Troy Lee Designs needs no introduction (although we’re going to do it anyway).
The son of famed California painter Larry Lee, whose graphics adorned the fastest drag boats of the 1960s, Troy Lee blended his own love of art and motorsports into a custom helmet painting business over 35 years ago. Lee’s artwork came to be found on helmets worn by the top motorcycle and automobile racers around the world, and his entrepreneurial endeavors blossomed his business into a full-line motorsports giant that is a virtual icon in the motorsports today. Through it all, his sense of form and function have never wavered, and his artistic vision can be found on everything that bears the TLD name, including the GP line of motocross and off-road apparel seen here.
While TLD’s SE line of moto riding gear represents the top of the line in the company hierarchy, the GP line hardly takes a back seat, delivering excellent quality and Lee’s inimitable style at a more reasonable price, thank goodness, as we picked up our GP Pinstripe jersey and GP pants in sort of an emergency situation while headed to a test session at Pala Raceway several months ago. Fortunately for us, Langston Motorsports of Perris, California, was running a sale when we stopped by, allowing us to snag the jersey and pants at prices well below their respective MSRP of $40 and $105.
TLD says that the GP Pinstripe collection is designed with comfort, flexibility and light weight while offering excellent durability. Manufactured in Taiwan to TLD’s exacting standards, the GP gear is constructed of polyester to achieve these goals. The GP Pinstripe jersey features a ribbed, stretch V-neck collar on micro mesh fiber polyester. It boasts sublimated graphics, which basically means that the entire color scheme is effectively a transfer that resists fading from UV rays and repeated washings. The process keeps the jersey looking new regardless of how many times you cycle it through the laundry—and please, for the sake of your friends, cycle it through the laundry once in a while, huh? Other features include a drop tail design—sort of like long tails on a tuxedo, except that the tail section has no split—tapered and angled cuffs on the sleeves and a Troy Lee Designs gel print on the tail that helps to keep the jersey tucked in by gripping the inside of the pants.
The GP pant also offers design features intended to allow it to fit well and last a long time. The pants boast an articulated fit design. We know, it sounds like marketing hyperbole, but there is actually some science to it: Articulated-fit clothing design incorporates detailed knowledge of how the body moves in a given activity, and that knowledge is used to create more precise garment patterns to create a finished product that fits better and allows the wearer greater comfort in the body positions he or she will most often assume during that activity. It only makes sense to use the process for riding gear.
Other features of the GP pant include a ratchet closure system rather than snaps for the waste. We appreciate this because, in our opinion, the use of snaps to close the waste is a bad idea. A ratchet system is much more secure, allows more adjustability at the waste and a better way to keep the pants closed when you want them to be. TLD uses a quality name-brand YKK zipper on the GP pant as well.
Riders who wear knee braces or large knee pads will get along with the GP pants just fine, as the knee areas offer plenty of room. The back side of the knee area also incorporates two-way stretch panels for added flexibility. Stretch panels are found in the calf and crotch as well to reduce the chance of bunching and binding of the fabric—a particularly good idea for the crotch anyway. Each pair of GP pants also comes with removable hip pads that attach to the waste area via a Velcro strip, making them easy to remove during wash time, although we just leave ours in with no issues. The insides of the knees also feature natural leather panels for added durability and abrasion resistance in areas where the pants are most likely to rub the motorcycle. That’s a thoughtful, quality touch.
We’ve tested our Troy Lee Designs GP gear in temperatures as hot as 109 degrees Fahrenheit, and we can appreciate just how breathable the material is, as it flowed air well enough so as not to cause us any added discomfort. However, if you’re the type who is really sensitive to heat, TLD also sells a GP Air pant that is even more vented than the standard GP pant. Of course, if you need it, you probably race in places like hell, the sun and the greater Phoenix area. Still, it’s nice to know that Troy Lee Designs has you covered.
As for comfort, the GP gear comes up aces. There are no sharp inseams to be found on the gear anywhere, and both the pants and jersey make good on their promise to fit well and offer excellent freedom of movement. Our only gripe has to do with the gel print on the tail—we didn’t care for it. While we’re sure it does its job by keeping the jersey tucked in, it’s also kind of a nuisance when trying to tuck the jersey into the pants.
Perhaps Billy Crystal’s Saturday Night Live character, Fernando Lamas, said it best: “It’s better to look good than to feel good,” and you can do both in TLD’s GP riding gear. We’re especially big fans of the pinstripe design on the gear we chose. Pinstriping is a timeless custom art technique that evokes hot rod styling, which kind of gets back to Troy Lee’s own ancestral roots… F-ing cool is what it is.
Overall, we’d recommend Troy Lee Designs GP riding gear. It may not be the most inexpensive gear out there, but it delivers a high degree of functionality, comfort and style for the money.
Troy Lee Designs GP gear is available in a variety of colors and graphics schemes and in sizes S-XXL for the jersey and 28-40 for the pants. For more information check out www.troyleedesigns.com. The GP gear page can be found at www.troyleedesigns.com/moto/collections/gp.
Troy Lee Designs GP Riding Gear
GP Jersey MSRP: $40
GP Pants MSRP: $105
Troy Lee Designs
155 E. Rincon
Corona, CA 92879
Phone: (951) 371-5219
Toll Free: (800) 239-6566