The Shift Trifecta is a contender for one of the most versatile jacket designs available. It combines a mesh shell with a pair of mix-and-match liners; one is water-resistant and the other in an insulating liner to make three jackets in one. This makes the Trifecta a solid year ’round choice for riders from 40 North to 40 South latitude and a good three-season choice for anyone north or south of that.
Shift Racing makes some very interesting motorcycle clothing, all available at reasonable prices and all very usable for the vast majority of street riding.
The designers seem to focus on usable, real-world products but there’s a certain hard-to-define subtlety in the designs that give their jackets an ease of use that is often missing from other brands.
This is what puts Shift clothing among our favorites. The styling is catchy without being too in-your-face but it’s the comfort and general ease of use that makes a jacket like the Trifecta a real pleasure to use.
The Trifecta is so named for its interesting combination of mesh, water resistance and insulation. It is one of the most versatile jackets I’ve worn and this versatility is especially noticeable (and appreciated) at this time of year, when the weather can drop from mid-80’s to mid-50’s overnight, with rain thrown in as another slap in the face.
The Trifecta can handle it all and it’s surely an answer to the “I only have a limited budget and need the best bang for the buck” question. And the bonus is the water-resistant shell, which can be worn by itself or with the insulating liner as a nice wind- and water-resistant street jacket
The Trifecta jacket is available only in black, which is its only disadvantage. I’m not sure why there aren’t more color choices, because the striped or herringbone sections on the shoulders and arms would look great in other hues, like red, orange, yellow or even white.
Similar to other Shift jacket designs, the Trifecta features unusual detailing that helps make it more than just another plain old jacket. The way the herringbone textiles come together at the chest pocket, on the sleeves at the adjusters and along the front pocket zippers is subtle but cool.
The wind- and water-resistant shell also looks good when worn on its own as a street jacket. It’s black, of course, but it has a very fine rip-stop texture and the Shift logos that give it a bit of sizzle.
It has a thin mesh permanently attached vest liner inside it also, which helps to keep the slightly cool and slightly stiff-feeling vapor barrier material off the rider’s skin. The liner has a pocket on the inside left placket that is labeled “Waterproof” and it also has two zippered hand pockets.
All of these pockets use “W&T” branded zippers; coil type on the hand pockets and a nylon zipper with small teeth on the inside pocket. The small teeth used in this pocket help to make it easy to open and close.
All told, the liner is an excellent addition to the Trifecta jacket and it actually works better than many other store-bought windbreakers I’ve tried for the street, because it can be worn with or without the insulating liner also. Why don’t they make street jackets with that feature?
The mesh used in the shell is a tight weave but it provides all the air flow anyone should need when the liners are removed. The mesh is located on the front of the jacket, along the inside of the sleeves and the entire back except for the shoulders.
The outside of the sleeves are covered with the herringbone (striped is probably a more accurate term) textile fabric and the elbows and forearms get large extra sections of abrasion-resistant material.
The collar is pretty basic and what’s nice about it is the taller collar is part of the water-resistant liner and the jacket itself has no collar, which helps keep things even cooler when the weather is at its hottest. The liner collar has a softer and relatively comfy material inside to protect the rider’s neck from chafing.
The Trifecta jacket is nicely tailored and the stitching is excellent with some very fine details where the different sections of fabric meet.
A few of the junctions between mesh and textile are hemmed with reflective material, but we’ve noticed that these gray or black reflective strips on this and other jackets don’t quite have the reflective intensity of the white strips. The dark gray strips used on the Trifecta do, however and although they are a bit thin, what’s there does pop when exposed to light.l
It’s a tradeoff between style and visibility, but the strips on the Trifecta jacket do a good job of making the rider more visible at night, as you can see in the photo above.
Zippers, Attachments and Closures
The main zipper on the shell is labeled “W&T” and the liner zipper is made by YKK, while the pocket zippers are unbranded. All, however, have nice added plastic covers on the zipper pulls with the Shift logo.
The front zipper on the outer mesh shell uses medium-sized nylon teeth that are easy to engage. The inside of the placket on either side has about 70 mm of non-mesh textile, which protects against some moisture ingress in that area but also blocks a bit of the air flow.
In addition to the zippers used for the liner pockets as described in the “Styling” section above, the water-resistant liner also features a coil type main front zipper that runs very smoothly. This is covered by a hook-and-loop flap on the front of the liner to keep out wind and water.
