Gear Driven: Six do-it-all, all-season motorcycle jackets.
1. Hybrid is a word you see all over the place these days, but it’s normally associated with cars. In the case of Joe Rocket’s Alter Ego 3.0 all-season motorcycle jacket jacket, the word hybrid exemplifies the many weather situations in which this jacket can be used. At first glance, it looks like a secure, cold-weather waterproof coat. The outer shell, made of Rock-Tex 660, features waterproof zippers, several of which open to become vents. When the temperature rises, you can start by zipping out the removable fleece vest liner. If you’re still too hot, zip off the outer shell to reveal a fully armored FreeAir Mesh jacket beneath, which holds CE-rated armor in the shoulders and elbows, along with a removable spine pad. The outer shell can be folded into a built-in pouch, then tucked away in a tank or saddle bag. Truly an all-season motorcycle jacket, it also features inside pockets for eyeglasses and face shield storage, and a multi-point SureFit adjustment system. Available in black, red, blue, gunmetal and hi-viz neon in sizes S-3XL (some colors only available in certain sizes). Price: Starting at $259.99.
2. Tour Master makes several all-season motorcycle jackets, but one of their most versatile is the Intake Air Series 3 jacket. The shell is made of Tour Master’s Armor-Link mesh with 600-denier Carbolex and 1680-denier ballistic polyester impact panels. Inside is an Aqua-Therm two-stage waterproof and insulated liner that can be configured or removed to best match the comfort needs of the rider. There is removable CE-approved armor at the elbows and shoulders, along with an articulated triple density back protector. The mandarin-style collar and cuffs are lined in microfiber for comfort. There are also adjustable elastic and snap sleeve take-up straps at the forearm and bicep to help secure elbow armor and material, and adjustable waist belts to help fine-tune the fit. 360-degree Phoslite reflective piping helps increase nighttime visibility, while a zippered chest map pocket, hand-warmer pockets, and an internal pouch pocket and mobile media pocket hold your goodies. There’s a jacket/pant zipper attachment with the pant-side included. Available in red/silver, blue/silver, black/black, silver/silver, white/silver and hi-viz yellow in a variety of men’s, women’s and men’s tall sizes. Price: $229.99.
3. We’ve been fans of Aerostich for a long time. Their suits, jackets, pants and other gear are long-lasting, well designed and made in the USA, an attribute we know is very important to some of our readers. While we’ve worn the Roadcrafter suit and Darien jacket and pants for years, we hadn’t tried out the new Darien Light. If there’s one thing to complain about with Aerostich’s suits, it’s that they require some time to break in and become more comfortable. But the Darien Light is different. Though it still feels bomb-proof when you put it on, the Darien Light is made of 200-denier nylon Gore-Tex fabric instead of the 500-denier Cordura Gore-Tex fabric used in the standard Darien. Other than being made of the lighter material, it has all the same features as the Darien, including fully seam-taped construction, custom-shaped TF3 shoulder and elbow pads, a dual height Ultrasuede collar, and a variety of outside and inside pockets. It features two zippered underarm vents, a zippered back vent and Scotchlite reflective areas for visibility. It can be ordered with your choice of two different fleece liners at an additional cost, though many riders skip the liner and layer for optimum comfort with long underwear, fleece, or an electric heated bib, vest or liner. The Light version is better in warm weather than the standard version as it’s thinner, lighter in weight, and it breathes better. You do give up a bit of its protective abilities with the thinner fabric, but it runs the same armor, and the added comfort and quicker break in is worth it. Available in black, gray, tan and hi-viz yellow. Custom sizing, alterations and other options available. Price: $467.
4. This 3/4-length jacket from Alpinestars is called the Köln Drystar. The exterior is constructed from brushed polyamide with 600-denier polyester reinforcements for increased strength and durability. There is removable CE-certified Bio Armor in the elbows and shoulders, along with chest and back compartments with PE protective padding. Integrated reflective stripes help keep you visible, while zippered air vents on the front of the torso and the tops of your arms, combined with an exhaust vent across the back, allow the wind to cool you when they’re opened. Alpinestars’ 4-in-1 system offers four different layering options, with a removable, waterproof, breathable Drystar liner inside the shell and a removable thermal liner inside to provide comfort in a variety of temperatures. You can use either liner, both liners or no liner at all. There are four pockets on the front (two lower and two upper), along with one on the inside for holding all your stuff, and adjustable straps on the upper arms and waist ensure a precise fit, along with Velcro-adjustable cuffs and collar. Inside there’s a waist connection zipper that allows attachment to Alpinestars riding pants. Available in men’s sizes S-3XL in black. Price: $319.95.
5. From Firstgear comes the Kilimanjaro, a 3/4-length all-season motorcycle jacket that starts with an outer shell made of Hypertex waterproof and breathable 400-denier nylon, with 640-denier nylon for added durability and protection at the elbows and shoulders, along with fully adjustable d3O T5 CE-approved armor at the elbows and shoulders. There are vents in the shoulders and underarms, and exhaust vents on the back to cool you down when the weather gets warm. Inside is a removable quilted liner. An under-helmet rain hood stores in the collar, and there are compression straps at the biceps and forearms. Velcro-adjustable cuffs and collar and a belt around the middle keep things snug. There are pockets everywhere inside and out, and in the liner. Available in men’s, women’s and men’s tall sizes in black, silver and day glo. Price: $299.95.
6. Klim (pronounced like “climb”) makes snowmobile and motorcycle riding gear designed in Rigby, Idaho. We ordered a Latitude 840 all-season motorcycle jacket, which has a shell made of 840-denier Cordura with Gore-Tex laminate construction that is guaranteed to be both waterproof and breathable. The jacket features a CE-rated integrated armor system with pads in the shoulders, elbows and back. There’s no liner, but the jacket is cut just loose enough to add a sweatshirt or fleece over your long underwear when it’s cold. When the temps come up, the jacket features vents on both arms, plus large underarm vents and an exhaust vent across the back. There are four pockets inside and six on the outside, plus a secret internal pocket. There’s also a mesh comfort liner, a lined comfort collar, Velcro adjustable wrist closures, adjustable waist cinch straps, a jacket-to-pant zipper in the back with the pant side attached, two zippered waist/hip expansion panels, and 3M Scotchlite reflective panels and trim. New for 2013 is the updated Latitude Misano jacket, available in gray, black, and hi-viz yellow. Price: $579.99.