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Our Member Tested program puts the best gear in the hands of real riders who give real reviews. You'll hear the good, the bad and the ugly about all the gear they have tested. But when it is over, you will know you can buy the best piece of equipment that is durable enough for MOA members. All product reviews must come from an active member (at the time of submission) and should include photos of the product being installed or used in some way. Drop an email to wfleming [at] bmwmoa [dot] org with your idea for a review or your completed review. Thanks!

 

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Member Tested: Fieldsheer Hydro Textile Heated Jacket

Posted By Mark Thompson #218859, Monday, May 11, 2020

Fieldsheer’s Mobile Warming Riding Gear makes riding gear much more useful because you can have comforting warmth both on and off the bike. As we all know (or learn), heated riding gear extends our riding season and saves the day when the weather-guessers tell us “sunny and dry” and it becomes something much different.

To use its full name, the Fieldsheer Hydro Textile Heated jacket—let’s call it the “Hydro” - is a top-of-the-line, waterproof, all-purpose adventure/touring jacket. You can either plug it into the bike's electrical system or when you're off the bike, use an optional lithium battery (another $70) to keep you warm.

I needed just such a jacket for the wet and cold autumn months in Ohio. While not inexpensive - retail is $449 - Fieldsheer had it on sale on their website, saving me a bundle. This is a jacket that does the job of keeping you warm and dry under extreme weather conditions, whether on or off the bike.

I added the optional 12-volt lithium battery for off-bike use, which makes the inner, softshell jacket ideal for cooler weather spectating, errands or hanging out late on the patio at the local pub. The compact 5200mAh 12-volt battery is a little larger than a pack of playing cards and doubles as a backup cell phone power source. Its built-in LED light helped me find the keys I’d dropped in a parking lot one very dark night.

The Hydro is a two-part jacket, with the outer jacket constructed from Fieldsheer’s own Carbolex HD™ ballistic nylon, while the removable inner softshell jacket holds the heating elements and temperature control. The inner jacket looks like a typical lightweight jacket and is easily detached and worn as such. The lithium battery slips into a small zippered pocket that comes prewired with all connections; just plug in the lithium battery and hit the ON switch. Another inner pocket holds the prewired cable connections for directly hooking into the bike’s electrical system. With everything prewired and installed, there’s nothing more for you to do other than plug-in, power up, and go, a nice touch.

On the inner jacket's right chest, you'll find a small, round rubber logo—your power switch. One three-second push (easy even with gloved hands) and a red LED tells you power is on and at 100 percent. Another button push changes it to yellow (75 percent power), then green (50 percent), and blue (25 percent). The final button push brings it back to 100 percent power. On battery power alone, you can expect real-world times of about two hours of heat on a full charge, or three hours at 75 percent power, five hours at 50 percent, and perhaps 10 hours at the lowest setting. Green LEDs report on the battery’s charge level, and I saw about four hours for a complete battery recharge via electrical outlet and 90 minutes longer via USB.

Switch to running on the bike’s electrical system and clicking through the button choices gets you the same results. At the full-power setting, the temperature is at 149 degrees, dropping to 132, 118 and finally down to 100 degrees F.

Fieldsheer’s Mobile Warming gear uses pigtail (barrel style, male/female) connectors, not the more common SAE style. If you're going to add other heated garments like gloves, pants or socks, you may want to stay within the Fieldsheer brand. An illustrated manual shows how to hook up multiple garments to the bike’s electrics. The lithium battery, however, will only power one thing at a time. Some items such as the gloves offer the option of a separate lithium battery for power. Mix and match to suit your needs.

What great heat! Both your chest and back are swathed in wide zones of soothing warmth. Your upper back, arms and shoulders especially appreciate how the jacket keeps muscles warm and relaxed even after several hours in the saddle. The heating panels are large but not intrusive. When you’re off the bike and relying on the lithium battery, you get only upper back and chest heat.

One nit worth mentioning: Temperature adjustments mean unzipping the outer jacket because the power switch is tucked away on the softshell inner jacket’s chest. It can be a minor inconvenience or require a stop. More and more of Fieldsheer’s riding gear now offer a Bluetooth option, where you can control the temperature via your phone. Perhaps this will be in the Hydro's next generation.

Regarding fit, in size large it felt like Fieldsheer designed the Hydro specifically for me (they didn’t), but at six-nothing and 170 lbs., I’m a slim dude that usually goes for “athletic fit” clothing. This is a jacket you should try on first to see if it matches your physique. The inner jacket has drawstrings at the waist for sizing tweaks, and the outer jacket has hook and loop at the cuffs, double pairs of snaps on the sleeves, and more hook and loop on the waist for perfecting your fit. Level 1 CE armor hides in removable pockets in the back and shoulders. Zippered vents on the chest and back are there to provide a breeze on warm days. It’s all backed by a one-year warranty.

