RATING 6/10 – More photos of the jacket HERE
Summary: Review comes after approximately 2 months of daily use. Jacket cost – $152. Questionable mesh construction and odd fitments made me unsure of the value of wearing this gear. Good armor in shoulder and elbow though.
This season I started the bulk of my riding at the end of April, when I bought the Bandit. I was wearing a heavy black leather jacket, which like many avid bikers quickly realize, can become unbearable as the temps start to rise. That was the case with me, and I began looking for a mesh jacket for warmer temps. Initially, I wanted more of a 3 season jacket, something with at least spring to fall versatility, and the Intake Air 2 was touted to fit that bill. It has a 2 liner system, one for air/rain and one for cooler temps, that are supposed to allow you to use this jacket for most of the year. Here’s my experience with this system and the jacket.
After months of wearing the jacket I came to a clear realization. It’s VERY hard to have an all season jacket that serves as good protection. Not to knock Tour Master for their efforts though, as I consider this a good option for those very hot days, but the system doesn’t work for me. I’ve come to accept the fact that in the heat of summer, I have to sacrifice some protection to be able to stay comfortable enough to ride(short of spending $900 on MotoPort gear). That being said, I feel this jacket and system give up more protection than the comfort is worth. Here are my main gripes:
The 3 part jacket/liner system with Main outer shell, air/rain liner, and thermal liner is tough to size for. I eventually realized that the jacket I had was too big for me, but all indicators and charts pointed to the size I ordered. Like many of you know, motorcycle gear should be form fitting to provide the best protection in the event of an off. The problem with the Intake Air 2 is that if you plan on using the liner system, it’s next to impossible to fit into one of the sizes. This is because with the three liners in, the jacket is pretty bulky, and will feel like one size, but with only the shell on you lose a lot of the mass and the jacket then becomes very loose. Yes, there are adjustments, so it’s very likely that you can get one to fit you right- just make sure you try one on in all configurations to be sure the fit is good for you.
So you ask, if I can probably get one to fit, why wouldn’t I want this decent looking jacket with good armor and lots of adjustment that I can wear through a range of temps? Well what did it for me leads back to my argument for giving up protection. For me, my riding season isn’t simply when temps are over 70. In fact, I’d say while that portion is important, I probably only did half my riding this year in those temps. So the fact that I’d often be in cooler weather led me away from this jacket, because to me it sacrifices TOO MUCH protection for comfort in hot temps.
Why do I feel it lacks sufficient protection you ask ( damn you’re inquisitive)? I mean, after all, it has CE approved armor in the shoulders and elbows and heavier cordura in the biggest impact areas. Well that’s all good and well for the initial impact, but for the most part, I don’t imagine that I’ll be looking for protection when my accident simply involves an impact. In fact if that happens God help me. Like most motorcycle riders I hope that my gear will help me out if I decide to surf down some asphalt for a while face first and belly up. Here’s where I feel the Intake Air 2 really falls short – The mesh construction and material.
Check out the wide holes in the mesh design. Sure, on those 95 degree days I was thanking Tour Master left and right for the readily available breeze coming through this jacket, but I could never get out of my mind how this would hold up if I was to make an unplanned exit off the bike at speed. Think of all the variations in the road and how these holes might catch against them when moving across the surface. Now apply your body weight to that. Not too sure either, huh? While I agree that most mesh isn’t as good as textile or leather in a crash, I’ve seen other companies’ mesh designs and almost every other one seemed more effective. OF course I have no research to back this up, cause God forbid someone looked at anything else in the motorcycle industry besides how many of us get killed VS how many wear helmets, but those are my thoughts.
Almost everything else I liked; the hard armor, the durable shoulders and elbows, the reflective piping, the adjustments. But I couldn’t get over the mesh. And being that this is supposed to be a jacket you use for the main part of your riding with the liners, I didn’t want this to be what I was throwing on each ride. However, PLEASE don’t go without a mesh jacket because you don’t think its not good enough. It will always be better than just you’re bare skin, and the armor could save you from a much worse injury.
Wow, that turned long, very quickly. Here’s the wrap up (which I imagine most people will skip to) If you’ve used this jacket, please let me know your take.
OK Price – between $135-$155
CE pre curved armor in elbows and shoulders
Flows LOTS of air
Rain/wind and thermal liner included
Adjustments on arms and waist
(Inconsolable Gripe) Wide weave mesh construction doesn’t seem like it would hold up at all in an off
Mesh not very durable (began to fray at some points within the 2 months use)
Sizing hard to get correct; great degree of variance due to liners
Velcro on waist and wrist has small contact patch
Coming up soon – More reviews! (Yay snow.. )