Summer is here, and whether or not you believe in global warming, it is hot. So I asked Olympia Moto Sports if I could try its new Alpha jacket. I like the look, and what I have read about it appeals to me. Olympia calls it a “three layer systems design,” with an outer jacket having panels for good airflow, a thermal layer to be worn under the jacket when I find myself riding over Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass on a July dawn, and an “Over or Under” rain liner that can either be zipped inside the jacket, or worn outside. Good thinking.
I look for four “P’s” in my motorcycle gear: protection, practicality, pockets and price. The outer shell is made of 500-denier Cordura nylon which offers good protection, and the jacket has CE-approved armor at the shoulders, elbows and back. CE means this jacket conforms to Europe’s high standards for motorcycle armor. Twelve “ballistic airflow” mesh panels allow lots of airflow, and it is almost like riding jacketless—very nice when it is very hot.
The Alpha’s design is a bit like my old U.S. Army field jacket, right down to epaulets on the shoulders. A full-length two-way zipper secures the front, topped off by a softly lined standing collar that can be left open, or closed with a hook-and-loop flap. The wrists also close down with hook-and-loop flaps. And there are lots of large pockets—six on the outside (four with snap fasteners, two with zippers), a seventh zippered one on the inside and the inevitable cell phone pocket. I do like pockets, which carry maps, camera, notebook, snacks, glove liners, visor cleaner, lip balm, etc. On both sides of the waist are easily adjusted cinch straps using the omnipresent hook-and-loop, allowing me to snug the jacket down to my size.
Two liners come with the jacket: one for warmth and one for wet. The warm one uses Thermolite for insulation and can be zipped into the outer jacket or into the rain liner. The rain shell can either be zipped into the outer jacket, or worn outside the jacket—which I appreciate very much. The last thing I want to do when the rain is coming down is to take off my jacket so I can put the waterproofing underneath. Unfortunately, the liner is a little too large to fit into a jacket pocket, but that is what tank bags are for. It has a full zip at the front, with a hook-and-loop flap to keep water from seeping in, and a soft stand-up collar. And if you are done for the day and planning to walk to a restaurant on a rainy evening, the liner is quite presentable.
I would call this a six-month jacket, but it can get cold up on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in August. For maximum warmth I wear the rain shell on the outside, and the warm shell innermost. Added safety comes from the reflective 3M Scotchlite piping on both the jacket and rain liner, an advantage when riding after dark.
The Olympia Alpha Mesh Tech Jacket is a boys-only jacket, sized S-4XL, and the 2XL fits my 6-foot, 3-inch, 230-pound shape quite well. It comes in Loden (shown) or Slate and the price is a reasonable $299.99.
For more information, visit olympiamotosports.com.