The British Motorcycle Gear (BMG) Adventure jacket is a lightweight shell optimized for off-road outback adventures.
But it works just as well on the street and, when matched with the BMG Adventure pants, it looks Dakar Rally ready. It's also an excellent bargain!
The folks at British Motorcycle Gear know off-road riding and the BMG Adventure outfit is the result.
The Adventure jacket is a focused piece of kit, designed with the Dakar Rally in mind, along with high desert adventures, touring and long-distance off-road riding of all types
The jacket has a different design philosophy, for lack of a better term.
It is a jacket "shell", without the typical insulating and water-resistant liners attached, although it does include a lightweight windbreaker that also offers some protection from the rain.
Included also are Knox elbow and shoulder armor inserts but other than that, it's up to the rider to add or subtract whatever he or she feels necessary to achieve the desired level of protection.
The Adventure pants have no armor at all, but they can be fitted with knee and hip armor if desired.
I discovered that this design philosophy results in an outfit that feels liberating; I can wear my own tight-fitting armored shirt and pants underneath and the lightweight Adventure jacket and pants leave enough room to provide good air circulation and a very comfortable fit.
For that reason and more, the BMG Adventure jacket and pants make a wonderful riding outfit, especially suited to the modern-day all-terrain adventures.
The outfit has become a favorite, even though the closest I usually come to an off-road journey is a few miles up a dirt road or two.
The most noticeable feature of the Adventure jacket -- other than the KTM-inspired styling in the orange version shown here -- is its weight, or lack of it.
The jacket tips the scales at only 4 lbs., including the wind- and water-resistant windbreaker liner that comes stored in the rear pocket, ready for use.
The matching Adventure pants are featherweight at only 1.5 lbs., less than some of the jeans I wear.
I really like the idea of having a jacket that's an outer shell only, because I'd much rather mix-and-match my own liners and armor anyway.
I almost always rip out the armor that comes with motorcycle clothing because I prefer to wear armored shirts and pants, which locates the armor in the correct locations much more accurately than any non-wearable protection can.
When the armor is removed from most off-the-shelf clothing you'll discover a completely different sensation -- the jacket or pants becomes more flexible, with a feel similar to street clothing. This means more comfort and it feels altogether less cumbersome.
The lighter weight of the Adventure outfit also is a clue that it's primarily focused on warm-weather riding. The weave of the 500 denier material allows a lot of air to flow in and through; shine a flashlight in back of it and you can see the light.
Both the jacket and pants are lined with the same black open-mesh lining found in almost every motorcycle jacket and it also helps ventilation by keeping the shell material away from the skin.
If the weather turns cool, throw on a pair of thermals or a windbreaker underneath or the water-resistant liner provided with the jacket or even your favorite liner cribbed from another jacket and you're good to go.
At various times in our recent variable Spring weather I've combined the Adventure jacket with layers ranging from a fleece sweater to the windbreaker to a windproof shirt to a turtleneck to a simple T-shirt underneath -- the possibilities are endless.
No doubt about it, the Adventure jacket looks like something right out of the Dakar Rally, lacking only a few sponsor logos!
The off-road look may not be for everyone, but with the huge interest and sales of Adventure Touring bikes like the BMW R 1200 GS, the new Ducati Multistrada 1200, the Kawasaki KLR 650 and, of course, my very rare Multistrada 620, it's a perfect match.
The jacket is available in the KTM orange shown here or a BMW-like blue trim, with the stone and black body panels in the same locations on both. The styling may seem a bit busy in this jacket, but this is typical for an off-road inspired design and the different patches of material each serve a purpose.
For example, the black material covering the elbows and upper arms offers additional wear protection.
The surface of the material is covered with shiny black dots made from silicone; it looks rather like like the material found on the heel portion of the palm on some motorcycle gloves.
The Adventure jacket shown here is a manufacturing sample that was made during the first manufacturing run to verify the various procedures. The stitching on this one is a combination of hidden and single row stitching that appears to be hand sewn.
