Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jacket Racket

I am beginning to think that jacket manufacturers are running a racket. Just when I think I've found a comfy one I find little quirks that drive me nuts and I am looking for another, and another.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't every single jacket but 2 out of the last 3 just aren't right when wearing for any length of time.

Several years ago I bought a ladies Cortech jacket. It had a thermal liner and the sleeves were long enough. After trying on jacket after jacket sleeve length became my main priority. It seemed to fit what I needed. After a while the collar started to bother me and the torso area seemed way too bulky and I couldn't adjust the sleeves to be slender enough. Both the arms and torso flapped around in the breeze when riding especially with no fairing.

Last summer I found a Scorpion Nip/Tuck at Discount Motorcycle Parts in Eugene and it fit like a glove.

It is a mesh jacket and I special ordered it in the Spring pattern to match my Scorpion Spring Chameleon black helmet.

Not a necessity, but all that was in stock was white and I didn't think that was a great choice. Turned out that it was on back order and I didn't receive it until the beginning of October. I managed to get in a short ride wearing it but not far due to the weather. It was tucked in the closet all last winter waiting for the nice weather this year.

I have since used that jacket as my go to jacket. It fits great and the collar is low enough to be comfortable. And the sleeves are long enough too, hooray. I can still put a heavier shirt on under it if we will be riding in the hills or in the early morning hours. The elastic lacing up each side is great for adjustments. The only problem I have with it is that when I put my wallet in the right pocket and cell phone in the left it is quite lumpy since it is a snug fit. Not uncomfortable just chunky looking. I also feel that I am more visible when riding in this jacket since the grey accents and stitching seem to be more eye catching than plain black.

In the spring I was looking for a thermal jacket that would be good for riding the TU since the Cortech wasn't comfortable. I found a Scorpion Selene in khaki at Premier Motogear in Albany and it seemed to fit. Sleeves long enough? check. Length long enough? check. Thermal liner? check. All seemed comfortable so I spent the money and got it. I felt it was a great find since it fit and it was last years model so was on sale. I was thrilled to not have to wear the Cortech again and have it flapping in the breeze.

One thing I noticed after the first few times wearing it is that I should have worn it around the store a little longer before buying it and maybe tried to take a helmet off or put one on while wearing it. Apparently I have wide shoulders as well as long arms and the elbow protection doesn't hit right. Fine for reaching towards the handle bars, but when I try to move my arms up above level, not only does my jacket come up, but I find it almost impossible to put my helmet on with my jacket on. The arms just won't go that way. They are blocked by the elbow pads. That bothers me, but is tolerable to some extent. I also find it harder to shoulder check with this jacket because of the tighter neck and the cuff zipper on the left sleeve has decided it does not want to stay zipped. Makes for chilly arms.

What has me searching for a new thermal riding jacket at this time was what happened when trying to get geared up for an evening ride last Thursday. Troubadour and I were heading out two-up on the Tiger to go to Eugene for a presentation by Rick Wallace on crash scene safety. It was a sample of his full day course on motorcycle specific crash scene safety and our interest was piqued. (Since then we've both signed up for the January course) I knew it was going to be a chilly ride so I had the fleece pants on under my thermal overpants and put a long sleeved shirt on under my t-shirt. I grabbed my regular buff and put it over the head and put my jacket on. I went to put the polar fleece buff on and couldn't manage it due to the jacket. Didn't seem to matter if the jacket was zipped or not and so I opted out of the polar buff and just used the light one. I felt the collar was pressing onto my throat and was quite uncomfortable but we were running late and I didn't have a lot of other options. Many bad words were said when I went to put my helmet on, but Troubadour is used to that by now.

On Saturday we went to Premier Motogear once again to see what they had in stock. I was thinking to maybe look at higher end jackets figuring fit and finish would be better. I tried on a Rev'it SIREN. Sleeves are long enough and it has enough buckles and such to tighten the sleeves and body comfortably. It also has a nice comfort collar as well as having an adjustable snap for the collar so you can make 5-7 adjustments on how tight or loose you want the collar to be. Protective armor felt like it was in a good place too. It felt so nice after wearing the Scorpion on Thursday. I wore it around a bit and checked it for fit and comfort. The jacket has three layers to it for mixing and matching in all kinds of weather. Thermal vest, waterproof liner, etc. It seems to be just what I am looking for, but I am hesitant. I have purchased too quickly before and don't want to do that again.

