by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
It was exactly two years ago today that we took delivery of the unique clone Jacket and Pants for evaluation.
At that time, we came away very impressed with Teknic's "out of the box" thinking and the multiple features that made the outfit a real standout.
The uniqueness of the Cyclone outfit opened my eyes to Teknic products, although I should have known they had something on the ball, because the original Teknic Violator gloves are an all-time favorite around here.
Unfortunately, Teknic apparel just doesn't seem to be as commonly available as some of the other brands, either in local motorcycle shops or online retail establishments .
I guess Teknic exists in a sort of netherworld somewhere between the found-everywhere Joe Rocket products and high-end gear like Spidi, Dainese or Rev'it.
Local retailers generally focus on low price commodity stuff for undiscriminating buyers, with maybe a shop or two that carries a limited selection of the good stuff, albeit covered with dust because it's marked up at list price.
Unfortunately, very few local motorcycle retailers have made a commitment to high-quality motorcycle gear. Selecting, marketing and selling are three very distinct functions that involve three distinct strategies, tactics and skills.
I think many retailers end up with the "chicken and egg" paradox.
They don't make the full commitment, which means they don't spend the time and money to do it right, then the gear doesn't sell, which then reinforces their belief that they can only sell the cheap stuff.
Maybe more of these shops should take a look at the Teknic line as a way to get there.
Teknic's strategy seems to focus on "out of the box" thinking by offering features that can't be found anywhere else.
Maybe it would be too much to hope for an untrained employee to explain the benefits and compare and contrast to everything else on the market, but surely something different would help to distinguish a retailer's offerings.
The Teknic Sprint jacket and Sprint II pants are a case in point. The Sprint jacket is an early release for 2007, and it's chock full of surprising features that I think do make a difference.
Our experience with Teknic gear indicates that the company is on a mission to create the mythical "all season" motorcycle garment.
At first glance, the Sprint jacket looks like a cold-weather outfit, but -- and it was a surprise to me -- the outer waterproof and windproof shell zips off to expose a nice-looking mesh jacket underneath.
The mesh jacket can be worn with or without its fairly heavy quilted liner, which stuffs into its own carrying pouch.
Now this functionality isn't ground-breaking, as we've seen it before with several other brands. But the Sprint jacket takes it a grade or two higher, as the outer shell is more substantive than just a simple Nylon windbreaker.
Teknic calls the Sprint a "2/3 length" jacket; we think it's more like a 5/8 length, but who's counting?
The slightly shorter length does mean that a chilling breeze or two can creep up from underneath the front and sides if the jacket isn't cinched up tightly.
And it's too bad that the matching Sprint II pants don't have the zip-off windproof bib featured on the Teknic Cyclone pants (review), which adds some wind protection to the rider's chest.
But that's what products like the REV'IT! Scoop windproof vest (review) are for...
Other features on the Sprint jacket include a unique zip-off neck.
The neck fabric sits higher than normally found on a 3/4-length jacket and it would probably look rather silly when the outer liner is removed, so Teknic made the neck removable also.
The high neck helps block the cold air in the winter, but it can interfere with some helmets, making it harder to turn my head side to side when checking for oncoming traffic when stopped.
Also, as in almost every motorcycle jacket we've tried, there isn't enough adjustment (in this case, the length of the Velcro) to accommodate a wide variety of neck sizes.
It fits me but Rick complains that there isn't enough length to fit his 17.5" neck diameter without making it too tight. He wanted me to let you know that the Velcro doesn't hold around his neck and it comes undone several times per ride.
The main front zipper has an extended windproof and waterproof flap, but even this can be snapped to the inside of the mesh jacket if it isn't needed.
The Sprint jacket also comes with a removable backpack that clips on to four triangular D-rings on the back of the jacket (see photo below).
The backpack can hold the shell, the liner and more and is easily removable for use off-bike with its own carrying strap.
More features include a hidden zipper across the top back of the jacket that opens up a vent, similar to the venting system found on the Aerostich Darien.
The sleeves on the Sprint include two separate cinch locations, one on the upper arm (bicep area) and one on the forearm.
These allow the rider to snug up the sleeves to prevent flapping around and to keep the Knox CE-approved elbow armor in place.
The cinch uses a flap that can attach to one of three snaps on the arm, rather than the two that are commonly found on most jackets. The three snaps provide a wider range of adjustment for different arm shapes and to account for layering.
The Sprint also has Knox CE-approved shoulder armor and -- surprise -- the jacket actually has a very nice thick Knox CE-approved TP2 back armor instead of the throwaway foam padding found in most jackets, even those costing twice as much.
Let's see -- there's more: There are also additional adjusters at the hem of the mesh jacket, also with three snaps rather than two.
The waist belts that are used to adjust the midsection over the outer shell are also removable and snap in to the mesh jacket when the outer shell is removed.
The only problem is remembering them -- I took them off the mesh jacket and forgot to re-install them on the shell and couldn't remember where I put them.
I finally found them, stuffed down between the cushions on the couch...
The suspenders can be removed also; they snap on the front and the back goes through a loop in the waist of the pants.
I don't really see a purpose for the suspenders -- they don't seem to do much to hold the pants on because the suspenders are made from elastic and they'd have to be cinched up way too tight to actually hold the pants.
Since the pants also zip to the jacket, I removed the suspenders and stuffed them in a pocket.
By the way, the mesh jacket uses elastic cuffs, which may seem so '50's but which actually work better than the stiff Velcro cuffs used on most jackets.
The only problem is that the elastic cuffs want to stay on the wrists when removing the jacket, causing the lining to turn inside-out, so I find I have to hold the elastic cuff with my opposite hand as I pull an arm out of the sleeve.
