Tourmaster "Advanced" Jacket Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
I have a confession to make.
With dozens of textile and leather motorcycle jackets, pants and every other type of motorcycle gear on the planet to choose from, my most frequently used article of clothing is an old pair of Tourmaster pants.
Those pants were one of the first items reviewed on webBikeWorld several years ago.
They must be very popular, because we've received many comments about them, both pro and con, since that article was posted.
No, they're not completely waterproof, and they're not perfect by any means, but whenever I want to take a quick spin without squeezing on the leathers, I can throw the Tourmaster pants over a pair of jeans in about 10 seconds and be on my way.
I have yet to find a pair of overpants that have provided the overall comfort, quality and years of service that the Tourmaster Cortech overpants have given me.
I can't say the same for the original version of the Tourmaster Cortech jacket. Version 1.0 of that jacket jacket was made from a strange sort of shiny and impenetrable Nylon clone material, and wearing it was akin to wearing a rubber suit in a steam bath.
I don't know of a single owner that didn't complain about how hot that jacket was in any motorcycle riding weather.
So even though me and the Tourmaster Cortech pants became old friends over the years, the Tourmaster jacket kind of faded from my memory until I came across a new Tourmaster jacket, this one called the "Advanced" Cortech jacket.
I'm a sucker for the silver and black color combo, and I guess that's what first attracted my attention. I'm also fond of 3/4-length jackets, which work best, I think, for cool weather riding, a three-season affair in my neck of the woods.
The Tourmaster Advanced jacket is, as its name implies, a definite advance in design and construction over the original Tourmaster Cortech jacket. I've seen the Advanced jacket priced as low as $189.00, and that, my friends, is a certified steal. You can pay 2-3 times as much for a 3/4-length textile jacket if you'd like, but I'm not sure what the extra dosh will really get you.
We've said this many times, and here's yet another example: The rising tide of global competition is raising all boats, as it were, meaning that the competition in the marketplace for motorcycle clothing is so fierce that there's almost no such thing as poor quality.
Thus, you can purchase a nice-looking, feature-rich, comfortable three-and-a-half season jacket for less than 200 bucks. Does this mean that the Tourmaster Advanced jacket is the "best" 3/4-length jacket you can buy
Absolutely not -- and the word "best" is meaningless, because every rider will have his and her own preferences. But the Tourmaster Advanced jacket surely has one of the best price/value ratios out there (today anyway), and you'll look good wearing it, too.
The Tourmaster Advanced jacket uses Gen-u-Wine DuPont Cordura for the shell. It's 500 denier overall, with 1680 denier Ballistic Nylon used in the areas that might see the most abrasion during a crash, like the elbows and shoulders.
I'm not sure if DuPont has been continuously evolving the Cordura material and the method for treating the fabric, but the Advanced jacket is nice and soft and lighter in weight than many other 3/4-length jackets we've tried at about 4.5 lbs. without the liner.
The soft fabric and the light weight conspire to make it one of the most comfortable 3/4-length jackets around. It feels good and sort of fades into the background when I'm riding, just doing its job without notice. This makes it a great jacket for a long trip on a sit-up bike, not only because of its versatility and storage (more later), but also because it's just so darn comfortable to wear, even when walking around.
My size large Advanced jacket is listed by Tourmaster as equivalent to a men's U.S. size 44 (chest), and I'd say it's right on the money. It's very slightly tight when the liner is in, just as it should be. My exact jacket size is a 43, but it's extremely rare (as in, never) to find a size 43 motorcycle jacket. A size 44 usually fits slightly large, with enough room for a shirt and sweater underneath in cold weather.
The Advanced jacket has what seems to be a thicker-than-normal liner. It's quilted and it has full-length sleeves with nice elastic cuffs. With a couple of extra flourishes, like a collar, Tourmaster could have made the liner wearable by itself.
The liner uses 150 gram Polyfill insulation in the body and 100 gram in the sleeves, and it seems nice and warm, at least during a few of the 50-degree (F) fall days we've had lately.
The liner can be removed and replaced in the jacket with very little fuss. It has two metal snaps at the cuffs and three metal snaps at the collar, and two separate YKK-brand zippers are located along the front to attach the liner into the jacket just behind the plackets. So there's no messing about with Velcro, fabric loops or other time-wasting attachments.
When the liner is installed in the jacket, the fabric blocks the air vents, but this is a problem in just about every motorcycle jacket with a removable liner anyway. The way I figure it, if you're wearing the liner, it's probably pretty cool outside anyway, so minimal air flow isn't really a problem.
With the liner removed, the jacket fits slightly loose, but there are Velcro waist adjusters (one on each side) and Velcro tabs on the sleeves that allow the rider to snug things up. The jacket also has an attached non-removable mesh liner, which helps keep the shell's fabric from directly touching the rider's skin.
The cuffs and the collar have an unexpected touch, especially in this price range. They are hemmed with a very soft edging of Pittard's treated leather, and both the collar and cuffs are also surrounded by very soft fleece material on the inside, which really adds to the comfort in these crucial wear areas where the jacket becomes intimate with the rider's skin.
Speaking of the cuffs, Tourmaster added a dart of Schoeller stretch material extending vertically downward from the inside of each arm. This also makes for good adjustability at the cuff, especially when it's cinched up using the Velcro tabs before the cuff is slipped into a motorcycle glove gauntlet.
The front of the jacket has a full-length Velcro backed flap that covers the zipper. The neck has the soft leather hem and there's also a section of leather below the neck in front. A single metal snap keeps the neck closed, and this works well.
