Friday, October 16, 2009

Tourmaster Flex 2 Jacket

Two Wheel Reviews

The Only Jacket You'll Ever Need
You may have seen Brad wearing Tourmaster's Flex 2 jacket on a few episodes. It's a unique jacket with a versatile design.

But is one jacket really all you ever need?

TOURMASTER FLEX 3 JACKETThat's what Tourmaster is shooting for with their Flex jacket series. Off the rack you see a waterproof textile jacket. But unzip a few zippers (make that several zippers) and the outer shell comes off to reveal a full mesh jacket. But wait- there's more! Yes, that's right. There' s also an insulated liner underneath all that. The liner also uses more zippers and a few buttons with loops.

If that sounds like a lot for one jacket, it is.
Brad has worn this jacket on several rides now and offered a few points to consider. First, the good things about this jacket:
  • With the jacket fully assembled, it is makes a weathertight, warm jacket with a zipper built in to the rear of the jacket to attach pants for the coldest riding that we would ever want to do. We have already had the chance to try it out in the rain and found it watertight, without a drop getting past any of the zippers or seams.

  • With the top cover and inner liner removed, revealing the mesh, it makes a perfect summer jacket for the warmer times.

  • The Flex II comes with hard, shoulder and elbow protection and soft back protection built in. It has enough pockets scattered throughout the layers that would make most similar jackets look bare in this department.

  • The quality is top notch with quality zippers, buttons and finish. It uses a mandarin style collar with soft material that touches the skin and enough adjustments on the cuffs, sleeves and bottom of the jacket to make fitting easy. And these adjustments are used on the top layer and underneath on the mesh base.

  • On the top layer, it uses two scoops, just below the shoulders that really do stay open and work and easily fill the jacket with air when using the top layer.

Now for a few downsides to this "do it all" jacket:
  • The Flex II is bulky and a fairly heavy jacket. Not much of any way around it with all three pieces put together. Of course, it lightens up as you start shedding parts when the weather warms up.

  • The removal and replacement of the liner is not an easy task. As the temperature and conditions change out on the road prepare for approximately 15 minutes. And that's laying it out on a flat surface in good light. Maybe we are just not practiced enough, but would hate to imagine trying to put it all back together in a hurry, at a gas station, out on the road, at night.

  • Another issue was noticed when the zippered scoops were opened up while the inner liner was removed. The scoops stayed open and really pulled in the air, filling the jacket with pressurized air. But once up to highway speed, the pressurized air that filled the jacket will also press the inner mesh to your body like a straight jacket. This was a strange feeling to be riding down the highway with the jacket blown up with air, but a constricting feeling. Like you were wearing a shirt that's two sizes too small.

Overall, we really like this jacket for both cold (all pieces in place), and the hot (mesh only) and look forward to wearing it through this Winter. And considering the  typical Tourmaster quality, this one looks like it will be around for a while.

So does it replace the two or three jackets that you already have for different conditions? Well... almost.

Two Wheel Oklahoma

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Two Wheel Oklahoma is a television travel show featuring the motorcycle rides of Brad Mathison and Rex Brown along the scenic highways and backroads of Oklahoma.

Each episode highlights a stretch of road or historic route and explores unique destinations along the way. Tune in three times a week on the Cox Channel.

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Brad and Rex: co-hosts of Two Wheel Oklahoma