Tag Archives: Apparel Reviews

Scorpion Maia Women’s Mesh Jacket | Gear Review

Scorpion Maia women's mesh jacket.
Scorpion Maia women’s mesh jacket.

Backyard astronomers among our readership might recognize the name “Maia” as one of the Pleiades, a cluster of stars easily recognizable in the night sky. The seven brightest stars are named after the Greek mythological daughters of the titan Atlas, and Maia, the eldest sister, is associated with growth and possibly the namesake for the month of May.

As far as motorcycle apparel goes, Maia is just a lovely name for a summer and “shoulder season” Scorpion jacket, with a longer touring cut and plenty of thoughtful design features. Its outer shell is made from dual-layer small-pore mesh throughout the front and back of the torso and the inner arms, with plenty of tough 600D polyester coverage where you need it most: shoulders, outer arms, elbows, hips and lower back. Inside is a full mesh liner for maximum airflow, with an Airguard windproof and water-resistant liner that zips in for chillier rides. Retro-reflective material runs across the upper back and down the front and back of each arm for nighttime visibility. Elbow and shoulder armor is made by Sas-Tec and is CE-certified to level 2; the foam back pad can be swapped for an optional CE-certified protector. There are two deep zippered handwarmer pockets and one inner chest pocket, and fit can be dialed-in with elastic straps below the bust and two zippered hip gussets; accordion stretch panels also help with fit as you move around on and off the bike.

I like the heavier-duty feel of the Maia compared with some other ultra-lightweight mesh jackets with less protection that I’ve worn, and the large-tooth front zipper is smooth and easy to use. The touring-cut Maia also happens to fit me and my long torso and arms quite well. Best of all, its mandarin collar is neoprene-lined for chafe-free comfort, and zips all the way up with no annoying hook-and-loop or snap strap to fiddle with. Cuffs are zippered as well, but with hook-and-loop straps that keep the cuff securely closed over gloves. Overall, this is a solidly built and thoughtfully designed jacket that will keep you cool in hot weather and won’t break the bank.

The Maia is available in black or black/gray in women’s sizes XS-XL for $189.95; 2XL costs an extra $10. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit scorpionusa.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Cortech “The Primary” Riding Jeans | Gear Review

Cortech "The Primary" Riding Jeans are a single-layer Kevlar-and Cordura-nylon blend with pockets for optional Sas-Tec knee and hip armor.
Cortech “The Primary” Riding Jeans are a single-layer Kevlar-and Cordura-nylon blend with pockets for optional Sas-Tec knee and hip armor.

From Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, wearing jeans while riding a motorcycle has long been an essential part of being “cool,” because jeans are relaxed, comfortable and stylish. Plenty of people who aren’t famous movie stars wear jeans while riding for the same reasons. We get it — some textile riding pants look dorky, and pulling them on and off can be a hassle. But when it comes to crash protection, plain old Levis or Wranglers aren’t much better than wearing nothing at all.

Fortunately, modern textile engineering and manufacturing make it possible for us to have the best of both worlds. For years there have been riding jeans made with heavy-duty stitching and liners in impact areas made of tough, heat- and abrasion-resistant aramid fabric, such as DuPont Kevlar. As effective as Kevlar-lined jeans are, the extra layer of fabric can make them much heavier and warmer than regular jeans.

Cortech recently introduced two types of riding jeans: “The Standard” ($129.99), which are made of 14-ounce 100-percent cotton denim lined from waist to shin with Kevlar, and “The Primary” ($199.99), which are made of fabric that’s a special blend of 13.5-ounce denim, Cordura Nylon and Kevlar, eliminating the need for a two-layer design. Both types of Cortech jeans have pockets for optional Sas-Tec CE-approved knee and hip armor ($24.99-$29.99). 

“The Primary” jeans are thicker and heavier than regular jeans, but not excessively so; to me, the extra heft is worth it for added protection. Cortech says the high-tech denim/Cordura/Kevlar fabric has up to 350% higher tensile strength, up to 200% more tear strength and 500% more abrasion resistance than standard cotton denim. The jeans are constructed using “high strength 3-ply tex-75 nylon thread” with “triple over-lock safety stitched critical seams and added internal safety stitching.” They have six pockets and a button closure with a YKK fly zipper.

