This is a solid (12 oz denim) waxed riding shirt for cool-to-cold weather riding in low-speed situations. The “worker shirt” or overshirt has become a massively popular addition to any rider’s kit in recent years and the waxed riding shirt from Scorpion is best viewed as a shoulder season option.
The waxed denim is striking aesthetically
Shirt is versatile on or off the bike
Build quality is good (EXO-STITCH safety seams, 165 GSM Kevlar lining)
No armour included—just pockets for optional SAS-TEC protectors
Virtually no ventilation
12oz waxed denim and no ventilation limits this to cool or cold weather riding
Scorpion is one of those brands that’s hard not to like; they consistently deliver substantial bang for the buck. The EXO R410 helmet and R420 helmet are both good examples of this, as is the Yosemite textile jacket. You could spend many hundreds of dollars more for helmets and jackets that don’t deliver the same level of comfort and performance.
I was therefore super pumped to have the opportunity to try one of the brand’s new offerings—the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt. I have a soft spot for waxed riding gear. While gore-tex and other waterproof, breathable technologies are undeniably fantastic—and definitely my choice for long-distance commuting or touring—there’s something romantic about using waxed cotton or denim when the occasion permits.
What’s more, waxed gear transitions from on-the-bike to off-the-bike use better than more technically advanced textiles that scream “biker gear”. I also recently reviewed a quite different overshirt, the REV’IT’ Tracer Air 2, and was keen to see how Scorpion’s offering compared.
The Covert Riding Shirt embodies many of the best features of waxed cotton or denim, but its design and construction makes it a very special bit of kit—one best deployed on cool-to-cold days when you want something easy to throw on that still provides wind, water and abrasion protection.
This is NOT a good option on warm to hot days. The weight of the fabric and the paraffin wax treatment combine to make it very “stuffy” if the temperature climbs much above 50 °F.
Scorpion Covert Waxed Riding Shirt Comfort & Fit
The basic theory of the overshirt or riding shirt is that when temperatures start to climb in the Spring and Summer, a full-on armoured motorcycle jacket is just too hot. Enter the overshirt. It offers much better protection than a t-shirt and its style doesn’t scream “motorcycle”.
The first thing I noticed after taking the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt out of its package was that it doesn’t really fit in the same category as many other overshirts. It’s not as heavy as most jackets, but it’s definitely heavier than most overshirts, particularly when you consider that it doesn’t ship with any armour.
The 12oz waxed denim is reassuringly protective, but at the same time, it’s not the sort of shirt you would reach for when you’re going on a latte run on a summer morning. It’s just too heavy for that. The shirt also feels a touch stiff when you first put it on. After a hundred miles or so it starts to soften up, but that first impression is probably closer to a suit of armour feeling than Scorpion intended.
The fit of the shirt will be familiar to everyone who has ever worn an overshirt or “shirt-jacket”; you instantly know that you’re wearing more than a shirt, but less than a jacket.
Scorpion’s own advertising copy reads: “When you don’t want to wear a heavy riding jacket, but need more than just a t-shirt; that’s where the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt comes in.” Point taken, although this shirt is a little closer to a jacket in my opinion. Putting the shirt on, it feels great over a t-shirt, albeit heavy—I was well-protected but not getting much (if any) airflow.
I also found the cut of the arms on the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt a little restrictive. They seem to narrow from the shoulder to the cuff, which is useful in preventing drafts from coming up the arms, but makes the snap button closure quite tight—and there is no zipper or gusset here to give you some wiggle room.
The heaviness of the overshirt stands out; this feels less like a fashion garment that you could easily wear all day and more like a motorcycle jacket. For me at least, this makes the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt a “special use” garment; it cannot be said to be stealth protective gear in the same way that the REV’IT Tracer Air 2 overshirt is—it’s just too heavy and less well ventilated for that. It does, however, offer the intangible aesthetics of waxed denim in a very sturdy shell.
I typically wear a size medium in my overshirts and that holds true here—it fits true to size, albeit with a slightly more boxy cut.
