The newly revised Firstgear Jaunt T2 jacket could very well be the best 3/4-length motorcycle jacket bargain going today.
Everyone who has seen it has been impressed, because there's a lot here for not a lot of money.
In fact, it pretty much beats all of our old favorite "cheap" jackets.
The Jaunt T2 has all of the typical 3/4-length jacket features you'd expect, including four big cargo pockets and plenty of vents.
It's also more-or-less waterproof (more rather than less).
Some of the surprise features include the same type of collar adjuster found on jackets costing much, much more and and high-rent brass snaps instead of plastic.
Big sleeve and waist adjusters help custom-fit the size and a super-warm liner with a big, long "beaver tail" make this a winner for winter too.
The only hitch? The sizing is way off. It runs big -- real big. More on that below.
No doubt about it, the Firstgear Jaunt T2 is a winner. You get a lot of jacket for the money with this one...
I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Firstgear clothing, even though the brand has been bounced around the block more than once and has, at various times, even been mistreated by various owners.
But Tucker Rocky, the huge U.S. moto-distributor and current Firstgear brand owner, has really done a bang-up job making it work.
One example is the Firstgear TPG lineup, including the Firstgear Rainier TPG 3/4-length jacket (review), the matching Rainier Firstgear Escape Pants (review) and the Firstgear Teton TPG short jacket (review) are all excellent pieces of kit that match the features of many upper crust brands (a new TPG lineup is expected soon; the previous TPG jackets have been sold out).
Version 1.0 of the Firstgear Jaunt jacket (review) was passable but not all that special. The Jaunt suffered from looking like a variation of the same generic 3/4-length jacket design available from dozens of different nameless motorcycle clothing companies.
Well, Firstgear has definitely upped its game on "Version 2.0" of the Jaunt jacket, now called the Jaunt T2. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying it's the equivalent of thousand-buck Rev'it or Rukka gear by any means. Or even the equivalent of the Firstgear TPG Rainier.
But what I can say is that you can search high and you can search low and you will probably not find a better 3/4-length jacket for 180 bucks.
Yes, you can find 'em cheaper, no doubt about that. And you can spend a lot more...no doubt about that, either. But the Jaunt T2 hits the sweet spot. Yeah, there are a few nits -- like you're not getting a Gore-Tex membrane here or anything like it. But, since a Gore-Tex membrane alone probably costs more than the entire Jaunt T2 jacket, that's understandable.
So what's so great about this jacket? Well, let's take a closer look...
If there's an upside to the down economy, it's that the motorcycle clothing manufacturers have to dig deeper to come up with better ideas and more features at lower prices. Nothing wrong with that, eh?
That's my theory, anyway, on the Jaunt T2. Firstgear had two generations of TPG gear, their high-end waterproof jackets that pretty much matched the top-end stuff. They did it at a slightly lower price, but 500 bucks is still more than a lot of riders will want to pay for a jacket, bad economy or no.
At the lower end is Tourmaster but, as you can read in some of the owner comments in the webBikeWorld Tourmaster reviews, not everyone's happy with the quality. Probably the closest competitor to the Jaunt T2 is the Tourmaster Transition Series 3 (review), but having worn both, I think the Firstgear nicks it on quality (although I'll be interested to learn more from webBikeWorld readers about their experiences) and the details, which seem a cut above.
In my mind, the Firstgear brand has always been a step above Tourmaster in terms of quality anyway. I like Tourmaster apparel, but for the most part, it seems built to a price.
For example, the Jaunt T2 jacket shell fabric (600 denier, Cordura-type clone) feels slightly heftier than I remember on the Transition Series 3.
The stitching on the Jaunt T2 isn't perfect by any means; in fact, a few of the edges look a bit ragged. But it seems to be OK where it counts and the extra abrasion protection areas on the elbows and shoulders are double-stitched and the fabric feels thick and strong, with a denser weave than the jacket shell fabric.
There is a lot of single-row, exposed stitching on the jacket, mostly where the cut panels fit together. This is what you (don't) pay for when you're spending what amounts to a modest down payment on a high-end jacket. But it still seems of higher quality on the Jaunt T2 than it does on the Tourmaster jacket(s), and it's certainly a lot better than you'll find on the really cheap jackets, like the Akito Desert Jacket (review).
Not much to say about Jaunt T2 styling -- it is what it is and everyone's taste is different. The Jaunt T2 more or less looks like your typical everday 3/4-length jacket. Nothing wrong with that; it has a vague Adventure-Touring look but you're not going to get couture styling from Milano at this price point.
