Also: iXS Curtis Jacket Review
iXS is a new name to the U.S. motorcycle apparel scene.
The Swiss company traces its lineage all the way back to 1906 and U.S. operations started a couple of years ago.
We previewed the introduction of the iXS brand to the U.S. in this report from the 2014 AIMExpo show.
iXS is well-known to European webBikeWorld readers and the company offers a massive array of items.
That ranges from boots to gloves to jackets and pants to base "tech" layers, socks, back protectors, accessories and -- in Europe -- even helmets.
Their worldwide target market is just as broad, with products covering pretty much every segment and price point.
The Criton jacket is but one example; it sits right about in the middle of the iXS textile jacket range for the U.S.A., which runs from the $115.00 (list) Airmesh Evo jacket to the $775.00 Nemoy Gore-Tex Adventure jacket.
We picked the Criton because it's actually a very good value and it has features you'd only expect to find on much more expensive jackets.
In fact, it could be said that the iXS Criton jacket has everything you need for three-season riding (that's Fall, Winter and Spring) and nothing you don't.
For example, it includes CE certified shoulder and elbow protectors AND a CE Level 2 certified back protector insert!
That's something you won't get on some jackets costing 3x more!
The jacket shell is made from three different types of textiles, with generous overlays of 630D "DYNAX" on the elbows, forearms and shoulders.
And, of course, there is one more additional Criton perk: the availability of the ultra-high-visibility yellow/green color shown here.
This color shows as pure yellow on the iXS website but we have attempted to bring you something close to the true eye-popping hue in our photos.
It's pretty nigh impossible to capture the real impact with a digital camera, but we think you'll get the idea.
Overall, the iXS Criton jacket is a rugged and very well made three-season choice.
The iXS Criton jacket is a mid-range, 3/4-length jacket best suited for cooler and/or wet conditions.
As usual, we're curious about the "Criton" name. The only Criton we could find is (was) Criton of Heraclea, a sort of physician and financial officer (procurator) in classic Greece.
Where the connection with Criton the physician comes in (if it does) to the jacket escapes us though...
But you have to admit, the name "Criton" has a nice ring to it and sounds like a good one for this 3/4-length jacket, which also has an extended lower rear portion to prevent air or wind from flowing up the back.
The Criton jacket shell or outer part is made from three different types of textiles.
Most of the jacket shell is a heavyweight 500D (Denier, a measurement of textile weight). It's the real stuff -- a genuine Cordura exterior shell by Texland-Nexko (manufacturers of Cordura).
Included also are heavy-duty "basket weave" 630D DYNAX fabric overlays on the back of the forearms, elbows and shoulders for extra abrasion resistance.
These overlays are more extensive and cover more surface area than many other motorcycle jackets we have reviewed.
A third textile called "AIRGUARD" is used on the sides of the jacket along the body, under the arms and also in some areas of the rear. This is a "very light and tear-resistant yarn" made of polyamide.
The fibers are hollow, which are cut, spun and woven to provide insulating properties in winter and cooling properties in summer.
The combined use of these three different textiles add functionality to the Criton jacket while setting it apart from lower-end jacket types that use fewer custom textile types.
There are a lot of fabric panels and overlays that make up the Criton's external shell but the stitching and construction is excellent, with single and double stitching that is all very precisely aligned and patterned.
Most of the seams, especially in the impact areas, all appear to have rolled edges and/or overlaps to ensure strength.
Overall, the construction quality is more "high-end" than "mid-range" and the appearance also gives one a feeling of confidence in the jacket.
The Criton jacket is the "Z-liner" type, with a "Solto-Tex" membrane waterproof and breathable liner, attached permanently to the jacket shell as the middle part of a sandwich consisting of the Cordura outer shell and a poly mesh liner on the inside, against the rider's skin.
Solto-Tex is a trademark and brand of the Hostettler AG, the Swiss parent company of iXS.
Now do you start to see the connection?
Developing and manufacturing your own waterproof/breathable membrane is a good way to bring down costs, while selling said product in a variety of motorcycle, bicycle and outdoor clothing is a good way to promote it.
The Solto-Tex product is a "microporous polyurethane membrane" that is "breathable, water and windproof", according to iXS.
We've seen Z-Liner jackets before from REV'IT! and others and there are basically three different types and methods for making a motorcycle jacket water-resistant:
1. Water-resistant removable liner, can be coated polyurethane up to Gore-Tex membrane type.
2. Z-liner attached, anything from polyurethane to Gore-Tex.
3. Full Gore-Tex Pro Shell waterproof outer shell, like the expensive REV'IT! Dominator GTX jacket (review) that costs about 2.5 times more than the Criton.
