Roadgear XCaliber Jacket
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Pants Review |
Owner Comments (Below)
Our flamesuits are on! I
just know we'll get a bunch of emails from Aerostich Darien owners
saying this is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Because guess what? I
like the Roadgear XCaliber jacket better than the Darien. The XCaliber has become my favorite, all-around riding
especially in the cool, crisp, Mid-Atlantic fall.
I'm well-versed in Aerostich products. I've owned a Darien for about 3 years,
and up to now it's been my #1 choice for riding.
But to be
honest, I've never really taken a fancy to it; the Darien's fabric
feels like it was made out of some canvas sailcloth from the Bounty,
and hasn't gotten any less stiff over time.
styling...well, let's face it, the styling is by Captain Bligh. Don't get me
wrong -- it's a wonderful product, and zillions of BMW owners can't
be wrong, but it just hasn't done it for me. It's just
too...functional! It also has a bit of that snob appeal
factor, and anyone who knows webBikeWorld knows that we're always on
the lookout for "trend challenging" products.
The XCaliber has some unique features that are quite persuasive.
First of all, it provides a comfort I never thought would be available in this style
jacket. My feeling is that if an article of clothing makes you
feel comfortable and looks good, you're much more likely to wear it and
get maximum utility from it over its lifetime.
The XCaliber's material has a softness and pliability that is much more
comfortable than its competitors, and it's loaded with practical details
that make it a great all-around choice. Now I'll caveat that by saying
that I haven't tried the XCaliber in the summer yet, but when the
the thermometer rises, I ditch the "parka" style jacket
anyway, and as the heat index climbs, I go from leathers to perforated leathers to ventilated
clothing in that order.
Another nice feature of the XCaliber is its Reissa textile lining.
My experience with these textiles that "breathe" has been that
Reissa seems to work better than its competitor, Gore-Tex. Wearing
the Darien means I end up having to open all its vents to lose the
moisture, and that doesn't help to keep the warmth in.
I don't know much about
the Reissa textile that's used in the XCaliber, but not only does it
provide a much softer hand to the jacket, it also doesn't seem to keep the moisture
locked in. I don't get that that "sweatsuit" feeling I get
with Gore-Tex lined clothing.
Schoeller "Reflex" fabric consists of their
Keprotec with Kevlar, now woven with 3M Scotchlite for
The XCaliber is more visible than most of its competitors.
It's now available in a vibrant yellow that I believe shows up
better than other "Hi Viz" yellow jackets that tend to
wash out in bright sunlight. It also has
tons of reflective panels.
There are 3M Scotchlite bars
across the front and back of the jacket, and the shoulder area
includes something new by Schoeller, the Swiss Kevlar folks;
it's their "Reflex" textile product, which is Keprotec
with Kevlar and 3M Scotchlite fabric woven throughout. I
was amazed when I first realized the jacket lights
up with an outside source of light, in this case, the flashbulb
from the camera!
The photos above illustrate the reflectivity of Schoeller's Reflex
fabric. The only
difference between these photos and the rest of the photos on this
page was that the camera's flash was engaged on fill flash for
these two photos. It's amazing
how much of this jacket reflects direct light. The
shoulders and upper body have the most reflectivity, which is
good, because these are the highest areas on the jacket and offer the most visibility to other vehicles.
There's one other small difference in design that ends up
meaning a lot to me. I noticed it right away with
the XCaliber -- the collar has a nice, soft, "ultrasuede"
type lining that
doesn't chafe. As you can see from these photos, I have a
habit of not shaving on the weekends. The Darien has
always been a constant annoyance to me because its collar grabs and pinches my stubble, and it hurts! One of my ironclad
rules is that one shouldn't have to shave on weekends or before
one goes for a
know that styling is a very personal thing. But I really
like the styling of the XCaliber. Every time I've worn this jacket, someone
has mentioned how
nice it looks. That's never happened with the
The XCaliber has that kind of Euro/long distance/Paris-Dakar
look to it. It also has a nice fit with a bit of a taper
in the body, and can be easily adjusted with the elastic belts that
come around the front.
