October 17, 2013 - Pilot USA is a relatively unknown custom manufacturer of motorcycle apparel.
Pilot makes custom leather suits for AMA motorcycle racers and others and the company also makes the apparel for Suzuki, Honda and others.
Chances are you've seen Pilot motorcycle clothing, but just didn't know it!
That will change, now that Pilot is introducing its own line of clothing under the Pilot brand name.
They're starting with the Pilot Trans-Urban jacket (actually "Trans.Urban"), a very reasonably priced ($225.00 list) 3/4-length jacket that includes some unexpected features for this price range.
Pilot clothing will carry a two-year warranty, which is very rare for motorcycle apparel at any price. They said they can do this because their experience shows that they have a near-zero return rate on any of the items they have made for the motorcycle manufacturers.
Also, since they have repair facilities in California for their customer leather race suits, they can repair any of the items sold, including the new Trans-Urban jacket, if required.
The Trans-Urban jacket looks pretty much like your basic 3/4-length jacket which, by the way, is one of the most popular types in motorcycling.
But close inspection shows good attention to the kind of details that count. Pilot said the jacket was designed by a "hard core" motorcycle rider and it shows. The Trans-Urban has both a removable Reissa waterproof/breathable membrane liner and a Thermolite insulating liner, which is nice and thin but should add good warmth. The liners can also be stored in the large rear cargo pocket.
For example, any of the tabs that you might pull -- on pockets, liner attachments and other areas -- have a red loop so they show up against the black liner background; Pilot calls it the "RedTab Visibility System". This makes it easier to see the inner pockets, for example, when you're wearing a helmet and looking down, trying to find a pocket.
The pockets on the inside of the jacket shell are shaped and placed just like the pockets on the inside of the removable liner, a subtle detail that means once you locate a pocket, you can always reach for the same spot and find it whether the liner is installed or not.
The collar has a thick real neoprene rolled section for comfort, even in front of the neck. The collar is also lined with micro-fleece. And it has a snap to keep it open if desired.
The main zipper is two-way and has a large "gutter" flap to prevent water from entering. The large "Pilotex" 1680 denier elbow abrasion protectors are overlays and not sewn-in sections and they're specially designed to flex with the arms. They are one-piece and sewn without a center seam that might tear during a crash.
The Trans-Urban jacket also has the option to install a chest protector and back protector and Pilot has an optional fleece backed, windproof front neck and chest warmer that also works with the jacket. The jacket also has sections of heat-sealed 3M Scotchlite reflective panels, along with Schoeller Reflex micro-dot reflective panels in the front and rear, as you can see in the camera flash shots below.
Thumb loops on the end of sleeve cuffs can be used to keep the sleeves in place when you're stuffing your hands into a pair of winter gloves.
There's lots more and we'll be reviewing a Trans-Urban jacket soon, so stay tuned. The jackets should be available starting with local Suzuki motorcycle dealers. For more information, visit the Pilot USA website.
More: 2013 AIMExpo Reports
Publication Date: October 17, 2013