After 3 years and many miles, my Joe Rocket Alter Ego jacket needs replacing. So I figured I'd ping the collective for their experience.
I like that the Alter Ego
is a textile jacket with a zip out cover that makes it into a mesh jacket, while still retaining all the armor and heavy cordura in impact zones. The additional back pad is a nice feature, though it makes it harder to roll up and stuff into a saddlebag. I didn't like the average quality (most of the zipper pulls have broken, and some of the arm stitching has let go letting some padding slide down to my wrist). The rain liner is basic seam-sealed plastic, which doesn't breath and means I have to take off the jacket to insert the liner. I've gone to just throwing an extra rain coat over the whole jacket when needed for wet or very cold situations. The jacket does work well over a wide range of temps, such that with a heated liner I am comfortable from about 30-100 degrees.
My ideal is to find a true 4-season jacket system. It would have a monsoon-tested waterproof outer shell that breathes, but be convertible to a mesh jacket. I've tried some with waterproof zipper vents, but found the vents were too small and ineffective behind the LT's huge fairing. I also don't like inner waterproof liners, as you have to take the whole jacket off to put those in (and who wants to do that on the side of the road when the rain starts?). Under 50 degrees I have a good Warm-n-Safe heated jacket, and over 100 I'd probably get a cooling vest. I'd love to find pants with a similar flexibility, but have had even less luck there.
The possibilities I've found so far follow. If anyone can contribute some direct experience with any of these jackets that would be great. Note that cost is secondary: the jacket has to work first or else I don't care how cheap or expensive it is.
1) Marsee One Wear System / Full Flow Jacket
This has a fitted external rain cover which should be easy to put on over the base jacket. The base jacket is full mesh for good airflow in high temps. The quilted liner vest is irrelevant, as I'd use my heated liner. Marsee has a good reputation for quality, which is a plus. They also make a cooling vest, which can be worn with anybody's jacket. This is probably my first choice if the rain jacket breathes and also depending on fit and quality.
2) Teknic Sprint Jacket
This also looks like a newer interpretation of the Alter Ego concept, but with the advantage of having the zip-off outer shell be waterproof at the outer layer. The zip-off piece maybe smaller and thus easier tio pack than a full outer cover, but would I have to remove the jacket to zip this piece on and off? It is a fairly new jacket, so I'm not sure how much real-world testing it has seen, or how waterproof/durable it may be. The collar looks huge, but zips on and off easily, so that may be an advantage when converting from really warm to really cold. And again, the quilted liner is irrelevant.
3) Teknic Spider Jacket
I think this jacket is now obsolete, as it isn't in Teknic's latest printed dealer catalog. That may just mean I can get a deal if I find someone who has the right size in stock. It looks like it has a full removeable outer shell over a full mesh jacket like the Marsee. It is a shorter jacket, so I have some concern about water seeping in at the waist. I also don't know about its quality or durability though.
4) Cortech Accelerator Jacket
This is a waterproof jacket with zippered sleeve vents, or you could remove both sleeves. You can also remove the two chest cargo pockets to reveal large mesh panels. I'm not sure if the sleeve zips and chest panels would give enough venting behind the LT's fairing, and I sure wouldn't ride with the sleeves off. I also have concerns about rain seeping through the vents, so this rates pretty low on my list. For the record, the Olympia gear seems to also suffer from too-small vents and questionable waterproofing.
5) Tour Master Flex Jacket
This looks like a higher quality interpretation of the Alter Ego, but it also suffers from the interior waterproof liner issue. So that pretty much takes it out right there.
6) Aerostitch or Motoport
In both cases these jackets don't vent at all in the heat, and the pants often leak at the crotch. Other than that, the quality is top-notch. Just not for my needs.
7) Anything else the collective can recommend?
May as well ask about pants while I'm at it. My current solution is mesh pants with rain pants put on top for cold and/or wet days. My current pair don't zip far enough up the legs, so I need to put them on before my boots (makes short commutes a real pain). Also the rain pants are cheapo WalMart specials that are too baggy.
So one option is to get better mesh pants and better fitting rain pants (maybe Frogg Toggs).
Another option is to get pants that are waterproof by themselves, but zip all the way to the waist. That means only one simple layer, but the option of zipping down from the hips/thighs to get some air flow when needed.
Any thoughts there?
Thanks for the input.