Another nice feature of the XCaliber are the sleeve
straps. These allow you to cinch down the sleeves, which
helps prevent the sleeves from billowing and slapping around in
This was a real problem when wearing my Darien
-- the sleeves would flap violently as I was
riding, forcing my arms to feed inputs into the handlebar. I
found that this caused fatigue; at the end of the ride, I'd be
complaining that it felt like I went 10 rounds with Tyson.
I do wish the cinch straps were about an inch or two longer
though -- I found that they were kind of tight on really cold
days when I had on a sweater and heavy shirt underneath.
of the XCaliber is shaped to accommodate both sport-touring and
straight-up postures. You can adjust the action of the
back of the jacket by using the two snaps to gather up material.
It also has "action back" shoulders with a short
section of extra material that's bunched up in a sort of "accordion"
style. This material makes it much easier to ride in a
forward lean without having the sleeves ride up your arms.
The XCaliber also has a couple of cool "secret"
You can see the flap (blue arrow, photo left) that covers a
zippered rear cargo area that measures about 8" wide by
7" deep, which is very handy for holding an extra pair of
gloves, helmet liner or even a water bottle or two.
There's another secret pocket in the front, on the inside left
chest area, that's big enough for a fat wallet (I wouldn't know,
of course!) or personals. It measures about 6" by 6".
The liner also has a built-in slit for access to this pocket.
And there's one more secret pocket just inside the central flap with
its own short zipper; this one can be used to store a map, and it
measures about 5" wide and goes about 7" deep on the
XCaliber offers plenty of protection in case of a get-off. The jacket is made from
the ubiquitous DuPont Cordura Plus, with
panels of Schoeller Keprotec with Kevlar that cover a long and wide section of the
elbow area and the shoulders (see Photo A, left).
Protection is enhanced by CE-approved removable armor in the elbow
and shoulder areas, and the XCaliber also comes with a
removable, contoured spine guard that is very comfortable and
doesn't get in the way of riding, whether you're leaned over or
The jacket comes with an
"official" CE approval tag, and this is the first time
I've ever actually encountered a garment with the official CE stamp
XCaliber has 4 bellowed pockets on the front (Photos B and C,
left); two up top and two down below. The two
pockets on top use a two-button closure.
There's an extra
flap of material that folds under the outer flap that helps keep
the pockets' contents from getting wet. Each top pocket
measures about 6" wide and about 7.5" deep. The
top left front pocket is actually two pockets; there's a
smaller, narrower (about 3.5" wide by 7" deep) pocket
attached to the front of the main pocket that's ideal for
holding a cell phone. Just make sure you pull over before
The lower bellows pockets are about 7" wide by 7.5"
deep. They are secured by both full-width Velcro (yep, the
real thing, not imitation "hook and loop"!) and a button.
By the way, all of the buttons on
the XCaliber have a neat "soft" feel to them -- it
must be some type of rubberized coating. This is a nice
feature that will help protect your bike from scratches.
There are 4 vertical vents on the XCaliber. Two live in
the front, outboard of each top pocket. The other two are
directly opposite, on the back of the jacket. They are
positioned in such a way that water intrusion should be
minimized, but I haven't yet tried the jacket in the pouring
rain, so I can't tell how waterproof they'll be.
The main zipper in the front of the jacket is protected by not
one, but two
wide Cordura flaps, and is secured with both full-width Velcro tape and two rubberized buttons.
Again, I haven't tried the XCaliber in the rain, but I'd find it
hard to believe that any water can get past these two formidable
The XCaliber comes with a full DuPont
Thermolite quilted liner. The liner has knitted cuffs with
elastic, which prevent cold air from finding its way up the
sleeve. This is yet another neat feature.
The jacket also has adjustable sleeve wrist openings. There are zippers
running up about 7.5" from the bottom of each sleeve, and a
wrist flap, again with Velcro to adjust the sleeve diameter. The sleeves fit me
very comfortably and I can cinch them down small enough to fit
into the tightest glove gauntlet in my arsenal.
sleeves are anchored at the bottom by two D-rings for each sleeve, with
a short strap that slips through the D-rings and uses metal snaps to
close. The liner zips into the jacket with a full zipper that goes
up each side and around the neck. The liner also adds to the
comfort of the jacket without overly increasing its bulk.