All told, the combination of the soft fabric, the fit, the light weight, the nice design flourishes and the adjustability make this a very comfortable jacket for just about any riding style. The soft leather edges are especially nice, and kudos to Tourmaster for thinking of this!
The elbows, shoulders and back of the Tourmaster Advanced jacket have lightweight sections of removable "triple density" armor. The armor doesn't have a hard backing, but it is at least thicker than the armor previously used in Tourmaster's Cortech products.
The jacket's armor has a waffle pattern, which makes it slightly more flexible. Tourmaster doesn't make any claims about the armor meeting CE approval, as far as we can tell. I'm guessing that the armor could be replaced with some higher quality Knox or other CE-approved, hard armor if desired, and we may just try that as an experiment.
Despite Tourmaster's implied (but not explicit) claims that the jacket is waterproof, we're not sure about the jacket's ability to completely resist water, but my feeling is that ventilation is a good tradeoff for complete water resistance anyway.
Why? Because the vast majority of my motorcycle riding is done in dry weather, and I bet yours is also. Just about any textile motorcycle riding garment will protect the rider from a mild rainstorm, and if I'm traveling or if it looks like the skies are definitely going to open up, I'd rather wear a dedicated rain suit anyway.
Tourmaster claims that the Advanced jacket has a "waterproof, breathable barrier", but we can't determine where this barrier is located or how much of the jacket is covered.
The old Tourmaster Cortech jacket was fairly miserable in this department, so anything is an improvement. I keep expecting to see underarm vents on every 3/4-length jacket we try.
Aerostich has used the underarm vent very successfully on their Darien jacket, and I don't think they have a patent on the design, so I remain puzzled why more manufacturers don't add this type of venting to their jackets.
In any case, the Tourmaster Advanced jacket does have a Darien-like full-length rear zipper vent opening, backed by an open-weave mesh fabric. The zipper on the back is hidden and covered by a big, black fabric shroud, so it's unlikely that any water would intrude. Back vents are nice because they help keep the jacket from billowing up at speed in addition to serving as an exhaust vent.
The jacket also has two 7" (~180 mm) vents in the front, on either side of the upper chest, also nicely hidden just under the edge of the black shoulder fabric. These vents open with a waterproof zipper and the covering fabric has a Velcro backing, allowing the vents to be completely closed.
But here's the trick: the fabric that covers the vents can also be folded up and secured with its second strip of Velcro, and this keeps them open for business. In fact, the folded fabric creates a sort of wind scoop, and Tourmaster is calling this their "Pipeline" vent system.
Two more 6" (150 mm) vents live on the inside front of each arm, at the vertical seam where the black meets the silver (or other color) fabric. These vents open with zippers and are shielded by a short piece fabric.
So how does this new Tourmaster venting system work? Very well, actually. The front "Pipeline" scoops bring a decent volume of air into the jacket, which can be felt by the rider, at least when the liner is not present.
The downside comes at certain speeds, where the scoops catch the increasing wind, causing the top of the jacket to feel like it's being pulled up off the rider's shoulders. It's a subtle feeling, but there nonetheless.
The arm vents are not as satisfactory, because there's nothing to hold them open and depending upon the rider's arm position, the vents may not be in a position to allow air to enter.
The arm vents are difficult to adjust when the jacket is being worn, despite the nice, big, padded zipper pulls. There's just too much slack in the arms, making it hard to pull the zippers closed unless a second (or third) hand pulls the sleeve taught.
And it's also too difficult to fuss with the Velcro and zipper on the Pipeline chest vents while riding. Apparently, the only solution is to adjust the vents prior to the ride, and it may be necessary to stop if the vents need adjusting while underway.
All this is puzzling, because Tourmaster claims to have developed a "Shock Cord Opening System" that "maximizes the vent opening with the simple pull of a cord". We can't find any cords or other artifact of this system, so it's not clear to us what this is all about.
The Advanced jacket comes up aces here. Four big cargo pockets on the front of the jacket can hold about anything you'd ever want to carry. Each pocket has a full-length, Velcro-backed flap and each pocket can also be accessed from behind by opening up the side zipper.
The top chest pockets are expandable, and they measure about 7" wide by 9" deep (180 mm x 230 mm). The hip pockets measure about 7" wide by 7" deep (180 mm by 180 mm). The pocket flaps each have a rubberized pull tab, but the tab is located on the outside, towards the rider's side, rather than near the inside, which would make it much easier to grab and pull.
A big pocket is located on the lower back area of the jacket, which opens with a vertical zipper on either side. This can be used to store gloves, or maybe a rain jacket, a sweater or a bottle of water. A mobile phone pocket is located on the inside of the left chest.
The Advanced jacket is available in Black, Red and silver only. The subtle rubberized molded "Cortech" patches on the arms and back use 3M's Scotchlite reflective system, and the jacket includes an all-around reflective piping up high, where the black shoulder cape meets the colored fabric.
Comfort, good looks, decent venting, a warm and easily removable liner combined with very reasonable pricing make this a winner.
It might not work in the hottest weather, but very few jackets do. The combination of the Tourmaster Cortech overpants and the Tourmaster Advanced jacket are probably one of the best all-around riding outfit bargains going.
|wBW Review: Tourmaster Advanced Jacket|
|Manufacturer: Tourmaster||List Price (2005): $269.99|
|Colors: Black, Red, Silver.||Made In: China|
|Review Date: October 2005|