Choosing a riding jacket might be a tricky job . A few years back it wasn’t much complicated as we had very limited choice and it was a pretty simple task to get it. But now we have a lot of options, so choosing one is a tough task.
But the options available is not the only problem. There are several other issues to be looked into. Let me explain it from what all I learned on how to choose the right jacket, experiences from my previous mistakes, various re-search sessions on the internet, interaction with experts and many stuff like that. There may be several points I missed or some that may be incorrect, do feel free to point them out and the changes will be made for sure.
So now the basic question here, How to choose the perfect jacket:
The few most important points to be considered.
1.Level of protection
3.Fit and Finish
4.A proper brand
So let’s get started on the points mentioned.
Level of protection :
The riding jacket is mainly meant for protecting you from abrasion and broken bones in the event of a crash , apart from its numerous other uses which includes looking super cool, keeping you warm, protection from wind and stuff like that. So the main 2 parts we have to be careful about is the Grade/level of the armor present in it and the abrasion resistance level of the material used to make the jacket(Mesh/Cordura/Perforated leather/Leather).
It is always advised to have CE approved rated body armor in your jacket. Preferably elbow , shoulder and back protectors. In the Indian market mostly we see jackets that come with elbow and shoulder armor and just a foam pad for the back protector which is a major let down. So a detailed check of the armor rating of the jacket you wish to get is a must. If it has up-gradable options for back and chest protection all the better, but that does increase the price point of the jacket. Each kind of jacket has different level of protection , so being aware of which jacket offers what protection is of at-most importance.
Well, from a riding jacket an important part we need is the abrasion protection, which will save our skin form road rash in the event of a fall and the long kiss with the asphalt. So for this we need good abrasion protection, now the jackets have different materials used for its build.
So this is the order of abrasion resistance as compared with the materials used, Mesh<Cordura<Perforated Leather<Leather. Where mesh providing the least resistance and Leather providing the most resistance to abrasion. So a mesh jacket when dragging about the road may melt and burn the skin and cause road rash, then again we have different grade of mesh used, a low grade one would melt while the higher grade ones will hold on strong.
Now another important thing that influences this is the weather condition you have at your place, read about it below , So plan accordingly.
Another important part is weather condition of the place you live in or most probably will ride in. As much as we need protection,we don’t want to either be cooked in the jacket or be frozen either. So choosing the jacket for the weather is also important. I live in the southern most part of India, where it get really humid for most part of the year and heavy rains for the remainder months. So the best suited one here is a mesh jacket, as the cordura/textile jacket itself will cook me up in this searing heat and humid condition, so leather is out of the question.
Well, the sizing of a riding jacket is also a big part. Ideally when worn, the riding jacket must fit tightly, as a second skin. The most important part in this is the placement of the armor, the armor areas like the elbow and shoulder should be seated perfectly and there must not be much free-play of the armor, it shouldn’t be over tight too. Just in a way that it stays where it’s supposed to be, so that in the event of a crash the armor won’t slip off , which if it does, nullifies the use of the armor in the first place. So before buying a jacket, try it on and get the right size that suits you.
Always get a jacket which has a lot of reviews or which you know for sure is a tried and tested product. R&D goes a long way in getting the right product into the market. When it comes to safety, don’t be a Guinea pig and test it for others, instead read others experience in events of crash and how good the jacket held up and plan accordingly. A good brand with a decent amount of R&D may cost a bit more but rest assured, it is worth that cost.
So these are the things that I considered before I made my purchase. I had already made a wrong purchase with my first set of riding gear. It was a rookie mistake. I overlooked almost all points I mentioned here, and needless to say I couldn’t use it and had to sell it off.
So, now let’s get to business, This is a review of the newly introduced Riding jacket from Spartan Progear team based in Chennai, The Spartan Hyperion.
Lets get a quick tour of the technical stuff before staying focused on the main points on how it perform’s and answers the question a rider would have in his mind when considering a product.
Now , getting to point let’s compare it with the points I have given above, in that way it will be clutter free and easily understandable to everyone, and followed by the real world ride report.
1. Armor :
The Hyperion had Knox level 1 elbow and shoulder armor.The most important and impressive part here is that , the armor is very light weight and very flexible yet very strong, once you wear the jacket it almost feels as if there is no armor at all, and that is a really good point as there won’t be any uncomfortable feeling while wearing the jacket. Moreover Knox also being one of the best companies in the world manufacturing Armor/ protective gear for motorcyclists.For more information read here.
It has a back foam protector, though foam is not all that good in terms of protection the foam padding which is also CE rated on the Hyperion is much thicker than the other jackets can offer. So comparatively it’s a good thing. Hyperion comes with the option of upgrading the back armor with Knox back protector which will cost you a few more bucks , but in every sense it will be worth it.So all in all we have a very good package when it comes to protection, that it will give the rider a piece of mind while riding.
