When the Kushitani sales representative stopped by our humble offices I was expecting to view something that might turn a rider into Colin Edwards, Doug Polen or Kevin Schwantz, or at least in appearances anyway.
Properly fastened, no air or water should pass through an otherwise potential source of leaks.
When he brought out their new textile three-quarter length jacket, admittedly I was less than enthusiastic. You see, last year I personally purchased my first textile jacket; a Firstgear Sirocco three-quarter length jacket that spends more time hanging in the closet than being worn. My short lived and expensive experience found it to be uncomfortably stiff resulting in a bulge in the midsection and a very chaffed neck. I was extremely disappointed, as I have worn my Hein Gericke leather jacket for seven comfortable years. So when I was asked to write the product review for the Kushitani product, I figured Hypertex, Cordura, they both textile jackets so what's the difference. Well, thankfully in this case a very big one.The folks at Kushitani are well known for making high-end leather motorcycle apparel. I'm told there are many riders who won't wear anything but Kushitani and after a couple of weeks wearing this jacket, I can see why. For starters, the materials in this jacket are top rate. The jacket cinches at three strategic places, at the bottom, the waist and the wrists. There are also two additional fasteners on the sleeves themselves. I can assure you that nothing is billowing in the wind with this jacket. The collar, the weakest link of my own jacket, has a comfortable leather padding and is lined with a soft material that looks like a synthetic velvet. While I know that it will break in further with use, I found this jacket to be comfortable from the first time I wore it.
As important as is comfort, a jacket must protect you from the elements. As most of you have found, the best way to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer is through the use of layers. In fact, I recently read a good article on this subject in the January 2001 issue of Friction Zone. We haven't had the extreme low temperatures of our eastern friends, but I can say that with a long sleeve shirt and the liner in place, I have been very comfortable riding in the low 40's. Velcro and large buttons running the length of the jacket protect the YKK zipper. Properly fastened, no air or water should pass through an otherwise potential source of leaks. By cinching down the sleeves and waist no unwanted cold air has been circulating around my body, which is more than I can say for my legs. I can't speak for the higher temperatures, although with both front and rear circulation only a zipper away and an easy zip out lining, I am cautiously optimistic.
Since it wasn't raining outside I couldn't get a real world test of Reissa membrane. This is the stuff that makes it wind and waterproof on the outside and also allows moisture to pass through from the inside and away from your skin. So, I decided to do what I could. In this case, I stood in the shower for five minutes. This is as scientific as I could get and the only water that got me was the water that rolled off my head and down my neck and of course below my thighs which were unprotected. I admit I felt pretty silly but this was after all in the interests of our readers, who want to know this stuff. Anyway, my family got a pretty good laugh.
You say you need pockets, well there are two interior and seven exterior pockets, including one for your cell phone and two just for a place to rest your hands. There's even a large one in the back for whatever suits your fancy. There's CE approved urethane armor in the shoulders, forearms and elbows and a foam back protector. Nothing personal, but I chose not to try the armor out in an actual field test. I'll leave that type of testing to the lab rats. For those of you who ride a lot at night, you'll be glad to know that there is 3M Scotchlite reflective material on the front, back and sleeves. I'd like to see a little more than one pinstripe on the back, but I'm a believer that you can never be too visible.
Motorcycle Online Rating: **** 1/2