MO Tested: Black Brand Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated Jacket Review
A new take on black leather
Wearing black leather on summer ride can very quickly turn a protective garment into a sauna when not actively riding. A long stoplight can be torture enough to make some riders swear off wearing proper riding gear. Without putting too fine a point on it, let’s just say that they’re fools.
The predictable discomfort of overheating at a stop pales in comparison to the pain of sanding off your skin in a 50-mph slide – an experience which is then followed by the ER scrub to get the gravel out. Jackets with zippered vents provide places for air to move over a rider’s body, providing evaporative cooling, but fully perforated leather is required for maximal ventilation. Still, this does little to ameliorate the suffering that cruiser riders – known for their love of black leather – must endure at a stop. Black Brand motorcycle gear has decided to minimize this problem by combining perforated leather and specially treated, heat-reflecting KoolTeK leather.
The Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket is part of Black Brand’s limited production Platinum Series. Constructed of top grain leather that has been treated with the KoolTeK process and then uniformly perforated throughout, the only parts of the jacket that aren’t perfed are the collar and the zipper pulls. Once the rider starts moving through the air, the air starts moving through the jacket. The “37.5” moisture and odor-preventing thermal liner assists in the job by drawing moisture away from the skin unlike liners in some other jackets that don’t absorb moisture.
Flexible D3O Armor provides CE-approved protection in the elbows, shoulders, and back. The D3O armor is supple, assuring the comfort of riders unaccustomed to riding with more than a layer or two of leather between them and the road. The D3O’s EN1621–1 certification means that it has passed testing and has been shown to absorb the force of impacts – which we can all agree is a good thing. The heft of the jacket speaks to the weight of the leather that also provides protection in a get off.
One of the nice touches in the jacket’s design is the removable, zippered, windproof liner which folds up compactly enough to be stored in a convenient place. This liner, although not providing the warmth of a non-perforated jacket, can make that long ride home much more pleasant on those spring and fall evenings where a hot day has ended with an unexpected temperature drop. Other premium features include the Black Brand logo embroidered on the left sleeve and embossed on the snaps. Quality YKK zippers are used throughout. Reflective trim helps make the jacket stand out in headlights – which is good idea because, you know, black leather and night.
The styling of the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket is your basic black leather with minimal adornments. The cut of the jacket is a loose American fit that flows over your body like an old pair of jeans. To those who prefer a more tailored European cut, the Fahrenheit will feel a bit loose, but those who feel constricted in form-fitting gear will feel right at home. The sleeve openings are zippered for easy donning, and the waist can be adjusted slightly via the snaps on either side. The pre-curve of the sleeves and the accordion stretch panels in the shoulder assure rider comfort when seated on a bike.
My initial use of the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket was to put it on and go stand in the sun for five minutes followed by five minutes in another perforated black leather jacket I own. Black Brand claims that the KoolTeK treated leather will be 20° cooler than traditional leather. So, naturally, I decided to test it. Although I can’t attest to the 20° cooler, the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket was noticeably cooler. That’s not saying it was cool. I was wearing black leather on a 92° day. Still, like motorcycle performance modifications, the improved comfort is a matter of percentages, and in my book, a jacket that is less oven-like in the heat of the summer and still offers the protection riders need is a big win.
My time with the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket has shown it to vent air well enough to actually be chilly on morning rides. The cut, while looser than what I normally wear, is ideally suited for the upright riding position of a cruiser, which is why I will be wearing it for the next week in Sturgis. The style of the jacket is timeless until you take a closer look and see the modern perforations. The two hand-warmer pockets are deep enough to carry a few essentials (or the liner) on a day’s ride. While the zippered chest pockets are functional, I rarely use them. Perhaps it’s because my phone is usually in the interior pocket and adding something to the exterior chest pocket gives me the appearance of a lopsided boob.
Being part of Black Brand’s premium line, the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket is available as a limited edition, sized M–2XL. For the features and the apparent durability, the $451 price seems reasonable. (If the $451 price of the Fahrenheit caused a flash of recognition, you probably paid attention in your high school English class.) Another reason to feel good about the purchase of a Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated jacket is that a portion of all Black Brand sales goes to Homes for Our Troops, a “nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans.”