With a relaxed-fit seat and thighs and a straight-leg cut, these jeans are ideal for swinging legs over motorcycle seats, enjoying freedom of movement in various seating positions and walking/sitting comfortably when off the bike. The optional knee armor, which is height-adjustable over a 6-inch range, is unobtrusive and hardly noticeable from the outside. During the warm spring and summer months, Cortech’s “The Primary” have been my go-to riding jeans, especially during my daily commute. And rolling up the bottom cuff reveals a Scotchlite reflective tab for nighttime conspicuity.

With “The Primary” jeans, which are available in Midnight Blue only in men’s waist sizes 32-40 (all with 32-inch inseam), you can look cool and be protected. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit cortech.net.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Joe Rocket Ballistic Touring Boots | Gear Review

Joe Rocket Ballistic Touring Boots.

Touring boots are often plainer and simpler than sport versions, yet these Joe Rocket Ballistic Touring Boots defy that trend with lots of extra features. Drop a yardstick into the shaft and you will see the front comes up 13 inches to protect that tender shinbone. At night reflective panels at the top alert motorists to your presence, and these tall boots are very easy to get your feet into and out of, with a zipper running part way up the inside of each boot covered with hook-and-loop panels. I do wish that the pull-tabs on the SBS zippers were bigger, to ease the pulling up.

Should you suffer the embarrassment of parting with your motorcycle while at speed, these Ballistics provide good protection from the top to the toe, with double stitching in critical areas. There is injection molded toe armor at the front of the boots, as well as those very sporty-looking replaceable toe sliders should you lean over way more than I do.

Constructed of synthetic leather, Joe Rocket says the Ballistic Touring boots are water resistant, and though California’s serious rainy season was over by the time I got this pair to evaluate, I did run through a few brief showers and they seem to be quite “showerproof.” I’d still carry a pair of nylon rain covers if I were headed out on a long trip.

The ankle sections are well-articulated so walking is relatively easy, though I might not want to wear them on a lengthy hike. I believe we all know that there is a break-in period; the longer you wear them, the more comfortable they become. Both toe sections have little protectors so that shifting gears will not mar the well-polished surface, even on your old Brit bike. The full-length, one-piece soles are said to be non-slip, and traction while walking over rough ground was good.

Best of all, the Ballistic Touring boots are relatively lightweight — my size 12 pair weighs in at 3.5 pounds. They’re available in black or white/black in men’s sizes 7-13 for a very reasonable $110.  

For more information, see your dealer or visit joerocket.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Cortech Dino Leather Jacket | Gear Review

Cortech Dino Leather Jacket.
Cortech Dino Leather Jacket.

Today’s riders enjoy a wealth of high-tech riding gear such as synthetic-material, abrasion-resistant jackets with wondrous breathable-yet-waterproof layers that offer an incredible level of service. Yet leather jackets such as this Vintage Brown Dino jacket from Cortech still offer remarkable appeal, function and versatility.

First off, there’s the scent of leather that synthetic-material garments can’t possibly duplicate. I still remember how proud I was as a budding teenage rider to finally move upscale from a denim jacket to a genuine leather jacket and to this day, a hard-wired connection in my brain defines motorcycling as the scent of leather and castor oil. There’s also a tactile connection; the soft feeling in hand with the mildly “distressed/antiqued” 1mm-thick leather strikes an excellent middle ground between comfort and abrasion resistance. The rubbed-leather finish provides some handsome accents to the jacket’s overall appearance, and the styling offers a classic look.

High-quality, heavy-duty YKK brass zippers supply sturdy wear and another classic-look accent. Brass zippers are hard enough to scratch painted surfaces such as a fuel tank, but the Dino keeps the zipper pulls and teeth hidden away well. You’ll notice their scratchy nature when you dive a bare hand into the handwarmer pockets or the left-side breast pocket, but it’s not a real problem. There’s additional internal storage in the form of an inside pouch pocket, mobile media storage pocket, plus another smaller, zippered pocket on the right side that I used for stowing earplugs. In the past, Cortech’s media pockets ran a touch small in size, but this one is now large enough to fit most current smartphones.

