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Olympia Moto Sports Nova 2 Hi Viz Safety Vest Reviews

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Bryan Bosch

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After 35+ years of riding dirt, I recently started adventure riding. Because I now spend more time on the street, my chances of an unpleasant confrontation with a car has gone up. I recall from my Motorcycle Safety Foundation class than when drivers are asked what happened after an accident with a motorcycle, all too often the answer is, "I just didn't see them." Because of this, I decided that I wanted to wear some sort of annoyingly bright, hi viz safety vest and after looking at a number of options, I chose the Olympia Moto Sports Nova 2 Hi Viz Safety Vest in neon yellow & black.

What is it suppose to do?
Olympia Moto Sports designed its Nova 2 Hi Viz Safety Vest to be durable, comfortable, to provide a high degree of utility (carrying stuff) and most of all, to increase a riders visibility to drivers that they are sharing the road with.

Product Overview
In terms of durability, the primary structure of the vest is cut from 500 denier Cordura, something that you'll find in a lot of off-road gear because it's very tear and abrasion resistant. However, the Nova 2 is currently the only hi viz safety vest made from this tough material. For the two front snap pockets, in addition to being sewn, the corners of the pockets are anchored using metal brads. It's a small detail, but this shows the level of thought that went into making a product that will last. The sewing appears to be of good quality, doubled where necessary and YKK zippers (arguably the best) with glove friendly pulls are utilized.

As far as comfort goes, the vest includes strategically placed "ballistic airflow" mesh panels (front and back) and the jacket is lined with a perforated "cool mesh" material. There are four sizes to choose from and fitment for each can be customized by Velcro straps at the waist and two more sets along the sides. The vest is designed to wear over a variety of riding jackets, so in addition to the 3 sets of adjustable side straps, the arm holes are generously cut to avoid limiting rider movement. Lastly, the vest includes a smallish, microfiber lined collar for neck comfort and a better fit when worn over a riding jacket.

Regarding utility, the Nova 2 Hi-viz Safety Vest includes two zippered breast pockets (one side has a clear outer panel), two snap pockets at the waist, an inner Velcro pocket (designed for a cell phone) and lastly, a waterproof zippered pocket with Velcro flap between the shoulder blades.

In the rider visibility area, there is generous amounts of neon yellow Cordura and a total of seven panels of 3M Scotchlite, a material that reflects light back to its source. There is enough hi viz material for the vest to meet requirements for use by military personnel.

Performance
First and foremost, this jacket is hard to miss on the road. The neon yellow color just pops and stands out from the typical colors and surroundings on the road. I can't see myself ride, so I had my wife jump in our car and follow me around for a bit, including residential neighborhoods, country roads and congested business boulevards. Naturally she was paying attention to me, but commented on just how eye catching the jacket is.

In terms of comfort, I had no issue adjusting the vest to a snug, but comfortable fit using the Velcro side straps, worn over a couple of different riding jackets of varying thickness. Also, the small collar is a smart design element. It's hard to describe how it feels, but it helps to orient (center) the vest properly on your body, giving it a positive fit, "spooning" the collar of the jacket underneath. When riding, I don't really even think about the vest and as far as I'm concerned, when you forget that you have something on, it's comfortable.

It's getting pretty warm in my neck of the woods and for my last day testing, it was 92 degrees with moderate Florida humidity. The mesh in this vest flows! Where I noticed it most is when I stopped in the sun to check the map or to take a couple of pictures. In the south, during the warmer months, it doesn't take much to begin sweating. As soon as I hit the road again, my torso starts to feel cool as the airflow causes the sweat evaporate. In a fairly short distance, I'm pretty much dry and comfortable again.

As far as utility goes, this vest has plenty of pockets for my phone, garage door opener, registration & insurance cards, paper map and some snacks with room to spare. All the zippered pockets can easily be operated with gloves on and the same goes for the snap enclosure pockets. The inner cell phone pocket will even fit my generously sized Samsung Galaxy. But, I have to take its aftermarket protective cover off, otherwise it's just a bit too tall for the Velcro enclosure to fasten properly. But, this is not a huge deal, as I found the outer breast pocket just as convenient to get into when I wanted to snap a picture or take some video.

Note: I didn't cover durability, as that's really something that needs to be tested over-time. I'll update my comments in the future, as I log a lot more miles with the product. I do expect the product to last based upon what I see.

Pros :)

  • Increased visibility to other drivers increases rider safety.
  • Quality materials and construction.
  • Very comfortable with good level of adjustments for different under jackets and rider sizes.
  • Amble, usable pockets, including one for your cell phone and one that is waterproof.
  • Vest is well ventilated, suitable for warm weather riding.

Cons :(


  • Inner cell phone pocket could be a bit larger. However, the mfr did say that a larger pocket will be included in the next version.

Bottom-line
The Olympia Moto Sports Nova 2 Hi Viz Safety Vests delivers on all the claims that its manufacturer makes and it's the one piece of gear that I won't ride without. While neon yellow isn't my favorite color in riding apparel, aesthetics is a small sacrifice to make for increased rider safety.

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