Two motorcycle-centric shirts with differing appearances and design approaches to achieve similar goal, functionality and improving rider comfort. Functionality is not set aside for the sake of comfort as both shirts have features designed to make them useful for the motorcycle rider on both short and longer rides. They also can be handy for non-two-wheeled travel.
Moto-Skiveez’s apparel is designed to improve motorcycle riding comfort and they have come a long way from their original riding underwear product. Their apparel line now includes socks, tights, and they have also added women’s versions of the original Moto-Skiveez.
If you’re not familiar with Moto-Skiveez, we’ve covered some history in our previous reviews hereand here. I have spoken with owner and founder Shawn Lupcho more than once to discuss his products and his enthusiasm for motorcycling is very apparent in our conversations.
The products he has developed come from his own desire to create garments that allow him to enjoy riding longer and remain comfortable while doing so. Mr. Lupcho also doesn’t appear to be satisfied with keeping things status quo. Since the original Moto-Skiveez were released around 2013, he has not only introduced new products like socks and tights, he recently revised the original Moto-Skiveez padding which itself was cutting edge only three years ago.
In this review we’re going to look at two shirts from Moto-Skiveez that, while very different in design, continue the tradition of improving rider comfort.
A Tale of Two “Skiveez”
Moto-Skiveez first introduced their base layer shirt in 2016 in the form of the Technical Riding Shirt. Designed to keep one cool and comfortable, this base layer shirt uses a mixture of two fabrics to maximize cooling and moisture wicking where needed.
This Summer (2017) Moto-Skiveez unveiled their new Traveler shirt. This new shirt combines function with compactness. These are important factors for those looking to maximise the often limited cargo space available when traveling via motorcycle.
Before getting into what is different about these two shirts, let’s look at the similarities. First, both are very lightweight garments with the Technical Riding Shirt weighing 184 grams ( 6.5 oz) and the Traveler Shirt tipping the scale at 232 grams (8.2 oz).
Both shirts are made from 100% polyester fabrics and since they are designed for breathability, they are best suited to warmer environments. They can of course be worn on cooler days but they provide little insulation from the cold so one should layer accordingly.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into the details of each.
Available in black or light grey, the Technical Riding shirt is a long sleeve shirt with a zippered collar. The zipper runs ¼ length on the front and the collar zips up to form a Mandarin style collar.
Branding is subtle with Moto-Skiveez logo and graphic on the left breast. Otherwise the Technical Riding Shirt is very “stealth”, especially in the black color I have. Although I do like the simplicity of this look, I would like to have seen some reflective patches or panels.
I realize this could add complexity and cost but it is certainly reasonable that this shirt could be worn without any layers over it when not riding. As such, the possibility is there that one could be roadside (or trailside) at night is there. Some reflectivity would be welcome.
The shell of the shirt is 100% polyester, and there are two different fabrics in use derived from that material. The majority of the shirt uses “Hydro-Sport” fabric designed with moisture wicking properties that helps accelerate evaporation.
This fabric looks like a solid textile but holding it up to even modest light one will see some translucency to the fabric. The entire front, as well as around a portion of the back near the kidneys, make use of this fabric. Portions of the sleeves and the outside facing portion of the collar also use the Hydro-Sport fabric.
The remaining areas including the middle of the back, underarms, and portions of the forearms make use of “5K” fabric. It is also present as a liner on the inside of the collar to provide a soft feel in this area.
5K is a mesh fabric and therefore offers a high amount of airflow to the portions of the garment where it is used. The mesh has sort of a dual layer effect to it with a larger weave structure that is backed with a finer weave. One can see this in the closeup photos for a better idea of how this works.
When comparing the new padding to the original, it is the same thickness, but it has a more dense feel to it. This is interesting because despite the more dense, or firm, feel, they really do breathe better than the padding in my first generation Adventure Moto-Skiveez. More on this below.
Stitching on the Technical Riding Shirt goes well beyond simple single or double stitched seams but rather it appears to use multithreaded stitching joining the main panels of fabric. I’m no expert plus the thread and fabric are so dark I have a hard time determining exactly which stitch type is used but either way it looks very strong.
Elaborate stitching is probably required when used with such lightweight fabrics to ensure durability. There are a few areas that do use just single or doubled straight stitches but these are low stress points that shouldn’t see much wear.
