With luggage space as limited as it is on many bikes, gear that performs more than one task isn’t just a good idea, it’s practically a requirement. Harley-Davidson’s new Road Warrior—a leather jacket with a removable hooded vest liner—is billed as a “3-in-1” jacket, and depending on how well you need it to succeed at those three things, it lives up to its name.
As a bare leather jacket, which we’ll call function one, the Road Warrior is hard to beat. It’s made of midweight leather that feels supple and comfortable right out of the box—no stiff, creaky hides to break in. There are pockets at the shoulders and elbows for optional lightweight body armor, as well as front and back vertical vents and shoulder vents. The main zipper is a two-way, and there are two-way zipper vents on the cuffs, too. For a better post-meal fit the sides have stretch panels. Inside, the Road Warrior has a fixed polyester mesh lining, along with two zippered hand-warmer pockets, two inside pockets, a waterproof cell-phone pocket, and a pocket sized for audio devices like an MP3 player.
Function two is realized by adding the removable hooded cotton vest. Here’s where things get a bit murky. The vest itself has a zippered front, but no sleeves, so even if your torso is warm, your arms are still uncovered. Full-sleeve liners are the norm for most other jackets, leather or synthetic, and in this respect the Road Warrior feels like it’s going into battle outgunned from the beginning.
Function three is wearing the vest by itself. The same problem—no sleeves—limits its usefulness in cold weather, although the hood is a welcomed feature. When the liner was in the jacket, however, the hood sometimes got caught between the collar and my neck, forcing me to reach back and dig it out. After a while I just left the vest at home in cold weather and wore a light windbreaker under the Road Warrior.
The jacket itself, however, is a pretty good piece all alone. Several times I wore it in hot weather and then in a cold, wet fog—both in the same hour, in fact—and was surprised by how comfortable I was even in such extremes. The vents worked very well, scooping up cooling air and circulating it inside the jacket, even on a bike with a windshield. The pre-curved sleeves didn’t bind, and the extra inch or so in length that made them look a wee bit too long when I was just standing around kept them from riding up when I reached for the grips.
The Road Warrior has reflective piping and graphics for safety on cloudy days orat night when the “warrior” part of its name takes on special meaning as you fight for your piece of the road with oblivious cagers. As for the 3-in-1 part, let’s just say it’s an outstanding leather jacket, and leave it at that.
The Road Warrior comes in black in regular sizes S-5XL and tall sizes L-XXXL, and has a suggested retail of $450-$490 depending on the size.
For more information visit www.h-d.com or see your local H-D dealer.