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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 AGVSportUSA.com.