2003 Kawy Jacket Review

Well fellow MOrons, the MO staff has given me, Longride, the opportunity to test a new jacket from Kawasaki. It's called the Formula Jacket, for those interested in checking one out. After reading the press release, and before getting the goods, I found out the jacket comes in 5 colors, which match the 2003 lineup of bikes. I decided on the gray one, after looking at my 2000 ZX9R and thought it would match best with the "Mica Purple". Webmistress Ashley gave me a bit of crap about my bland color choice and lack of style, and she was right, but I never said I had any style to start with. I made mine a XXL as they run a bit small. At my size, 6'4" and 250, I usually wear a XL for most jacket sizes, but I "Super Sized" this one.
The NewsMan unmasked! Longride, in the flesh.
Anyway, the delivery box shows, and when I pick it up I swore they only had the packing list in there. This jacket is light. I mean California summer light. I'm talking above 60 degree light. I was thinking to myself that this jacket will be useful for 20 days year in Chicago, by the way it feels. I don't live in Cali, and it sure isn't 70 here. By the way, the jacket has a zip-out quilted lining and removable armor in the shoulders, elbows and back as part of the features. It's just the lack of heft that gives me the impression of a "one season" jacket. It seems to fit very well, and it's comfortable to wear, but if it's not up to the weather here it will be fitting on a hanger instead of me.

Armored, even. Nice.

It was snowing lately here, but the weather is breaking and the time comes to run this "Formula Jacket" back where it came from, I say. It's 45 here and really humid, with the kind of bone-chilling air that makes Chicago famous, and those with wimpy jackets cringe. I have a 25-mile commute with lots of highway, and I'm not going to wear much insulation to help out. The jacket has to go it alone today, and it may not be pretty.

The three things I notice after the commute are, the sleeves are long enough for my semi-ape arms without riding up and exposing them to the weather, the lack of weight makes it very comfortable to wear, and incredibly, I'm NOT cold. I don't know how a jacket this light can stay this warm, but it did. I was shocked at how well it worked. I have since ridden many miles with this jacket, with temps ranging from 40 to 80 degrees, rain and shine, and the jacket just keeps getting better. The quality fit, construction, and weather protection is noticeable with each ride, and little extras like Velcro closures for the sleeves, zippered hand warmer pockets, and Patented "Pop-Up" shoulder and side venting, and reflective stripes really stand out. I do have a few nits to pick though.

Yes, just as you thought Longride was getting soft and mushy, I did find a couple flaws that I must mention. First, the hand warmer pockets are nice, but I felt I needed an extra hinge in my forearm to get my hand into them. Slightly lower placing would help, and I do know I have long arms, but they were higher than I would have liked. Next problem is the collar. It's not a snap down or Velcro, and has an opening in the middle. It's not uncomfortable or annoying, but this jacket can be ridden in the cold, and a larger collar with a fastening device would make this jacket almost perfect. The collar isn't terrible, but just not up to the standard of the rest of the jacket.

So, to sum it up, the Formula Jacket from Kawasaki is a nice piece of work. It's got the features, styling, and functionality that can be used for more than a short trip on a nice day. It retails for $169.95, and that's a bargain in my book. They can be purchased at your local Kawasaki dealer or check out the Kawasaki website. Until next time...



Get Motorcycle.com in your Inbox