A fixed liner provides reduced friction and added comfort; just add another garment with a thickness of your own choosing if you need to layer up. Three-position adjustable waist belts lend a more tailored fit, and snap-equipped adjusting straps stay in place securely. The removable CE-approved armor protects the shoulder and elbow areas, and an articulated high-density back protector features molded-in creases between sections that provide “give” to the back protector, making it more comfortable, especially off the bike.

The neck area is cut generously to fit turtleneck garments or neck warmers, and a short, slim strap can be snapped in either of two positions or left open without undue flapping. In general, I detest snap closures in the neck area; snaps are more fiddly than Velcro closures, and punching your thumb into your throat to close a snap sucks. However, Cortech designers offset the snaps to the left side of the throat area, proper. So you still have to fiddle with the snaps, but at least your eyes don’t bug out when you’re doing it.

The Dino jacket comes in Black or Vintage Brown in sizes XS to 3XL. MSRP runs $299.99, pricing that’s more than competitive against fashion-wear leather jackets while offering genuine motorcycling features and protection. 

For more information, call (888) 922-9269 or visit cortech.net.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Aerostich Darien Jacket | Gear Review

Aerostich Darien jacket
The author models his Aerostich Darien jacket.

Being a pretty boring fellow, I’m the kind of dude that likes consistency – with constant improvements. Andy Goldfine began his Aerostich company back in 1983, with the Darien coming along in 1992, and the current 3/4-length jacket is a fine piece of engineering. The name comes from the tropical Darien Gap in Panama, which indicates a relatively lightweight jacket, and my size 48 (or 2XL), with full shoulder, elbow and standard back armor, comes in at an ounce over five pounds.

It’s a single-layer coat, meaning no inside lining, no zip-in liner. I generally ride with layers down to about 50 degrees, or a heated liner when it is seriously cold. Which doesn’t happen often where I live in California. I think we had three freeze nights last winter, easy to tell because the cats’ waterbowl on the porch gets a thin layer of ice.

The Darien is made of American-made 500-denier Cordura, using that semi-miraculous Gore-Tex fluoropolymer membrane. No, I have no idea what a fluoropolymer membrane is, just what it does. Billy Gore patented this back in 1969, and it allows the Cordura to be relatively waterproof, windproof and breathable. Breathable? It’s a one-way affair, keeping out rain, but allowing sweat to exit. I rode in a number of wintery showers and stayed dry…except once on a windy, rainy day for a dribble down my neck as I had forgotten to put on a neckerchief. But if you are in for a day-long rain, I would recommend having a serious rainsuit along, as in the past I have found that even the Cordura Gore-Tex can get a tad soggy.

Aerostich TF3 armor.
Aerostich TF3 armor.

This 500-denier material is pretty tough stuff, and should a rider unfortunately fall, can take a good deal of abrasion. Aerostich uses its own TF (Tempered Foam) armor, with impact-absorbing hard shell, not the European approved CE variety. The Darien comes standard with TF3 armor, but Aerostich also offers optional, no-cost hot-weather TF6 and the cold-weather TF2; you can read more about the various armor options in their catalog or online.

Lots of big pockets, and Aerostich has mastered the art of making two pockets out of one. The outside zippered breast pockets hold a heckuva lot, as do the unzipped reverse pockets on their undersides. Which passengers in need of hand warmth or just hanging on can also use. Over the left breast is a smaller pocket with a hook-and-loop closure and a D-ring of sorts that you can attach your keys to…delightfully old-fashioned in this age of electronic fobs. Two more large zippered pockets are down in the lower third of the jacket. Only thing missing would be a poacher’s pocket (as they used to be called) at the lower back, where a poacher could hide a rabbit. Or a rider’s warm liner. Inside is a top-closing phone pocket on the left, a side-closing map pocket on the right.

Aerostich Darien jacket

Fit is good, with cinching straps at the waist, and an elastic cord at the bottom. Each arm has two cinching straps, and the cuffs have zippers and cinching straps. Armpit and back vents are very useful when Mr. Sun shines bright. Big YKK zipper runs up the front, protected from the rain by a hook-and-loop secured flap. The folding collar has a pleasant liner, and can be used tall in the cool weather, or snapped back to half-height in the warm. Small magnets at both ends of the collar make sure nothing flaps. Nighttime visibility is good, with the use of 3M Scotchlite reflective material.

