Tourmaster Transition 3 Motorcycle Jacket Review

An all-purpose, multi-season motorcycle jacket has a near-impossible list of requirements to fulfill. It needs to keep you warm when it’s cold, cool when it’s hot, dry when it rains, protect you in case of an accident, and be comfortable…after all, you could be wearing that jacket for many hours over many days. And all at a reasonable price, good-looking and with lots of pockets.

Tourmaster’s latest contribution to a motorcyclist’s wardrobe handles all that, with a very competitive price of just over $200. The Transition 3 is an efficient piece of work, featuring nothing startlingly new, but making the best of tried and proven techniques. It is a 3/4 length jacket, with adjustable belts at the waist. The outer shell is made of 600-denier Carbolex textile, with heavier 1660 denier protection at crucial contact points—contact as in sliding down the road. The denier count refers to the weight of the weave of the nylon yarn, and the higher the count, the more protection. The Carbolex material, made of an “aromatic polycarboxylic acid chain,” is a polyester/nylon textile which has been around for some years, similar to other textiles used in motorcycle clothing. Testing has shown that Carbolex has good abrasion resistance, which is what we are primarily interested in.

Removable CE-approved armor pads—or “impact protectors” as they are gracefully called these days—are at the shoulders and elbows, along with an unobtrusive back protector. The main zipper is two-way, essential on these 3/4 jackets, with a hook-and-loop cover making sure no cold air, or rain, gets in.

Having had reasonably good riding weather these past several months, I never did get into a day-long rainy ride, but for some showers I encountered in Tennessee, the RainGuard system on the surface of the jacket did keep the rain out, and allowed my perspiration to escape. The flaps on the two big outside pockets kept the contents dry, too. Speaking of pockets, there are also two map-sized ones at chest level, three inside pockets, a little key pocket on the left sleeve and a hunter’s pouch (fanny pack) at the back.

Tourmaster’s designers have really focused on the cooling aspect, with vents on the sleeves, shoulders and front of the jacket, plus a big escape vent across the back. The jacket incorporates the company’s Pipeline Ventilation and Scoop Vent Opening Systems, so that on a 90-degree day with the vents all open, the rider will get a lot of air flowing through the jacket. And all the vent zippers are of the waterproof variety.

It’s also quite warm in cold weather. A full-sleeve zip-out quilted liner should keep one snug, just how snug depends on what the rider is wearing underneath, be it a T-shirt or electric vest. Just make sure all the vents are closed, as I have often found myself taking off on a cool morning with the vents open from the afternoon before.

The collar and cuffs are lined with pleasantly soft stuff, and hook-and-loop closures keep things from flapping. In cold weather it would be advisable to have a scarf along, as the neck is still open to the elements, and here is my only complaint—the little closing tab at the neck should be an inch or more longer, making it easier to close when bundling up.

Half-a-dozen pieces of Phoslite reflective striping makes a rider stand out at night, which is extremely useful. The brighter you are, the less likely some dunderhead fails to see you.

For $209.99 this is a good buy. The Transition 3 comes in five colors and men’s sizes XS-4XL, most of which come in a Tall version as well. A women’s cut and size is also available in XS-XL.

For more information, see your dealer or visit

(This Gearlab story was published in the September 2012 issue of Rider magazine.)


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