Review: AGV Sport Palomar and Sharp Women’s Motorcycle Jackets

Riding Harleys in Hawaii puts warm weather gear through the test

By Sarah Schilke, Photos by Sonja Abramson

A visit to Hawaii is always an epic experience, and this particular trip involves a lot of firsts for me: my first time on the Big Island; my first time riding a motorcycle anywhere in the state of Hawaii; my first time riding a Harley-Davidson Fat Bob; and my first test of AGV Sport’s women’s motorcycle apparel. When WRN awarded the best products for women at the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) last year, AGV Sport won the “Best Jackets” category for its variety of offerings tailored for women.

Hawaii in January calls for hot weather riding gear, perfect for two AGV Sport jackets that allow for constant airflow while riding for a multi-day ride around the Aloha State—the perforated leather Palomar and textile mesh Sharp jackets. The two jackets have very different styles, but both garner a lot of compliments on the styling and flattering fit. I wear a size 8 in both jackets, which is true to size.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar harley fat bob hawaii
Testing the AGV Sport Palomar leather jacket around the Big Island of Hawaii on a Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, with Katy Perry’s “Harleys in Hawaii” playing in my head.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp sarah schilke
Looking out over the clear blue water at Kealakekua Bay, in spite of its black color, the Sharp jacket allowed the breeze to cool me and kept the sun off my skin.

I chose the Palomar to test first because I like how the café racer style matches up with the Harley as well as my personal roadster at home. The Palomar’s 1.3-1.4mm medium weight leather is soft and supple right off the hanger, with tiny holes (perforations) throughout the main panels in the front, back, and sleeves.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar moira zinn
The AGV Sport Palomar jacket is $379.99 and offered in women’s sizes 2-16. Colors include black/gunmetal, black/orange, and the black/red shown here on Moira Zinn. The Palomar is also available for men.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar sarah schilke
With the armor removed, as shown here, the Palomar makes a fashionable and comfortable everyday jacket. For traveling, I find it convenient and space-saving to pack the armor in luggage and wear the jacket on the plane.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review ce armor
The Smoothways soft armor is level 2 CE rated and is easy to slide in and out of the corresponding armor pockets in the shoulders, elbows, and back.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar belt
For some adjustability in the fit, the Palomar jacket has an adjustable belt on each side that has two snap positions.

The Palomar jacket features an internal zippered wallet pocket, an internal media pocket, and two outer zippered pockets, so I can easily take my license, credit card, cash, and sunglasses along with me while leaving my purse behind.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar media pocket
There are plenty of pockets in the Palomar. This media pocket is big enough to fit a large cell phone and features water-resistant material and a Velcro closure.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar back
The café vintage-styled Palomar is stylishly short in the front, but thankfully cut a bit longer in the back. Unfortunately, the fashionable jacket doesn’t have any reflective elements, but the light colored “black” leather and color highlights make it nicely visible during the day.

The Palomar comes with an 8 inch zipper to connect it to AGV Sport pants. I’m a stickler for this—I absolutely can’t stand it when my jacket isn’t attached and rides up, or worse, the pants ride down. In addition, all AGV Sport jackets feature a snapping belt loop strap to connect to any pants with belt loops.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar belt loop connection
All AGV Sport jackets come with a strap that you just wind around belt loops and snap to fasten it.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar back riding harley fat bob
With the jacket securely strapped to my BMW Motorrad City Denim riding jeans, there’s no skin showing even in a forward leaning riding position.

Heading south from Kona along the Mamalahoa Highway 11, the Fat Bob and I cruised along on nice easy curves enjoying the breathtaking scenery and views. As I rode through the Mahuka State Natural Reserve, the elevation climbed, the air turned cooler, and I encountered patches of rain. I thought, “Hey, it’s Hawaii, it’s gonna warm right back up!”

agv sport motorcycle jacket review hawaii lava
Hawaii is covered with lava. One of my favorite lunch destinations was the Lava Lava Club where patrons sit right on a small sandy beach surrounded by lava. I’m not sure whether I liked the food or the name of the restaurant better.

After taking in some lava flows, I took a detour onto South Point Road which took me to the southernmost tip of Hawaii (and the U.S.). I would quickly warm up again as I rounded the tip of the island.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar back lava hawaii
Looking out over the southernmost point of Hawaii, the black/gunmetal leather Palomar jacket looks at home with the sinister-looking Fat Bob and the volcanic rocks.

