Following last years trip to the Tunisian Sahara, I had the opportunity to test again the Atatama Race Jacket and Pants and the Atacama Race Shell for 1500 kms of adventure riding.
The trip included some motorway transfers, twisty roads in the mountains and loads of trails varying from flat trails to very technical.
On my previous test I was wearing full upper body armour. This time I choose a sleeveless body armour with the integrated shoulders and elbows protective pads in the Atacama Race Jacket.
I was wearing Leatt knee braces, Sidi CrossFire 2 boots and a Leatt neck brace. The main difference was that on this trip I brought with me the new Atacama Race Shell.
As tested last year, the Atacama Race Jacket and Pants are just perfect for off road riding. Fantastic freedom of movement while still fitting tight enough to protect you. In warm climates (as it was most of the days) it keeps you nice and cool. Add a neck brace and it's just right. I decided to wear a sleeveless body armour because the jacket doesn’t have chest pockets to fit any protection which is possibly the only limit that I can find.
The real big addition this time was the Atacama Race Shell. It is fantastic when fitted over the Atacama jacket. I tested it on the motorway at high speed (up to 160km), on mountain roads and on trails.
At speed it doesn’t move at all as many other shells do. When the spring sun goes down and temperature suddenly drops it makes a significant difference keeping you warm, when is raining it keeps you completely dry. It comes with two different interchangeable necks giving you the option of riding without a neck collar, just the same as the Atacama Race Jacket, or with a neck collar to cover the neck brace, or with a traditional collar to be used without any neck brace.
Not only that, once off the bike the Atacama Race Shell is a nice jacket to wear over your jeans. When folded it could be easily stored into a small tank bag or a tools style tail bag.
It is a quality built item with cared taken in all the small details. The only limitation is the reduced breathable characteristics which means that is not ideal if riding slowly on very technical trails where you are at risk of sweating excessively at the same time that it is raining.
Overall bringing the Atacama Race Shell makes the Atacama Race Suit suitable for dry and wet weather. I am getting increasingly intrigued by the versatility of the AS “layers concept”. Next time I will try it with the Baltic Hybrid Jacket to be used as a base layer to keep me warm in cold weather or to be worn over a your clothes after a ride.
The Atacama Race Shell
The Atacama Race Shell is a lightweight waterproof jacket designed for riders who use a neck brace. The jacket can be used in three configurations, no collar, standard collar or neck brace collar. When not being used the jacket will pack down into its own pocket sack. The Atacama Race Shell is well suited to race / rally riders who need a waterproof layer that works with protective equipment with minimal weight. Weight - 497g.