Scorpion Covert Waxed Riding Shirt Construction
As I said in my review of the Tracer 2 Air overshirt, it’s really important to put the overshirt into context before commenting on build quality and construction. Most overshorts are not intended to compete with a fully kitted-out leather motorcycle jacket. Further, the overshirt would not be my garment of choice if I was heading out for an all-day (or longer) ride that includes long stretches at highway speed.
While the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is burlier than many others, I think my comments still stand; this is an “around town” or “close to home” garment that will serve you well on cool to cold days when you might encounter light rain and wind.
With the 12oz waxed denim construction, you shouldn’t choose this if warm to hot weather is in the forecast. Instead, think of the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt as a very specific tool that you use for certain types of riding and nothing more. An early Fall or Spring morning latte run, or an afternoon ride to catch your son or daughter’s soccer game. Shorter rides at lower speeds in cool to cold temperatures.
Given my experience with the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt, if you use it for these (or similar) applications, I think you’ll really enjoy it and appreciate the X-factor it gives to your gear closet. It definitely wouldn’t be the first piece of gear you should buy, but it can ably see you through some shoulder-season riding situations for sure.
Weight & Materials
In a market where many overshirts compete on lightness and/or ventilation, the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is a different animal. Scorpion have infused 12oz denim with a mixture of waxes to make a riding shirt that is truly the bomb in terms of its construction.
On a continuum with jackets at one end and overshirts at the other, I would put this one squarely in the middle, or maybe skewing slightly toward the jacket end of things. It’s that solid. And heavy. And fully lined with 165 GSM DuPont Kevlar to resist tearing and add strength to the denim.
Zippers & Fasteners
The Covert Waxed Riding Shirt combines a minimalist style with well-thought-out and motorcycle-specific design. A button front placket conceals a half-front YKK zipper, and the two bottom snap-button closures stop 7 inches from the hem to prevent scratches to your tank. Buttons on the collar keep it from flapping in the wind while at speed.
A quick word about the zipper: it’s a good-quality YKK zip, but it does seem to be on the small size relative to the weight of the shirt. I would feel better if the zipper was just a little beefier.
One of the quickest ways to tell if a motorcycle garment is well-constructed is to look at the stitching, especially on the seams. The stitching is what enables the abrasion resistance we need in the event of a spill.
Scorpion uses EXO-STITCH safety seams in all areas at increased risk of impact. Safety seams have a visible as well as an invisible seam. This construction keeps the material of the outer shell together, even if the visible seam is torn.
I’ve already said that the materials used in the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt create a burly garment. Still, even if one remembers that an overshirt is not competing with a riding jacket, per se, protection should include more than just a robust outer layer. This is one area where, for me, this offering from Scorpion comes up short. There is no armour included.
There is a double layer of denim at the shoulders for extra abrasion resistance, but the absence of even a level 1 protection scheme is a pretty big oversight. I added some extra KNOX armour to the included mesh pockets—SAS-TEC or D30 would also work well.
There are no laminated strips or anything else that gives the shirt a bit of extra visibility. Nor are there any belt loops or connection zips to connect the shirt to a pair of pants for a 1-piece suit effect.
I might be nitpicking here and expecting the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt to deliver more than other riders might expect, but my recent benchmark is the REV’IT Tracer Air 2, which had elbow and shoulder armour included, plus belt loops, a connection zipper, and laminated strips on the arms for nighttime visibility.
All of that is to say, it’s not as though riding shirts are a breed apart where the normal rules of motorcycle safety don’t apply. I think a little more attention to these small details would make the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt a better overall package.
Scorpion Covert Waxed Riding Shirt Functionality—On the Bike
On the bike, the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt works pretty well—within some specific parameters. It moves with my body, and while it isn’t nearly as light as the REV’IT Tracer Air 2, it never binds me or hinders me when I’m getting into position.
The biggest drawback, apart from the lack of armour issue discussed above, is that it doesn’t breathe very well at all. The lack of vents, combined with the heavy denim and the waxed treatment, makes this much too hot if the temperature is north of 50 °F.
I tend to run a little colder than most and would normally favor a shirt (or jacket) that keeps me warmer, but my interest in an overshirt is for those warm to hot summer days when you want something easy to throw on; something that breathes and gives you a break from your heavy moto gear. The Covert Waxed Denim Riding Shirt is not going to deliver on this count.