As I rolled back onto the highway, the road started to climb again and I encountered more rain. I shivered as the temperature dropped while making my way through the tip of Volcanoes National Park. But sure enough, as I dropped back down into Hilo on the east side of the island, it was warm and humid again. Hilo is a nice town along the water, the perfect place to stop for some local ahi poke for lunch.

Realizing I would be up to even higher elevation after lunch to ride north and over Mauna Kea volcano, and had foolishly not brought the Palomar’s zip-out warmth liner with me, I ducked into a surf shop and bought an overpriced sweatshirt.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review palomar liner
The full-sleeve warmth liner in the Palomar jacket zips out and includes pockets for a wallet and a cell phone.

As soon as the assent out of Hilo began, a torrential downpour commenced and temps continued to drop into the 30s as I finally crested the top of the volcano. While I was thankful for the newly acquired sweatshirt, I was mad at myself for not bringing the liner which fits much better under the jacket and wouldn’t have absorbed so much rain water. I was absolutely soaked (this is what you get for wearing a perforated jacket and not bringing a rainsuit), and once I dropped back down off the mountain, the temperature quickly jumped back up into the humid 80s. I was a sweltering mess and knew that the jacket’s own liner would have dried quickly and have been much more comfortable, even in the heat.

I loved the Palomar jacket up until the time I hit the inclement weather combined with elevation. Until then, I was impressed with the immediate comfort of the brand new leather jacket and loved the styling even more. The Fat Bob has a neutral, almost forward seating position due to the straight bars and sporty cruiser styling, and the Palomar fit it nicely. By the time I returned back to Kona, the lightweight leather had dried out well, but the sweatshirt was still drenched underneath.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review hawaii sunset
A gorgeous evening sunset lights up the local flora as the ocean sparkles beyond the lava flow.

The next day I planned to stick to the lowlands and knew I would be in 85- to 95-degree humidity, so I opted for the Sharp jacket which is a true hot weather jacket. Constructed primarily of high grade mesh that is reinforced with durable Samtex 600D Cordura, the Sharp jacket is designed for hot weather riding and does not include a removable liner—fine for this ride.

The soft textile mesh fabric of the Sharp jacket is even more comfortable than the Palomar because it is lighter and more flexible. I’m usually more into leather because of its serious abrasion resistance, but when riding in traffic in high humidity, I appreciate the Sharp’s better airflow.

Even though the jacket is solid black (which I like, especially since it’s accented with reflective logos and inlays), it’s not too hot. Mesh fabric makes up the front, back, and sleeves so there is plenty of airflow to keep the rider comfortable even at low speeds. Even at stops I could feel the breezy Hawaiian air.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp back fat bob
Heading out for a hot weather ride, the AGV Sport Sharp women’s mesh jacket keeps riders comfortably cool and protected—both from the sun and from a riding mishap. The fitted jacket has just enough give to provide a flattering silhouette.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp khaki
Offered in three colors, black, gray, and the khaki that’s shown here, the fully-armored textile jacket costs just $159.99. Sizes range from 2-16.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp side adjustment
The longer-cut Sharp jacket offers several ways to personalize the fit: zippered side gussets, snap arm adjusters, and a 2-position snap belt.

Just like the Palomar, the Sharp jacket includes an interior zipped wallet pocket, interior media pocket, and two zippered exterior pockets, so a quick ride without a purse is quite possible.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp lining
The pliable CE-rated Level 2 Smoothway armor in the shoulders, elbows, and back is also easily removable, but since this jacket looks like a typical riding jacket, I didn’t think I would wear it as a fashion jacket like I did with the Palomar. It’s also nice that such an inexpensive jacket would include a CE-rated back protector.

This time I opted not to follow a mapped route and just see where the mystical island roads would take me. After winding up on some dead end roads, I managed to find an out-of-the-way narrow curvy road that led to a lovely bay not too far from Captain Cook.

agv sport motorcycle jacket review sharp back belt loop
Just like AGV Sport’s other jackets, its Sharp jacket features a connecting zipper as well as a snapping belt loop strap so that it can be connected to any riding pants that have belt loops.

As I finally returned to the city, I found myself in rush hour traffic which I had not anticipated in paradise. With the high humid temperatures, I was happy the Sharp’s mesh allowed me to still catch a nice breeze as I inched along at the end of my fantastic Harleys in Hawaii experience.

For more information on the Palomar and Sharp Jackets, visit

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