removable thermal quilt zip/snap-in liner for cold weather use. Liners can be quickly removed with four snaps and two zippers when the weather heats up.

Pockets: The jacket’s two cargo pockets and two chest pockets offer plenty of storage. There is also an internal chest pocket and an ID pocket on the arm that provide easy access to a wallet or cash. One external chest pocket and the ID pocket get waterproof zippers while the other external pockets use standard zippers with storm flaps. Pants have a single front thigh pocket and two hand-warmer pockets, all of which utilize waterproof zippers.

ARC Battle Born Suit ID Pocket
The ID pocket offers a convenient location to store your ID, cash or a small wallet.

Zippers/Closures: Waterproof zippers on all vents keep moisture from entering and large YKK zippers close up the jacket and pants. The jacket’s front zipper is also a two way design, allowing you to zip open from the bottom up — ideal for when you need to access pant pockets or make a quick pit stop. Broad pull tabs are stitched onto every zipper for convenient zipping with gloved hands. Pants also feature a ratcheting fly that ensures a secure front closure and the waist can be further adjusted with Velcro side straps.

Battle Born pants cuff
Long zippered lower leg openings simplify putting on tall motocross boots and three snaps at the bottom allow the cuff to be adjusted for a snug fit around a variety of different boot styles.

Reflectivity: Reflective panels and trim along the arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, thighs and ankles ensure nighttime visibility from all angles.

ARC Battle Born Suit Reflectivity

Impact Protection: Impact protection consists of beefy CE-Rated CCSO brand shoulder, elbow and knee armor. Knee armor is height adjustable for different leg lengths and there is also a CE-Rated back protector from Vault included. All armor is easily removed if you’d like to use motocross style pads or knee braces for more protection.

Extra Features: A built-in hydration pocket on the back of the jacket can hold a 2-liter bladder (not included) and loops on the shoulder and chest are available to route a sip tube.

ARC Battle Born Suit hydration pocket
The jacket comes with a built-in hydration pocket that fits a 2-liter water bladder.

The jacket also features a soft neoprene neck top with an adjustable shock cord and Velcro neck closure for cold weather riding, yet the collar can also be snapped down when the weather heats up. On the bottom of the jacket, an extended coattail with an adjustable shock cord keeps everything airtight.

ARC Battle Born Suit collar
A collar that snaps down on both sides maximizes cooling on hot days and helps keep your helmet from catching on the collar when turning your head.

First Impressions

Checking out the Battle Born jacket and pants for the first time, we liked its clean and simple design. It’s very workmanlike in its appearance and doesn’t try to copy the styles of more expensive adventure riding suits.

A close up look at the shell revealed high-quality stitching and construction that is more-commonly found in high-end adventure motorcycle gear. We were also happy to see that A.R.C. kept it simple with a waterproof membrane incorporated into the shell. This fits in with the trend of top-end suit makers incorporating waterproofing into the shell and moving away from using multiple removable liners.

ARC Battle Born Suit liner
A.R.C. keeps it simple with a single removable thermal liner and a waterproof membrane built into the shell.

The Battle Born suit has a lot of nice features you normally wouldn’t expect in this price range, like the use of direct venting to the body, the adjustable knee pad positions or the snap down collar. The use of a simple Velcro neck strap is another nice touch. Often it’s difficult to get snap-style collars to close using a gloved hand while riding.

The armor is what impressed us the most though. It’s rated CE-Level 1, but it looks and feels more substantial than other CE-Rated armor we’ve found in other adventure motorcycle gear costing twice as much. Having a CE-Rated back pad at this price point is a huge bonus and all pads have a solid feel to them.

General Fit

At 6 foot 2 inches (1.88 meters) and 215 pounds (97.5 kg), I typically wear the size 38″ pants and an XL jacket, and the Battle Born gear fits true to size. Even though there is just one pant length option, I had no problem with my long 34″ inseam and the knee pads are adjustable to accommodate different leg lengths.

The fit of the Battle Born suit is roomy with lots of space for active movements. The pants can also be used as an overpant if you remove the thermal liner. In general, the armor fits in place comfortably and there is no scratching or chaffing from stitching, zippers or snaps with or without the thermal liners in place.

Adventure Motorcycle Gear- Battle Born Jacket and Pants fit
The Battle Born jacket and pants provide a roomy fit for aggressive off-road riding or just getting down on your knees to work on the bike.

