I’ve always said the best jacket is the one you don’t realize you have on. Women’s motorcycle riding jackets, while theyve come a long way, still fall short in some areas when it comes to fit and function—bulky collars, restrictive fit, awkward cut in the chest or arms, lack of protection, and lack of adjustability. Normally I can find at least one of these problems in each of the many jackets I’ve worn, but not so with Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket.
When it comes to fit, this jacket is my Cinderella’s slipper. Even when I’m sloped over the gas tank of a sportbike, the To The Nines jacket fits securely and comfortably over my chest and arms. It even covers my lower back. The sleeves are the perfect length, as they meet up with the Velcro straps of my gloves at my wrists instead of hanging over my knuckles or coming up short at my forearms.
The jacket’s AR-600 textile frame staves off wind completely, which kept me warm and comfortable during a cool freeway ride at night. Once the sun comes out and the temperature warms up, I can easily remove the full-sleeved inner liner by unzipping it from the torso area and pulling apart the Velcro at the edge of the sleeves. Also, opening the dual “speed zip” vents in the back and arms of the jacket allows plenty of ventilation during around-town riding. The”speed zip” zippers are constructed of a thick plastic material instead of a grabby metal material, which makes the zippers easier to open and close.
The “600” designation means 600-denier polyester, a midweight textile fabric commonly used in the frame of motorcycle jackets. The jacket is water-resistant, not waterproof (waterproofing this jacket would jack up the price a bit). However, if youve ever ridden in the rain with a water-resistant textile jacket, you know you can get by in a light sprinkle without the water penetrating the fabric. In fact, I got caught in a few sprinkleswhile wearing the jacketon the way to work and didnt get wet. However, water-resistant fabric wouldnt withstand a heavy downpour for an extended period of time—for that type of riding youd need to don a rain jacket.
The removable Knox CE-approved shoulder and elbow protectors are tucked invisibly behind the cotton liner, and they don’t rub on my skin like cheaper, plastic armor might. In fact, other than sensing the hardness of the armor in those areas while in a riding position, I barely knew they were there. The To The Nines jacket comes with a removable, dual-density back protector for added protection. The armor remains planted and nearly undetectable while carrying a backpack as well.
One of my favorite aspects of this jacket is its adjustability. It has two “lock down” Velcro waist adjusters, along with zippers, to take in the material at the lower back. What’s nice about this is that the jacket can be easily worn over a sweater or cinched up to fit a woman rider who is between sizes. Velcro straps at the wrists on both sleeves can be easily adjusted with gloves on.
The jacket is equipped with reflective trim, keeping me visible in the darkness despite the jacket’s apparent shadowy appearance. The angelic wings stitched into the upper back of the jacket are bejeweled with shiny accents, and Speed and Strength’s logo is embroidered with glossy silver filigree on the right sleeve (a smaller logo is embroidered on the left shoulder). For me, this jacket is the perfect balance of fashion and function—not too girly to be embarrassing but feminine enough to stand out as a women’s jacket.
Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket is available in black or white in sizes XS-2XL.I ordered a size small, my normal size, and noticed that the fit was a bit loose. Riders who prefer a snugger fit may want to order a size down.You can pick one up for $149.95—not a bad deal for this functionally awesome riding jacket. For more information and to find a dealer, visit SSGear.com.