The Speed and Strength Coast is Clear jacket
has a surprise up its sleeve -- literally! Match
it with a pair of Coast is Clear pants for a do-it-all
outfit at a bargain-basement price.
There must be a zillion motorcycle apparel brand names,
all competing with each other and all looking to pry
some dollars out of your wallet. In fact, there are
so many brands that it's difficult to figure out
what's what, who's who, what works and what doesn't --
much less who will get that all-important buck.
Factor in the economic
conditions experienced over the last couple of years and who would
think that it's time for -- you guessed it -- yet one more
Actually, this isn't even fresh news at this point,
because the quirkily-named "Speed and Strength" brand,
owned by motorcycle products distributor Tucker Rocky,
kicked off in 2008 and started to build momentum in
2009. So far, the Speed and Strength brand strategy appears to be
aimed at taking
a slice out of the Icon/Scorpion demographic but at a
lower price point.
They may be on to something by competing in that
Icon and Scorpion have pretty much owned it; they were probably the first to recognize that the
underground street/stunt scene had "legs". Since motorcycling has always
been known for its rebel streak (and stunt riding on
public roads is about as
two-wheeled rebellious as one can get), there's actually
a precedent for the Speed and Strength marketing
Many companies have cashed in on the Motorcycle
+ Rebel = Profit formula over the years, including the Grandaddy of them all, Harley-Davidson. In fact,
clothing and accessories have been part of the
Harley persona since Day One; indeed, accessory sales
have actually saved the company from
bankruptcy at least once in its history. So why
not one more?
wBW Flash Slideshow:
Speed and Strength Coast is Clear Jacket Details
The Speed and Strength Coast is
Cashing in on the rebel persona is one thing; having the product
to back it up is another.
Saddled with a six-syllable name (Where do they
come up with this stuff?), the Speed and Strength Coast
is Clear jacket is best
characterized as an all-arounder. It works on
the street, for touring and -- why not? -- even some
But there are many other jackets that could be described
the same and there's no doubt about it -- it's very
difficult to parse the details for any of them to
determine what works and what doesn't. So what's
the difference here?
comes down to styling and price. You can pay a lot
more for a similar jacket from one of the fancy brands,
and to a certain extent, they all look about the same. You'll never know
which one offers the best protection
or longevity and, unfortunately, there is no real
concrete proof one way or the other anyway, so why not save a
And that's the "bottom line", in more ways than one.
In the end, price is a big draw for this jacket when
compared to others. The Coast is Clear
jacket has a list price of
$199.95, which, as it turns out, is a very good bargain when you
see what those two Bennies will get you.
Coast is Clear Jacket Features
The Coast is Clear jacket shell is made from the typical 600 denier
polyester fabric found in many textile motorcycle
garments (denier is a measurement of weight per
unit length of a fiber, so a smaller number means a
finer weave). The jacket comes in the white and
black shown here or your choice of high-visibility
orange or yellow. Oh, and there's an all-black
version too, but why chose it when you can have the
added safety factor of bright colors for free?
Thus, we give kudos right away to Speed and Strength
for making the jacket available in nice, safe colors.
We've received many emails from readers asking where
they can find a less expensive
jacket in a high-viz color, and now you know.
The styling of the Coast is Clear jacket is taken
directly from the
School of Modern Motorcycling, Circa 2010,
and it has just enough flair without being too "out
The construction and quality is actually very good, especially
for this kind of money. The two Speed and Strength
jackets and two pairs of pants we are reviewing
have no immediately recognizable quality
The only semi-minor concern I have is about the type
of material used for the stitching. It appears to be nylon or polyester thread,
which is good, but the double rows of stitches are
mostly top-mounted and they are exposed, rather than
protected with folded or blind seams.
admittedly is a much easier and less expensive method
for constructing a garment, and this
is apparently where some of the cost-cutting is most
readily noticed. But again, who really knows exactly how much
of an issue this might be when it comes to protection?
"You pays your money and you takes your chances", goes
the old saw.
Speed and Strength Coast is Clear jacket with sleeves attached (L) and
The Coast is Clear jacket also features a separately removable
water-resistant liner and vest insulating liner.
The unbranded zippers are designed to allow the jacket
shell to be worn with both liners or separately with either liner, and
this is a real plus -- and definitely unexpected at this
I believe Rev'it was the first to start using this
"four-way" liner system in jackets that are priced nearly
two times the cost of the Coast is Clear, so
let's call this trickle-down technology. What are
the "four ways"? Wearing the shell by itself; the shell with both liners;
the shell with
the insulating liner only or the shell with water-resistant liner.
And the jacket has another surprise up its sleeve
(an obvious pun!): The other very interesting
(and unique) Coast is Clear jacket feature is its removable sleeves.
The sleeves zip off the jacket shell just above the elbows, exposing
a thick-looking silver mesh underneath.