Both the outer shell and the inner mesh jacket have hand pockets and hefty YKK zippers are used throughout.
The pocket zippers are a bit difficult to access though; they're located on the seam on the side of the jacket, slightly farther back than one would expect to find them.
The zipper opens by pulling it down, rather than up. I've found that it's nearly impossible to open the pockets with one hand, with or without gloves.
Finally, the jacket has some 3M Scotchlite reflective piping laid on here and there and, a real bonus, the jacket has a zipper that can be attached to the matching Sprint II pants.
The Sprint has a deep wallet pocket just inside the left side of the jacket, just inside the zipper.
The two hand pockets at the waist are rather shallow, but I don't use them for much more than holding a cell phone and ear plugs anyway.
The matching Sprint II pants are similar to the Cyclone pants we reviewed last year.
They include a heavy quilted removable lining and Teknic claims that they are 100% waterproof and windproof.
Although I can't vouch for their ability to resist water, they've kept me warm and comfortable in temperatures down in the 40's with no problems.
The Sprint II pants have an extra layer of DuPont Cordura in the seat and knees. The knees also have an easily accessible outside pocket that holds the hard armor.
I think it's Knox-type armor but I couldn't find a Teknic specification for it. The problem with the armor location, as in just about every other motorcycle pants I've tried, is that it isn't adjustable.
It's too low for me, Rick and Burn. I've taken to trashing the armor and using the wearable armored underwear like the products from Bohn or Forcefield anyway -- they fit perfectly and provide much more assurance that the armor will actually be in the right location when I need it.
The Sprint II pants include "Armorshield" dual-density foam in the hips, which feels like a slightly thicker (barely) type of foam padding than is usually found in this location.
Besides the zipper connector to the Sprint jacket, the pants also feature an elastic foot strap at the ankle, which can be placed around the bottom of the boot to keep the pant leg in place.
The pants have a zipper on the inside of the leg, a rather unusual location. The zipper is backed with fabric to prevent the ingress of water and a flap covers the zipper on the outside and secures with Velcro.
The Sprint II pants have slash hand pockets with zippers; they're rather shallow pockets but functional. Heavy YKK zippers are used throughout.
A word about sizing for the Teknic Sprint jacket and Sprint II pants.
Take a look at the photos of the Teknic Cyclone Jacket and Pants review and you'll notice they look about at least one size too large.
The Sprint jacket and pants run the same. I ordered what I thought was my correct size; a 44 men's jacket and 36 waist pants.
When they arrived, I tried them on and they were at least one size too big, if not two. I sent them back and ordered a 42 jacket and 34 pants, which definitely should not fit me, but they do.
So my feeling is that the Teknic Sprint jacket and pants definitely run at least one size larger than normal and you may want to order one size smaller to fit correctly.
We've ranted about this before, but you think that online retailers would try on the clothes they sell so that they could advise their customers on which sizes to order?
No...It cost us $52.00 to send the clothes back for a replacement.
The Sprint jacket comes in Black, Red and Black and the Denim Blue and Black shown here.
Although the blue has a nice tone, I wish the jacket came in something more brilliant, like orange or yellow and black.
The Sprint jacket is available in U.S. sizes 40 to 54 (chest) in Black, and U.S. 40 to 50 in the Red or Blue. I think the list price is a very reasonable $299.99.
The Sprint II pants are available in U.S. sizes 28 to 44 (waist) and the list price is also a reasonable $179.99.
I've sort of rambled on here, trying to relay all of the features of this unique outfit.
I really like this combination and I think both the jacket and the pants are nearly equal to some of the best available. The quality is first-rate and the features and their execution are better than just about anything I can think of.
I can compare the Sprint jacket and Sprint II pants very closely to the REV'IT! Cayenne jacket (review) and pants without hesitation, and although the REV'IT! gear is probably more water resistant, the Teknic clothing is about half the cost.
Note that the weather has been too cold here for a proper evaluation of the clothing without the liners.
I would expect the mesh jacket to work well in warmer weather but I think the pants may be too hot and too loose once the thick quilted liner is removed.
I'm not a big fan of textile non-mesh pants for warm weather anyway. But overall, the Sprint duo probably comes about as close to a three-season outfit as anything out there and the quality and features are second to none.
I also think the Sprint jacket and pants work well and are a good deal.
The insulating liner is thicker than normal, and I've found that the jacket and pants seem to weigh more than other combos I've tried.
I'll have to get them on the scales to see... I'm not convinced though that the outfit will work in hot weather; that remains to be seen.
I agree with Bill that Teknic's sizing seems way off -- the 44 jacket and 36 pants were about two sizes too big for me (43" chest and 35" waist).
I suggest ordering one size smaller than normal; this is also important because the liner is so thick that when it's removed the outfit will automatically be one size larger than you thought anyway.
With the liner installed, the outfit works great in very cold weather.
I rode with it when the temperature was in the high 40's and I had on a T-shirt, a Duofold cotton/wool long-sleeve undershirt, a cotton turtleneck and the REV'IT! Scoop windproof vest and I was actually a bit too warm.
I rode Burn's Suzuki Intruder and found that with the legs-out cruiser sitting stance that some air can leak in through the bottom of the jacket.
It doesn't quite have enough adjustment for me to get it tight enough to prevent the draft -- I also wish the Sprint II pants had the bib top, which I think would help.
But overall, at least for the winter, the Sprint outfit gets a thumbs-up from me!
|wBW Review: Teknic Sprint Jacket and Pants|
|Manufacturer: Teknic (No longer in business)||List Price (2006): $299.99 (Jacket), $179.99 (Pants)|
|Colors: Black/gray||Made In: China|
|Review Date: December 2006|