Phoslite® reflective panels in multiple spots on the jacket aide nighttime visibility. Carbolex-HD® fabric ballistic nylon fabric developed by Fieldsheer provides a high level of abrasion resistance. The Carbolex HD® is also waterproof, hence the “Hydro” in the jacket’s name, while a breathable internal membrane keeps you from getting clammy. All seams are thermo-sealed, and there are multiple large, convenient pockets both inside and out, most closing with zippers or hook and loop for secure storage. I could easily open the external pockets while wearing gloves. An adjustable neck bandana is built into the collar to help keep the breeze out—I flat out love this feature!

This is a substantial jacket with a weight of about seven pounds with the optional 11-ounce battery tucked into its pocket. This weight, however, is comparable to many other top-of-the-line riding jackets that don’t offer the versatility of dual power sources.

All this goodness comes at a price, of course. The suggested retail is $449, but I got mine for $337 at an end-of-season sale. You can order the Hydro and all Fieldsheer’s riding and work gear directly from the company. Their website includes a size chart. Go to mobilewarming.com for more information or to order.

Tags:  gear  jacket  winter 

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Trilobite Ace jacket

Posted By Justin Marquardt #219185, Saturday, August 31, 2019

When I first saw the Trilobite Ace jacket at the MOA Getaway at Fontana Dam this spring, I realized this wasn’t traditional cotton denim. Stiffer than denim, it was more like a technical, textile-based riding jacket. The cut and style of the Ace jacket are like a modern textile sport riding jacket as well, and it fit me like a glove, though just a little tight in the arms.

The jacket features a pair of zippered chest pockets as well as two zippered hand-warmer pockets. Inside the main zipper are interior pockets on each side with metal YKK zippers. These pockets are likely waterproof or at least very resistant, considering their placement, and during a ride through a light rain the contents of the pockets remained dry. The jacket's collar features a soft, microfiber lining and uses a single metal snap to close. I found the snap requires a deliberate action to release.

The long arms of the jacket feature zippered cuffs and a two-position adjustor that snaps for closure, allowing a rider to wear gloves inside or outside the sleeves. The jacket's branding is somewhat subdued, with only a small metal “Trilobite” text logo above the left chest pocket, while at the rear above the waist is a larger, embroidered version of the same text. Between the shoulder blades is a Trilobite graphic. The jacket's shell is made from a tough polyester fabric treated for water resistance. Additionally, there is a TriTex ® waterproof but breathable membrane for serious protection from the rain.

I found when reaching for the grips on my Yamaha R1, the extra sleeve is perfectly taken up by the riding position, and stretch panels behind the shoulders and on the hips make the reach comfortable.

A denim jacket isn’t usually what one reaches for when it is chilly or wet outside, but that is exactly where this jacket shines. One of my first rides with the jacket was on a cool morning ride on the Dragon. It turned out that I never got chilled. Between the polyester shell, liner and TriTex waterproof membrane, very little wind passed through the jacket to my torso and arms. Later that afternoon with the temps starting to climb, the jacket began to get a little stuffy. While not a summer jacket, I believe the temperature range of the Trilobite Ace jacket is suitable for mild weather, but on hotter days I’ll likely reach for a mesh jacket.

The jacket is constructed of a water resistant, polyester denim material with impact zones including the back, shoulders and elbows lined with Dupont Kevlar® aramid fibers. Trilobite includes their own brand of CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows, which are inserts consisting of three foam layers of differing density. While no back protector is included, a pocket for one is there. For visibility, the Ace jacket has a little secret that I didn’t notice until my riding partner told me he noticed the 3M reflective stitching along the upper back and arms. While not “blinding,” it is certainly better than nothing. This is something most denim riding jackets don’t offer.

A couple of interesting features of the jacket include what looks like a buttonhole with a strap beneath it on the right chest. After a little research, I found this is for holding your glasses. The idea is that a rider slips one temple arm of their glasses into the buttonhole and then the glasses are safely held against the chest under the strap. Additionally, the Ace jacket has a small LED flashlight tucked into a little rubber covered "garage" at the lower left front of the jacket. The small light is activated with a simple squeeze and is perfect for any situation where a little more light might be needed. The small light is attached to the jacket via a 20-inch auto-retracting tether so it can't be lost.

Overall, I would highly recommend this jacket not only for mild weather riding, but as a casual jacket when the armor is removed. MSRP of the Trilobite Ace jacket is $319 and is available in sizes S - XXL. For more information, visit motonation.com. Pros:

  • Good looking with good protection.
  • Water proof with liners
  • Quality construction with interesting features including glasses holder and flashlight
Cons:
  • Lack of venting can make the jacket warm on hot days
  • Runs one size small

Tags:  Gear  jacket  trilobite 

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