Remove the thermal liner and you'll find that the XCaliber shell has a
thin internal liner that has a nice, silky feel to it and is comfortable
next to the skin.
I really like this jacket, and now that the fall is here, it's become my
favorite. I'm hoping to be able to vouch for its performance in
the rain and in warmer weather in the months ahead.
I believe the XCaliber offers unique value for this style jacket;
comfort and a strong array of features for the price. It feels
comfortable both on and off the bike, and doesn't feel as bulky, stiff
or "armor bound" as its competitors.
Roadgear offers some high quality apparel, all
designed by Mansoor Shafi, Roadgear's CEO. Mansoor
is a motorcyclist and he knows what's important to us
and has worked hard to continuously update Roadgear
Review: Roadgear XCaliber Jacket
Retail Price: $439.90
comfortable, including the collar lining; uses new Schoeller
Keprotec/Kevlar retroreflective reinforcement material; plenty of
features and pockets; nice styling; CE-approved armor; warm
lining; seems to breathe better than similar jackets; available in
men's and women's sizes; 3-year warranty. Collar
latch and arm cinches could be a touch longer. See below
for comments from owners.
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From "J.S." (4/09): "Your review of the
items was spot-on. I first tried out the jacket on Friday
which was sunny and warm, and found it to be truly comfortable-
the first jacket with armor I've worn that "sat" right. I
did notice that in the afternoon when the temps got up around 76
degrees that the vents are not as effective as they might be,
although I do have a windshield on the bike which may have
decreased the vents' effectiveness.
It's Sunday and I just got back from a 60+ mile ride in the
pouring rain. The temps are around 55 degrees, so I figured I'd keep
the liner out and I'd try the pants as well. I wore a t-shirt and
shorts under the suit and have to tell you that I stayed warm and dry the
There were a couple places on the upper arm that I thought
may have seeped, but they were bone-dry when I got home- must've been a cool
spot where the material laid right against the skin. All the stuff in
the exterior pockets stayed dry as well.
The only place that got wet was the sleeve cuffs, but that
was because my over gloves proved to be worse than having none (water went
right through & "pooled" at the elastic around the cuff), in other words not
the fault of the jacket. The pants performed as well as the jacket.
It would be good if there were a pocket or two on the pants, but it's
definitely not a show-stopper. Thanks again."
"The Jacket is constructed of high quality material and
parts. I like the flaps covering each pocket making them
water tight. This was tested recently in a long ride in
pouring rain and snow. Not a drop entered the pockets.
I also like the pocket snaps. They are very easy to open and
close, even with a gloved hand. The flap covering the main
zipper, that is retained by full length of Velcro tape, also does
its job in the rain. Not a drop entered the suit.
The full length Velcro can be a problem in the summer heat though.
It's hard to leave the jacket unzipped a little to improve on
airflow. The ventilation system doesn't seem to work well on
a fully faired touring bike with temperatures above 70
degrees. On a bike without a fairing, it works, but
poorly. The two vertical front, and 2 vertical rear vent
openings are just too small. (A better idea is the Joe Rocket
Ballistic rear vent across the back of the jacket).
Unlike the recent XCaliber jackets, my jacket's sleeves have a
knitted cuff sewed to the jackets internal liner. This
really is a big bother in the summer heat. If I could remove
the knitted cuff without damaging the sleeve, I would. (Ed.
Note: Roadgear has since improved the design so that the cuff is
attached to the removable liner.)
There is a belt around the elbow, and for the life of me I can't
understand why its there. It bothers your arms after a short
distance, and in the cold makes a cold spot around your
arms. I too think the belt is too short. I've taken
the belt and looped it to the inside, upon itself and now the cold
spot and bother are gone. I would like to cut these belts
off. They serve no purpose that I can detect. (Ed.
Note: As noted in the review above, the belts are for
keeping the loose material on the arms from flapping.)