Now how well does it compare with it’s competitors – Alpinestar TGP-air ,Spartan Helios,Spartan Hyperion,Cramster Breezer
Among the mentioned the Hyperion and Helios has the same armor, so nothing to compare there, now comparing with the Alpinestars , the Alpinestars armor is a new concept called the bio-armor which is super light and flexible yet, much more impact absorbing abilities than the conventional armors based on foam like in the breezer. So clearly it is a battle between the Alpinestars armor and Knox which comes standard in Spartan jackets.
Note: The product we reviewed here is without the Knox back protector, so once we get our hands on it , we will be posting the review of that too, so it can be helpful for people who are considering buying it. As of now, the Knox armor is available to only customers who already own a spartan jacket or for those who choose to purchase the jacket with the Knox back armor upgrade within.
2.Weather Compatibility :
Owing to the humid and hot weather conditions for most time around the year, the Hyperion fits the bill by being a mesh jacket which has superior level of abrasion protection. So as to speak the Hyperion is a summer riding jacket, but it has the feature to add additional liners depending on the weather conditions, essentially making it an all weather jacket with the option of optimizing the jacket based on the weather and user preference. The Hyperion comes with a detachable rain liner as standard, which can be zipped or unzipped with the help of YKK zippers. The thermal liners are a add on and has to be purchased separately if needed.
Comparing with its competitors the Alpinestars had no liners for rain or wind, which makes it a strictly summer time riding jacket,a letdown considering the price point. The helios having the same features as the Hyperion, and the breezer has a rain liner and thermal liner as standard.
The Hyperion is made from a mixture of high quality mesh + cordura fabric + Perforated leather. As explained above this is the perfect combination of protection one needs in the event of a fall. The upper torso area is constructed using perforated leather which gives superior abrasion protection at the same time being perforated the leather is breathable.The rest of the area is a combination of mesh and cordura fabric at impact points to give superior abrasion resistance.
Comparing with its competitors the Alpinestar, Helios and Breezer are all completely mesh jackets, which puts the Hyperion at a major advantage.
The Hyperion when chosen the correct size , it fits exceptionally well, there is no play in the armor position, the jacket feels light, and you don’t feel the armor when it’s worn and that is a very comfortable feature. more on fitting and feel is explained as you read along.
Now that we have covered all the technical ground. Let’s get to the real ride review. The first test with this jacket was a 300+kms ride , which started in the morning and rode continuously through the hot blazing sun till about 4pm. So It had been ridden in a variety of typical south Indian humid conditions. And I must say that it performed exceptionally well.
The jacket is very light, you won’t feel the weight of the armor and extra padding at all. The jacket fit’s fine and snug which is very important. A part where improvement can be done is the arm adjustment strap above the elbow, it is a velcro setup and a bit more velcro strap would have helped in a more personalized setting, but easy adjustments can be made to get it the way you want by adding a velcro strip or by just reducing the length of the strap.
Well, it is still technically a mesh jacket, so the air flow is a given fact. The designers have done enough R&D , which is proved by the amount of air flow one gets in this jacket, despite the fact of the amount of perforated leather and cordura fabric used in the construction of the jacket. The amount of air flow is just overwhelming, even in stop go traffic or standstill , I never sweated, not unless I was standstill for over 4-5 minutes. And since I am the kind of person that sweats a lot and easily this has proved to be a great product for me.
That takes care of the summer time performance of the jacket, Now over the few months i even tested it in the rainy and cold conditions, form the slight to moderate drizzles to the full on monsoon rains that we get here in the south. And here is how it performed. For moderate to heavy drizzles , I used the jacket without its rain liner and surprisingly I did not get wet at all, when you are moving you will not get wet, but when you are immobile, water starts to seep in through the mesh panels. The conclusions were reached upon after 40-50 kms riding in moderate to heavy drizzle. Now for heavy downpour , the rain liner was used, and was tested for a distance of about 160-180 kms during a recent ride to munnar, and the rain liner held good in keeping me dry for the first half of the journey(with varying intensity of rain), that is it held good for about 80-85 kms after which water started to seep in through the neck area and my dress inside started to get wet. Now this is some exceptional figures for a mesh jacket with just a add on rain liner. So I can definitely conclude that the Hyperion can definitely be used even during the rainy season, for a few short distances(40-50 kms) without getting wet when using the rain liners.
The jacket is very much suited for daily use, looks great , but not too flashy, can be easily folded and fits into a backpack quite nicely, it’s not bulky when worn, goes with any kind of dressing and overall a great product.
I have had no complains for the few thousand kms I have used it. So if you are in search of a mesh jacket with optimum air flow and protection , this particular one stands out in all respect with the thoughtfulness that has gone in to create the product and the relevance of its features in the weather conditions we encounter in India.
So, I finally conclude the review of the Spartan Hyperion Riding jacket, Don’t forget to leave a comment/query below and we will be sure to get back to you. Also do rate the review and share it with your fellow riders, so it could be of help to them or others.
Lastly, How to get it, Spartan only has a few outlets as of yet, so your best bet would be to get it from Chennai via courier, but if you are from Kerala, then you are at luck,DJ helmets,Cochin have an exclusive collection of all the gears provided by the Spartan range at a good price range, they are the only official distributors for Kerala too. Contacting DJ helmets will give you a better idea. Click here for more details.
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