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Friday, December 18, 2009

Jacket for those colder days.

The following review is from a friend of mine who rides a lot and has for many years.  He has plenty of experiences with motorcycles and accessories.  I highly respect his recommendation and want to share his review with you.

Now that winter is actually settling in, I am really enjoying my new FirstGear TPG Ranier jacket. Apparently, this is an outgoing model because they are on sale at both Cycle Gear ($180) and NewEnough.com ($149) – MSRP was $400!

This jacket is stout – it weighs almost 6 pounds with the liner and armor in. The outside layer is heavy nylon, with Kevlar reinforcing at the shoulders and elbows. The nylon full-sleeve liner is removable, and can actually serve as a separate windbreaker. The front closure is a stout two-way zipper (so you can unzip the bottom parially for more freedom of movement) plus a snapped storm flap with rain gutter. It keeps the wind out quite well.

There are plenty of pockets, including four waterproof ones on the front: two large ones with inner and outer compartments below, a smaller one above on one side and a cell phone pocket on the other side. The cell phone pocket includes a clever strap with which you can lift your phone out without having to dig down into the narrow pocket. There are other pockets on the arms, inside the liner, inside the outer shell and a large pouch on the back. The front left inner pocket even has a grommeted opening in the inside at the bottom so you can route your MP3 player headphone cord with the zipper fully closed.

The fit is adjustable, with zippered gussets at the waist and cuffs The cuffs also have a velcro strap for additional trimming. This makes it easy to fit the sleeves inside your glove gauntlets. There are two waist adjustment straps and a stretch cord adjuster around the bottom edge. The jacket fits my fairly narrow build very nicely, with a couple of layers of shirts and sweaters under it.

The neck is covered with a comfortable fleece lining, and has a small flap that protects your neck from the zipper. There is a velcro closure on the neck band. A very nice touch is a nylon rain hood that fits under your helmet and stores into the collar when not needed. This should do a good job of keeping water from dripping down your neck.

Knox CE-approved armor (good stuff) is included at the elbows and shoulders. There is a thin foam back pad, which can be replaced with a more substantial one (not included). There are strips of reflective material on the back, arms and front of the shoulders.

While I have not yet tested this jacket in a full monsoon, I can verify that it is truly waterproof while riding in a moderate rain, for about 45 minutes. In addition, I find that my cold-natured body stays comfortable down to freezing temperature, with the afore-mentioned extra layers under the jacket. (My fingers, on the other hand, are another issue…!) (Pun intended J )

There are large zippered vents on the front and rear of the shoulders, which should help with ventilation in warmer temperatures. Nonethless, I don’t see this as a warm-weather jacket, because it is so substantial.

If the cold days are causing you to miss some riding, I recommend this jacket as a good cure.

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