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2003 Cortech Jacket
Cortec GX Jacket
Groovy, I thought, when the new Tourmaster GX Cortec jacket showed up in the schwag pile in MO's sumptuous fleet garage. Not a moment too soon either, as my old Cortec 3/4 length jacket purchased way back in 1998 was getting seriously grungy and frayed. I wanted to see how Tourmaster, arguably one of the first moto-gear companies to offer a lightweight, affordable fabric riding jacket alternative (I'm not counting pricey Aerostitch stuff here) to the heretofore leather-clad motorcycling world, had evolved the Cortec since its first iteration.
I really love my old Cortec for its roomy pockets and versatility; plus, you can ride in every season, from broiling hot SoCal summers to chilly, damp winter evenings, simply by inserting or removing the liner and opening or closing a few vent zippers. It's lightweight and easy to carry when you arrive at your destination, unlike some full riding suits out there. I've even crash-tested it, albeit at low speed when I highsided my TL1000. The jacket's armor inserts kept me roadrash-free in that minor mishap (though I doubt it'd help very much in a crash at highway speeds).Well, that comparison will have to wait until Ebass schmoozes a 3/4 length model from Tourmaster (right Ebass? Soon eh?), because the GX is definitely a different animal. Instead of the loose-fitting Cortec of yore, the GX is more of a pure-sports jacket for throttle-jockey types. The cut is short, like most leather sport riding jackets, and there is a zip-out liner though I haven't tried it due to the high temps this summer. Sleeves are pre-curved to fit the sportbike crouch without bunching up, like more expensive leather jackets. Constructed of 800 and 1680 Denier nylon (Denier numbers indicate abrasion resistance), the fabric is definitely heavier than my old jacket, which is a good thing. Armor pads are still found in the elbow and back areas, and they are still removable for washing (though this is a major pain, which explains why my personal Cortec is so crusty) with the exception of the rear pad which is now fixed in place. There are also external pads which Tourmaster claims are there to "protect the collarbone and back", but they look more like flashy fashion tack-ons to me. And there are still multiple vents controlled by quality YKK zippers, with rubber pulls, a nice touch. The two pockets on the jacket's front side, however, are pathetically small, and can only hold a pair of glasses and other small articles. Ditto the teeny internal pockets. Even worse, all pockets are accessed by vertical-opening zippers, which is a major design mistake in the moto-jacket world; forgetting to re-zip the pockets before you ride may cause their contents to be dumped all over the freeway. Don't ask me how I know this....
The GX can be snugly closed against wind via Velcro straps securing the cuffs, waist and collar areas. Tourmaster claims it's "water-resistant" though I wouldn't want to test that claim in a downpour. The jacket cuts a sporty line with its silver and black panels, and the highly reflective white Scotchlite panels are a great safety feature for night riding.
So, fellow Mofos, how much would YOU pay for this jacket? The Cortec GX lists for about $270, which isn't what I call cheap and is, strangely, $27 more expensive than the better-designed 3/4 length version. I don't get it.... However the GX is still a bargain when you realize the cost of a similar sport jacket in leather could set you back $500 or more (until you figure in the superior durability and abrasion resistance of real leather, and the price of skin grafts...).For my money, I'd get the 3/4 jacket, but if your budget (or S.O.) won't let you go leather and you don't need to carry anything bigger than a wallet, the GX is a pretty decent lightweight alternative.Don't you just hate it when after a long day of meeting people and going places, you suddenly notice that your fly has been wide open all the time? Note the swank MOvan lurking behind, ready to shuttle us highly-paid Mofos to exotic destinations in sumptuous luxury....