Handling Extremes

After riding with the Battle Born suit for several months, I’ve had an opportunity to experience everything from hot sunny days to freezing cold winds and major downpours. I’ve worn the suit in a variety of terrain ranging from pounding desert whoops and gnarly hill climbs to long highway rides.

Hot Weather: On hot days when the weather exceeds 80 ºF (26.7 ºC), it’s best to ride with the thermal liners removed and all 10 vents open. The direct air venting does a good job of cooling the body and the large rear exhaust vents keep air circulating. Vents are well-placed for effective cooling and with all the vents open you can feel the airflow moving across your skin. Riding at a recreational pace, I had no problem wearing the jacket with temperatures in the 80-85 ºF (26.7-29.4 ºC) range.

Adventure Motorcycle Gear- Battle Born Jacket cooling vents
Large exhaust vents on the back help keep cool air circulating on hot days.

Cold Weather: When temperatures dropped, I was able to ride with just the shell down to about 55 ºF (12.8 ºC). Adding the thermal liner allowed me to ride comfortably down to 40 ºF (4.4 ºC). The extended coat tail with elastic closure does a good job of keeping your back covered so there are no cold drafts. So does the adjustable pant cuffs that keep cold air from crawling up your legs. Overall, the jacket offers excellent wind protection and keeps all entrances where cold air can penetrate closed shut.

Adventure motorcycle gear ARC Battle Born suit in cold weather.
The Battle Born suit is very effective at combating cold and wind on the highway.

Rain: Riding through heavy rain on multiple occasions, the Battle Born suit did its job of keeping the wind and water out. However, breathability in the rain was one area that could be improved. Breathability is good when riding at a casual pace with the vents closed, but during more vigorous activity, sweat can build up and takes some time to clear out. Partially opening the rear exhaust vents in light rain can help promote better moisture evaporation.

Battle Born Jacket and Pants rain riding
The Z-Liner Membrane in the jacket and pants did its job of keeping the elements out during our testing.

Off-Road: Riding off-road, the jacket’s direct vents do a good job of keeping you cool, although some additional venting in the forearms would be helpful on hotter days. While the jacket can get a bit warm riding vigorously in hot weather, the pants are able to handle higher temperatures, thanks to the large thigh vents. Airflow to the legs can be increased further by leaving the calf zippers open and the bottom cuffs snapped closed. You can also increase airflow to the forearms by riding with the cuffs opened up.

Battle Born Jacket and Pants Riding Off-Road

Final Thoughts

After evaluating the A.R.C. Battle Born Jacket and Pants, it’s clear you get a lot of value for the money. To get better protection, waterproofing, breathability and venting, you’d have to pay significantly more than the $250 price tag (launch sales price) the Battle Born suit comes with. A.R.C. hits the mark in all the main categories that matter most to Adventure Riders, and at a price point that won’t break the bank.

So where is the cost savings coming from? As a house brand, A.R.C. has the advantage of selling their product directly to a large retailer (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC), bypassing the cost increase of a middleman distributor. You also aren’t paying more to support the marketing costs of a big brand name.

And what about long-term durability? We did encounter one small issue with a snap coming off of the jacket’s thermal liner and some of the threading in the crotch area of the thermal liner looked like it could use some reinforcing, but overall the main shell and armor appear solidly built.

It’s also nice to know A.R.C. offers a “Lifetime Warranty” against manufacturer defects, just like the expensive brands. So if you do ever encounter a problem, even years down the road, they’ll repair it or ship you a brand new replacement unit.

Adventure Motorcycle Gear
You shouldn’t have to pay $800 or more to get decent protection, venting and waterproofing in an Adventure Riding suit.

Kudos to Rocky Mountain ATV/MC for offering a quality suit that is affordable for Adventure Riders on a tight budget. We can only hope that by making good gear more accessible, it will inspire more Adventure Riders to ride with adequate protection.

The A.R.C. Battle Born Jacket and Pants are available in Black or Grey color options in a range of sizes exclusively through the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC website.

Color Options

Shopping Options

Battle Born JacketBattle Born Pants
Photos by Justin W. Coffey

Author: Rob Dabney
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Comments
 37

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37 thoughts on ““Battle-Ready” Adventure Motorcycle Gear on a Budget?

