The third generation of the Badlands Pro has been released as part of KLIM’s 2018 motorcycle collection. KLIM Product Line Manager Jayson Plummer explains why the time was right for an upgrade and what you can expect from the new collection.
Why did you choose to redesign the Badlands Pro collection?
At KLIM we are never satisfied with our current product. We believe we can always find new ways to enhance the rider’s experience. For the redesign of the Badlands Pro, there were three main issues we wanted to conquer: crash protection, weather protection, and travel focused usability.
We developed new innovations and processes that came together at the right time to really raise the bar on the third generation of our most prolific adventure kit and we’re excited to bring it to the market. We incorporated more innovation and function-based technology in the new Badlands Pro than any piece we’ve designed to date.
How much input have your customers had on the new designs?
The adventure riders we work with are very self-reliant. They are articulate, and have excellent problem solving and communication skills. Their perspectives are unique in that they have a wealth of territorial, cultural, and social experiences to draw from that extend far beyond issues dealing with just riding and protection. Their feedback is a major contributor to the direction we take our gear.
From our Gear Protection Guarantee, we’ve learned invaluable insights into environments and conditions that result in a crash. In exchange for a new set of gear, we get to learn from the rider, and evaluate the crashed gear that ultimately helps us deliver better product. We also encourage riders to email [email protected] as well to hear from our customers on their experiences and suggestions.
You also reviewed D3O during the redesign – what were you looking at?
KLIM conducted and independent study with ACT Lab in 2017 on industry wide, CE rated impact protectors with the objective of determining the best protection available. We acquired some 300+ protectors, including D3O pads, and put them through all four CE testing criteria – Ambient, Wet, Hot and Cold. We also reviewed specific attributes like flexibility, thickness, coverage, weight, and breathability.
While some protectors excelled in specific areas – like energy transfer for example, they tended to be stiff and thick. There were also highly ventilated pads that offered little coverage, or flexible pads that tested low on energy transfer. Our conclusion ultimately validated the partner we have trusted for over six years – D3O – who had the best balance of impact results combined with weight, flexibility, and thickness.
With this knowledge, we approached D3O to work on a new limb protection project that would drastically improve upon some of the areas that our customers had been asking for, such as increased coverage and greater ventilation, without compromising mobility and comfort.
The new collection has brand new KLIM AERO PRO D3O® armour. What benefits does the new range have?
Our product team and D3O’s engineers worked for over a year designing and developing the most ergonomic, intuitive, comprehensive Level 2 protection package available in the motorcycle industry. Each Aero Pro pad is joint specific and designed to maximize protection and ventilation while staying unobtrusive to the rider.
Aero Pro passes all four of the CE Level 2 testing for Ambient, Wet, Hot, and Cold. This is significant to KLIM because we are constantly working to swing the pendulum of performance in extreme temperatures from cold and wet to hot and dry. Prior to Aero Pro, only Xergo armour passed all four tests at Level 2.
While Aero Pro averages 44% more coverage than the current Level 2 pads, they also offer five times better ventilation. The full suite of Aero Pro armour weighs half a pound less than Xergo yet passes all four CE tests and offers increased coverage with better ergonomics.
One of the most challenging part of the design process was our approach to ventilation. Without compromising protection, we worked with D3O to create grooved airflow channels in the elbow pads that work intuitively with our outer shell vent ports, flowing air through the pad and over the skin, while allowing body heat to escape through a matrix of vent port holes. The pad pockets are lined with our KLIMATEK COOL mesh that lay next to skin and enhance cooling when the rider heats up.
What are some of the other new features?
We’ve completely redesigned our outer shell fabric map, using brand new 3 Layer Pro Shell materials from GORE-TEX®, our Karbonite Ripstop Cordura, and introducing an all new Engineered Superfabric that offers superior abrasion resistance and more coverage. The Superfabric is stronger than the previous version, with smart-zone coverage built into the ceramic dot matrix, allowing it to be more pliable for better range of motion. We have also passed the CE garment standard prEN17092-4:2017.
We’ve redesigned our ventilation scheme, adding two tricep exhaust ports that flow more fresh air through our KLIMATEK COOL fabric and Aero Pro pads, keeping the rider cooler longer. Our hydration bladder pouch now works with Hydrapak Shape-Shift 2L and 3L bladders for better user experience. The kidney belt has been redesigned to offer more core support and stows cleaner into compartments in the jacket.
World travel presents its own unique set of challenges we needed to overcome. First, the comfort and usability of the garment is more intuitive – easier to operate vents, open zippers, and use storage pockets. We’ve included three hidden document pockets throughout the jacket for storing valuables out of reach of professional opportunists. We’ve baked in an anti-odor additive to keep the garments fresher longer between washes. Riders are now more comfortable and secure as they travel further from home.
How have you tested the new collection?
We’ve been testing various technologies that have come together in the new Badlands Pro for years. Once the garments were in development we sent them out to our partner riders for feedback, as well as doing extensive testing around our headquarters in Rigby, Idaho. We’ve tested the new Badlands Pro in extremely wide temperature and climate ranges, often experiencing snow, cold, rain, heat, and dust in a day’s ride. Some recent testing grounds include the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, Moab, Utah and Columbia.
What has the feedback been so far?
The overall comfort of the kit is noticed immediately. Once riding, the experience of improved ventilation and vent operation are a huge hit. We hear repeatedly that the new jacket feels lighter than the previous version when in fact there is almost no change in weight. The greatest reception has been what’s not noticed. Riders say they barely feel the Aero Pro armour, especially those who are comparing it to the last version.
Considering how much more protection, ventilation, and travel sensibility have been engineered into the Badlands Pro, we’re proud to introduce it as the new world conqueror in adventure riding.