The Shift Trooper is yet another nice all-around, three-plus season waterproof jacket at a reasonable price from the company that has this down to a science. Shift has one of the fastest product introduction schedules around, with new versions of their reasonably priced street gear popping up on their website almost every time I look.
A total of a half-dozen Shift jackets have been reviewed on webBikeWorld over the past couple of years, which I guess we can now call the Shift review series. It’s funny how this sneaked up on us; we had no idea there were that many Shift reviews until I counted them as I was writing this article.
And don’t forget the review that started the Shift mania — the Shift Lowdown Street Jeans! The Shift Trooper jacket is part of the Shift “Storm Series” product line. The Storm Series are the waterproof jackets, like the Shift Trifecta and the Shift Triton we reviewed, which feature either a waterproof liner or waterproof mid-liner and waterproof zippers.
The Trooper jacket is priced slightly higher than the Shift Triton Storm Series but less than the Shift Trifecta Storm Series jacket. But it has many of the features of the other jackets in the Shift Storm Series line, so if you’re familiar with those, you pretty much know all about the Trooper.
Shift Trooper Jacket Styling
Shift has some of the most unique designs and graphics around and while the black and gray camouflage version is probably about as un-visible (or invisible) as you can get, especially compared to the wild Shift Avenger Jacket. But the Shift demographic is into the sinister look and apparently the darker colors sell better than the really colorful patterns Shift has offered in the past.
The camo is actually not quite light gray and black; the light gray part has some cyan in it, which is ironic because Burn is always trying to eliminate the cyan color that shows up in most grays from the lighting in the studio. The colors you see in the photos should be pretty close to what the eye sees.
If you don’t like the black and gray camo version, the Trooper jacket also comes in a desert light gray and green camo or a slightly offbeat orange version with large “SHIFT” lettering made into a pattern with too much of the letters “shi” and not enough “ft” showing.
The styling of this Trooper is pretty much dominated by the camouflage, with some of the subtle Shift touches here and there. Look closely at the camo in some of the photos and you’ll see a tiny Shift “S” Superman-style logo here and there in the pattern. The rubber-like Shift winged logo across the back and the big “S” logo on the front are also classic Shift.
The rest of the details are also classic Shift, like the sleeve cuffs, the way the zippers are aligned with the seams and the basic cut and proportions of the material.
There are a lot of design similarities between the last Shift Storm Series item reviewed on webBikeWorld, the Shift Trifecta jacket. In fact, about the only real difference is the waterproofing and liner. The Trifecta has a zip-out liner that’s also a shell, while the Trooper has a full-length “puffy” sort of liner found in many types of motorcycle jackets.
The waterproof capability of the Trooper jacket comes from a separate permanent lining that floats behind the outer 600 denier shell. Shift doesn’t say whether the white lining is also breathable, so the waterproof zippers for the vents on the front and rear of the jacket may be sort of redundant, as the vent openings do not go through the waterproof liner.
But this doesn’t seem to be that much of a problem, as I haven’t really noticed any heavy moisture buildup inside the jacket. And the full-length sealed waterproof liner means this jacket really is waterproof; so far, it hasn’t leaked a drop in the couple of rain storms I rode through — an advantage of having the full waterproof liner without places where water can leak through.
There are basically three different types of waterproof jacket configurations: the super-expensive types where the outer shell is Gore-Tex or some type of waterproof material; the type with a removable waterproof and sometimes breathable liner; and the (usually) less expensive type, where the waterproof lining is either bonded to the inside of the jacket shell or floating inside but not removable, like the Trooper.
For some reason, there’s sort of an obsession by many riders who want a jacket with a waterproof outer shell. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s been said before on webBikeWorld — if you want truly waterproof, then buy a rainsuit to throw over your clothes. If you’re riding in that much rain (and I’d say very few motorcyclists do), then you need a rainsuit.
