On an almost daily basis, I shake my head in disbelief as motorcyclists ZIP BY wearing say, nothing more than a back protector over a T-shirt and jeans. Clearly, one’s instinct of self-preservation can get stuck in the “off” position. Like most of you, I like my skin intact. And when it comes to gear selection, riders tend to be an opinionated bunch. Debates over DOT vs. Snell helmet certification or textile vs. leather jacket materials can get more heated than Rossi’s brake pads.
With its Flex Series 2, Tour Master has endeavored to create a jacket that covers the bases. The two-jackets-in-one design provides protection, comfort and versatility for variable conditions. The outer jacket is made of water-resistant 600-denier Carbolex and includes waterproof, zippered shoulder vents. More durable 1680-denier ballistic polyester is used in impact areas for better abrasion resistance. This higher-zoot stuff is on the shoulders, waist and lower back, but not on the elbows and forearms where I would expect it to be.
The outer jacket also features adjustable waist straps (for before and after trips to the buffet) and handwarmer pockets (for massaging that full belly). Adjustable take-up straps on the sleeves help secure elbow armor and reduce flapping in the wind. Nighttime visibility is aided by reflective piping and a reflective Tour Master logo.
When the mercury rises, you have options. First, you can remove the ZOQ liner, a catchy Tour Master acronym for Zip-Out Quilted, clear evidence that the crack marketing team at TM is not resting on its laurels. Just unzip and unsnap the cozy liner and you’re on your way. If your skin is still leaking, take it a step further and remove the outer jacket by undoing zippers at the front, neck and cuffs.
The inner-most layer is an Armor-Link 3 mesh jacket, the heart and soul of the Flex Series 2 system. Lined with athletic mesh and soft microfiber at the collar and cuffs, it feels cozy. The outer mesh has 1680-denier ballistic polyester panels at the elbows (Aha! That’s why there are none on the outer jacket elbows), shoulders and waist, plus thin foam panels at the lower back. Between the inner and outer mesh is removable, CE-approved armor at the elbows and shoulders and a foam back protector. There are two zippered handwarmer pockets, an internal pouch pocket and a mobile media pocket (for carrying really small journalists!). It also includes adjustable waist and cuff straps, and a jacket/ pant zipper attachment with the pant side included.
For my first month on the job with Rider, I wore the Flex jacket every day. It served me well on my 140-mile roundtrip commute. On cold mornings, the insulated liner and outer shell kept me warm. On warm afternoons I shed the liner, and on really warm afternoons I stripped down to the mesh jacket only. I enjoyed the convenience of the different layers, though disassembly and reassembly does take time. My only exposure to rain was a light sprinkle during a weekend jaunt up to Oakland. Mercifully, I didn’t have to evaluate the jacket’s crash protection. The only real complaint I had was the chafing of the zipper against my neck when the jacket buffeted at higher speeds; a full wrap-around collar would prevent this.
The Flex Series 2 Jacket is available in black, red and silver (sorry, no red in the women’s), men’s sizes XS-4XL (largest size black only) and women’s sizes XS-XL for $199.99. That’s a real bargain for a solid performer, even more so when you consider the versatility the Flex 2 provides.
For more information: See your dealer or visit www.tourmaster.com