BMG Discovery Motorcycle Jacket Review

photography by Rich Cox
[This BMG Discovery Motorcycle Jacket Review was originally published in the February 2010 issue of Rider magazine]

If you’ve seen Long Way Round, then you’ve seen this jacket. It was worn by Claudio von Planta, Ewan and Charley’s intrepid Swiss cameraman, who learned to ride a motorcycle just before embarking on the 19,000-mile around-the-world trek. Von Planta’s BMG (British Motorcycle Gear) Discovery jacket endured every climatic condition imaginable, plus a few crashes and the dreaded Siberian Road of Bones for good measure. That makes my evaluation seem positively wimpy by comparison, but hey, their budget was much bigger than ours.

Rather than endless, mosquito-infested bogs and wild, swollen rivers, I opted for well-paved roads in Canada and California. The rain I encountered amounted to little more than a sneeze, but what mighty wind! Negotiating elegant curves through Quebec, in the southern Sierras and along the Pacific Coast Highway with temperatures dipping into the low 50s, the three-quarter-length Discovery enveloped me in a warm, cozy cocoon. All I had on underneath was a T-shirt; add long johns, a sweater or heated gear and a fairing and you’ll be able to ride comfortably in much lower temperatures. The fleece-lined, detachable neck warmer (not shown) blocked wind between my helmet and the jacket, while the removable Thermolite quilted inner liner kept my core temperature up. No chattering teeth, no chicken skin. (The Thermolite liner has two handwarmer pockets and one secure zippered pocket, and can be worn separately off the bike. But the silver colored, puffy liner is kind of flashy and would look better on P. Diddy than it does on me.)

The backside of the BMG Discovery motorcycle jacket
The backside of the BMG Discovery motorcycle jacket

The Discovery’s Cordura outer shell has Duratec fabric reinforcement patches at the shoulders and elbows, and reflective 3M piping on all sides. A fully taped “microskin” liner between outer and lining fabric keeps moisture out, and the internal lining has an elasticized water-resistant rain skirt that covers the top of the rider’s pants (a zipper is provided to connect the jacket to pants, such as BMG’s $229 Pioneer riding pants; not tested). Two small back vents and two longer ones under each arm provide some ventilation, but this jacket is best suited for riding in the fall, winter and spring than in summertime. Knox armor in the shoulders, elbows and back armor exceeds CE standards and provides peace of mind. Dialing in the fit is easy with upper and lower sleeve adjustments, a waist belt, gusseted sleeve cuff zippers and an elastic draw cord around the lower hem. There are a total of eight pockets, including two very handy front cargo pockets and a fully detachable, zip-off back pocket that is large enough to hold your border-crossing documents and bribe money.

There really aren’t any down sides to this jacket. It has been comfortable, practical and perfect for the cooler weather I’ve been riding in. The only problem I had was tearing off one of the nylon button tabs that attaches one of the quilted liner’s sleeves to the inside cuff of the shell. But that was because I forgot to undo that one button (two on each sleeve) and yanked too hard. Cuffs that zip together would be more durable than the tabs, especially if you’re riding out in the bush and pushing your gear to the limit. Me? I was in a comfortable hotel room and wasn’t paying attention. If you can fit into a jacket ranging from XS-4XL and don’t mind black, your $379 will be money well spent.

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