The full-sleeve insulating liner attaches to the water-resistant liner with a single-piece W&T branded coil zipper that is continuous from up the left side, around the neck and down the right side. The jacket shell has a mating zipper on the inside to allow the insulating liner to be attached if desired. This helps keep out the chill on a summer night.
Note that the water-resistant liner does not attach to the main shell with zippers in front, which is actually a good idea in this case, because it allows the liner to have true street styling. If it had an extra zipper on the outside, the zipper would be a giveaway that you were wearing a liner, so its absence adds to the utility of the liner as a second street jacket.
The liner also attaches at the cuffs, the sides and the back of the neck with loops, which you think would be the giveaway that you were wearing a jacket liner, but the loops are cleverly disguised behind tabs that attach to the liner. The tab behind the neck even has a Shift logo on it, so it is well camouflaged and, if anything, looks like it might be a loop to hang the jacket.
The insulating liner has sleeves, as I mentioned. This liner attaches to the water-resistant liner at the cuffs with loops that are bonded to the inside of the lining to maintain the water-resistant integrity. The liner stops about 50 mm from the cuff end to keep a slimmer profile to fit inside the glove gauntlets.
Sleeve and Waist Adjusters
The sleeves on the Trifecta jacket have adjusters at the upper arm and forearm. Rather than the simple strips of hook-and-loop found on other jackets, these are semi-hidden behind a nice little vinyl appliqué that is a good illustration of the Shift designers’ art.
The jacket has waist adjusters on either side, placed at the rear just behind the seam. This also sort of hides the adjusters so you don’t see them when looking at the jacket straight on, as you can see in the three-view photo near the top of the page above.
Both sets of adjusters provide about 100 mm or so of adjustment, which allows the jacket to be tightened sufficiently to keep the armor in place when the liners are removed. The liners are not too bulky, which means there is about a 1/2 size difference when they are removed.
The cuffs on the Trifecta jacket are pretty basic, with a narrow dart cut into the fabric to give a little bit of width when pulling the jacket on.
The cuffs adjust with a simple hook-and-loop system, but there is a wider range of adjustment here than I expected, so the cuffs can be cinched down tightly to fit into the glove gauntlet. This is helped by the slightly short sleeve length of the liners, which end just above the cuff to keep the profile to a minimum.
In addition to the “waterproof” pocket in the left placket of the liner, the Trifecta has the two expected front hand pockets, both lined with a type of nylon and both using unbranded zippers for entry. The zippers have medium-sized nylon teeth, which makes the pocket open and close with ease.
The jacket shell has a vertical zippered pocket on the right placket, which uses smaller teeth and is branded “W&T”. This is a surprise pocket actually, and works well, although the lining does block some of the air from coming through the mesh on that side.
The shell has a small, slightly angled zippered pocket located on the upper left side of the chest. This pocket is formed or covered by the angled section of striped material that can be seen in the photos. It’s a handy place to carry spare change or keys, but to stow a wallet or cell phone, the best place is the “waterproof” pocket on the inside left placket of the liner.
The model shown in the photographs is a solid lad and he usually takes a size XL, but this size L Trifecta jacket fits him perfectly I think. I haven’t tried the next size smaller though, which would be an M, and I haven’t worn a size M since I was studying 11th grade Trigonometry, so I think the size L is the one for me.
Safety and Protection
The Trifecta includes CE-approved “Powertector” brand armor in the shoulders and elbows, and they feel nicely molded and they fit well without being cumbersome.
The back has only the thin styling pads seen in the photos, although there is a bottom-opening pocket in the shell that could possibly fit a back protector.
The Trifecta jacket has a short attachment zipper in the rear that can be used for attachment to Shift pants. The jacket has a small vertical belt loop also at the lower rear center on the inside, which can be looped around a pants belt to at least keep the back of the jacket from lifting in the wind.
The Shift Trifecta is another very nice jacket from a company that I think flies somewhat under the radar screen of many motorcyclists. Their products are usually a very good value and are designed for “real world” riding conditions with a lot of style.
The Trifecta is an excellent choice for Summer weather, with its removable and exchangeable liners that allow the owner to mix and match when it rains or turns cool. It’s also a solid choice for Spring and Fall riding conditions with their changeable weather conditions. Like the other Shift jackets we’ve worn, the Trifecta is comfortable looks good on sportbikes or cruisers.