Masterpiece: Compañero ULTIMATE - The safest touring suit
For 12 years, Touratech has been setting standards in the premium segment of motorbike rider equipment with the Compañero suits series. Now, the brand new Compañero Ultimate defines what is currently possible in terms of functionality, comfort, choice of materials as well as quality of workmanship.
"As safe as a leather suit, as comfortable as a jogging suit and as multifunctional as a Swiss army knife," says Touratech Portfolio Manager Tilo Jentzsch when asked about the most important features of the new Compañero Ultimate.
Jentzsch, who has been with Touratech for 16 years, was instrumental in the development of the high-tech suit - together with the clothing professionals from Stadler, the renowned manufacturer of high-quality motorbike equipment from Aidenbach in Lower Bavaria.
But what could be dismissed as a flippant response pretty much sums up the essence of the new Compañero Ultimate.
The Compañero Ultimate has the highest possible AAA certification as motorbike protection equipment according to the EN 17092-2:2020 standard. AAA is otherwise only awarded to leather suits.
Gore-Tex Pro Shell three-layer laminate
Gore-Tex Pro Shell is the product line for professional demands from W.L. Gore. The particularly breathable microporous membrane is bonded to the ultra-buff outer material and the inner lining to form a single unit. The innovative Micro Grid Backer technology is used to join the layers into a laminate. This supports breathability, gives the laminate a pleasant suppleness and guarantees maximum robustness.
The leather suit analogy is not exaggerated at all. The Compañero Ultimate is one of a handful of textile suits to have the highest possible AAA certification according to the EN 17092-2:2020 standard for motorbike protective clothing. "The road to getting the third 'A' was really tough," Jentzsch reports. "We had to go the extra mile in almost all areas. That includes not only abrasion resistance but also the strength of the seams or the tear resistance of the fabrics themselves, as well as the entire construction of the suit.
The strict requirements, which are particularly relevant in the case of high-speed falls on the road, were achieved, among other things, through the use of large-scale Armacor™ reinforcements on particularly exposed parts. The fabric made of high-strength Kevlar threads reinforces the already abrasion- and tear-resistant Cordura of the upper material at the shoulders, elbows, knees and the insides of the legs.
The suit is fully equipped with Level 2 protectors to provide protection in case of impact. Those certified elements can be found on the jacket at the elbows, shoulders, chest and back, on the trousers at the knees and hips. The position of the protectors on the elbows and knees can be individually adjusted. Further details on certification in the interview on page 36).
Supple Gore-Tex three-layer laminate
"The Gore-Tex three-layer laminate we use is, for all its robustness, particularly flexible," Tilo Jentzsch explains. "This makes the Compañero Ultimate much more comfortable to wear than most other laminate suits." The three-layer laminate, in which the outer fabric, the microporous climate membrane and a light lamination on the inside are combined to form a textile material, is absolutely wind- and waterproof and has excellent water vapour permeability.
When the summer heat is intense or physical exertion is heavy on demanding off-road passages, the completely new ventilation system ensures effective ventilation. The Compañero Ultimate has a total of 15 ventilation openings on the jacket and trousers. The positioning of all the inlets takes into account the exact position of the protectors, so that the air can unfold its climate-regulating effect unhindered.
The openings, which are protected against moisture penetration with waterproof AquaSeal® zips or elaborate labyrinth systems, are positioned in such a way that an effective air flow is enabled from the front around the body to the back.
After being proven already in the Compañero Rambler, the double front zip also complements the ventilation system in the Ultimate. The further the absolutely wind- and waterproof outer zip is opened, the more of the approximately three-centimetre-wide ventilation gap is released. At the same time, the jacket always remains securely closed by the inner zip.
The patented, worldwide unique Stadler Air Scoop System (SASS), which is used on the sleeves and waist of the Compañero Ultimate jacket and on the thighs of the trousers, provides even more cooling efficiency. The principle is as simple as it is ingenious. When the ventilation is open, even at low speeds, the airstream causes small hoods to form over the air intakes, which increases the airflow.
The mesh lining with APS (Air Pipe System) ensures optimum air distribution inside the suit. In addition, the chest protectors are backed with a spacer fabric, which ensures effective rear ventilation.
Extensive comfort features
The Compañero Ultimate also sets new standards in terms of comfort. Thanks to pre-shaped shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, the riding position is particularly relaxed.
The continuously width-adjustable collar has a soft closure with an innovative double-layer system in the chin area. The collar lock also keeps the front ventilation open if necessary. In particularly adverse weather conditions, the included Gore-Tex storm collar can be zipped on.
The hem width of the jacket can be adjusted by two side zips, so that the jacket offers maximum comfort even when sitting down and - in combination with anti-slip elements on the inside - does not ride up. There is even a double width adjustment at the sleeves via drawstring, which at the same time ensure the secure fit of the elbow protectors. The integrated, removable kidney belt supports the lower back, makes it feel lighter and optimises the position of the back protector. "The kidney belt absorbs some of the weight so that the rider's shoulders are relieved," Jentzsch explains the principle.
The perfect synthesis of functionality and comfort also characterises the concept of the inner jacket, made of high-quality Polartec® Wind Pro® fleece, which passes without question as a piece of contemporary leisure wear. Its collar is extra soft for a comfortable fit around the neck, and the sleeves have a special lining that makes it easier to put on and take off. The discreet thumb loops contribute to a perfect fit, as does the hidden, width-adjustable elasticated waistband.