All told, the Darien is a darn good jacket, especially with summer coming on. My jacket is tan, and four other colors are available. Price is about $600, which isn’t cheap, but you get a lot of jacket for the money. 

For more information, visit aerostich.com or ride up to Duluth, Minnesota.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Bohn Cool-Air Mesh Armored Shirt and Pants | Gear Review

Bohn Body Armor Cool-Air Mesh Armored Shirt and Pants.
Bohn Body Armor Cool-Air Mesh Armored Shirt and Pants.

As our feature “Level Up!” makes clear, an important part of preparing for a motorcycle ride is wearing abrasion-resistant apparel with protective armor covering critical impact areas like elbows, shoulders, knees and back. Some motorcycle apparel has removable armor built in and some, like jeans or jackets that put more emphasis on style than protection, may not.

For more than 20 years Bohn Body Armor has been manufacturing protective under-apparel for motorcyclists. Bohn’s long-sleeved shirts, pants and shorts are made of stretchy material designed to be worn over a T-shirt and underwear or other base layer, with a snug fit so the armor stays in place. I tested the lightweight Cool-Air Mesh armored shirt and pants, which are designed for warm weather, but Bohn also makes All-Season and Performance-Thermal versions. Bohn says its armored shirts can be worn alone and its armored pants can be worn under regular jeans, but since its garments offer no abrasion resistance we strongly recommend wearing Bohn Body Armor under dedicated motorcycle apparel that won’t easily tear or wear through upon impact.

Bohn Body Armor offers several advantages over the armor that may have come with your jacket, pants or suit. Except for the back protector (a large foam pad with a stiffer section along the spine), all of the armored protectors in Bohn’s apparel are CE Level 1 certified. Also, in the shirt, the elbow protectors extend down to cover much of the forearms, and in the pants, the knee protectors cover much of the shins. And the pants come with CE-approved hip, tailbone and thigh protectors, which are rarely included in riding pants. Each protector fits in a dedicated sleeve within the garment; just make sure the edge of the protector is tucked into the small pocket near the opening of the sleeve so it will stay in place. With the protectors removed, the garments can be thrown in the washing machine to freshen them up.

The Bohn Cool-Air Mesh shirt zips up the front and is easy to put on and take off, like a light, form-fitting jacket. The pants slide on and off like a base layer, and there is a small zipper up the back of the calf to open the cuff so it more easily goes over the foot. I’ve worn the shirt and pants during commutes and daily rides, under a Joe Rocket leather jacket and Spidi riding jeans, and during two long, hot days on the Indian FTR 1200 press launch (read the review here), which included a couple hours of very active off-road riding. Once I put the Bohn gear on, I immediately forgot I was wearing it; the four-way stretch fabric allows complete freedom of movement. 

Retail pricing for Bohn’s Cool-Air Mesh shirt is $163 and pants is $173, and both are available in men’s and women’s sizes, S-XXL. All of Bohn’s garments are made in the U.S.A., and the company offers free U.S. shipping as well as a 90-day money-back guarantee.

For more information, call (888) 922-9269 or visit bohnarmor.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Motonation Fuego Riding Jeans | Gear Review

Motonation's Fuego riding jeans
Motonation’s Fuego riding jeans are an affordable alternative to wearing regular street jeans.

Kevlar-lined riding jeans are a great choice for those riders looking for something more protective than their favorite pair of Levi’s, but without the utilitarian (and bulky) look of dedicated motorcycle pants. Motonation offers two models of riding jeans, the men’s Sherpa and the women’s Fuego, both priced at an extremely affordable $99.

The Fuego jeans I tested are made of a stretchy 13.5-oz. denim with enough give to make them quite comfortable even when I’m tucked onto a sportbike, although I would’ve preferred a higher waist in the back–they gaped open and I found myself compulsively tugging my jacket down to cover my exposed back. Inside is a shin-length mesh liner with Kevlar panels at the buttocks and from just above the knee to where the liner ends at the upper shin, and a 4.5-inch strip down the outside of each thigh. I consider this minimal coverage, but the upside is that the Fuegos are cooler and more comfortable to wear than jeans with more complete Kevlar coverage.

