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Teknic Freestyle Jacket

Teknic Freestyle Jacket

Teknic Freestyle Jacket Review
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com

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Summary:  Great-looking short jacket with external armor that is also a design feature.  Relatively light weight nylon shell makes this a jacket for warmer weather.  It has a number of zippered vents on the outside, but permanently attached internal liner prevents most of the air from getting through.


Background
Teknic is known for its interesting selection of motorcycle gear, with designs that are always thoughtful, functional and out of the ordinary. 

But the company seems rather...schizophrenic, I guess is the word.  They have chosen to compete in the brutal low-price arena, where the name of the game is show rather than go, but Teknic does battle with designs and features that seem more sophisticated than most of their peers.

Some of their products are real standouts, like the Teknic Cyclone and the Teknic Sprint jacket and pants outfits reviewed previously on webBikeWorld.  I just took a look at those reviews once more, both of which were written by me, and it's curious to note that I still have basically the same feelings about Teknic now as I did then.

The Teknic schizophrenia I've referred to (either explicitly or implicitly in my product evaluations) is apparent once more in the Teknic Freestyle jacket, as you shall see. 

But overall, the jacket looks great and has a bit of the edgy street/stunt styling that has become so popular.  Teknic has taken what something most companies go to great lengths to hide -- the armor -- and put it on the outside, making it an external styling feature.  This "inside-out" feature might even theoretically provide better performance in a crash, because it could provide a sliding surface over the catchy textile, which could snag and tumble the rider instead.

The Freestyle isn't a full mesh jacket, but it's light enough and it should have enough venting to make it a good alternative for warm weather use -- but for one missing feature, which I will discuss in a minute.

Shell
The jacket uses relatively light weight textile in the shell, which is made from 600 denier "Soft Touch Cordura".  This material doesn't feel as soft to me as, say, the material used in the Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0, for example, but it's a good choice for warmer weather.

Depending upon your feelings towards pure mesh, the 600-weight Cordura may offer more protection, albeit with less air penetration, and the material may potentially slide better than some of the more open mesh weaves during a crash.

My feeling is that the Freestyle jacket's styling is very nice and it looks great in all of the available colors, including two different versions of black with white and red accents; blue, yellow and red.  For those of you looking for a bright colored jacket, the yellow is definitely it!

Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Front View

The Teknic Freestyle comes in numbered sizes, from 40 to 52 (U.S.) and it's sized appropriately for each country's sizing scale.  This size 44 fits perfectly; thus I think you can assume that the sizes run true.

The "TK Motorsports" script across the front and back is pretty cool, and the "TK" letters are cut from leather -- I'm not sure if that's apparent in the photos. 

The "Motorsports" (shouldn't that be "Motosports"?) script across the front is embroidered right on the shell, and the white and black stripes are made from a finer denier fabric and are sewn on top.

Also, take a look at the photo to the left and you'll see the "TASC" (Teknic Advanced Seam Construction) and "Teknic Motorsports" logos sewn as patches along the front bottom hem of the jacket, another nice styling touch. 

What's TASC stitching?  I'm not really sure, other than the fact that the stitches are amazingly perfect, probably done via a computer controlled sewing machine and following what I assume is the laser-cut fabric patterns very precisely and right at the edge of each seam. 

The stitching around the corners and curves is very precise, and from an engineering standpoint, this is very impressive.

Another design feature is the use of metal snaps at the collar and to adjust the waist and the cuffs.  The antiqued bronze-colored snaps are apparently made by or for Teknic; they don't have a separate brand label.  The collar has only a single snap, which means adjustment is limited. 

The cuffs have one female snap on a tab and three male counterparts on the sleeve, allowing a range of adjustment.  The waist straps also use snaps, with two levels of adjustment (but no stretch material used on the tabs).

The sleeve cuffs also have a vertical sewn-in dart , which provides an asymmetric sleeve end to keep things nice and tidy when the cuffs are snugged up tight.

Completing the look are a few pads sewn into the shell on the front and back.  These probably aren't large enough to be functional, but they do serve as another styling feature that adds to the overall appeal of the jacket.

Venting
The shell has several well-placed vents which open with YKK nylon zippers, and each vent zipper has a nice, big pull, making it very easy to grab and work each one open or closed when wearing gloves.  In fact, the vents and zippers can be considered as a design feature. 

The arm vents are fully 25.5 cm long (10"), which is huge, especially for a short jacket like this.  The upper vents across the chest open to about 15 cm (6"), and a nice surprise is the nearly 30 cm long (~12") vent across the top of the back.  This vent is covered by a textile flap that can be folded up and attached in on itself, after a fashion, with hook-and-loop (HAL?) fasteners (see photo).

But here's the problem that gives the Teknic Freestyle jacket its schizophrenia: with all these vents, you'd think the Freestyle would flow lots of air, right?  Well, Teknic decided to permanently attach the the Powerskin lining inside the entire shell. 

The problem is that there are no internal matching vents for the air to come through the liner.  So all those vents on the outside that could theoretically flow a large volume of air are pretty much balked by the internal lining, which prevents any air from coming through.  Strange...

The Teknic product description lists both taffeta and "Powerskin II" as the lining material, but a label inside the jacket says that the lining is made from "Powerskin", claimed to be "100% waterproof and breathable"  Is it taffeta or "Powerskin II"?  Don't know, but either way, the air doesn't flow through it.