This consistent comfort strategy also characterises the feel of the Compañero Ultimate trousers. Double loops allow a variable position of the belt to adjust the waist height. In combination with the highly elastic waistband, a comfortable fit is guaranteed regardless of the wearer's stature.
Maximum elasticity is also provided by the generous stretch areas at the seat and knees. The diagonal positioning of the stretch sections is adapted to the natural shape of the leg. Jentzsch is convinced that "it is such supposedly little things as the careful adaptation of the stretch direction to the body's axes of movement that contribute to the incomparable wearing comfort of the Compañero Ultimate”.
Stadler Air Scoop System (SASS)
Even at low speeds, small air scoops above the intake openings are raised by the airstream, thus increasing the inflow of cooling air. In cool weather, the openings are closed wind- and waterproof.
The high functionality of the Compañero Ultimate already starts with an apparent exterior: The colour. Thanks to the light base colour, the suit effectively reflects sunlight and therefore hardly heats up. The Ultimate has an antibacterial mesh lining that prevents unpleasant odours even during intensive use.
The Compañero Ultimate's generous pockets ensure that small everyday items such as ignition keys, wallet, telephone etc. are always well sorted and within easy reach. The jacket has two waterproof outer pockets with zips and press studs, two small outer pockets (e.g. for keyless keys), a waterproof inner pocket accessible from the outside in front of the main zip, a waterproof inner pocket and a large waterproof back pocket with zips and press studs.
This storage space is complemented by two zipped trouser pockets and two cargo pockets on the thighs.
The connecting zip between the trousers and jacket is particularly practical on the long haul. For durability, the trouser legs are reinforced at the bottom to prevent damage from boot buckles.
A detail that should not be underestimated, especially in poor visibility conditions, is the generous equipment of the Compañero Ultimate with reflective material. The sections of particularly durable reflective material are arranged to emphasise the silhouette of the human body, which drastically improves detection by other road users.
As is customary at Touratech, the Compañero Ultimate also underwent extensive practical tests at every stage of development. In addition to the standard tests under a wide range of conditions, Touratech CMO Martin Wickert was on the road with a prototype throughout the winter. And Touratech owner and CEO Marc Pelzer did not miss the opportunity to personally convince himself of the advantages of the Compañero Ultimate at the Rally O nosso Dakar in the south of Portugal.
"In the Compañero Ultimate, we have fused the experience that we and our customers have gained over many years with the suits in the Compañero range into a unique product," portfolio manager Jentzsch sums up. "We will make the first series of this top suit available to particularly discerning customers in a strictly limited edition of 200 pieces."
Available in 12 sizes, the premium suit will be available from May 2023.
Armacor is a highly abrasion and tear resistant blended fabric of polyester and aramid developed by W.L. Gore. The aramid, also known as Kevlar, is particularly tear-resistant and heat-resistant. To protect the aramid threads from UV radiation, they are surrounded by a sheath of highly abrasion-resistant Cordura.
Sophisticated reflective concept
The particularly high-quality reflective elements are arranged in such a way that they replicate the silhouette of the human body. Psychologically, it has been proven that attention is significantly increased as soon as a person is recognised. The reflector concept thus makes an important contribution to the passive safety of the Compañero Ultimate.
Interview Hans Jürgen Stadler
"We are talking about technically very complex products here."
Hans Jürgen Stadler is the owner of STADLER GmbH, manufacturer of premium rider equipment in Aidenbach, Lower Bavaria. STADLER and Touratech have a long-standing partnership in the development and production of textile suits.
Travel Time: How did the idea for the Compañero Ultimate come about?
Hans Jürgen Stadler: Laminate suits are becoming more and more important in our programme. To reduce restrictions for riders at higher temperatures, our development focus for this product group was on ventilation. With our SASS (Stadler Air Scoop System) we have taken a giant step in optimising in this field. Due to the many years of good cooperation with Touratech, it was obvious to develop a suit that fulfilled all the innovations in terms of ventilation and protective function for demanding customers.
What was the development process in cooperation with Touratech like?
As with all projects, a specification sheet was drawn up with the desired functions and requirements. At the top of the list was ventilation and the desired AAA protection level. Touratech created the design on this basis, and we checked the technical feasibility as well as the planned materials to be able to fulfil all requirements.
What were the most important milestones in the development process?
With the first design, the first prototype was created to test fit and functionality. Based on the wear tests, the fit, placement of the vents and the seam course were optimised to finally get the optimal solution.
The final jacket/pants then went to TÜV for certification of protection class AAA and to Gore to check the construction for waterproofness.
Only after all tests were successfully passed, the Compañero Ultimate could go into production.
What were the biggest challenges in developing this suit?
As with most projects, the coordination of design and technology is not always that simple - this is especially true in the clothing sector. We're talking about very technically complex products here, so design, function and technical feasibility have to be put to the test again and again and possibly adapted.
What makes this suit special to you?
The scope of the requirements, the level of ventilation and protection. And of course the many small details...
Which technologies/solutions made the Compañero Ultimate receive the AAA certification?
To achieve AAA certification, it's not so much the drop points that are the problem, here you can work with very solid material. More difficult are the large surfaces, which must not become too stiff and would thus noticeably reduce the wearing comfort. That's why we decided on a multi-layer construction.
The different layers/materials can move against each other, so the jacket and trousers remain flexible like normal three-layer laminate, and breathability is not restricted.
With our SASS ventilation system, the direct openings are covered and there are no weak points in the outer layer.