Monday, 24 October 2011

Product Review: Triumph Explorer Sympatex Jacket and Pants

The first thing that is readily apparent about the Triumph Explorer Sympatex riding gear is that it attracts cats.  Or cat hair, to be exact.  Do not unpack near cat or favorite cat sleeping spot unless your vacuum has broken, company is on the way, and you are desperate to suck up every hair in a 15-foot radius.

The second thing that is readily apparent as you pull the now somewhat fuzzier Triumph Triumph Explorer Sympatex Fabric Jacket  fully out of its plastic wrapping, is that Triumph was not messing around:

The Triumph Explorer Sympatex Jacket, without zip in face-protection

I forgot all about the cat hair, once I had the jacket stretched out on the bed and commenced with the zippering, buttoning, cinching, snapping, un-layering, and re-layering.  Countless combinations; endless fun.  Mystery snaps, hidden panels and pockets, a zipper to nowhere; what else could a girl want from a jacket?  

Other than an owner's manual?  The jacket's myriad configurations are one big wearable Rubiks Cube.  But once I'd tapped into my inner engineer, everything become clear.  Even the orphaned buttons had matches and all zippers were accounted for.  It only took a good 30-minutes, and half-a-cat worth of cat hair, to wade through it all.

The Sympatex jacket is a two-fer; a shell and an inner jacket.  Sort of like a snowboarding jacket but without the CE-approved body armor in the forearms, back and shoulders.  (Not that I couldn't use the body armor when snowboarding.) 

Extra layers allow you to pull apart and reassemble the jacket to match the demands of the great outdoors and the occasional dress code.  Don't want to wear body armor or a mud-spattered outer shell into the restaurant after a ride?  Leave the shell with the bike and use the inner jacket.  It looks that good.

Sympatex is a high-tech equipment manufacturer based on the hydrophilic, non-porous Sympatex membrane, which is the complicated way of saying that Sympatex is environmentally-friendly recycled (and biodegradable), 100-percent waterproof, 100-percent windproof fabric that breathes, expelling moisture outwards.

The pants are not a two-fer, although if I manage to lose 10-pounds (the same 10-pounds I've been losing for the past five years) I could try wearing a pair of cross-country pants under them.  Not that I would need to do so.  The  Triumph Explorer Sympatex Jeans are fully windproof, waterproof, and come with a removable liner:

Triumph Explorer Sympatex Jean

Triumph designs and tests all of its gear in-house.  And it is obvious that the Explorer gear is designed by real riders who understand people who love to ride actually seek out lousy riding conditions just because they can.  Sunny?  Smooth, flat, pavement?  Who needs it?  Give us dirt, cold, potholes, and rain!

Yet somehow, they made the gear comfortable, sleek (or as sleek as three layers and body armor can be), and even stylish.  In fact, it fits so well, and avoids the BMW rainbow-adventure crowd look, I am perfectly happy wearing it astride my Ducati 848Evo and 1995 Honda CBR900RR.  I don't even resemble the Michelin Man.  Much.

Excuse me?  Sportbike riders do rain, cold, and wind too, you know.  Those mountain twisties don't disappear into hibernation just because the temps drop to 40-degrees.

It is with no small relief that, despite the encroaching chill, I will not have to place my bikes into moto-hibernation for the next few months.  My new Triumph Sympatex jacket and pants will keep me happy, warm, dry, and on the motorcycles long into the winter.


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