OK, so your kid wants to ride with you as a passenger. Do you embrace his or her enthusiasm…or discourage it because of the risks involved? The first time I took my son for a ride on the back of my bike he was 12 years old. I outfitted him head to toe in my riding gear and chose streets that weren’t heavily traveled, all the while never going more than 25 mph.
My size XS helmet fit his already big head just right, but the rest of the gear was oversized. Even my women’s size medium jacket was so big that the shoulder pads scooted down over his biceps and the elbow pads rode on his forearms. When I started searching around for a youth-sized motorcycle jacket, I found quite a few for dirt riding and motocross, but was surprised by the lack of street-oriented youth jackets. Then I came across Tour Master’s Jett Series 2 Youth Jacket, a downsized version of the company’s adult one. I have several Tour Master jackets in my closet, and their quality gave me confidence to outfit my kid in the Jett.
The first time he put on the 600-denier textile Jett Youth, it fit so well that I wanted to plan a motorcycle tour with him! The soft collar cinched comfortably around his scrawny neck and the pliable, removable, CE-approved armor at the shoulders and elbows actually covered what they were intended to cover. There’s a triple-density back protector, too, and a quilted, long-sleeved zip-out liner included. With the liner in and all the vents zipped up, James stays quite toasty on cool days.
When things heat up, remove the liner and open the vents at the shoulders, arms and back, and good airflow runs through the jacket. There are 23⁄8-inch pull tabs attached to the zippers on these vents to make them easier for impatient kids (and parents) to open and close. The arms have both three-way snapped and hook-and-loop adjustments for a more customized fit, and there are hook-and-loop closures at the wrists. Elasticized waist side panels with hook-and-loop allow for some adjustment as well, and padded textile at the lower back dips down to keep wind from blowing up your child’s back when astride a bike.
Two good-sized zippered handwarmer pockets easily hold “a lot of candy,” as James says, and there’s another 51⁄4- x 6- inch inside pocket, and two pockets (one for a cell phone) on the liner. There is no zipper attachment for pants or zippered chest map pocket like there are on the adult Jett. Tour Master uses a waterproof and breathable barrier in the material but we haven’t tested it in the rain. There’s reflective piping on the front and back and shoulders.
Tour Master has stopped making the Jett Youth (both Series 2 and 3), but it’s still readily available online for less than $100, in sizes Youth S-L in silver and black. Alas, James is now outgrowing his size large and thinks he’s ready for an “adult” one, and wanted to pass his jacket along to a friend. The Jett Youth is a bargain but there’s no way I’m giving
it up…it’s his first motorcycle jacket, after all, so it stays with me. James talks about riding his own bike one day and assumes that when he turns 16 and gets his license, I’m just going to hand him the key to my Kawi ZX-12. Yeah, right.
For more information: The Tour Master Jett Series 2 (and 3) Youth Jacket is available from online dealers