I'm not sure if the regular manufacturing run will have computer-controlled stitching or not, but either way, this is not a mass-marketed jacket, so you won't find it at your local Moto-Mart; it can only be purchased through the BMG online store.
I'd rate the quality as very good; not quite up to Dainese or Rev'it standards, for example, but nowhere near their price either. The jacket has a lot of detailing, pockets, reflective material and adjustments, which I'll describe in the following sections.
Besides the rugged Dakar looks, the Adventure jacket has a number of interesting features that separate it from the ordinary:
One feature that you've probably already noticed by looking at the photos is the built-in hydration pack.
The removable insulated bladder holds about two liters of liquid. Hydration pack users swear by them, based on feedback from owners of the CamelBak hydration backpack we reviewed.
I discovered it can be filled up and placed in the refrigerator overnight to get it cold -- not sure about freezing it as I was afraid that might burst the seams. I've also soaked the hydration pack in water to keep it cool using the evaporation method as I ride.
The drink hose comes out of the back, over the left shoulder and fits through four loops.
It crosses the front zipper and attaches up on the right chest in a fabric loop receiver. It has another attachment loop on the wind flap that covers the upper neck, which can be folded over and left open.
When it's in this position, the drink hose slips through the loop, which places it in a more central position.
This is a better location because it allows the jacket to come off without having to pull the hose out of the loop if it's on the right. In any case, I guess it's good to have the choice.
The removable arms are another feature of the Adventure jacket that perhaps isn't as obvious. I'm not sure who actually removes the arms on their motorcycle jacket, why they'd do it and where they would store them, but the capability is there in any case.
Actually, the most useful part of this feature is that the zipper around each arm (which is well hidden under the material on the shoulders) has been left with an opening under the arm on each side, which allows extra ventilation also.
Adjustable Neck System
I think one other feature that's worth a separate mention is the neck cover system. As I mentioned above, there's a small flap that serves to secure the neck via hook-and-loop.
Both the collar and this flap are filled with soft cushioning material and lined with a very soft micro-fleece to keep them comfortable.
The flap can either be used in the familiar fashion to secure the neck or it can be folded back over itself to secure to a small piece of hook-and-loop on the left side, out of the way.
This provides more cooling, along with the central neck wind flap, which can also be snapped on to itself on the left and out of the way of the zipper.
The plackets on either side of the zipper are wide and they're actually sewn on the outside of the jacket shell. They can either be used to cover the entire zipper by closing them together with their hook-and-loop fasteners, or left open.
The reason they're placed wide apart is to allow full access to the main zipper, which can be lowered for more cooling.
This is especially useful up at the top with the neck system and I rode this way almost the entire time I had the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom, because it provided excellent cooling behind the big fairing.
Obviously, a lot of thought went into designing this system.
But the only thing missing are separate attachment points on the outside of the flaps, to allow each side to be folded back over and attached to the outside of the shell, which I think would be useful to keep the flaps out of the way semi-permanently.
Cell Phone Pocket
The Adventure jacket also has a removable cell phone pocket, located on the upper right chest. The pocket is actually rather large for today's cell phones and it will even fit some of the smaller digital cameras.
The pocket attaches with a plastic slider/retainer at the top and there's a section of hook-and-loop underneath to keep it secured to the jacket.
The clear cover on this pocket allows the pocket to be used to store identification, although the left sleeve also has a non-removable pocket near the cuff with a clear cover that can hold an ID card or badge.
Besides the jacket material, which provides good ventilation even if the vents are closed, the Adventure jacket has a full compliment of ventilation ports.
The sleeves feature a long zipper-covered vent that runs from the wrist to the elbow.
The zipper used here has two runners, so the vent can be opened in two directions and all the way open or closed. It has a full mesh lining underneath in addition to the full mesh lining of the jacket, which allows a lot of ventilation.
The jacket body also has short zippered vents at the top, just below the shoulder line.
These may not be quite as efficient as some because the horizontal format doesn't open up as an air scoop when the zippers are opened, but every little bit helps.