There are pockets for optional knee and hip armor (or you can buy some from Forcefield or D3O), and the knee pockets include hook-and-loop strips to position the armor where you need it. Because of the mesh liner, there is no telltale stitching on the outside of the jeans that gives away their moto mission, and though they are slightly thicker than “street” jeans the Fuegos are comfortable enough to wear around all day (and night). Speaking of stitching, at this price point you aren’t getting seams triple-stitched with high-tensile-strength thread, which means the Fuegos might not hold together as long in a slide. Again, a potential trade-off that’s your decision to make.

As for sizing, any woman reading this knows how unpredictable women’s jeans can be, so I’ll do my best to guide you here. I typically (with an asterisk of course) wear a size 6, but in the Fuegos I’m an 8 so let’s say they run a size small. As mentioned previously, the denim is fairly stretchy which helps with fit, and sizes 6-10 are available in short, regular and long lengths (for a $99 pair of riding jeans, having three lengths to choose from is almost unheard-of). It does get complicated outside those sizes, however: size 4 comes in short and regular, 12 in regular and long, and 14 in regular only. Got that?

Bottom line is, if the Fuegos fit you and you’re OK with sacrificing a bit of abrasion protection for a cooler, more comfortable fit–and if you don’t have a lot of dough to spend–they certainly are a better choice than riding in your everyday jeans.

For more information, call (619) 401-4100 or visit motonation.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Moto-Skiveez Traveler Shirt | Gear Review

Moto-Skiveez Traveler shirt
The Traveler shirt from Moto-Skiveez is lightweight, packable and supremely comfortable.

Moto-Skiveez has made its name by creating riding shorts and tights that coddle our tushes, but its comfortable clothing line also includes two moto-oriented shirts. I slipped into the Traveler model for this review. And I do mean slip–the slinky polyester fabric lies lightly on the skin and moves with you, not against you. Stretch panels on either side enhance that freedom of movement when you’re setting up camp or doing a little post-ride yoga. The sleeves on my size small are a good length for my ape-ish arms, and sport two low-profile snap closures at the cuffs to adjust for wrist size or weather.

Snaps also close the front of the shirt, making it easier to adjust with gloved hands and emitting a satisfying rrrrriiiiipp when it’s time to shed the shirt. Two chest pockets provide handy storage, each capable of holding a passport, wallet or phone. The left one opens via a glove-friendly, self-closing magnetic catch and the more secure right pocket zips closed.

Moto-Skiveez doesn’t claim an SPF rating for the shirt, but the rip-stop weave is substantial enough that I feel safe being out in the sun in it. Flow-through vents behind the shoulders are backed with porous mesh to circulate air, and raising the collar protects your neck from the sun.

I took the Traveler on a multi-day ride along the California coast and found it to be perfect for end-of-day lounging and dinner. It was such an improvement over my usual luggage-wrinkled cotton attire that my buddies had to tolerate me singing “Sharp Dressed Man” on the way to the restaurant (though they nixed the air guitar).

The provided stuff bag is large enough to tuck the Traveler in with room to spare, and with care in packing (fold, then roll), the shirt emerges from its drawstring cocoon relatively unfazed. Hanging it up helps relieve any residual wrinkles, and it washes easily in a sink.

The Traveler lists for $60, and comes in men’s sizes S-2XL, in light gray only. If you want a shirt to slip into after a long day in the saddle–one that feels good, fits well and is easy to live with–give the Traveler a look. Who knows, you might get some looks yourself.  

For more information, call (888) 819-0185 or visit motoskiveez.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

iXS Samira Gore-Tex Jacket | Gear Review

Samira Gore-Tex women's jacket
The Samira Gore-Tex women’s jacket from iXS includes a removable teal puffy inner jacket that can be worn on its own off the bike.