Note that there is no "best" solution here. It depends on your needs and budget.
A removable liner has advantages (it can be removed) and disadvantages (it can be removed). The Z-liner is always in place but blocks the vents.
And even the high-end Gore-Tex Pro Shell solution has a big disadvantage: cost.
Since very few removable liner jackets also work well in hot weather (especially the 3/4-length types), the Z-liner system as employed in the Criton is actually an excellent solution for cool and wet weather -- Fall, Winter and Spring.
You're probably not going to want to wear a 3/4-length jacket in summer anyway and I'm sure iXS would be happy to sell you a mesh textile or leather jacket for warm weather.
And with the reasonable price of the Criton, you could buy another jacket for summer and still be ahead of the budget game.
Although the attached Z-liner prevents the use of vents that flow air directly through to the wearer, the Criton has more vents than expected.
These are designed to circulate air under the outer shell and over the membrane, which is necessary to transport moisture away from the rider's body.
Two vertical pockets are located on the chest, one on each side, that are lined with mesh and secured with zippers.
These aren't actually vents, but they're lined with the same type of mesh used for the rest of the vents on the jacket.
There are zipper vents on both upper arms measuring about 22 cm long. These are located just outboard of the upper arm snap adjusters.
Each lower arm has a 20 cm vent, covered with a water-resistant zipper with dual pulls. These vents can be opened from the top down or bottom up and the lower zipper pull is the locking type and has a rubberized cover.
The Criton jacket also has under-arm zippers -- surprisingly rare on any motorcycle jacket (and popularized on the Aerostich Darien jacket (review)).
These are approximately 26 cm long and the zipper is covered with an overlay fabric flap.
Two more zipper vents are located on either side of the upper back. The zippers on these are about 23 cm long and are also covered by a flap.
Unfortunately, these vents (or the pockets) can not be secured in an open position, so their potential for flowing air through is limited by the position of the wearer's body.
Sometimes a part of the vent will remain open and sometimes not, depending on position.
The bottom line here is that there is no direct air flowing through the Criton jacket that can be felt, but the Solto-Tex breathable membrane does seem to work well to transport moisture.
Thus, the Criton is really designed to be a three-season jacket and we would expect it to perform very well in cold weather, especially with its removable full-length thermal liner.
As a side note, the Criton jacket also includes a removable hood that attaches with a zipper hidden under jacket collar.
The hood is made from a thin stretch fabric and it has a Cordura-type face guard also that can be wrapped around the front of your mouth. It connects with hook-and-loop.
The hood can be worn under a helmet to add warmth, especially around the back and front of the neck.
When the hood is removed, the zipper is completely hidden under the jacket collar and a snap at the rear attaches the fold that hides the zipper.
The hood can be stored in a pocket or in the large pouch located at the lower rear of the Criton jacket.
The insulating quilted liner is the full-length type, covering the body and the full sleeve length.
It attaches to the inside of the jacket with a full-length, one-piece zipper around the inside in the front and with buttons located far enough above the wrist to allow the sleeve ends to taper into the glove gauntlets.
The insulating liner feels thicker than normal and although it isn't really designed to be worn as a separate outer garment, it has a full complement of internal pockets.
On the right side (inside) is a separate neoprene cell phone pocket measuring about 90 mm wide and 140 mm tall.
This pocket needs to be about 30% larger, because it doesn't fit a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition with a 5.5" screen (phone measures 75 mm by 155 mm overall).
The neoprene doesn't stretch far enough to squeeze the Motorola phone in either. Oh well...
There's a larger pocket above that on the left that has a vertical zipper closure. This one is about 20 cm deep, which is more than enough to hold the Motorola phone.
On the right side (also inside) of the insulating liner is a matching vertical zipper pocket and a large open square pocket underneath that. It has elastic along the top to keep the contents in place while allowing easy access.
The Criton jacket has plenty of adjusters, with a large nylon webbed belt around the waist that uses an easy slider-type plastic double-D ring.
The belt is "endless", so there's no extra length of belt to hide. Just slide the plastic adjuster to tighten or loosen the jacket and it stays in place.
There are snap adjusters on the upper arms with three levels of adjustment.
The forearms have an interesting adjuster type. It's a sliding belt with a lock. Flip open the lock, adjust the arm and then snap the lock closed to keep the adjustment secure.
There are also three snaps with an adjuster along the lower hem on each side of the Criton, designed to adjust the lower part of the extended length of the jacket and help keep out the wind.
