Summary 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.
Background 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 brand?
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
They may be on to something by competing in that particular
market. 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 strategy.
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?
Flash Slideshow: Speed and Strength Coast is Clear Jacket Details
The Speed and Strength Coast is Clear Jacket
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 adventure touring.
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?
It usually 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 few bucks?
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 there".
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
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.
This is 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 removed (R).
Removable Liners 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 price point.
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
Removable Sleeves 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
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 the money.
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.
Jacket can be mixed and matched with the water- and
wind-resistant liner and insulating vest.
Water-Resistant Liner 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 afternoon.
Insulating Liner 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
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
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
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
Sleeve adjuster at the elbow protector slides through
the outer sleeve and has three snaps.
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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 coil zippers.
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.
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 adequately roomy?
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
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 jacket body.
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 sizes.
Removable sleeves uncover mesh for better ventilation.
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Sleeve Cuffs 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.
Pockets 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 packed inside.
Safety and Protection The Coast is Clear jacket features CE-approved (claimed)
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
Hell 'N Back
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
bladder and a pass-through and clip for the
List price is $299.95
($349.95 for the ST with insulating vest and
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 excellent value.