Continuing to prove that it’s possible to be protected from both mishaps and the elements while still looking great, Swiss apparel manufacturer iXS’s 2019 catalog includes this attractive women’s Gore-Tex jacket, the Samira. The 3-layer waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex membrane is sewn in rather than laminated, making the Samira just a bit bulkier than a single-layer jacket might be, but the upshot is that, at $299, it’s also less expensive. It also doesn’t look like a “sensible” waterproof touring jacket with 15 pockets, which appeals to my personal taste and makes the Samira look at home on just about any type of motorcycle, from a cruiser to a sportbike.

The tailored polyamide (nylon) outer jacket includes zippered hip gussets for fit, a dual-zipper fold-over front closure that effectively seals out wind, zipper and hook-and-loop closure at the wrists and a multi-position snap at the neck. Shiny silver zippers accent the waist pockets and main closure, while inside are a cell phone pocket and a large zippered pocket. Small vents at the shoulders only flow a hint of air, with larger back vents for exhaust; because of the limited airflow the Samira is best worn as a “shoulder season” or milder weather jacket.

My favorite feature is the Samira’s quilted inner liner, which can be worn independently off the bike as a fashionable teal-colored “puffy” jacket. It has its own zippered waist, cell phone and large inner pockets and is made of a silky, durable material that won’t easily tear. Worn in combination with the outer jacket, the Samira is toasty warm and a perfect foil for those cold, damp mornings. Elemental protection: check. And mishaps? The Samira includes CE level 1-approved shoulder, elbow and back armor.

As with most iXS products we’ve tested, fit is European (read: snugly tailored), so I would advise ordering up a size if you prefer a looser fit. Sizes run from S-3XL, and you can have any color you want so long as it’s black with white accents. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit moto.ixs.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Trilobite Rally Jacket | Gear Review

Trilobite Rally jacket
The Trilobite Rally jacket is made of abrasion-resistant Trilobitex that looks like waxed cotton.

Before disappearing in the mass extinction at the end of the Paleozoic era about 252 million years ago, trilobites were one of the most enduring early animals, thriving in the seas for more than 300 million years. Much credit for their survival goes to the arthropod’s tough exoskeleton, which resembles an articulated motorcycle back protector.

This flexible protective shell (and more than likely a few beers) was the inspiration for the name Trilobitex, a strong denim-like material at the heart of the Trilobite premium aramid apparel line. It includes jackets, shirts, gloves and men’s and women’s riding jeans, all designed in the Czech Republic and imported to the U.S. by Motonation.

Trilobite’s Rally jacket jumped off the catalog page at me thanks to its traditional but stylish waxed cotton and denim look. A technical touring jacket, the Rally’s outer materials include Trilobitex in the impact and abrasion areas, which is a laminate of Dyneema denim (said to have extremely high tensile strength), a Kevlar layer for abrasion and tearing resistance and a Tri-Tex waterproof membrane.

All told Trilobitex is far stronger and more abrasion resistant than Cordura nylon but looks like denim. The rest of the jacket features waxed cotton laminated with Kevlar and a Tri-Tex membrane for good looks, durability and waterproofness, and YKK zippers are used throughout.

Trilobite Rally jacket
The Trilobite Rally jacket comes in men’s sizes S-2XL.

Backing up the Rally’s rugged shell is CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows, and there’s a pocket for an optional $79 CE Level 2 back protector. For additional warmth and water resistance, the jacket includes a zip-out Thermolite vest and zip-out Tri-Tex waterproof jacket liner that can be worn separately. With the liners out the Rally jacket is a nice weight for warm-weather riding, and large zippered vents on the chest, back and sleeves flow lots of air.

Comfort and fit are enhanced with soft-touch material on the cuffs and collar, which has a strap retainer, and adjustable waist belts and sleeve straps. Cargo capacity is immense, too, with a total of nine pockets, including a large zippered hunter’s pocket on the lower back, and interior wallet and media pockets. For conspicuity there’s a reflective Trilobite logo emblazoned across the back.

With the Tri-Tex liner zipped in the Rally jacket is thoroughly waterproof, and it takes a real gully washer to make it leak even with the liner out. I find it the perfect weight for three-season riding with mild summers, and I really like the look and fit. The Trilobite Rally jacket comes in Dark Blue/Black in men’s sizes S-2XL and goes for $319 with a one-year warranty. 

For more information, call (619) 401-4100 or visit motonation.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com