Laminated textile clothing has been around for a while, but it is only recently that the price has become low enough that laminates are now a viable option when looking at new textile clothing. And the Mondial suit from Oxford is one of - if not the - first affordable laminated textile suit to hit the market.
A laminated suit uses several layers, each designed to carry out a specific task. In this case, the nylon outer – double-layered in key impact areas - has Oxford’s Dry2Dry membrane bonded to it to keep the jacket and trousers waterproof yet allow them to breathe. This is possible because liquid water particles are larger than water vapour particles so the latter can cross the boundary but the former cannot.
When it launched, the Mondial jacket was £250 and the trousers were £200, making a laminated textile suit for well below £500 – a huge achievement. However, many other manufacturers have caught up and while there are now several budget laminates available, the Mondial remains a decent proposition.
It is cut like a traditional touring jacket, with a ¾ length to prevent gaping when sitting on the bike. It has adjusters at the upper arm as well as straps at the waist and a drawstring at the hem to get the fit right with both long and short zips to join to the trousers. The cuffs have a zip opener and Velcro fastenings while there are two pockets at the bottom of the jacket, with Velcro-fastened flaps and drain holes.
The trousers feature poppers at the fly and braces, which I always find useful and have Velcro fastenings over large gussets, meaning you can easily get pretty much any boot you want under them. They are also flexible enough to go inside your boots if you end up doing a little off-roading or you prefer things that way round.
Both the jacket and trousers come with a removable thermal liner that is very effective for its weight and the space it takes up – not very much. When things get warmer, then remove the linings but you can cool down even more by opening the vents on the chest and the thighs.
These hide behind vertical zips and strips of hook-and-loop that look a bit like they were a second thought, to keep the material down in the wind and the rain out but they stay open with poppers. A nice idea but it does mean that you are effectively only getting half of the area of the vent to allow air in.
When it comes to protection, this is one area that the Mondial could do with some more work. Overall, the jacket and the trousers get a CE rating of A while the jacket comes with Level-1 shoulder and elbow armour but no back protector – expect to pay around £22 more for one. The trousers come with Level-1 knee armour and pockets for the - £10 optional – hip armour.
While crash protection could be better (hopefully you’ll never need it) protection from the elements is bang-on. I used this as my day-to-day go-to riding suit out of winter and into spring and early summer and it handled everything thrown at it admirably.
It is warm despite the liner only being held in with short zips up each side and was comfortable in all climates – removing the liner then opening vents increasingly cooled things down and ensured it stayed comfortable.
Several excursions in heavy rain also revealed that it kept all water out, even from the pockets despite those drain holes and no real closure other than folding over the opening and securing the flaps shut with Velcro.
If you are happy that this suit only has a CE rating of A and comes with Level-1 armour (with optional back and hip protection) then you could do a lot worse. It kept me warm and dry consistently and is very comfortable with great features, such as the vents in both the jacket and trousers. It is flexible enough to be used on any bike and in almost any condition and it held up well to thousands of miles of riding in all conditions.
Good value at full retail; excellent if you shop around
Comfortable with great venting
Proved totally waterproof
Crash protection could be better