Posted by: Jessie | December 20, 2011

Gear Review: Xpert Performance Ladies Leather Jacket

I got in a little bit of riding this weekend.  I was feeling guilty because the bikes had been sitting for so long.  When I saw the rain was letting up for a bit and the temperature was in the 40’s, I thought I would get out and ride a bit, thus charging the batteries and running the oil through the engines.

This time I wore my old leather jacket.  I bought this jacket in 2001 at a Harley shop here in Cincinnati.  It was my first motorcycle jacket, I only paid $150 for it.  Other jackets of similar quality and more well-known brand names were $200 and up.  I haven’t worn it in a long time, and I had forgotten how much I like it.  The soft leather fits me like a glove and it is the warmest coat I own.  On this December BMW ride I tried it with my heated liner.  Wonderful.  The snug fit held the warmth from the heated liner against me much better then any of my other jackets.  The Guzzi does not have anywhere to plug in accessories such as heated liners, so I rode with just the leather jacket, long johns, and a sweater.

This jacket is made by a company called Xpert Performance, and it was made in Pakistan.  It is very thick leather with two front pockets and one interior pocket.  It has two large vents in the front and one vent in the back.  It is stitched together with Kevlar thread; and has pockets for armor.  It came with foam armor and a set of hard plastic armor.  The hard plastic armor never fit right, so I’ve been using the foam.  This jacket also has a removable full-sleeve quilted liner, not just a vest.

This classic biker-style jacket has large lapels that zip up to keep out the wind or snap down to allow more air flow.  It is 3/4 length with zippers at the hip for more room when needed.  It has a belt to insure a snug fit at the waist and a leather cover to go over the belt buckle to prevent scratches on the motorcycle tank.  Zippers at the wrists prevent cold air from leaking up the sleeve when riding in cold weather, or to allow more air flow in warm weather.

This jacket is great in temperatures from 40 to 70’s.  When I first started riding I would ride my bike (with no windshield) in 40 degree temperatures with this jacket and three layers of clothing underneath.  That was before I had a heated liner and a bike with a place to plug it in to!  With the liner removed and all the vents open I could wear this jacket when the temperatures were in the 70’s, but not in the 80’s or 90’s.  Some days are just too hot to wear black leather.  I have been caught in rainstorms in this jacket.  Rain is not good for leather.  Wet leather is very heavy and clammy.  Putting a rain suit on over the leather protects the leather, but the rain suit does not breathe, so I still get clammy.  The other bummer about this jacket is that the air vents in the front can leak air, even with the liner in.  I don’t notice it when riding a bike with a windshield, but on a bike without a windshield  the air leak can feel like cold needles poking into my chest.

The verdict: this is a wonderful jacket.  The makers of this jacket have paid attention to details that other brands miss.  The quality of the leather is superior to many of the other jackets I have seen on the market, it is thicker and softer.  The fit and finish are great.  I have had this jacket for 10 years and it still looks barely broken in.  It is comfortable and warm, great for 3 seasons.  Unfortunately it is no fun in the rain and uncomfortable in the hot summer.  The air vents leak air in the cold winter, but this is not a problem if the bike has wind protection or if one wears a windbreaker or windproof fleece under the jacket.

Xpert Performance does not make this exact jacket anymore, but they have several other ladies jackets available in updated styles.  You may be able to find my exact jacket on ebay or at a smaller store that still carries discontinued jackets.

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