Allproof Metro GT Riding Jacket

"It Never Rains in California..."

Ever watch Baywatch? Even if you despise the show's premise, find your intelligence insulted at the wooden, third-rate dialogue concerning problems that real people will never have, and think the whole concept vulgar, exploitative, and otherwise just patently ridiculous, you still watch it. A billion folks worldwide watch it, and they have a hardcore, important reason to do so: Half-naked, large-breasted women smiling beneath the gentle, California sun. If you're a woman, ditto for the half-naked men.
What does this have to do with a jacket? Well, to be half-naked and smiling (and sane) you should have sun, and lately California has been somewhat disappointing. El Niño has had the unfortunate effect of not only decreasing the number of smiling naked people, but also making it tough on the state's motorcyclists. We've been forced to either haul out the rainsuits (and I didn't own one) or park our beloved mounts in the cold, lonely garage where rats and bugs live.

Faced with the inevitable, I fought despair until Peter Gonis of Allproof called requesting a review of his Metro GT riding jacket. It was too good to be true: Something wasn't right. Still, I was a beggar and I couldn't be a chooser ...

Here's the twist: The Allproof Metro GT rules, rocking hard and with an unforgiving beat. Made in Australia, Allproof has successfully combined a fashionable design with solid technical features to produce a garment that delivers on every performance claim it makes.

The jacket is constructed primarily of Dermizax, a waterproof fabric. Dermizax employs an ultra-thin non-porous membrane to wick away perspiration and channel it into a base fabric, where it can evaporate quickly. The openings in the fabric are large enough to allow the dispersal of perspiration, but too small to allow the entry of raindrops. In addition, the base fabric is water-repellent. All of these elements result in impressive performance, even in El Niño's worst. Water beaded up and blew away in the wind, consistently leaving me dry and toasty.

Given how breathable and soft the fabric was, I had no comfort complaints. The jacket is also covered generously in Cordura, adding that fabric's abrasion-resistance, water-resistance and color.

There is an interior zip-out liner designed to double as a light jacket on its own. It is constructed of another 'technical' fabric called Thermore T37, the pores of which are claimed to vary in size according to the wearer's body heat, keeping the wearer at a consistent, comfortable temperature. It seems to work, for the most part. In the coldest weather, where I was sure I would need a fleece vest, I was surprisingly comfortable. In the sun it could become too warm, but the liner zipped out very easily.

Closed-cell EVA foam is used in the arms and shoulders for impact protection. A caveat: Being simple flat foam inserts, it wasn't quite as well tailored as I've seen in the padding of other jackets. A minor, but solid, niggle. I also worried a bit about how it would hold up over time, loosely held by the inner mesh liner. On the bright side, it wasn't uncomfortable.

There are a host of additional features. The jacket has six pockets: Two large pockets up front, two smaller pockets at the chest, an interior wallet pocket and a huge cargo pouch on the back, the pouch zipper located underneath a large strip of reflective 3M Scotchlite. All but the chest pockets close with zippers as well as snap-down flaps. The chest pockets just have snaps. The jacket's main zipper is protected from the elements by a double storm flap and a very high collar that closes with Velcro. The cuffs also close with Velcro. The whole jacket is lined with a comfortable, breathable mesh. Finally, the whole garment is belted at the waist for a nice fit.

Price for entry: About $350.00 USD, much cheaper than Allproof's competition. It is true that the Metro GT lacks some of the features found in $450 riding jackets, but the quality is very high, and if it came down to buying the Metro GT or some other jacket that offered a sleeve map window and a couple more pockets for $100 more, then I'd take the Allproof and buy a tank bag with the remaining cash. A very solid four stars.

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