We left and I did a little research online about the jacket and also checked with one of our lady friends who rides. She has the same jacket and loves it. The adjustable comfort collar is her favorite feature. The only complaint she has is that she gets a little airflow under the back when riding. She rides a sportier bike than I do and is also smaller in stature so this may be the cause. With me sitting upright and filling out the jacket a bit more I don't know if that would be an issue or not.

When researching online I found they also make this jacket it black with red accents and it looks quite sharp. I am wondering if this would be more visible than the grey when riding, but I know we need to ride like we are invisible. Alert and on the look out. If the red stands out I don't want to give a driver in an SUV an excuse to target fixate either. "Sure I saw her, but still aimed right at her without slowing down."

So, it looks as though I will be purchasing another jacket this weekend. I will be trying it on again and zipping it up and putting a helmet on while done up just to see what it will do. Hopefully it will be a nice day for riding on Saturday. If not, I should have a great fitting winter riding jacket so the rain and fog will roll right off. And if I am still cold, there is usually a Starbucks around every corner. Decaf grande soy latte please.

-Au Revoir

"Advice to children crossing the street: damn the lights. Watch the cars. The lights ain't never killed nobody." ~ Moms Mabley


  1. Ha! We seem to have the exact same issues with jackets. Long arms, broader shoulders, (and personally some resistance to pink in the design). Comfy-wise l love my Nip/Tuck, my only complaint is the floppy spine protector. As for my Firstgear Kilimanjaro all weather (except for hot), it has everything you would expect from a motorcycle jacket. Length, width, protectors, pockets, liner. It is however a little stiff at the collar, and friggin' heavy. So, I am curious what your opinion on the Rev'it will be.

  2. Good info. I have been looking at getting my wife some better gear.

  3. Trobairitz:

    I don't believe it. We are so alike BUT I put my phone in my right pocket and camera in my left. The wallet goes into a "secret" pocket in the jacket front.

    I used to have more form fitting jackets and like yours, the pockets bulged when you put something in them. Jackets like Olympia or BMW are usually square type which sort of look tacked-on. I like this type better. Some jackets have adjustments on the arms to take up slack and hold armour in place. Short jackets seem to ride up, but longer jackets don't as much.

    good luck on your continued search

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  4. The good part is that you seem to have a few places to try on a variety of gear. So there is a good chance that you may find something that works well. We have is one HD/BMW/Victory/Honda dealer that has a very good selection of branded gear. Anything else is mail order. I would agree with Sonja on the Kilimanjaro and end up using it for 99% of my riding. We don't have much "hot".

    More days of shopping at MC shops, darn....


  5. Gear is such a trial and error thing for me. I have a lot and it is for the reasons you mention. Nothing fits me exactly. Something is always wrong. Oh well. As Richard said, "More days shopping at MC shops, darn..." :)

    Good luck.

  6. I'm still looking for the perfect jacket. Seriously who do they hire to design these things! I have several jackets on my short list that I've tried and think might work. My trouble spots are shoulders, tummy and neck. Arms are always too long. I won't ever solve that one with out customization. I really need boots more than another jacket.

    I really liked your Scorpian jacket you had this summer. I get tired of black. I'm ok with some pink, some of the time, but it's a mood thing.

  7. With so much repeat business at some of these places, would they let you "test ride" the jacket around the parking lot? One of the places we purchase from would be more then willing to let me take it out and sit on the bike or ride it around the lot. Sometimes just sitting on the bike will give you a no-no feeling. Good luck. I have a good jacket collection going too.

  8. I haven't purchased a new jacket yet but I am almost 100% sure it will be the Rev'it Siren. We went out on Saturday to several stores in Salem and Portland and looked at gear. Isn't a lot out there for ladies. I looked at the Kilimanjaro and I agree with you Sonja, it seemed heavy. The Rev'it doesn't have upper breast pockets and I think that would take away some of the bulk.

    The shop the jacket is at would let me take it out and sit on the bike so that is good too. One of these days it will dry up enough to do just that.

    Will keep everyone posted.