The front zipper is unbranded and has a very fine pitch to the teeth. The metal zipper pull is small but very solid. Being a base layer shirt I doubt the intent was for this zipper to be grasped while wearing gloves so small is good here. The zip also takes a bit of effort to fully fasten which can be a little annoying at first but it also never comes down on it’s own so it’s likely a trade-off.
That small size of the zipper pull helps keep the collar area comfortable when fully fastened. A large pull here could get pressed against the throat depending on the layers over the shirt.
On the end of each sleeve is a hole for one’s thumbs. These intended for use just when putting a jacket or layers on over the shirt to prevent the sleeves from riding up. They are not intended to be worn over the thumb all the time.
Fit and Comfort
At first glance the Technical Riding Shirt has the appearance of a light compression shirt but it actually is designed for a more relaxed fit. My shirt size is in the upper range of Medium or lower of Large and I ordered a medium size in this shirt.
It is still a bit looser than I expected but I believe this larger feel could come from the sleeve design. According to the description of the Technical Riding Shirt, “The sleeves are intentionally elongated” so as to fit best when one has their arms in the riding position.
The sleeves are also cut so that the outside is a bit longer than the inside so that they conform best with the arms slightly bent as they would be when on the bike. It’s a small detail but I applaud the idea. Of course how well this works for specific riders will vary depending on the style of motorcycle.
I’d say sport, sport-touring, touring, and adventure riders will be in the “zone” to take advantage of the cut used here but curier riders might appreciate the longer sleeves too. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
I had purchased this shirt for hot weather usage and it doesn’t disappoint. Wearing this shirt under a mesh jacket allows for a great amount of airflow to the skin. During the past two Summers this has been my go-to shirt for weekend rides.
The fabrics used here are very soft and the shirt is very lightweight making very comfortable to wear all day whether on the bike or off. Both of the fabrics used offer four-way stretch so the shirt always seems to move with the wearer.
The Traveler Shirt
While the Technical Riding Shirt is designed toward a specific purpose, the Traveler Shirt is designed to cover a wider range of situations. Versatility meets space saving is how I’d describe it.
The Traveler shirt is currently available in only one color, light grey, and like the Technical Riding Shirt, the branding is reserved. The Moto-Skiveez logo and graphic are present over the left breast pocket and that is the only outside labeling to be seen.
Closely looking at shirt the reveals a faint grid pattern throughout the main fabric panels. This fabric is very thin and light can be seen through it even with indoor lighting levels. This is similar to the way the non-mesh panels on the Technical Riding Shirt are translucent.
At first glance the Traveler Shirt looks like your traditional long-sleeve, button-down shirt. A closer look reveals some nice functional touches starting with the fasteners.
Micro-snaps are used instead of buttons on the Traveler Shirt. Snaps? I haven’t had snaps on any of my own shirts in a long time. This was one of the first things I asked Mr. Lupcho about during our call.
According to him, the decision was made to avoid the chance of shirt buttons coming loose and eventually falling off. Buttons can also snag on other clothing layers and protective gear. These two reasons resulted in small snaps in place to fasten the shirt..
Personally, I’ve never run into trouble with shirt buttons snagging on protective gear but I have had my share of shirt buttons go missing. In my experience, snaps rarely seem to leave a garment once installed so Mr. Lupcho has a point.
On the front of the shirt are two breast pockets. The right side pocket uses a zippered closure which operates vertically. This makes it much easier to reach into than a typical top opening pocket and mimics what is often found in adventure/touring riding jackets.
A small metal pull tab with an additional corded plastic pull in place makes it very easy to open and close the zipper even with heavy gloves on. On the plastic pull is a tiny red/blue/grey Moto-Skiveez logo.
The left pocket has a neat trick up sleeve, or rather, seam. A magnet is used for closing the pocket opening making for quick and easy access to the contents. This is an innovation I can get behind and I’ll explain why shortly.
Like the Technical Riding Shirt polyester is the main material for the shell of the shirt and three different fabrics are used. For most of the shirt, a thin, solid layer of fabric is used. It feels very soft to the touch and I found it to dewrinkle faster and easier than some similarly designed shirts that use nyon instead of polyester.
Down the sides of the shirt, running from the underarm to the waist, is a two inch wide panel of four-way stretch fabric. The idea here is to allow some extra movement while still maintaining proper fit.
On the inside across the upper back and around the back of the shoulds is a light mesh fabric. This is paired up with vents in the outer shell behind the shoulders for air to flow through.
The interior of both pockets is made from the same mesh fabric. This has the benefit of allowing air to flow where it might otherwise be blocked by the pocket liner.