Ingenious actually, and this definitely helps with ventilation, although it
would have been nice if there were panels on the chest
that did the same. Nevertheless, between the
four-way liner system and the removable sleeves, this
jacket has a lot of features for
Removing the outer sleeve section is easily done by
unzipping the zipper that is hidden underneath a flap of
material just above the elbow. The inner mesh
sleeve is permanently attached to the jacket shell and
one thing to note is that this inner sleeve does not
attach to the removable sleeve at the cuff.
The inner mesh sleeve has a small hook-and-loop tab
for cuff diameter adjustment, while the outer sleeve has
only a zipper that allows access to the inner cuff.
This system doesn't provide a lot of adjustment in the
sleeve cuff; other than the small range of adjustment on
the mesh cuff, you're out of luck if you need to tighten
it up. However, both cuffs are tapered down from
the elbows to the cuff end, so it wasn't as much of a
bother as it might seem.
By the way, the sleeves can be stored in the
water-resistant pocket at the lower rear section of the
Jacket can be mixed and matched with the water- and
wind-resistant liner and insulating vest.
There's not a lot of detailed information at all on the
website that Tucker Rocky set up for the Speed and
Strength brand, and the retailers seem to have simply
copied the text from that, so we don't have many
technical specs to give you.
The Coast is Clear liner is claimed "100% waterproof" but, as we've
discussed in previous reviews, the word "waterproof" is
bandied about way too loosely, so we don't even use the
term. Water-resistant is more like it because very
few materials are truly "waterproof", and our
feeling is that if you're
going to claim so, then prove it.
The liner label says "100% Polyester" and it feels
like your basic windbreaker-type material. The
seams are not taped or heat sealed, but they are at
least doubled over before they were stitched. In
casual riding during evaluation, no leaks were detected
but this is probably not a jacket that you'll be wearing
whilst riding in a 6-hour downpour.
But then again, what jacket is? If you truly
want or need waterproof, buy a cheap rain suit and keep
it handy. If you're out in a storm tht is strong enough
to push water through the shell, through the
water-resistant liner, through the insulating vest,
through your clothes and on to your skin, then it's time
to park it. Or, you could spend two to four times
as much on one of those high-end brands...
The liner also does a good job at blocking the wind,
as we so noted in our variable Spring weather that can
go from the low 50's in the morning to mid-80's by
The Coast is Clear jacket has a typical waffle-pattern
insulating vest which, as I mentioned, can be zipped in to
the jacket with or without the water-resistant liner.
It also does a decent job of keeping in the warmth and
wearing the jacket both liners works very nicely.
I'd estimate it should be comfortable down to the upper
40's or perhaps even lower.
Wearing the vest only with the jacket shell is a nice
solution for cool mornings or evenings, and actually
having it as a vest only with no sleeves works out
better for this because it's much easier to insert or
remove. It attaches with a zipper on either side
of the jacket opening, using the same zipper that can
attach the water-resistant liner. If the
water-resistant liner is inserted, then the vest zips to
a separate pair of zippers inside that.
The only downside of the vest is that it attaches to
the jacket with the zippers on either side and with a
snap and loop at the neck, so the body of the vest pulls
out of the jacket when I pull my arms out of the jacket
sleeves. It's not a big deal, but means that the
vest has to be stuffed back in to the shell to locate the arm holes
correctly when I put the jacket back on.
And the Liner Notes... The liner has a dual-use flap at the front to
protect the zipper from wind and rain. It has a
slightly unusual mode of operation, because the right
side of the insulating liner has an attached flap that
folds over and attaches to hook-and-loop on that side.
But when full wind and water protection for the
zipper is needed, the flap on the right is unfolded and
pulled off the hook-and-loop and then the flap on the
left-hand side of the liner can be placed over the liner
zipper and attached to the hook-and-loop on the right.
It's complicated to describe, but it works fine and
offers a different option for the rider.
The main zipper on the jacket shell has a wind flap
underneath that lies flat in back of the zipper when the
jacket is closed, so the combination of that flap and
the manually operated flap of the liner combine to
protect against wind and water. Again, it's a
slightly different system than we've seen on other
jackets, and we're not sure why they did it this way,
but it works.
Coast is Clear Jacket Venting
The venting system on the Coast is Clear jacket is
pretty simple, consisting of a pair of vertical
water-resistant-type (unbranded) zippers in the front.
These serve a dual purpose as pockets also.
The vents/pockets are lined with mesh rather than a
solid polyester material, so this does allow any air
that enters to pass right through to the rider.
However, with the zipper opened, the opening doesn't
spread very wide, so not all that much air flows in.
A large horizontal water-resistant-type zipper across
the back can also be opened, which does seem to exhaust
air through the low-pressure region in the rear.
Together, the front and rear vents are about adequate,
but not extraordinary.
