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Zippers delight

By Charles Ruhe

Men’s Bracket Jacket with Switchback Technology

Harley-Davidson MotorClothes

MSRP $295–$305 depending on size

It’s getting hot outside, and all indications are that it’s going to get hotter. And as the temperature rises through the 80s and 90s, wrapping yourself in a heavy chunk of dead cow just to go out for a putt loses much of its appeal. But being the sensible sort of rider you are, going out on the road with just the T-shirt on your back feels like asking for trouble.

On top of that, however warm it gets by noon, the morning and evening hours are cooler, and call for a little more insulation. Add a rain shower to the equation, and your midsummer day’s dream ride calls for at least three different jackets.

Or one clever one.

The MotorClothes folks have gotten real clever lately, and introduced several jackets with a design feature they’ve named “Switchback Technology.” Now, they never actually define this term, but close observation and deductive logic lead me to believe it stands for “zippers.” Or maybe “zippers and fabric panels.” How about “zippers, fabric panels and mesh?”

So the Men’s Bracket Jacket with Switchback Technology is designed to meet all the conditions of your summertime ride by transforming itself from an ordinary water-resistant polyester riding jacket, complete with removable armor at the shoulder and elbow, to one ventilated by large areas of sturdy mesh fabric that give free passage to the breeze without completely sacrificing protection. Two long zippers accomplish this trick, one circling your chest just below the top of the shoulder seam, the other paralleling its path about five inches south, but running beneath the arm. Unzipped, they allow the wearer to peel off the outer layer of fabric from chest, back and sleeves. The deal’s even sweetened by the contrasting Harley Orange racing stripe that’s revealed once you’ve completed your ecdysiast act. The molted skin can be folded up and stashed in a pocket of the jacket’s (also mesh) lining situated between your shoulder blades.

Which leads us to the other blade of this wearable Swiss Army knife—a waterproof liner that’s a complete inner jacket. It lives in a pouch helpfully marked “waterproof liner” that rides on your back, suspended from double-sided hook-and-loop tabs that attach to the same pocket that holds the unrigged sleeves/back/chest panel. This arrangement keeps it out of the way but handy in case of a sudden downpour or temperature drop.

A zippered inner pocket and two zippered handwarmer pockets provide secure storage for gloves, glasses and the like; the waist and cuffs adjust with hook-and-loop tabs, and the “Bracket” portion of the name is covered by the Screamin’ Eagle and H-D Racing insignia that link you spiritually and graphically to the racers flying Harley’s colors down dragstrips everywhere.

This probably ain’t the jacket you’ll want to take on your tour of the Arctic Circle, but it’s just the thing for day trips, short tours and runs to the racetrack when the dog days of summer are upon us. Perfect, you might say, for zipping around.

Fire off a Le

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