Two more vents that open with zippers are located in back of the jacket, just behind the upper arms.
Combine all this with the neck when it's opened and the natural ventilation of the fabric itself, and you have a jacket with excellent ventilation all around.
The only thing that spoils it somewhat in the front are the lined pockets on the left (external) and right (internal) of the chest.
I would have made the pocket linings out of mesh material to allow the air to flow through; as it is, the taffeta lining blocks some of the air that might find its way through the shell.
I have been wearing the Adventure jacket on different motorcycles with and without windscreens and fairings, in temperatures ranging from mid-60's to 90 and I've been comfortable throughout.
Of course, at the upper end of that scale, only a full mesh jacket will do, but the Adventure provides good ventilation and may even keep in some of that needed moisture better than a full mesh jacket might do.
The jacket uses an off-brand ("GRT") of zippers, but they work fine. They're used in all of the vents mentioned above, including the zip-off sleeves and also for the main jacket body.
The jacket front uses a two-way zipper that allows it to be opened or closed from top or bottom. The zipper pulls are not rubber covered but the bottom slider remains mostly hidden behind the front jacket wind flap, so this hasn't been a problem.
The jacket has easy-to-use waist adjusters with about 3" of adjustment on either side.
The arms have a single adjuster at the elbow, but unfortunately on this manufacturing sample the "hook" part of the hook-and-loop is so short that it immediately runs out of "loop", so there it lacks any adjustment range.
BMG said this problem was resolved in the full production version of the jacket.
The sleeves on the jacket have a two-position, rubber-covered snap a few inches above the cuff. This helps to keep the two-way zipper in place at the cuff end and also helps to adjust the lower sleeve.
The sleeve cuffs also have a hook-and-loop adjuster at the ends.
Illustrated in the photo above, the Adventure jacket has includes several highly reflective strips of reflective piping along the upper arms, back and chest, including the BMG logos on the outside of the upper arms and on the upper back.
The Adventure jacket is available in sizes ranging from XS to 4XL. The British Motorcycle Gear size chart shows the XS as fitting a U.S. 32-35" chest and the 4XL a 53-56" chest.
The jacket was designed to fit loosely, so it runs almost one size large on purpose to allow extra room for all of the reasons so far described.
I first ordered an XL for a 44" chest but it fit more like an XXL. The size large shown here still has plenty of room and it fits loosely on the model, who is larger than me. The sleeves are also a bit longer than expected for this size.
The Adventure jacket includes two lined hand cargo pockets, located towards the bottom on the front of the jacket. Each of these also has a separate lined zippered pocket on the outside.
These pockets are covered by flaps that secure with hook-and-loop.
The left upper chest has a vertically-oriented lined pocket covered by a water-resistant zipper. This pocket can be used to hold a wallet or other gear.
The large rear pocket stores the wind- and water-resistant liner. In addition to the clear ID pocket on the left sleeve cuff, the right sleeve has a small zipper-covered pocket at the cuff that can be used to hold spare change, keys or other small items.
The jacket includes removable Knox elbow and shoulder padding protectors, which aren't quite as shaped as the protectors designed for racing, but they're also not as constricting. The jacket has a pocket for a back protector or padding but I'm not sure which version of the Knox protectors sold by British Motorcycle Gear will fit.
The Adventure jacket has a short attachment zipper in the rear that can be used for the matching BMG Adventure pants.
The British Motorcycle Gear Adventure jacket is a comfortable and good-looking solution for serious Adventure Touring and exploring in warmer weather. It's also a good alternative for anyone not fond of mesh.
The jacket has many unique features, including the very useful built-in hydration pack.
The Adventure jacket is also a very good value, costing only about half of some of the other "big name" Adventure Touring-inspired motorcycle gear which have fewer features.
wBW Review: British Motorcycle Gear BMG Adventure Jacket
|Manufacturer: British Motorcycle Gear||List Price (2010): $279.00|
|Colors: Blue/Stone/Black. Orange/Stone/Black.||Made In: China|
|Sizes: S-2XL||Review Date: June 2010|