Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tourmaster Sonora Mesh Jacket

Two Wheel Reviews

On our ride to Roman Nose State Park (episode 5) I was wearing a bright yellow/green copy of Tourmaster's Sonora Air Mesh jacket. They call it High Visibility Yellow- and boy howdy, is it high visibility!

You will definitely stand out in a crowd. But the color isn't the only unique feature of the Sonora.

Tourmaster bills this as a 3/4 length touring jacket. It is their latest effort in the never-ending quest to make the ultimate all season, be-all, end-all riding jacket. But unlike the Flex Series 2 (see our review October 16, 2009) the Sonora can deliver on the promise of a true 3 season jacket. The outer shell is mesh for airflow in warm weather, and you get two liners for use in the rain or colder temperatures.

TOURMASTER SONORA AIR JACKETNote for those of you not interested in lighting up small rooms with your riding gear: this jacket comes in several colors. Okay, let's dig in...

The Sonora's Two-Stage Liner System consists of a rain liner, which is a simple nylon affair, and a quilted thermal liner. This jacket can be worn with either or both of these liners installed, or neither in the case of warm weather. The mesh outer shell lets air through very well to all areas. Protection is top notch, with hard shell CE armor in the shoulders and elbows. Out back you get a triple-density foam back pad plus a zipper to attach to the waistband of pants. The added length is great for keeping cold wind from blowing up your southern end, but not so long to interfere with the business at hand.

This is a comfortable jacket with easy to find adjustments for the sleeves and waist. And it has pockets for days. The two outer pockets are a nice touch, but the one I tend to use the most is just inside the main zipper. But all three are usable with or without the liner installed. The collar and sleeves are lined with microfiber which is a nice touch.

There are a few weak points worth mentioning. First would be a lack of adequate Velcro at the sleeve closures. In my short experience with the jacket it was easy to see these aren't going to last very long. The collar, while quite comfortable, was loose fitting. It's also not very substantial and keeps this jacket from being a serious contender for colder weather. I also found the zipper a little frustrating because it kept snagging on the flap of rain barrier. But that may have been a simple case of operator error!

Overall this is a versatile piece of gear that should satisfy most riders for the majority of their rides. The ventilation is good, fit is excellent and it's well built (except for the Velcro on the sleeves). Sportbike riders will appreciate the 3/4 length. In my opinion it's not suitable for hard-core Winter riding. But then again, neither am I!

Two Wheel Oklahoma

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It's a Travel Show

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.

We hope you'll come ride along.

Brad and Rex: co-hosts of Two Wheel Oklahoma