Review by Ken Freund
[This Shift SR1 Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review was originally published in the September 2006 issue of Rider magazine]
Starting with sturdy 1.2-1.4mm thick premium cowhide leather, the slim-fitting Shift SR1 leather motorcycle jacket features an articulated design in the shoulders and upper arms that allows for the forward-leaning riding position used on sportbikes. Zippered cuffs let your hands slip through, yet snug up to keep the wind out. Two-position snaps at the waist tailor the fit and a Mandarin-style collar with elastic panels furthers the tidy look.
For protection there’s adjustable and removable CE-certified armor in the shoulders and elbows. KorMax stretch Aramid material adds flexibility and abrasion resistance. A built-in back-protector pocket comes with a foam pad, and optional CE-certified armor can be installed.
Two roomy zippered inside chest pockets provide plenty of room for a wallet, keys, glasses, change and a cell phone. External zippered handwarmer-style pockets provide a place to stash your gloves or warm your digits when not riding. When the temperature drops, zip in the washable quilted vest liner for noticeably more insulation. Short and long zippers are provided in back to join the jacket to riding pants. The lumbar area is further protected by a drop tail that also keeps wind from going up your back when riding while tucked in.
A full mesh lining keeps the jacket away from your skin and improves air circulation in hot weather. Several perforated panels in the neck and shoulders, lower back and armpits, along with the stretch material that runs along the leading edge of the arms, provide a noticeable amount of airflow. However, there are no closeable vents. This brings up our main gripe with the jacket; it has a fairly limited temperature range of comfort, from about 55F to 80F. There’s no way to close off the airflow coming through the perforations and elastic in the sleeves on a chilly day, and the zip-in vest doesn’t cover your arms. Yet, on a very hot day, the lack of adjustable vents limits airflow into the jacket. In the summer we often wound up riding with it unzipped part way down which, of course, compromises protection in a crash.