Removing the sleeve portion on the shell helps and when
the jacket is worn this way (without the water-resistant
liner, of course), it definitely flows more air than a
jacket without this feature. Perhaps if they would
have added something like removable side panels under
the arms (the light gray fabric seen in the photos), I
think they'd have an even better system.
Another point in its favor is the jacket shell itself,
which does not have a bonded wind-resistant liner
inside. If the jacket shell is held up to a light
source, it appears translucent rather than opaque.
This allows air to pass right through the shell fabric,
which noticeably improves ventilation, especially when
riding a motorcycle without a windscreen.
So the bottom line here is that at this price point, the
ventilation features are more than expected and when all
of the hatches are opened for business, including the
sleeves, and everything is taken into consideration, I'd
say that overall the ventilation is better than average
for this type of jacket.
Factor in the white color, which should help reflect
some rays, and the Coast is Clear may be about as close
as you're likely to get to mesh jacket ventilation in a
non-mesh form factor.
By the way, the white can get dirty at first, with
little marks here and there quickly appearing. But
it's most noticeable at first only because there will be
a high contrast between the pure white and the dirt when
the jacket is new. As it gets broken in, and more
and more smudges appear, the overall contrast goes down
and the dirt becomes less noticeable only because it
doesn't stand out as much. Kind of weird, but it
seems to work.
Sleeve adjuster at the elbow protector slides through
the outer sleeve and has three snaps.
Zippers and Closures
All of the zippers used on the Coast is Clear jacket are
unbranded, but they seem like good quality zippers, made
from nylon and they are all of the tooth type with no
The main zipper and the liner zippers work well and no
problems at all; the vent zippers use a smaller size of
teeth and they do feel slightly stiff, although there
are no problems to report.
The main zipper has a pull tab with a hard rubber cover.
It would probably have been better if the rubber was
softer, because this tab sticks out from the bottom of
the jacket and can rub against the fuel tank, but so far
hasn't been a problem.
The collar tab on the Coast is Clear jacket (and the
Hell 'N Back jacket also) has only a single metal snap,
with no adjustment. The "King Star" brand snap
looks and feels strong and it's covered by the fabric of
the collar tab, all on the positive side, but having no
adjustment is a negative, although it is big enough to
fit my 17.5" neck.
The Coast is Clear jacket has minimal reflectivity but is available in three high-visibility colors.
Illustrated in the photo above, the Coast is Clear has
minimal reflectivity but the white color does help.
The single strip in the rear that can be seen reflecting
the flash is actually made from the black reflective
material sometimes used to blend in with the jacket
details. These never seem to be as reflective as
the best quality 3M Scotchlite type.
Jacket Sizing and Sleeve and Waist Adjusters
One good thing about motorcycle clothing designed for
riders on the left side of the Atlantic is that the
sizing is more, shall we say, generous? Or
In fact, the size large Coast is Clear jacket shown
here, which should be correct for my normal size, is
probably closer to an XL when worn with no adjusters
tightened but even with the vest and liner inserted.
The body of the jacket and the sleeves are plenty roomy,
and I think I might even fit into a size M, which would
be a first for me. Remove the vest and the liner
and the jacket size feels even roomier. Note that
this generous sizing is also the case with the
Speed and Strength
pants we reviewed, and we'd suggest that the
designers re-think their sizing strategy.
The model in the photos is generally a size larger than
me and you can see that the jacket certainly isn't too
snug on him; in fact, the sizing is probably closer to accurate
around his mid-section. Note that Speed and
Strength leather jackets are listed in numerical U.S.
men's sizes, while the textile jackets are listed in
letter sizes (e.g., S, M, L, etc.).
But you can also see in the photos that the arms appear
to be slightly loose,
although the single snap sleeve adjuster is on its
widest setting in the photos. Tightening up the
adjuster to its one and only notch (on the mesh sleeve)
brings the elbow padding closer to the arm and does not
affect the upper sleeve width. With the sleeves
on, the elastic adjuster can be threaded through a slit
in the sleeve and then allows up to a three-snap
adjustment, which is good.
Checking the Speed and Strength size charts indicates an
unusually large size range listed for their size L
textile jackets of 42-45. We think that the
correct range for this
size L jacket should be more like 44-45; possibly even 46
with the liners removed. Remember that motorcycle
jackets and pants should fit tighter than street
clothes, although most people in the U.S. at least seem
to wear motorcycle clothing too loose.
By the way, the Coast is Clear jacket is available in an
expanded size range of S to 4XL, although the 4XL is
available in black only.
The waist adjusters on the jacket are very nice though;
they attach to a section of elastic that is sewn into
the back of the jacket. So the waist can be
cinched up nice and snug, although it doesn't quite make
up for the slight oversize indicated on the rest of the
Anyway, something to keep in mind, this may be a jacket
that you'll need to try before you buy because the
sizing may be larger than you think. We don't have
access to other sizes in the range so it's uncertain if
the larger-than-expected sizing runs true across all
Removable sleeves uncover mesh for better ventilation.