On the other hand, when the temperature starts to drop in late summer/early Fall, this shirt might come into its own. In fact, I can imagine wearing this on those cool days in September and October when you don’t yet want to break out even a full textile motorcycle jacket.
There’s a plain-jane button clasp at the cuffs with no gusset, so adjustment options are, shall we say, limited. It works okay with my Five Sport City gloves, but an extra button, a gusset or better still, a zipper would be even better and allow for a wider range of compatible motorcycle riding gloves.
There are two patch pockets on the front of the shirt and a single zippered inside pocket—again a concession to the “shirt not jacket” nature of the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt. The patch pockets are 6 inches deep, which is okay, but it’s fair to say that storage options are not a selling feature here. Not a deal breaker for me as I don’t use this shirt for anything but short runs around town, and I usually have a tank bag or daypack with me.
Still, others may appreciate having some extra storage built into the shirt itself. It’s probably best to think of the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt as a “back-to-basics” kind of thing; the rugged simplicity of the shirt is what’s going to appeal to a certain rider.
The single interior pocket is similarly small—think billfold, credit card or driver’s licence and maybe a small phone.
Now, with respect to the “specific parameters” I mentioned above, I used the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt as an option to my other riding shirts over the past 6-8 weeks in the midst of an Alberta summer—think dry, hot days. Further, I used it on short, inner-city rides when I wasn’t on the bike too long and rarely exceeded 30-40 mph.
Truth be told, the shirt didn’t work nearly as well as I would have hoped. It’s just too heavy for warm weather riding, especially with the lack of ventilation. I kept comparing it, perhaps unfairly, to the REV’IT Tracer Air 2 and found it wanting.
For the urban rider, the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is not a viable hot weather option. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’m a big fan of the REV’IT Tracer Air 2.
If you don’t want a mesh jacket but still want something that can work in warm to hot conditions, the REV’IT Worker Riding Shirt, the John Doe XTM Moto Shirt, or the Ultra Riding Shirt from Resurgence are all lighter in weight—and, because they are not waxed, they would breathe better.
Scorpion Covert Waxed Riding Shirt Functionality—Off the Bike
The Covert Waxed Riding Shirt has an undeniably rugged look and feel. It would fit in well at a construction site or other industrial setting. Whether it works as well at your favourite coffee shop or burger joint is, to me at least, less certain.
I’ve already discussed some of the shirt’s limitations on the bike above; off the bike, those same limitations are, if anything, even more prevalent. I found myself immediately wanting to take it off as soon as I got wherever I was going; it was just too heavy and hot. In fairness, I was testing it in conditions that I don’t really think it was designed for.
Scorpion may claim that the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is for those days when “you don’t want to wear a heavy riding jacket”, but the fact is, the shirt is pretty darn heavy. Also, the cut of the shirt is more utilitarian than fashionable; the silhouette is not especially flattering.
Final Thoughts on the Scorpion EXO Covert Waxed Riding Shirt
An overshirt, ventilated or not, is not going to be your first piece of motorcycle gear, so as I’ve written before, you have to adopt a “right tool for the right job” mindset in thinking about the need to add one to your kit.
The Scorpion Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is quite unique in that its main chassis is a rather beefy 12oz denim, coated with paraffin wax, and further bolstered with a Kevlar lining. It’s not, to me anyway, a warm or hot weather option, but a nice shoulder season alternative to a conventional riding jacket.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to test and review the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt, but I’m not sure I’d buy one. It really is a unique offering, perhaps too unique. It’s too heavy for warm weather riding, but not as robust on cool to cold mornings as a fully-fledged moto jacket.
All of those factors narrow the seasonality of this shirt considerably. I think it will work quite well in early Fall and Spring, but is likely overmatched the rest of the year by superior alternatives.
One thing that must be said, however, and here we return to a long-standing characteristic of Scorpion as a brand, is that the price for the Covert Waxed Riding Shirt is very accessible. At the time I tested the shirt it could be purchased for just $139.95 (USD). Hard to argue with that.