If you look at typical motorcycle gear, it usually falls into two categories. First is technical and functional, which makes you feel like you are getting ready for a moon landing. The second emerging category is urban inspired gear which unfortunately usually means you have little protection and unless looking sharp counts as functional, you get very little usability. My days of wanting to be a rolling billboard for my favorite motorcycle brand are over, so I always look for the holy grail: style, comfort and function. Normally you can only pick two. Unless you get Rev'it! Ridge jacket that is.
Recently I had a chance to spend some time in this latest offering from Rev'it!. Over 5 days of riding, I put it to the test by riding from Portland to Los Angeles the long way down. I experienced riding through fog, suffering through annoying drizzles that never end and cooking in Central California heat. To my surprise, Rev'it! Ridge excelled in pretty much all conditions I was able to throw at it.
A word about this jacket. I'm not sure why Rev'it! folks decided to create something like this, but I fell in love with it the very first time I saw it. It looked like no other motorcycle jacket I have ever seen. From first glance it just looks like a stylish jacket that anyone with style in their blood would want to wear. It's just sleek and sexy. Its simplicity is underlined by strategic use of black accents. It looks and feels extremely refined and well engineered. Looking at the specs reveals that the entire jacket is made from the highest spec Gore-Tex 3L fabric. What does it mean for you? Few really cool things. First, there is virtually zero water pickup. Even in the hardest rain the water just beads and falls off. Stop riding, shake like a goose, and you are pretty much dry. Second, the shell is breathable (do not confuse it with ventilation) So regardless of temperature you do not feel like you are wearing a trash bag (remember those good old days? I do not miss this part). Third, it comes with cool lifetime warranty from Gore.
Surprisingly but highly welcome this jacket is equipped with Rev'it! Seeflex Level 2 elbow and shoulder armor, the highest rating that's out there. Unlike some of it's competitors with similar rating, it will retain Level 2 certification in any temperature. I was pleasantly surprised with how invisible and nonrestrictive it was. I think this was the overall theme of my Ridge experience - you tend to forget you're wearing a motorcycle jacket. Normally when you tour for multiple days in something this technical, you are always reminded of what you are wearing, whether it's the weight, stiffness or bulkiness. The Ridge was as comfortable as your favorite pair of home sleepers.
Of course I expected this jacket to deliver when it came to rain and cold performance, and I wasn't disappointed. After riding in the rain for 3 hours, I was completely dry, and the jacket didn't make a puddle once I got to the hotel for the night. It doesn't come with any liners, so I had to break out my trusty Rev'it! Solar mid layer to keep me warm in bone chilling 42 degrees. I could swear 42 in Oregon ocean wind is colder than 42 in LA on a sunny day. The jacket comes equipped with removable storm collar and while I thought it was dorky at first, I quickly came to appreciate it. It attaches with a zipper and magnet closure and you can store it in handy hidden back pocket.
Once I was away from the coast and temperatures warmed up, I was able to test it's hot weather performance. I thought this was going to be this jacket's Achilles heel, but I was wrong. Ventilation comes from 2 sources - waterproof zippers around the bicep and ingenious front zipper that slides open to reveal another zipper underneath, with mesh enclosure approx 2" wide. At first, I didn't open the rear exhaust vents, and for a couple of miles my whole jacket was reminiscent of a giant balloon. This made me realize that the jacket actually flows at ton of air. Once the rear vents were open, it kept me comfortable at toasty 98 degrees bombing it across Fresno area. I really expected to suffer more in the heat, but it wasn't the case at all. Depending on your riding conditions, this could probably be a 4 season jacket. This is provided you move through the air at decent clip. For sitting in traffic mesh jacket still rules, but who the hell wants to sit in traffic?
My one gripe about the Ridge experience were outside pockets. I think because of their waterproof gutter and zippers they weren't the most convenient pockets to use. They are roomy enough, but getting in them was a bit challenging at times, especially if you are cold and can't feel your fingers. I could live with it thought, it's a small price to pay for overall package you get with this amazing jacket.
Speaking of price. My first impression was that this piece was going to be north of $1000. So when we heard that it's "only" $869 I was pleasantly surprised. With only 500 of these produced globally, they will go fast. Luckily, you don't have to worry about it. We have plenty coming to Beach Moto and you can even pre-order one now. What are you waiting for?
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