The cuffs on the Coast is Clear jacket are different
than other jackets -- they do not have adjusters.
The cuffs only have a small dart of elastic fabric at
the end of the slightly tapered sleeves. There is
also a vertical zipper on each sleeve, but it does
nothing to tighten the sleeve cuff.
The mesh sleeve does have a very small piece of
hook-and-loop to snug up the cuff. It has a small
range of adjustment and seems designed to make sure the
mesh sleeve is tight enough for the shell sleeve to fit
over it when installed.
The arms are listed 35.5" and without a good adjustment
system, they seem to hang longer than they should but I
am able to stuff them into the glove gauntlets as long
as the gauntlet is adequately roomy. The jacket
actually works better with shorter gloves that can be
stuffed up under the sleeve cuff.
Sleeve and waist adjusters on the Coast is Clear jacket.
The Coast is Clear jacket actually has a generous assortment
of pockets, with the usual dual lined hand pockets in
front covered with the same type of water-resistant
zippers used in the upper chest vents, which are a
combination vent (they're meshed lined) and
pocket. So this makes a total of four pockets in
front, with two of those pockets doubling as vents.
The jacket has a wallet pocket sealed by a coil zipper
and located on the inside of the left placket.
This pocket is also lined and is handy for storing said
wallet or cell phone.
At the rear is a deep pocket, covered by the
water-resistant zipper, which can be used to store the
sleeve arms when they're removed and if it's really
stuffed, will also fit the two liners (I tried it),
although it looks like a bustle when all of this is
Safety and Protection The Coast is Clear jacket features CE-approved
elbow and shoulder protectors, which feel well shaped
and are integrated into the design.
The jacket also has a larger than normal back pad
included, which actually feels pretty sturdy -- or at
least firmer than most of the wimpy padding that is
supplied in jackets at this price range. Also, all
of the protectors are removable.
The elbows and shoulders have no added sections of
abrasive-resistant material on the outside of the shell, as far as I can tell; just
the overlapping sections of the 600 denier fabric that
can be seen as the styling details in the photos.
The mesh under the sleeves feels thick and has a thin
band of the black textile around where the elbow
protector is located, but no other abrasion-resistant
Waist adjuster has a large range and the zipper at the hem can be opened for more room when sitting.
Miscellaneous Features The jacket has an 8" attachment zipper in the
rear that attaches to the matching Coast is Clear and
other Speed and Strength pants.
The jacket also has vertical zippers on either side that
open up the hem to allow a wider bottom which helps when
sitting on a touring bike.
The collar and cuffs are lined with a soft micro-fleece
material and are comfortable, although the collar has
only the single snap and is non-adjustable.
Riding With the Coast is Clear Jacket
The jacket feels comfortable when riding in either an
upright position (as on the K1100LT or Multistrada) or
slightly leaned over (R1100RS or GT1000). The
temperatures during our evaluation period with the Speed
and Strength clothing have ranged from cool for this
time of year to extremely hot.
While neither the Coast is Clear or Hell 'N Back jackets
are our first choice for very hot weather, they actually
work pretty well in a wide range of temperatures.
With the outer sleeves removed and the liners stowed
away, both jackets have more ventilation than just about
anything I can think of outside of full mesh.
The removable sleeve system that uncovers the heavy mesh
underneath is, I think, a unique idea that works.
When the rear vent is open, it forms a ventilation
system that feels like it pulls the air up through the
sleeves and out the back. The front pocket/vents
aren't quite as successful, only because there's nothing
to hold them open, so depending upon the riding
position, the pocket shape may change, either letting in
more or less air.
But overall, I think the system works very well and both
of these jackets have a lot of unique and useful
features. The Coast is Clear jacket is $100.00
less expensive than the Hell 'N Back jacket, but may be
worth it, as you will see in Bill's
The Hell 'N Back jacket feels like it uses some
heavier-weight materials, along with a better
water-resistant zipper system, and the water-resistant
liner uses what appears to be (and is claimed to be)
breathable material of higher quality than is used in
the liner in the Coast is Clear jacket.
Coast is Clear vs. Hell 'N
Back Jacket Differences
hydration bladder and a pass-through and
clip for the hydration hose.
List price is
$299.95 ($349.95 for the ST with
insulating vest and longer length).
Conclusion The Speed and Strength Coast is Clear jacket may not
have as many high-tech add-ons, styling features or
extra abrasion resistant panels as some of the more
expensive jackets, but for the price, this jacket is
loaded with goodies and a few surprises, such as the
four-way liner capability and removable sleeves -- along
with the high-visibility color choices -- make it an