For example, in the spring and fall I can find myself riding in morning temperatures ranging as low as 32 degrees with afternoon temperatures occasionally climbing upwards of 75 degrees. Add rain to the mix, and youíd better have the right gear or youíre in for one miserable ride.
So when it came time to shop for a versatile jacket, I found the Jaunt in the Firstgear catalog. It seemed to hit the marks on functionality, protection, adaptability and price, with an MSRP of just $219.95. And its three-quarter-length package is low-key enough to prevent comments like, ďThese arenít the Droids youíre looking for.Ē
The Jaunt comes in dark gray and silver, but I went with the pure black option. Reflective panels keep it visible at night. Iím 6í2 and 200 lbs with long arms so I followed the sizing chart on the Firstgear website and went with a Large Tall. Perfect fit.
The shoulders are wide enough and the sleeves long enough to cover my wrists even when Iím riding. Its length is perfect, too, as it covers my waist nicely but isnít so long that I end up sitting on it while riding. A more personalized fit is made possible by adjustable straps on the arms, waist, collar and sleeve cuffs.
For protection in a fall, the Jaunt comes with CE-approved armor in the shoulder and elbow areas, plus a back protector. The armor feels sturdy yet not too bulky.
The Jaunt has an outer shell made of Hypertex, a 600-denier polyester for good abrasion resistance. Itís worth noting that the 600D of the Jaunt surpasses that of the Alpinestars Messenger jacket that I was also considering, which only has a 450D rating.
The Hypertex shell is also a waterproof yet breathable material, so it effectively keeps the rain and wind out but still breathes enough so that you donít feel like youíre sitting in a sauna on humid or rainy days.
Use in cool weather requires the Jauntís warm Thermoliner with full sleeves that fasten to the outer shell nicely using button snaps on the inside so they donít ride up on you. Perfect for those 32-degree mornings doing 70 mph down the freeway.
On warm rides, zip out the liner and open two good-size vents on the shoulders. Two sizeable vents on the back of the outer shell allow air to flow right through, keeping me cool even while stuck in traffic on an 85-degree day.
With four big cargo type pockets on the front, a nice wallet pocket on this inside left of the jacket and a dedicated smart phone pocket also on the inside, there is plenty of storage area for gloves, maps, sunglasses, parking tickets, whatever.
Factoring the modest price of the Jaunt and the fact itís considered an ďentry-levelĒ jacket, Iím hard pressed to think of how it could be any better for my purposes.
For more info, check out http://www.firstgear-usa.com/ or call 866/302-5676.