  1. This review is on point, I own a set and I absolutely love its feature for the budget friendly price, and Rocky Mountain atv also has great customer service if you need help with anything.

    • Thanks Zach. Glad to hear our review matched your experience with the suit and you are right, the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC customer service is top notch!

    • Hey Jusinope. The Battle Born gets you in the game with good basic protection, venting, breathability and waterproofing. The KLIM Badlands gives you more protection, breathability and venting plus additional comforts and conveniences, but for that you’ll pay about 4x the cost.

    • Sorry David. It only goes up to 3x. But it has a roomy fit so might be worth trying a 3x. Rocky Mountain does offer free returns on your first exchange.

  2. These look nicer than CycleGear’s “BiLT” brand (which is still decent and reasonably priced), but I’m a big fan of Rocky Mountain ATV, so I’d get these if I were in the market.

    • Hey Rob. Yes, RMATVMC seems like a great company that stands behind their products. The company is run by a group of hard core off-road riders and they only build stuff they are willing to use themselves.

  3. Looks awesome. All I can say is that they really need to get tall sizes. There are plenty of us out there that need that extra couple of inches in the arms and inseam. PLEASE!? 🙂

    • Good feedback Shawn and I’m sure they are listening. Often times these things are controlled by economics and if a suit sells well, companies begin to produce it in different size options, womens sizes, etc. Hopefully, this suit gets to that scale and we’ll see more options soon!

    • Yes. This. I ordered one size up and the legs ride up substantially when I put my feet down. I noticed the crotch hanged low and that may be part of the issue. Unfortunately I’d worn them twice (and got em sorts dirty) before I figured it out. No return. They’ll work out. Having to stand after each stop is sort of silly but I’ll get past it.

    • The transition jacket has some nice features but be aware that the back pad is not CE certified. No built-in hydration pocket either. Price difference is also double that.

    • Hey Johnny. It all depends on what you consider a long-distance journey. If you are going for a 2-3 week journey, sure it will do fine. Riders that are traveling for months at a time may want to invest in a higher-end suit for the additional comfort, convenience and protection. But if you are on a budget, then the Battle Born will do!

  4. Interested but curious about the inseam. The pants come in one length, right? So, what is that length? I can’t seem to find that information anywhere.

    • Hi Al.

      Rocky Mountain just updated the Battle Born Pants page to include inseam information. I tested the 38″ waist has a 32″ inseam. My inseam is normally a 34″ but the pants were still plenty long enough. So there seems to be good flexibility in the length. Check out the updated inseam chart here:
      http://bit.ly/1qbXqIH

  5. This review appeared in my fb feed and is very timely since I am looking to replace my current gear. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive review. I will probably go with white since I live in Florida and it will match my Neotec which is the best helmet I have ever had. Anyway I noticed your boots in the review. What kind are they and can you walk normally in them? Thanks again for the great review.

  6. I like Rocky MTN atv but sorry I bought theirARC waterproof shell coat and pants and both leaked like a sive from day 1 and the durability sucked. You get what you pay for and my klim gear takes a beating and performs excellent. If you have no choice go ahead but know you will be buying soon again down the road. As for protection, the suit cost means nothing compared to an ER bill. Quality and materials have to be sacrificed at that cost period.

    • Hey Mike. Are you talking about the A.R.C. Battle Born suit or a different jacket and pants from A.R.C.? Sorry to hear you had a bad experience either way. That definitely shouldn’t happen. Maybe you got a bad set. Did you try returning it for a refund or replacement? RMATVMC stands behind their gear and I’m sure they’ll do whatever they can to make it right.

  7. I just ordered a pair of thier pants from amazon. Looked at a lot of different sites and these looked like the best value for the money. After ordering, I did a Google search on the pants, and your ADV Pulse review was at the top of the list. Now I know where I saw them originally! I read your excellent all the time! Looking forward to getting them next week! Great review by the way.

  8. Great Review. I just purchased a complete set, the price is crazy good. I had to swap out my 38 inch waist for a 36 inch. The 38 waist was to big and bagging even though I wear a 38 jeans etc. Also I noticed the knee pads are non functional even in the highest position. If Rocky Mountain could redesign the knee pockets and move them further up they would have a 100% home run with this adventure suit. I am just going to remove the knee pads and use my slip on knee pads in there place. Overall this is a really great adv suit, well built for sure.