It does come in black, red, blue and a high-visibility yellow in addition to the silver shown here.
Speaking of styling: one very nice and much appreciate feature is the absence of Firstgear branding on this jacket. That alone will attract many customers, surely.
There is one very small "Firstgear" embossed logo on the lower left, on the pocket. We took a close-up photo of the logo for the banner at the top of the page and you can just see it in the photo below. No ugly branding across the back or on the arms or pockets -- thanks Firstgear! It's like a breath of fresh air for those who don't want to look like a walking billboard.
One important issue to consider with the Jaunt T2 jacket is the sizing. The Editor originally ordered a size large, the standard size that fits most of the webBikeWorld evaluators. This was when the Jaunt T2 was just entering the retail stores, so no one had experience with the sizing.
As it turned out, the size large was definitely too big -- it fit like an XL at least. We exchanged it for a medium, a size that is almost never ordered for a webBikeWorld review, and that's what you see here. The too-big sizing has been confirmed by MotorcycleGear.com, where we bought the jacket.
In fact, if you look at the model in our photos, you can see that even the size M may be a bit too big. He barely fits into a size L and his usual size is an XL, thus the only conclusion is that the current production run of Jaunt T2 jackets runs at least 1 to 1.5 sizes big.
Order yours accordingly and note that it's possible that Firstgear will change the labeling or sizing during the production run, so our findings may not hold over time. Confusing, yes, but nothing we can do about it at this point.
Fortunately, the Jaunt T2 has an ample array of adjustments. The waist adjusters are easy to use and they run from behind the waist, part way around the back, to the center of the jacket. It's easy to pull the straps once the jacket is on and cinch in the waist.
Each sleeve has two large adjusters, one at the center of the forearm and one at the center of the biceps. These also help customize the fit. A nice (and subtle) touch is that the "hook" part of the hook-and-loop covers the entire strap on all of the adjusters (waist and arm), which allow the adjuster strap to hold flat.
This is unlike some of the other inexpensive jackets we've reviewed, where there isn't enough hook-and-loop so the strap ends hang out in the air, looking ridiculous (or worse, there isn't enough length for proper adjustment).
At this price, you won't be getting a Gore-Tex or other brand-name breathable membrane. Firstgear calls their system the "Drop-Z" liner. It's a permanently attached lining inside the shell and backed on the inside by your typical mesh liner, also permanently attached.
The Drop-Z liner is claimed waterproof and breathable. Thus, this is the type of jacket where the outer shell will become wet in heavy rain but the internal liner is designed to prevent the water from reaching the rider. In fact, I rode with it for a short distance (about 16 km) in heavy rain and it worked; I did not get wet. The outer shell shed the water at first but got soaked after a while, so I hung the jacket in the garage and it was dry the next day.
Like many other lower-price jackets, if you want true 100%, all-weather water resistance, you should probably carry a nice waterproof shell, like the excellent Tourmaster Sentinel (review). It fits easily in a tank bag and it solves the waterproof problem and will keep the Jaunt T2 shell dry.
But for anything other than riding several hours in a big storm, you should be fine with the built-in Jaunt T2 protection.
Another difference in the Jaunt T2 jacket is the insulating liner, which feels thicker and more substantial than the thinly padded liners used by the competition. It gives the jacket some extra bulk, but the reward is excellent warmth and it's just the time of year when that is most appreciated.
The liner attaches with a single snap at the back of the neck, then small gauge YKK-branded zippers on the inside of the center placket, then with a single snap at each cuff. I typically leave the sleeve snaps undone so I can slip the liner in and out faster, although I then have to remember to grab the liner cuff with my fingers before removing the jacket, or the liner sleeve will turn inside-out.
The liner sleeves feature a nice elastic cuff on the end, which blocks any breeze that might find its way up the sleeve. The liner feels nicely padded and, like I said, it's warm.
The disadvantage is that the thicker lining, combined with the oversized jacket shell, means the Jaunt T2 gains even more size when the liner is removed. Expect 1-2 size range difference once the liner is removed. On the other hand, my feeling is that this jacket will be used mostly in winter and cooler weather, so the liner will remain most of the time.
