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A durable, functional fit

By Shadow

Firstgear Scout IV Jacket

$379.95–$429.95 (depending on size)

My leather riding jacket has seen better days. It had served me well over the last five or six years, but when the stuffing from the lining started littering the ground as I walked and then the last zipper pull broke off, I knew it was time to find a replacement.

I searched for months until I found the Firstgear Scout IV leather jacket. It seemed to have everything I needed for warm, safe, and comfortable riding. And I was pleased to see that the women’s jacket wasn’t a lighter, thinner, less functional piece of clothing than the men’s. Although the jacket sports a slimmer profile, it has every feature the men’s jacket has—a rarity in the world of motorcycle apparel.

The jacket’s shell is constructed of premium top-grain, heavyweight 1.2–1.3mm leather, making it a great choice for cold-weather riding. It’s got a full-sleeve snap-out Thermoliner that attaches easily inside the lower sleeve using a series of three Velcro patches—a much better solution than the button-and-loop sleeve-attach system used by many other brands. The liner also includes a patented Thermoneck neck wrap attached with Velcro. If you don’t need the Thermoneck, you can stow it inside a slot in the liner, or detach it completely. It’s high enough to wrap around my entire neck and the lower part of my face, and keeps the air from hitting my neck and shooting down the front of my jacket.

Removable CE-approved armor is placed in the shoulder and elbow areas, and stretch leather panels are under the arms and at the waist for more flexibility and comfort. One of the nicest features of the jacket is the patented four-port Torso Vent System and a patented Cuff Vent System. The Torso Vent System consists of two front pockets that unzip to let air flow through the jacket via perforated material. If you leave the zippers open, a Velcro system keeps the pockets closed. And those pockets are extremely roomy, with a Cargo Storage System that has multiple compartments and even an elastic key lanyard to stow lots of stuff. I use the pockets for my cell phone, chewing gum, Chapstick, Kleenex, money, a road map, and even an extra pair of riding glasses. You can also unzip the two rear ports to allow air to flow through the perforated material under the zippers. And the Cuff Vent System has the same setup: a two-way zipper with perforated material underneath that allows air to flow from your wrists up the sleeves, providing additional cooling.

Another nifty feature is that of doubles. There are double snaps at the cuff, which allow me the option of stuffing gloves inside the cuffs or pulling gauntlets over the tops of the cuffs, and this system also allows more (or less) air to flow up my sleeves. That said, my jacket’s sleeves are quite snug below the elbow, yet there’s still enough room to wear a light sweatshirt for more warmth. The collar has two snaps, allowing more or less room or more or less airflow at the neck. And the seams are double-stitched, making for a strong, durable piece of apparel. But the best “doubles” feature is that of the main zipper, allowing me to zip up the “inside track” making for a snug fit, or zipping the “outside track” which gives me over an inch more room to wear a sweatshirt or second shirt underneath. The Scout IV has more nifty features, like reflective trim across the jacket’s upper front and back and “Firstgear” spelled out in reflective lettering on the back of the collar. The jacket also employs the Kwik-Dry technology for water resistance. Several times while I was on the road, it rained steadily for an hour or more, and my rain pants and Scout IV jacket were enough to keep rain from soaking through to my clothing underneath. When the jacket dried, it had no water stains and kept its shape well.

Replacement parts like zippers, sliders, and snaps can be obtained from Tucker Rocky, however, liners are not yet available. The company is working towards standardizing liners in the future, which will eventually result in liners being made available for most, if not all, Firstgear jackets.

Tucker Rocky has been the exclusive distributor of Firstgear apparel since it hit the market. Since taking ownership in fall 2005, more than 20 styles have been added or updated. Additionally, Tucker Rocky began the process of standardizing features across the line that represent the best of the brand. Some updates added to the line since taking ownership are CE-approved armor in all jackets and waterproof zippers on all waterproof products.

According to Mark Salvatore, the Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice apparel merchandise manager, the original Scout jacket was launched in 1992. The Scout IV is just over two years old, and represents four major changes in style. The release of the Scout IV incorporated CE-approved armor and a banded collar, and it is the top-selling leather jacket in the Firstgear line. The Scout is in redesign for a 2009 release that will be launched in September 2008.

I’ve been wearing the Scout IV for five months in temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 100 degrees, as well as in the rain, and the jacket has performed admirably under any conditions I’ve subjected it to. I don’t need to worry about where to stow my personal accessories because the numerous pockets, both large and small, can accommodate more stuff than any other jacket I’ve owned. The Scout IV has a limited 10-year warranty, but after about 8,000 miles on the road, it still looks like new, so I don’t expect I’ll have to use that warranty. It’s truly the most durable, functional riding jacket I’ve ever worn.

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