The Teiz Motorsports Sahara jacket is a comfortable, functional garment that served me well throughout the entire 15 days of the western portion of the Trans America Trail ride.
The fit -- bespoke in this case -- was great and if you donít notice your gear when wearing it, itís doing something right.
The Teiz Motorsports Sahara outfit is a very close relative to their Navigator jacket and pants (review).
But the new Sahara is focused on hot-weather riding, so it is fully vented and a couple of other updated goodies have been included.
These include the top brand names, such as Cordura, SuperFabric, SAS-Tec, Exkin Air and more. A three-year warranty and claimed CE approval is icing on the cake.
With the level of construction and the quality of some of the feature used in the Sahara jacket, I think the price of $499.00 for the jacket or $799.00 for the jacket and pants outfit is very reasonable. Custom sizing is also available at an additional cost.
I was amazed to see that it had been nearly two years since I reviewed the Teiz Motorsports Navigator outfit (review), which has become my primary riding outfit for anything except hot weather.
This past Spring, Ghazi Farooq, the owner of the Teiz brand, contacted webBikeWorld about reviewing their new Sahara outfit. When Ghazi heard that I would be returning to complete the western half of the Trans America Trail this summer with my friend Glen, he was eager to have the jacket undergo some final production testing in the real world.
Since the off-road trip would have us crossing Colorado, Utah, California and Nevada in late August and early September, there was still the potential for hot weather, so this would be a great opportunity to evaluate the ventilation, durability and quality of the new, fully ventilated/perforated Sahara outfit.
My body measurements meant that, like the Teiz Navigator outfit, my new Sahara jacket and pants would have to custom made by Teiz -- one of the advantages of ordering from them. Unfortunately, time and scheduling constraints meant that only the jacket would be ready for the trip, so Iíll only be reviewing it at this time. If the pants measure up to the jacket (pun), however, it would be the finishing touch on an excellent outfit. But, Iím getting ahead of myself...
The Teiz Motorsports Sahara jacket is a very close relative of the Teiz Navigator jacket, except the Sahara is fully vented and has a couple of other goodies included.
Because the construction of these jackets is so similar, be sure to read my Teiz Motorsports Navigator jacket and pants review to learn about the construction techniques and the other features. Teiz has come a long, long way since their beginnings back around 2009, when the Teiz Cross-Continent suit was reviewed on webBikeWorld.
Teiz Motorsports now uses high-end, high-tech ingredients in their clothing, including the popular Cordura along with SAS-Tec protectors, SuperFabric, Exkin Air insulating layers and more. The prices of the Teiz Motorsports clothing have gone up accordingly, but you'd still have to pay twice as much and more to get these features from some other brands.
As I mentioned, the Sahara is a fully ventilated jacket meant for hot weather, but that doesnít mean itís only useable when the mercury rises (of course, they donít use mercury in thermometers any more).
Itís amazing how motorcycle riders seem to come out of the woodwork when it gets hot. Too often I see motorcyclists wearing no more than sneakers, shorts, tank top, no gloves and a half helmet. I prefer instead to adhere to the belief that "If itís too hot to wear all the gear, then itís just too hot to ride." Thus, Iím tempted to park my bike when it gets really hot, unless Iím traveling.
If youíre like me (and Iím willing to bet most of the webBikeWorld.com visitors are), you have the appropriate gear for toasty weather. Thatís where a good ventilated jacket comes in to play. As a rule of thumb, as long as the ambient temperature is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit or so, a fully ventilated jacket will work well keeping you comfortable. But when the temperature climbs higher, you need to take special precautions.
Iíve owned jackets with "waterproof, breathable liners" and regardless of the number of vents I have found them to be too darn hot for my comfort level above 80ļF (26 C). Iíve got to have air flowing through the entire jacket!
My first ventilated jacket was made with "Ballistic Nylon" mesh, and there has been some discussion as to whether the fabric will melt to the riderís skin in the case of one sliding across the pavement.
Because of this, and the fact that I can not find an off-the-rack ventilated jacket that fits correctly, I had a fully ventilated jacket and pants made by Motoport of their Kevlar blended fabric which is both heavy and bulky (not to mention unflattering), but very tough stuff.
Instead of Kevlar, Teiz has chosen to use tried-and-true Cordura as its main platform. The majority of the Sahara jacket is fully ventilated, with perforations throughout almost the entire fabric.
