Roy and I were connected by a mutual friend, Larry of hotboots.com. I struck up a dialogue about…
… riding gear after Roy noticed that I had the first version of the Rev’IT Tornado Jacket that saved my hide in a crash on 31 May, 2016. I have become a big fan of armored ballistic nylon jackets. They are much more protective than leather and are lighter and better ventilated.
I mentioned to Roy that I was going on a motorcycle trip in the desert Southwest (USA) in September, and was looking for a jacket that could work for a broad range of temperatures, as well as provide protection from rain if I get caught in a storm.
Roy described that Rev’IT is always working on reviewing, testing, and upgrading their products. He informed me that the Tornado Jacket was now in its third version with many features and upgrades compared with the first version which I really like. So if the jacket had been improved, I wanted to try it out.
Roy also recommended matching riding pants as well. All together, the pants, suspenders, armor, and jacket would make an ultimate riding suit.
I ordered the entire outfit.
When I received my new Rev’IT gear, I tried on the pants first. I found, unfortunately, even by removing the rain liner in the pants, they were too restrictive to movement for me. I am now in my mid-60s, and my hips do not flex as much as they once did. No matter how hard I tried, I could not swing my leg over the saddle of my 2021 Harley Softail Slim. The pants also were one size too small, so that may have contributed to my problem.
After removing the supplied inner liner, I tried on the jacket with the pants — but man oh man was it a mistake to wear armored gear on a day when the temperature was in the 90s (> 32C) and dew points were high! It was very humid. My body began to overheat. I quickly became fatigued and felt miserable.
Even though this gear is classified as “summer weight,” you only get the benefit of its cooling effect through its ventilation by riding at road speeds. When the dew point exceeds 60F (15.5C) — extremely humid — no matter the air flow, the body does not feel evaporative cooling.
I decided that since the pants did not fit to return them for credit and not replace them with a larger size. I did not feel comfortable wearing those pants, especially if I could not swing my leg over the saddle of my Harley. (Plus, here in the U.S., the only guys who wear riding pants are racers, not casual cruisers like me. Honestly — no one I know wears riding pants.)
I waited until the air temperature and humidity decreased to give the new jacket its first real test. This past week, we have had unusually delightful weather here in Maryland with comfortable Spring-like temperatures and dew points in the 40s (4.5C).
With the inner liner (that can double as a waterproof jacket) removed, I installed recommended (additional cost) back armor, and put on the jacket. Man, is it comfortable! It adjusts in many ways to improve the comfort and increase (or decrease) ventilation.
I rode about 150 miles today. Air temperatures were in the low 80s (27C) and dew points were moderately low, so while it was somewhat humid, it was tolerable.
The ventilation of this jacket worked as designed. It felt great all day, even in brilliantly bright solstice sun on a cloudless day.
When slowed to a crawl in traffic congestion due to road construction, I noticed that I was sweating. My t-shirt was getting wet. When I got past the construction zone and speed resumed to the posted speed limit, I could feel cooling on my skin as my sweat evaporated. When I got home, my shirt was completely dry and the inside of the jacket was as well.
I am convinced — this is a GREAT JACKET for three-season wear. I will ride with it most of the time here at home.
I will see how this jacket may work out for my “Crazy-Awesome Adventure II” trip planned for this Autumn in the U.S. Southwest. I am still debating about how to bring it with me, since the jacket is boxy and does not fold or roll. I have limited storage on the bike I will rent as well as in my luggage I am bringing with me on this trip. I may go with several thinner, non-armored, layers of riding gear that pack, fold, and roll for on-board storage on a motorcycle.
Life is short: be open to learning about new gear and giving it a go!