Review of the TourMaster Series 2 FLEX
Textile Riding Jacket|
ATGATT, All The Gear All The Time. It's something
I know I should follow and yet often fail at. I do well (very
well) with the helmet and gloves. I'm pretty good with the
jacket. It's the protective pants and boots that "fail" me most of
the time. I admit that I too often ride in jeans and regular shoes.
That being said, a good do-everything jacket is always of interest
Here in Minnesota we have a shorter riding season
than much of the country. Even if the winter temperatures are mild,
the snowy/icy condition of the public roads can make for treacherous
riding for at least three months of the year. When we can (safely)
ride, we face a potential mix of weather from extreme heat and high
humidity to rain, wind and cold - sometimes all in one 24 hour
period! The jacket reviewed here is specifically designed to offer
flexibility (hence, the name "Flex") from heat to rain to
cold in one garment.
The TourMaster Series 2 Flex (series 3 is out
now as well) has an MSRP of $219.99. I have seen the jacket
offered with "street" prices of $109.97 to $197.99. Even at full
price, it's a good buy for the money. Hat-Trick, or three-in-one,
jackets generally start with a mesh shell that contains pockets for
elbow, shoulder and back armor - for wear during hot weather when
one wants as much air flow as possible. Then a wind/water resistant
liner is installed for wet or cooler days. Last, there will be some
kind of insulated liner for cold days. Outer mesh, thin liner for
rain, plus thicker liner for cold. Many jackets of this
configuration have become popular with riders who want protection
and don't want to purchase several jackets to match weather
conditions. The one thing that has always bothered me about the
"mesh outer" configuration is the relative lack of abrasion
resistance offered, even with the other liners in. Tourmaster has
addressed that concern by adding the wind/water layer ON TOP of the
The Flex jacket starts with mesh that has pockets
for armor and then zips a 600 Denier Carbolex layer over the top.
Carbolex is a water resistant, breathable and abrasion resistant
fabric. Having this
layer outermost provides coverage for wind and rain AND added
protection that mesh-and-an-inner-liner doesn't. The Flex jacket has
Phoslite reflective material on BOTH the mesh jacket and Carbolex
shell for enhanced visibility at night and low light conditions.
For a lot of riders, these two layers are all
they would normally use. I rode in HOT weather (90 degrees and
humid) with the armored mesh jacket. As long as I was in motion,
the jacket didn't bother me at all. In cooler (60 - 70 degrees)
adding the Carbolex shell kept me very comfortable. When things got
a touch warm, I'd
the vents and attach the two velcro strips to make a "scoop" that
directed air in and let it escape through the rear "exhaust"
openings. With all the zippers involved in the outer shell, I was
concerned about water resistance in the rain. I didn't need to
worry. TourMaster claims the zippers are waterproof when fully
closed AND they are covered by fabric flaps. I didn't have the
opportunity to ride in a true deluge, but I did stay dry in a steady
rain over a 90 minute ride.
If things get really chilly outside, there is a
full-sleeve insulated liner that can be added to the jacket. I did
get one morning commute to my office in 40 degree weather and I was
plenty warm with the insulated liner added. I'd say the jacket is
probably good for 30 degrees. There are sleeve and waist adjusters
on BOTH the mesh jacket and the Carbolex shell. This is a good thing
because these jacket run BIG. I usually wear a 48 - 50 (XXL)
jacket and that's what I reviewed here. I was swimming in the thing.
For ME to need to cinch in the waist is a rare occurrence, but even
snugged as tight as it would go, the XXL was too big for me.
There are exterior "hand" pockets and interior
pockets along with a rear zipper for TourMaster riding pants and a
good sized rear "flap" to cover you while riding. The
internal pockets include ones specifically intended for "mobile
media", by which I think TourMaster means your mobile telephone,
that have flap-over covers. It's fairly easy to get the armor pieces
our of their pouches. The back piece has folding creases to
facilitate removal and installation.
The "bad" about the TourMaster Flex Jacket? It's
heavy, six pounds ten ounces with the insulated liner. It runs big,
but you can mitigate that by getting one size smaller than you
ordinarily would. It's got a LOT of zippers. My experience has been
that over time, zippers are what will fail on a riding jacket. While
I had the TourMaster Flex, every zipper worked just fine and
appeared well made. I'm just saying that after a year of use it
could well be a different situation.
I did not have an opportunity to test the
performance of the Flex jacket in a crash. I'm sure we're all VERY
happy about that. From the materials used, the design of the jacket
and the good quality construction, I would assume it will do it's
job to protect you if called upon to do so. For the price, it looks
like an excellent choice to me.
David L. Harrington