On the other hand, if one is in a hot environment, items in the pockets can be exposed to sweat. Take care and consider the items going in the pockets and how they might deal with this.
Fit and Comfort
For me, the size medium Traveler Shirt fits just right. Their sizing chart details for 41-42 size chest (in inches) a size Medium and I’d say they are spot on. The fit is more traditional than the Technical Riding Shirt as the sleeves are cut straight and the length is “normal” for the size.
Inside those sleeves is a small strap with a snap connector that can be used to keep the sleeves held in a rolled position. I often roll sleeves on shirts like this and having this strap is a nice feature that helps keep the sleeves from falling down.
The Traveler Shirt is very lightweight at 232 grams and the fabric breathes very well. Like the Technical shirt, it is better suited to warmer weather as it has little to no insulating properties. I also found that when the weather is cool, the metal snaps can get cold quickly and you’ll feel them against your skin.
As far as all day comfort goes, the Traveler delivers. I had the occasion to test it recently by wearing it while covering the final round of MotoAmerica races at Barber Motosports Park.
On the last day of the races I wore the shirt all day which included a brisk ride early in the morning (yes, the snaps get cold!). Then I wore it while walking around the paddock and while out in the middle of the track shooting photos.
That afternoon I simply put my riding gear on over it and rode the 180 miles back home. Oh, and I was rained on twice while in my mesh riding gear which is what I get for trusting the weather forecast.
Thankfully the Traveler Shirt dries out quickly so at least one part of me was dry after a some time. The nice thing was when I got home, despite the humid and hot conditions and being worn under a mesh riding jacket, the shirt still had a nice and relatively wrinkle free look to it. It was nice to arrive looking at least partially well kempt.
I also had the opportunity to test some travel of a different sort with both shirts reviewed here. I recently traveled to South Africa for a photo safari in Sabi Sabi. This meant flying to Atlanta to meet a connecting flight that itself runs about fifteen hours.
As we had to change planes we wanted to pack as light as we could so we wouldn’t have to check bags and run the risk of arriving without our luggage. I had received the Traveler Shirt days before the trip and planned on taking it since it is light and compresses well in small spaces.
The Traveler does pack down very small and comes with a small pouch that is similar in size to a compact umbrella. The great thing is once unpacked it does resist wrinkles pretty well.
I have included a photo here of the Traveler shirt where it has been bunched up (I didn’t roll it up here) and shoved in my backpack all day and then laid on flat to see how it looks. While not perfect it looks pretty good in my opinion.
While out spending a day out in open top trucks shooting photos, the magnetically closed pocket is a photographers dream. It is so easy to wedge a cap into the pocket and have it automatically fastened behind it the opening.
For caps and other flat objects around 40mm in size and larger, this is an excellent place to easily store and retrieve items from. Smaller objects like SD memory cards are so small that they could slip past the magnet closure which only seals the middle third of the pocket opening.
The only issue that comes to mind would be the magnet might not be friendly to airport security metal detectors. To avoid any potential issues I wore the Technical Riding Shirt for the long flights.
While planes can often be a cooler (or cold) place, the shirt served well as a nice base layer under a light jacket. The light feel and good ventilation was welcome during many hours in an airline seat. Together, the Technical and Traveler shirts made a good team.
I feel that both shirts here accomplish their respective missions well. For those warmer days when I plan on riding for the sake of riding enjoyment the technical shirt is the one I’ll reach for. The lightweight, breathability, and simplicity are tough to beat.
For situations where I need functionality such as pockets and / or require a garment that offers a more professional look, the Traveler Shirt would be my choice.
The nice thing about both is that unlike a lot of riding gear, they can be worn in plenty of situations where a motorcycle might not even be involved (perish the thought!). Both make good traveling companions and the polyester based fabrics in them have done well resisting wrinkles in my usage.
As far as value, I think the Traveler is very well priced. I have similar shirts from a well known outdoor apparel maker and those shirts are more expensive than the $60.00 (USD) Moto-Skiveez is asking for. Also the nylon based fabrics used in those other shirts don’t seem to resist wrinkles as well as the polyester ones in the Traveler Shirt.
As for the the technical shirt, the price (also $60.00 USD) seems appropriate for the product. There are other lightweight options out there and they are offered in a variety of colors. I can say that the Technical Riding Shirt has stood up well over the past year so if it proves long-lasting the value of course is higher.
wBW Review: Moto Skiveez Traveler and Technical Riding Shirts