Again, these are more and better adjustments than you'd expect to find on a less expensive jacket and another example of how the Criton jacket offers premium features but with a mid-range price.
The sleeve cuffs on the Criton jacket have a 20 cm long zipper of the type with a water-resistant cover over the teeth. The zipper has two runners or slider as mentioned earlier, with a locking slider at the bottom.
This allows the zipper to be opened full length or from the top and/or bottom.
Underneath is a light gray mesh fabric, the same used in the chest pockets and the jacket vents mentioned in previous sections.
At the bottom of the wrist cuff on each sleeve is a hook-and-loop fastener with a thin strap and plenty of "loop" underneath around the wrist to fully secure the cuff.
The Criton jacket comes in an extended size range from S all the way up to 4XL.
This jacket is a size XL; iXS recommended this size but as you can see in the photos, it's definitely an XL so the size L would have been better.
The iXS size chart lists 42 for a size L and 44 for the XL but the XL should fit a 44 to 45 chest easily, so the size L should fit a 42-43.
And don't forget, you'll gain about 1/2 size with the insulating liner removed.
So the bottom line here is that based on this size XL, the iXS size chart is accurate but conservative (it only shows one size for each letter size, not a range).
Again, XL should easily fit 44-45 while the size L is for 42-43. So you do not have to order one size up as you do with many European-designed jackets.
We mentioned a few of the pockets included on the Criton jacket in the previous sections, but there are more.
The lower pockets in front are large cargo pockets with a fold-over flap cover with a rubberized pull tab along the edge. Underneath is hook-and-loop plus a water-resistant zipper.
Both of these pockets are marked as waterproof.
Behind these pockets is a hidden vertical zipper at the outer edge. This opens to reveal another pocket behind; these can serve as handwarmer pockets or for storage.
The two vertical mesh-lined zipper pockets on the upper chest were mentioned earlier; these are both very deep and roomy.
Inside the left placket is another vertical zipper pocket, handy for storing a wallet or cell phone and just inside the outer flap that covers the main entry zipper is another vertical pocket with zipper.
There's a large cargo pocket at the lower rear of the Criton, it has a water-resistant zipper and can be used to store the hood or, in a tight fit, the insulating liner.
One of the best features of the Criton jacket is the inclusion of quality protectors and the included back protector.
All of the protectors are removable and CE certified.
In fact, the Criton jacket comes with a CE certified Level 2 back protector insert, something not even included on the very high-end $1,300.00 REV'IT! jacket.
The protectors are made in Italy by Safe Tech srl (Warning: their website uses Flash).
The inclusion of these quality protectors is a big plus for the Criton jacket and again, if iXS can do it for $450.00, there's no excuse for any jacket costing more to not have certified shoulder and elbow protectors and a back protector included also.
The Criton jacket has a large single main entry zipper with nylon teeth.
All of the zippers including this one are labeled as iXS brand, so apparently iXS makes its own zippers or has an agreement to re-label another brand.
A wide over-flap with rain gutter covers the zipper, then there are 6 metal snaps on another wide flap that covers that and forms the outer barrier. The snap covers have a semi-hard plastic cover with the iXS logo.
Both of the large flaps are lined with a separate black poly material.
This three-level entry provides excellent wind and water protection to the main entry zipper, but the design allows it to remain flexible for comfort and with a minimum of bulk.
The Criton jacket comes in black or this very high-visibility yellow/green version. There are several reflective strips along the front, arms/sides and the rear.
The reflective sections are nicely integrated into the jacket graphics and they are made from some type of very thin bonded overlay that's actually so thin, it seems like paint but isn't.
The photo above illustrates the reflectivity of the Criton jacket, between the high-viz color and the many reflective bits, this jacket really pops both at night and during the day!
iXS is making a major investment and effort to bring a very extensive line of motorcycle clothing to the U.S.A.
The iXS Criton jacket is our first experience with the brand and if the rest of the lineup offers this much value, surely the Swiss company's products will become very popular here.
The Criton has a very nicely made and rugged exterior, with an interesting use of three different types of textiles.
The 650D overlays on the elbows and shoulders cover a larger area than most other jackets.
And the addition of the CE certified elbow and shoulder protectors plus the included CE Level 2 back protector insert is a very welcome bonus that will hopefully shame the other manufacturers into following.
The Criton has to be one of the nicest three-season jackets we've seen and it's well worth the $450.00 asking price.
|wBW Product Review: iXS Criton Jacket|
|Manufacturer: iXS USA||List Price (2016): $449.00|
|Colors: Black, black/high-viz||Made In: Unknown|
|Sizes: S-4XL||Review Date: September 2016|