More subtle features that are also very welcome can be found throughout the Jaunt T2 jacket. The main front zipper is a hefty YKK nylon-tooth type (less expensive jackets often use cheaper, unbranded zippers) with a surprise: double locking runners. Double runners are a nice feature, and a locking runner is very nice because it prevents the zipper pull from sliding down unexpectedly.
So the Jaunt T2 can be opened from the bottom up for, say, a bio break or to get something out of your pants pocket. The top zipper pull (which has a very nice nylon web rope pull) can be lowered to let some fresh air in at the neck, or the bottom pull can be raised for sitting on a wider seat or to access the pockets underneath. Nice features and unusual for a sub-$200 jacket.
The front placket has brass snaps with a "SENS" brand. I couldn't find any information on this company but the snaps have a quality appearance and feel. Yet another subtle feature is that the snaps are covered on the top not with the typical rubber button, but underneath the fabric of the front of the jacket. This gives the front of the jacket a streamlined look and 100% prevents any tank scratches.
That is, all except for the very bottom snap, which is covered in rubber (not sure why they didn't hide this one also).
Take another look at the photos of the front of the jacket above and notice that there are a minimum number of visible snaps or buttons down the front -- this compliments the unbranded look of the jacket which, now that I'm thinking about it, defines the styling.
OK, here's one more: the neck uses a higher-grade adjustable snap assembly, similar to what I first encountered on Rev'it jackets a few years ago. This is much nicer than the typical slip of hook-and-loop you usually get on the collar of an inexpensive jacket.
The sleeves have a nice black edging at the end, which at least gives the cuffs a finished look. The sleeve end closes with a simple piece of hook-and-loop, and this one isn't quite as nice as the rest, because the attached section on the sleeve cuff could stand to be about double the length.
But, the construction of the sleeves has a narrow dart and the cuffs can be cinched up pretty tight, thanks to the elastic cuff on the liner, which keeps it out of the way and helps to slim down the sleeve end.
The standard array of pockets are here, with four big cargo pockets in the front that are separately lined. They have large fold-over flaps and secure with simple hook-and-loop, full length across the top.
The bottom cargo pockets do not have side entry "hand warmer" ports, but who uses those anyway? They just make construction more complicated, so some money was saved by not including them. Also, there are no waterproof zippers underneath the pocket flaps, but they're not really needed...and again, that adds cost.
A semi-hidden rear cargo compartment is accessed through a vertical zipper on the right side in the back. It runs the full length of the rear of the jacket through the single entry point. (Corrected from original, which reported no rear storage pocket).
There's a zipper wallet pocket on the inside of the left placket, which is a feature I really like to see on every motorcycle jacket. The insulating liner has a small cell phone pocket down on the lower left-hand side and a simple sewn-on pocket on the right. These are matched on the inside of the jacket shell but I rarely use either of them.
The jacket has CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows, of the semi-hard variety. It doesn't have a hard outer shell but feels fairly substantial. The outer part of the shell at the shoulders and elbows is covered in the added thick abrasion-resistant fabric I mentioned earlier.
There's a very thin back pad that's virtually useless, as these things usually are, but it's removable and could be replaced by a decent back protector.
Or, remove the armor altogether and wear a very comfortable Forcefield Pro Shirt (review) instead, which has loads of built-in Level 2 armor and a nice back pad. Actually, wearing it fills up some of the extra bulk sizing from the Jaunt T2 jacket shell and you'll probably have much better overall protection.
The Jaunt T2 has a nice array of reflective strips built in around the front, sides and rear, as you can see in the photos above. Going with the "stealth" unbranded look of the jacket, the reflective strips blend into the background -- until light hits them, of course. The strips show as dark gray during the day but pop at night, as you can see.
The jacket also features an interesting selection of vents. One of the problems with a jacket having a built-in waterproof liner (i.e., non-removable) is figuring out a way to move air through the water barrier.
On the Jaunt T2, the front vertical vents don't really do much, because they don't really stay open and in any case, the air moves over the outside of the interior water-resistant barrier.
But the shoulder vents and arm vents have water-resistant zippers and when they're opened, the air can flow through the water-resistant liner. The arm vents again don't seem to do all that much because the recessed zippers mean that the vent opening doesn't stay open.
But the fabric over the shoulder vent can be secured back with a strip of hook-and-loop and it forms a sort-of an air scoop to bring in air. I think these are the most successful vents on the jacket, but note that there are no matching vent openings in the insulating liner, so the air is really only felt with the liner removed.
The upper back has a vertical vent on either side, also using water-resistant zippers, but these can't be secured open either, although the low pressure in the back does help pull some air through and out.