Unlike you, I've never experienced the wind buffeting on the
sleeves behind my Goldwing's fairing. Basically this is a
cold weather-riding jacket and riding in the summer is
uncomfortable. The bulk also makes it hard to pack.
The CE armor doesn't fold very well, although it is
removable. For a trip this summer, I used it only on cool
days, removed the armor and left it at home, so I could pack
XCaliber Overpants: "I also purchased the Xcaliber over-pants. They are made of
the same high-grade materials. There are 2 small pockets in
the front of the pants, but they are all but useless due to their
small zippered opening. There is a full-length zipper on
both legs sealed with Velcro. It only zips from the bottom,
up. This is a big problem for a rider trying to put on his
boots with the over pants on. (Very hard for us fat, old
The full-length liner is held in place by a zipper
around your waist and just a few oddly placed Velcro strips down
the pant legs. No zipper is uses to retain the liner in the
legs. This is a problem when your trying to zip the pant leg
closed. The open side of the liner repeatedly gets caught in the
zipper. Very frustrating and not well thought out. Two LARGE
pillows of Keprotec by Schoeller protect your knees.
This single feature is what I dislike most about the over pants.
The material is coarse and scratched the plastic side panels on my
Goldwing. They are large and uncomfortable. I wish I
could remove them completely. Unfortunately they are sewed
into place and can't be removed. I did a temporary fix by
stitching a pair of exercise knee protectors in place. It
isn't pretty, but it works."
On the Road: "The complete riding suit is very watertight. My first
experience was a 3 hour ride in a driving summer rainstorm.
I didn't get wet at all. This is the first time I rode in a
weather suit that didn't get my crotch wet. Unfortunately
the suit was so hot in this storm, (temperature was in the 80's),
I sweated very badly. My Belstaff rain suit is a far better,
and more comfortable solution for wet weather riding in the summer
My second experience was in late fall. Temperature
in the 30's and there was a snow/rain mix. The suit
performed flawlessly. No water seepage, and I was very
comfortable. All in all, I'm pleased with this suit.
It is heavy, (15 pounds for both pants and jacket), and bulky.
Keeping in mind that I feel this is a cold weather riding suit, I
rate it 8 out of 10. The Jacket alone is good for a 9 out of
10. The over pants alone are a 7 out of 10. If you're
looking for a all year riding suit, this one isn't it. Its
just too hot when the temperature climes over 70 degrees."
Follow-Up: "I just got back from a ride and have to update you on the
Roadgear XCaliber riding suit from the great winter wonderland of
Michigan. This morning when I left it was 21 degrees with
bright sunshine. There is a 2 to 4 inch covering of snow on
the ground. There is also stiff wind of around 20 MPH from
the North. The radio says there is a cold front moving down
I left around 09:00 for a ride to a friends
house in Marysville. 28 miles away. He lives in a home right
on M-29 overlooking the St. Clair River. (This is the river that
connects Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair). My route was along
the rivers coast, on M-29, from New Baltimore to Maysville.
The roads were salt covered and dry today. (Makes the cars and
trucks through up a salty dust if you follow too close).
My gear consisted of the XCaliber pants and jacket, Cruiserworks
Classic boots, Shoei RF900 helmet, and a pair of Roadgear Ultra
gloves. Underneath this I was wearing a cotton long sleeve
shirt, t-shirt, blue jeans, cotton knee high socks and cotton
briefs. (No long johns). I was riding my Goldwing, with all
the vents closed. To say I was comfortable is an
understatement. Not once did I feel cold.
I was as
comfortable when I arrived as I had been when I had left.
The only place that felt cool was my fingers. I just can't
say enough about the cold weather comfort that this suit gives
me. The last winter suit I had was a old Tour Rider suit I
purchased from Sears in the 80's. This thing is light years
ahead of that one. On the way back I slipped on my Areostich
triple digit rain covers.
This blocked the cold and my hand
stayed toasty warm all the way home. (Of course I had a good tail
wind coming home, instead of a stiff head wind like I had going
up). I really like this outfit now since it has extended my
riding season. I would not have tried this run with my old
Tour Rider. Even with the Eclipse heated vest I have.