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Acerbis Matrix Touring Jacket/Pant
Having spent well over a quarter of a million miles riding motorcycles on and off road in the past decade, I have come to view motorcycle apparel the same way I view motorcycle tools. So just as I wouldn't dream of tearing down a motor with a single wrench, I wouldn't consider having just one jacket for all conditions either. In both instances, it's much better to have the perfect tool for the job. Without apologies, I'd admit to being completely spoiled in this regard. Hey, life's really short and then you're dead a whole long time. Riding motorcycles is one of the few pure pleasures in this sorry world unadulterated by the hard facts of our beleaguered existence and I refuse to have a good vibe let down by inferior goods.
Recent attempts by various manufacturers of motorcycle apparel to build "systems" adaptable to a wide range of riding styles and conditions usually result in the Gore Tex and Cordura equivalent of a pocket multi-tool, i.e., better than nothing in a pinch but not much good for anything serious. I have worn, tested and reviewed my fair share of motorcycle apparel and heretofore, in my experience, this inverse relationship between versatility and performance has held almost universally true. Fortunately, the Acerbis Matrix Touring Jacket and Pant combo represents a leap forward in the versatility vs. performance conundrum. Aside from a few nits, this combo is pretty slick. It's the equivalent of a multi-tool suitable for performing open-heart surgery.According to Acerbis' advertising, the Matrix Touring Jacket + Matrix Air pant combo is the most advanced set of touring togs on the market. After testing the Matrix system, I'm willing to second that opinion. It's extremely well built, with beefy armor (in the jacket anyway), fits well, is comfortable, abounds in useful features, and is absolutely the most versatile combo I know of. Although not quite as well suited for winter motorcycle travel in the Arctic as the Alpinstars Recon Jacket + Jet Road pant combo that we reviewed back in January, the Matrix setup is close, and it is much better suited for a wide range of conditions. This jacket would be equally at home lane splitting up the 405 in LA as it would dual sporting in cold, rainy British Columbia. Of course, since we have to get all of our priorities lined up, it is stylish to the max, so you won't be embarrassed at Starbucks.
The Matrix jacket is constructed of Cordura 500D fabric, with a nylon liner and mesh drains at the bottom. There are two removable liners. The moisture barrier liner is an Everdry waterproof/breathable membrane that zips out. The insulating liner also zips out and is built with an aluminum-backed fabric that is warmer than a bear hug from a menopausal aunt.The jacket is double-stitched everywhere that matters and all zippers and fasteners are beefy, work well with gloves and function smoothly (an that's a good thing, since there are a zillion zippers on this suit). The CE certified armor found in the shoulders, elbows and back of the jacket is removable. There are adjustable front and rear openings for internal ventilation, a waterproof inside pocket, and four outside pockets with rainproof flaps. The sleeves are precurved with zipper, Velcro and snap adjustments to the cuffs and a web system to adjust sleeve volume. Torso fit is adjustable via a Velcro waist belt. The front flap of the jacket closes with a zipper, buttons and a Velcro strip and is about as wind tight as they come. The Matrix is very light and moves well with the rider's torso.
The Matrix is truly an all-season touring jacket. It may be worn in the winter, with the inner membrane and liner making it extremely warm and water resistant as breathable jackets come (I've said it before and it bears mentioning again, there is no such thing as a completely waterproof and breathable jacket). In climates like Idaho's, where cold-but-dry conditions are common much of the year, the Matrix could be worn with only the insulating liner for comfort, with almost no extra weight or bulk. In the summer, with the liners removed, the Matrix outer shell makes a dynamite lightweight jacket, which is nearly as comfortable as my Joe Rocket Phoenix in hot weather duty.
The Matrix Air pant is similarly constructed with Cordura 500D fabric, a non-removable Everdry breathable membrane and a conventional removable insulating liner.