For the rest of us, so the shell gets wet. So what? As long as the liner is waterproof, who cares? That’s my feeling on it.
Shift Trooper Jacket – Thermal Liner
There’s an advantage to using the permanently attached floating mid-layer as the waterproof liner; it means that the thermal liner in the Trooper jacket is softer, because it doesn’t have a nylon outer shell like the liner in the Shift Trifecta Storm Series Jacket.
This helps to make the Trooper jacket feel comfortable and flexible. The Trooper has a nice tapered fit and just like Shift says, the liner “provides the maximum comfort and warmth when needed”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The thermal liner has a wraparound zipper for attaching to the jacket shell, along with dual snaps at each sleeve cuff. This makes it especially easy to remove and replace.
Shift Trooper Jacket – Sizing and Fit
Since the waterproof barrier is also windproof, the Trooper jacket is surprisingly warm when the weather turns cold. I think the jacket keeps the rider warmer than one might expect because of this and also because of the comfortable fit created by the styling and cut of the fabric.
I haven’t ridden the bike wearing the Trooper without the thermal liner, but removing the liner adds about 1/2 size to the jacket. When choosing the Shift Trooper jacket, I tried a size large (shown here) and also a medium. I usually take a size large and both jackets fit me, with the M feeling a little tight with the liner inserted and about right with it removed. The size L feels good with the liner inserted and slightly large with it removed.
So your size choice may be up to the intended use and weather in your area. If you plan on wearing your Trooper jacket in colder weather, riding a greater proportion of time with the liner inserted, then go for the larger size. If you plan on wearing it in warmer weather in Spring, Summer and Fall with the liner removed most of the time, then the smaller size may be your answer.
The size M should fit a 41″ to 43″ chest and the size L a 42″ to 44″ chest. The Shift size chart shows a medium fitting a 38″ to 40.5″ chest and the large fitting a 40.5″ to 43″ chest. I think these ranges are slightly off, based on my experience wearing the Shift jackets, a couple of which are still in the webBikeWorld inventory.
The jacket has wide hook-and-loop belt adjusters at the waist on each side to snug up the fit even more at the bottom. These work effectively in keeping the wind from entering from underneath the jacket when riding.
Pick your size and I think you’ll find the Shift Trooper to be a very nice and comfortable all-around jacket. It’s one of those jackets that just feels right as soon as you slide it on. I think the soft thermal liner has a lot to do with that, along with the tapered cut that is roomy in the shoulders and closer fitting at the waist. It just feels good.
The front main zipper on the Shift Trooper has large nylon teeth that have a hefty and purposeful look. This design is a bit different from typical jacket zippers and the slider works very nicely and easily. Something about the teeth give the zipper a solid and secure feel as the slider moves up and down. You can almost feel the teeth meshing together, sort of like the way gears do.
The main zipper is backed by a wide section of nylon added to the shell that blocks both water and wind from entering through the zipper and it also adds some windproofing protection at the chest.
The jacket has two 4″ vents at the upper chest, using waterproof zippers. But, the vents don’t add much because the vent openings do not go through the waterproof liner. Also, there isn’t anything to hold the vent open once the zipper is pulled; open the vent and all you get is a narrow slit in the jacket.
Same with the rear vents; there are two of them, vertically arranged on either side of the upper back. Each vent is covered by a waterproof zipper of about 7.5″ long. But they also open only on the shell and they have no matching vents through the waterproof liner.
So the air may circulate around inside, between the outer shell and the bonded waterproof barrier, but no air flows directly through the liner and on to the rider. So far this hasn’t been an issue because I haven’t felt the need to open the vents when riding in the colder winter weather. And the tradeoff is the waterproof integrity of the liner is maintained, probably better than it would be other types of jackets.
The Trooper jacket has two front hand pockets, covered with waterproof zippers. The pockets have so far remained waterproof, based on my occasional rain riding. There is another zipper-covered pocket inside the left chest flap, useful for carrying a wallet.