Most of the fabric sports fairly large round holes that I measured at 2.4 mm in diameter, and the rest of the fabric has 1 mm holes. The only areas I found on the Sahara jacket that aren't ventilated are where the SuperFabric is attached at the shoulders and elbows and a 5.5" piece down each side of the jacket below the armpits.
Combined with the Sahara's mesh inner liner, the huge area of perforated fabric produces outstanding airflow throughout the entire jacket. Anyone lucky enough to find themsevles riding in good conditions with hot air but with low humidity, as I was out West, will find that as soon as you start moving, you will be very comfortable. Add a moistened shirt underneath and itís like having air-conditioning.
The downside of a fully ventilated jacket comes when the weather cools off. It can it get cold really fast on an un-faired bike!
So Teiz -- as with the Navigator -- has the option of adding a quilted Exkin Air liner (+$100.00). This liner fastens into the jacket via seven loops with snaps, one of which unfortunately popped off the first time I removed the liner.
Since the temperatures during my Trans-America Trail ride varied from very cool to very hot, even in the course of a day, I chose to wear the liner as a separate item and not bother with the loops anyway. This made for quick on-and-off as the temps fluctuated with altitude or weather changes.
My only complaint with the liner remains, as with the Teiz Navigator liner, that it really doesnít function well as a stand-alone item. Iíve had other jackets where the liner could discretely be worn as a light, windproof jacket, which is a big help when packing the minimum amount of gear on a trip, as I was. I did end up wearing the Teiz Exkin Air liner as a light jacket when I was off the bike, but those little red loops hanging from the sleeves looked strange.
I just used our favorite saying "These people will never see us again" as coined from our Trans-Labrador Highway trip two years ago.
Again just like the Teiz Motorsports Navigator outfit, Teiz has added some high end safety touches to the Sahara jacket.
SuperFabric -- the abrasion-resistant matrix-like material -- is sewn onto the elbows and shoulders. Level 1 SAS-Tec protectors are used at the elbows and shoulders, and the Sahara jacket even comes with a large Level 2 SAS-Tec back protector! Too often it seems jacket manufacturers brag about their included protection and then go cheap on the spine protection, so this is a bonus add-on from Teiz.
When my Sahara jacket arrived, it was just days before our departure and the jacket had no protectors installed, which had me in a little bit of a panic. It seems their incoming supply of the protectors had been held up in Customs, but my concern was quickly resolved.
I discovered that the protectors from the Navigator jacket were identical, so for the time being it was a simple matter to swap the protectors from one jacket to the other. I imagine this type of standardization helps to keep manufacturing costs down. I hope they remember to send a set or armor so I can easily use both garments!
A full YKK zipper around the waist joins the Sahara jacket to the forthcoming Sahara pants and thereís also a smaller zipper (all zippers are YKK) with both sides of the tape included for attaching to another brand of pants.
Large attractive and very reflective stripes run from either side of the chest, around the arms to the back. The flap for the waterproof document pocket on the back is reflective also. This all adds up to great visibility when illuminated in the dark.
The Sahara jacket has a total of four waterproof pockets, including two pleated cargo pockets on the lower front, one pocket over the right breast with a vertical zipper and a huge document pocket on the back.
Behind each of the front cargo pockets are zippered hand warmers which appear to be waterproof, but have only normal zippers. I kept my camera, wallet, billfold and eyeglass case in the front pockets for quick access and the pockets kept them dry and dust free throughout the trip.
Speaking of zippers, the YKK zippers that are used throughout the jacket are fine, although I think a little heavier zipper could be used for the jacketís main front closure.
Thereís also a large "fanny pack" compartment on the lower back which is not waterproof. I found this to be a good place to store my neck gaiter and balaclava, although the location of the pocket means they were a little awkward to retrieve.
Inside the jacket on the left is another large pocket, but it's neither waterproof nor dustproof. The Sahara also has a small clear pocket on the left sleeve which I have found to be the perfect place for my ear plugs and keys. No more rummaging around for these items -- they're right where I can see (and access) them.
The Sahara jacket collar is lined with a soft, comfortable material and I noticed that it's held closed solely with hook-and-loop material. This gave me a greater range of adjustment than the fixed snap on the Navigator jacket, which is tight enough that I can only fasten around my neck when it's bare. Iíd still think the Sahara could use a longer section of hook-and-loop though, because when wearing a helmet and gloves, it can be difficult to locate and fully secure the collar.