Note that I haven't worn the Freestyle in the rain -- and don't plan to, because it just seems too short and too light weight to wear in the cold spring rain we'd have just now.

Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Rear Vent

Teknic Freestyle Jacket -Front Chest Vent

Other Features
The Freestyle jacket includes a very thin zip-out removable vest-type liner, made from 5 oz. Polyfil.  The zipper travels all the way around the front, around the neck and back down the other side, making it easy to remove or insert.  The liner maybe adds some slight warmth, but again, my feeling is that the Freestyle should be considered as one step above a full mesh jacket, for anything other than very hot weather.

Besides a single section of HAL at the bottom of the liner to keep it secure at the waist, there are no other liner snaps or attachments and none are needed.  The liner material seems light and it's maybe about 4 mm (1/4") thick when uncompressed.

The lining also has a flap on the right that can be snapped to the opposite placket on the left-hand side.  It can also be snapped over on to itself on the right side if desired, which keeps it out of the way in a stored position.

The arms are cut and sewn in a (claimed) 15-degree forward rotation for flexibility when riding a Sportbike.  The external elbow and forearm armor is claimed to be CE approved, as are the "Airblade" shoulder protectors and the armored "kidney belt" (the section of armor on the back, which isn't really a kidney belt as I know it).

The plastic Airblade shoulder protectors have an anodized metal slider on top.  Teknic puts a piece of clear plastic protector over the metal to keep it from getting scratched during shipment; I didn't realize this until it started to peel off.  At first I thought it was a poor oversight but after I realized the plastic is just there for protection (of the sort used on the clear plastic that protects electronic displays), I removed it and all is well (see the photo in the Lightbox below).

The collar has a "puffy" mesh material liner, which feels slightly scratchy to me; I wish it were covered with some sort of micro-fleece, although that probably wouldn't wick away moisture as well. 

The sleeves have adjustable cinch straps and another metal snap, but the sleeves feel snug to me without cinching them up any further.  Teknic added some dark-colored piping here and there that is retro-reflective at night.

And finally, the Freestyle has two hand pockets, with zipper closures.  They're lined with taffeta, but the zippers on the pockets do not have the big fabric pulls like the vents.  Teknic also says the Freestyle jacket has a baseball cap pocket, but I don't see it....there is a pocket with a zipper in the Powerskin lining, on the left-hand side.  This pocket is only big enough for a wallet.

By the way, the Freestyle jacket does not have a zipper attachment for a matching pair of Teknic pants.

Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Rear ViewTeknic Freestyle Jacket - Side View

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Teknic Freestyle Jacket Photos - wBW Lightbox - Click photo to view.

Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Back Protector Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Elbow and Forearm Armor Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Lining Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Shoulder Armor and Protective Plastic
Back Protector Elbow Armor Lining Without Vents Shoulder Armor
Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Sleeve Cuff Adjuster Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Sleeve Vent Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Upper Chest Teknic Freestyle Jacket - Stitching Detail
Cuff Adjusters Sleeve Vent Upper Chest Stitching Detail

What I Like What I Don't
Styling Price
Quality of construction Thin insulating liner
Fit Lack of internal pass-through for vents
Snaps No pants attachment
Vents Somewhat scratchy collar
Liner is nice as a separate light jacket Limited collar adjustment

Conclusion
The Teknic Freestyle jacket leaves me puzzled.  I think it's a nice-looking jacket, and although the cool spring weather hasn't allowed me to evaluate its performance in warmer temperatures, I think it should work rather well in anything short of intense heat. 

I wish the vents flowed air through the liner though; other jackets either provide a zip-out waterproof liner or have some type of internal zipper to allow the air to get through.  I realize both of these options may increase the price, but to be honest, I think the $199.00 list price is a bit on the high side for this type of jacket, and it probably could have included just that extra feature to make it a better value.

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Product Review:  Teknic Freestyle Jacket
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Available From:  Teknic List Price:  $199.99 USD, $259.99 CAD, £149.99
Colors and Sizes:  Black, Gray, Blue, Red, Yellow.  Sizes 40 to 52 (U.S.) Made in:  Vietnam
Review Date:  March 2008

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From "M.R.":  "This jacket was purchased for me as a birthday present.  I love it.  The pockets are big enough for what I need and the armor seems much better than what other jackets in the same price range offer. 

It can get warm (as mentioned in the article) in warmer temperatures when you are sitting in traffic, but when you are riding on the highway the venting actually does a decent job of cooling down the liner.  You don't get the airflow through the jacket, but the air through the vents cools down the liner enough that you don't get super hot.

I also read in the article about the pocket for the hat.  The pocket is there (it took me awhile to find it).  It's just inside the left side of the jacket.  The pocket runs vertical right next to the liner, and as advertised, it is big enough to fit a ball cap in.  This is a great jacket for the price."


From "M.P.":  "Nice read. I actually purchased that jacket back in Oct/Nov and ended up returning it due to the vent problem.  I am here in Florida and rains a good bit so waterproof is good but that thing does not breathe.  In the summer time here when it is 90+ with the humidity to match it just does not work.  I hope/wish they would make the same jacket with a removable liner (hint hint)."

 

 


 

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