Shift Trooper Jacket – Miscellaneous Features and Armor
The short neck of the Trooper jacket is lined with a soft microfiber that feels comfortable. The neck has a small flap that attaches with a section of hook-and-loop. The neck occasionally comes undone on this jacket when the thermal liner is inserted, for some reason, so it would probably be better if the neck flap used a snap or button for better security.
The sleeve cuffs have a dart sewn in to allow flexibility and width adjustment, and the cuffs seal with a hook-and-loop arrangement. It works well and the cuffs are easily inserted into glove gauntlets.
The thermal liner extends all the way down to the end of the sleeve cuff, but the snaps that hold the end of the liner arms are up far enough inside the sleeve so the sleeve can be fastened over thinner-type glove gauntlets in most cases. Short gauntlet gloves work perfectly with the cuff arrangement on the Trooper jacket.
One other feature that makes the Shift Trooper jacket feel comfortable is the elbows, which use a layered series of shell material and a wide accordion pleat, both of which provide good flexibility. These seams and almost all of the other seams on the Trooper jacket are double stitched, which gives an added feeling of security.
The jacket has an internal zipper to attach to other Shift pants and also a belt loop at the bottom of the hem at the inside of the jacket, which is handy to loop around the rider’s belt to keep the back of the jacket secured when riding.
The jacket has CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders and it feels nicely molded and comfortable. The armor is well integrated into the design and the tailoring of the jacket makes the armor feel like it isn’t even there.
We’ve said it before and can say it again: the Shift Trooper Storm Series jacket is yet another nice jacket from a company that definitely has the style/price/value equation down pat. I think it can be said that Shift specializes in this type of short street jacket, with several variations that can do just about anything.
Whether you had to choose one jacket due to budget limitations or if you’re looking for style and performance with comfort and ease of use, the Shift Trooper is an excellent choice. Something about this jacket just feels comfortable and friendly and like a “grab and go” piece of gear that doesn’t get in the way but just plain works.
As for the color and graphic pattern, I really came to like the camo and would have a hard time deciding between the “night” camouflage of gray and black or the desert camouflage of light gray, medium gray and greens.
The Trooper jacket would also make an excellent three-season choice, for Fall, moderate Winter and Spring riding. Whether or not the full waterproof liner will perform in the hot Summer weather remains to be seen, but in the hottest types of riding weather, unlined mesh is called for anyway.
By the way, Shift also seems to have a knack for designing clothing that works with every motorcycle style, because just like the other Shift Storm Series jackets, the Trooper looks just as good on a sportbike as it does on a cruiser!
wBW Product Review: Shift Racing Trooper Storm Series Jacket
From “T.R.” (03/11): “You mention in your review of the Shift Trooper that you don’t fully understand the obsession of some riders (myself included) in having a waterproof shell. In fact my obsession goes beyond that.
Every piece of gear I own must be waterproof without the need to add anything. Boots, gloves, jacket, and pants must all be made of GoreTex or the like. Period.
There’s actually a lot of years and miles behind this obsession for me. It all boils down to comfort and convenience. I simply will not stop to put on rain gear. Totally unacceptable. But the larger reason is that separate liners are never as comfortable for me in the high heat, high humidity situations I get here in Texas. It often rains when it’s north of 90F. That’s a pure misery in a traditional rain suit or any type of internal liner I’ve ever tried.
Having said all this, if the non-removable liner wears cool enough, then that’s a viable option for me so jackets like the Trooper might work fine. I’ve owned a shop full of gear in my life. Time and again it’s back to the ‘Stich Darien jacket and pants because they work so damn well against the above criteria. Keep up the great reviews!”
Bill’s Reply: I feel that one of the main benefits of a removable waterproof liner for riding in the “somewhat humid to dry” range is that it can be removed, which allows the jacket shell to fully breathe and for all the vents to be opened.