The collar can be held open with conveniently located snaps on both the collar and the jacket, which greatly improves airflow over the neck. No flapping collars on this kit! Nice touch.
As with the Navigator jacket, the sleeve ends of the Sahara are held closed with hook-and-loop and can be set either snug or loose to suit the need. The sleeves taper nicely to the end making it easy to wear under gauntlet style gloves.
Accordion-like stretch panels are located at the elbows and back to ease movement of the arms and a waist belt on each side allows the wearer to taper the fit to fit their need (or to the amount of food that they ate at that last meal stop!).
Because the Sahara outfit has the dual-sport rider in mind, Teiz has incorporated a kidney belt into the back of the jacket. Itís attached to the inside of the back via a zipper on each side making for easy removal or installation.
The belt has stretch panels on each side in the back with the usual hook-and-loop material you find on a back brace on the front over-lapping flaps. I could have used it on this trip because we traveled over many severely wash-boarded roads, but because of my slender build, the material almost had to go around my waist twice to provide enough support!
Is the Teiz Motorsports Sahara outfit waterproof? Not at all. So you'll have to bring along some rain gear along, as Teiz Motorsports recommends.
My ventilated MotoPort outfit has removable rain liners that go on the inside so I can argue the pros and cons of either arrangement.
But a big advantage of wearing rain gear over a highly ventilated jacket or pants like the Sahara is that the wind-blocking rain gear not only keeps the cold rain water further away from your skin, it can effectively trap more air underneath, providing better insulation in cooler temperatures.
The morning we broke camp at Crater Lake, Oregon, the temperature was very cold for camping -- in the 30's or about 3 degrees Celsius. I was riding the Suzuki DRZ-400S (blog), which has no fairing, and I was wearing all the gear I had on hand -- my polypropylene long underwear, a light wool sweater, the Sahara jacket with the Exkin Air liner and a balaclava.
The Sahara has so much ventilation, I was still too cold, so I had to put my Tourmaster Sentinel Rain Jacket (review) on top of all that. This was enough to keep me warm until the temperatures warmed up later in the day, when it was an easy matter of slipping off the Sentinel rain jacket to get more air flow.
I think Teiz Motorsports has put together a fantastic ventilated jacket with the Sahara. I'm looking forward to following this review up with a review of the Sahara pants when the arrive, because if the pants are as comfortable and functional as the jacket, it should be a really great hot weather outfit.
I found the Sahara jacket to be a comfortable, functional garment throughout the entire 15 days of the western portion of the Trans-America Trail -- the type of off-road riding that really, really tests the limits of your gear.
The fit and comfort of the Sahara jacket was perfect and it goes without saying that if you donít notice your gear when wearing it, itís doing something right.
With the level of construction and quality products used in the Sahara jacket, I think the price of $499.00 (or $799.00 for the complete jacket and pants outfit) is very reasonable. Teiz also has custom sizing available at an additional cost, so anyone and everyone should be able to enjoy this gear.
wBW Product Review: Teiz Motorsports Sahara Jacket
|Manufacturer: Teiz Motorsports||List Price: $499.00|
|Colors: Gray or black with various trim colors.||Made In: Pakistan|
|Sizes: S to 3XL. Custom sizes add $150.00.||Review Date: September 2013|
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "D.Q." (September 2013): "I completely agree with every word of your review of the Teiz Sahara Jacket. I was in Colorado the second week of September 2013 and wore mine the entire week and incorporated rain gear over when needed...a lot that week (Boulder floods)!
My one and only nit-pick is the main zipper on the front of the jacket. It was finicky to get started sometimes and also to get the zipper foot to fully release when removing the jacket.
One word of caution if you custom order, the pictorial instructions for measuring sleeve length is a little deceiving. I measured to the same point on the wrist as the photo thinking they added the necessary length from there, but apparently they construct it to that exact measurement. Consequently, my sleeves are a tad short; would have been better if they were 1" longer.
Still a fantastic hot weather jacket!"
Reply From Chris: "Hi D.Q., thanks for the feedback! I had the same problems you mentioned with the front zipper on both the Navigator and Sahara jackets, thus the reason for my recommendations for a heavier zipper."