Bottom line here is that like most 3/4-length jackets, there's a big compromise between ventilation and water-resistance. The Jaunt T2 at least has more vents than are typically found on this type of jacket, so this is more of a Fall/Winter/Spring jacket than a summer jacket. But you knew that just by looking at it, right?
|The wBW Opinionator: Firstgear Jaunt T2 Jacket|
The Firstgear Jaunt T2 jacket seems like a real bargain, more-or-less bridging the gap between less expensive 3/4-length jackets of questionable heritage and those $450.00+ jackets that not everyone can afford.
The Firstgear name counts for something, as the brand has developed a reputation for higher-quality products that are nicely designed with real motorcycle riders in mind. You get the feeling that someone who rides helped design this jacket, unlike the cheaper competition that usually seems like it wasn't.
There are a few extra features that are unexpected at this price, including the adjustable collar, quality brass hidden snaps, the double locking runner on the main YKK zipper and the extra-thick insulating liner.
Firstgear better hope their new 2013 lineup of TPG gear has a very defined value equation, because it's hard to beat the Jaunt T2 for the price -- you can buy one for $179.96 w/Free $10.00 Gift Card at MotorcycleGear.com, the webBikeWorld affiliate!
wBW Product Review: Firstgear Jaunt T2 Jacket
|Manufacturer: Firstgear||List Price: $199.95
Street Price: $179.96 w/Free $10.00 Gift Card!
|Colors: DayGlo Yellow, Black, Red, Blue and Silver, all with Black accents.||Made In: Vietnam.|
|Sizes: S to 3XL. Tall sizes available.||Star Rating (1-5):|
|Review Date: November 2012|
From "J.B." (March 2013): "I've been looking for a 3/4 jacket that comes in tall sizes in colors other than black or neon, and was happy to read this review.
Based on the sizing info here, I hesitantly ordered a red Medium Tall, worried I'd be sending it back for a large as I regularly wear. The folks at Motorcyclegear.com got it to me via US Military mail in less than two weeks, even discounted the shipping charge (Thanks!) and yesterday I finally got to try it on the bike. Spring is a bit late here in Germany.
My old jacket is an off-brand XL branded as "Texsport" I got discounted at a show, but sure looks like it came from the same factory as a Firstgear. That's the only biking jacket I've owned, so my only point of comparison.
I had to get an XL to get the sleeves long enough for my 36" arms, and had to take in the belt to make it fit my 34" waist. Standing in my living room, the Jaunt medium feels like it's a bit tight, but on the bike it fits just right. It's just that I'm used to an XL.
The collar is a bit higher than my old jacket, which I like in front but not sure is so good in back. We'll see after a few longer days. I also wish the Jaunt had zippered sleeves instead of just Velcro. But I was out in upper 30's weather and with the liner in and all closed up, riding behind a windscreen on my V-Strom, was OK for 30-45 minutes between stops.
I like the snaps for the zipper cover, probably longer lasting than Velcro. The cut on the bottom is great, doesn't funnel air up my belly like the old one did, and stays put around the sides and back.
There are spots here and there where you can tell they've gone with lower price options to keep the price low. The belt loops are thinner plastic than I'm used to, but if they hold up that's OK with me. It seems to be just what I've been looking for, and at under $200 I'm satisfied."
From "O." (November 2012): "I bought this jacket recently and returned it after wearing it once. First of all, the collar is too high. It was really difficult to snap extra helmet chinstrap into place on my Scorpion 700. Extremely difficult. It also interfered slightly with my head movement. You can see in the pics in your review it's up to the guy's jaw.
Second of all, the jacket flap has snaps, not Velcro. In a bulky jacket like this it's a pain to mess with snaps, and for commuters like me in a hurry to get to work it takes extra time.
The styling is a little messed up too. The black belt in the middle goes around your gut and if you have a little extra there from the side on the bike you look a lot like Santa Claus when sitting on the bike. As far as the fit goes it felt bulky and too big in some places while in others it felt smaller-it just wasn't comfortable.
I replaced it with a Tourmaster Transition 3 (review), which is the answer to every single problem I mention. Velcro flap, shorter collar, waste straps same color as jacket, not black. Felt comfortable from the minute I put it on. I bought both in Hi-Viz yellow and the colors were exactly the same. I think the Jaunt is another case of a manufacturer trying to do too much with a product and coming up short in some basic areas."