We motorcyclists purposely prostrate ourselves before the weather gods, because riding’s all about open-air fun. But one road-wise veteran told me long ago, “Any fool can be uncomfortable.” So versatility plays a key role in the makeup of a good riding jacket.
We’ve all bundled up on frosty mornings cold enough to see your breath, only to strip off layers later to deal with midday heat. Multiply that over consecutive days while you’re on a trip, and your gear’s ability to flex with changing conditions—darkness, wet weather and more—spells the difference between being comfortable and happy, or hot and bothered, literally and figuratively.
Tour Master’s Transition Series 4 jacket delivers a mother lode of riding-oriented features that make it a good choice. And at an MSRP of $269.99, it’s a great value to boot. It starts with a durable Carbolex 600-denier outer shell cut for the riding posture that incorporates tougher 1680-denier Ballistic in the elbows for added abrasion resistance, plus a built-in waterproof, breathable Rainguard barrier. I had the opportunity to road test it during a few rain showers, and it performed well. A zippered, removable thermal liner lets you layer up or down, albeit with a bit of fussing around with the small-pitch zipper. CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor, plus an articulated triple-density back protector, give impact protection—these I didn’t test, thankfully.
Six front vents and two in back allow for strong airflow in warm weather, and they’re sealed with waterproof zippers for wet-weather closure. Tour Master incorporates “pinch vents” at the shoulder that lock open, in a manner of speaking, thanks to hook-and-loop strips that allow the top flap to fold over and stay fastened in the open position. They work, but when you want to seal things up, they’re very fiddly to work one-handed while underway.
A nice windflap with hook-and-loop patches helps seal the main front zipper, and the top left side features a short, 3-inch tab to help seal the neck area. It’s fine in the closed position, but if you leave the main zipper open a few inches, that tab tends to flap around and poke you in the neck. I solved that irritation by affixing a 7/8-inch adhesive Velcro tab—hook side only— to get the tab folded out of the way as needed. It’s a nice, cheap, easy solution to one small flaw in the design.
A couple other niggles include a media pocket too narrow to admit oversized, new-generation cell phones, and the handy pocket on the left sleeve down by the cuff left me wanting a similar pocket on the right side—better for toll booths, you understand. But there’s plenty more to like, including a wealth of pockets, reflective elements to boost nighttime conspicuity and an Aqua-Barrier under-the-helmet hood to help eliminate rain seepage in the neck area; it stows away in the collar.
The Transition Series 4 is available in a wide variety of sizes, men’s and women’s, in three color schemes. All in all, this is a riding jacket that offers a whole bunch of very smart features at a very competitive price.
For more information, see your dealer or visit tourmaster.com.