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Old 02-23-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
kpt4321 OP
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Firstgear Kenya? (Other winter jacket talk welcome)

So, I am considering a Firstgear Kenya as a new (street) winter jacket, and I was looking for anybody who has experience with it.

http://www.revzilla.com/product/firstgear-kenya-jacket

My requirements are:
-Reasonably warm (number one requirement)
-Venting to allow for use up to mild temps
-Not 3/4 Length (been there done that)
-Reasonable price
...I think that's about it?

I am currently wearing a Joe Rocket Ballistic, and it's a good jacket, and it meets most of my needs. However, it's too long/stiff (bunches up badly in more aggressive riding positions), and it's beat up pretty bad from a get-off last year.

The Firstgear TPG stuff looks really nice, but I am having trouble justifying the price. However, if somebody can convince me...
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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The TPG series at least gets you the d30 armor otherwise this is one of many generic coated nylons offering much less abrasion resistance than the Corduras or better. By mild temps you better mean no higher than 70Fh if you choose this jacket. Just about every closeout site has lots in this category -- no need to be brand specific either.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hi Kpt,

I own a beige Kenya and recommend it highly. My previous jacket was an Aerostich Darien, which had two big flaws: the sleeves are way too wide unless you have arms like tree trunks (causing terrible flapping in the wind), and it was just plain homely.

The Kenya looks great and functions really well. It has been completely waterproof (in horrendous, prolonged downpours), and has some useful pockets and decent venting. The armour seems good and I would imagine the jacket will provide good protection in a crash. It fits me WAYYY better than the Darien ever did (more Euro fit, with broader shoulders and narrower waist).

The jacket's one and only weakness is it's too warm for temps above 75 or 80 degrees. Moving, and with the vents open, you'll be fine, but I have roasted many a time in traffic. However, I think any waterproof jacket is going to be uncomfortable in hot weather. I still wear the Kenya for all seasons for the protection and waterproofness.

All in all, the Kenya is a fantastic value, especially when compared to much more expensive jackets. It's no cheaply made bargain bin special. It's a solid, well-designed, versatile jacket.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
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Forgot to mention, with the removable liner in, the jacket should be plenty warm. I use mine with an electric vest, so I don't need many layers.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:18 AM   #5
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For a winter jacket I would want a 3/4 length just to be sure there are no drafts of cold air at speed. My summer/fall jacket is short and if I'm tucked under the screen at highway speed I do sometimes get a slight draft at the small of my back. I am also looking at a winter/spring jacket. Just seems it will never stop snowing here in MI this year.
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trophy Mike View Post
The TPG series at least gets you the d30 armor otherwise this is one of many generic coated nylons offering much less abrasion resistance than the Corduras or better. By mild temps you better mean no higher than 70Fh if you choose this jacket. Just about every closeout site has lots in this category -- no need to be brand specific either.
Mike, interesting comments.

I've had (what I believe were) nylon jackets in the past, including my current Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket. I had a pretty good get-off in it last year (hit a deer at 50), and while it's definitely scuffed and torn in sports, it did its job well.

Can you recommend jackets that come in cordura instead of "plain" ballistic nylon (as cordura is a nylon product)? I think some of the big dollar jackets, like the Darian, might be cordura, but at that price point and that aesthetic point, I'm not interested.

Superzoom, thanks a lot for your comments. Based on your experiences, it sounds like the jacket is in the right ballpark of what I am looking for.

Perhaps you could comment on your riding position, size, and how the back of the jacket sits relative to your pants and lower back (see concerns below)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmanz6
For a winter jacket I would want a 3/4 length just to be sure there are no drafts of cold air at speed. My summer/fall jacket is short and if I'm tucked under the screen at highway speed I do sometimes get a slight draft at the small of my back.
I hear this concern for sure. The problem I am trying to resolve is that, at least with my JR Ballistic, the jacket is so long that on the ZZR or the Monster, I end up pushing the front up and having enough space for a large beer belly and a pair of D-cups. It's super uncomfortable, and it screws up my mobility inside the jacket too, because the sleeves and everything get all out of whack. I very rarely ride in a full tuck (call it never), but some of my street bikes do have relatively aggressive positions.

Here are some of the other jacket options I have complied:

Firstgear TPG Teton - Nice jacket, hard to justify twice the cost of the Kenya though.
Firstgear Kenya - As per this discussion
Alpinestars Sigma Drystar - Looks like a good fit, except there is very minimal venting.
Alpinestars P1 Drystar - Might be another good option, cordura construction, unsure if the venting is sufficient.
Joe Rocket Ballistic - Meets most of my needs, long length is problematic
Olympia AST(2) - Probably good functionality, ugly jacket, 3/4 length concerns, a little more pricey.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpt4321 View Post
Perhaps you could comment on your riding position, size, and how the back of the jacket sits relative to your pants and lower back (see concerns below)?
My FZ6R puts me in a very mild sport touring position (slight forward lean), and I don't have any problems with the back of my jacket riding up too far. But I do own some Firstgear HT riding pants and they have a somewhat high waist. Those pants also come with a zipper at the back that you can sew onto your jacket to prevent riding up. By the way, the HT over pants are quite well made, but are WAY too hot for summer (even with the liner removed) and leak a little in the crotch in heavy rain.

I followed the sizing recommendations on the Motorcycle Superstore website and the jacket fits me very nicely. None of the bagginess in the arms or stomach area that I got with my Darien. Just enough room for a few layers underneath the jacket.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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Hey kpt4321,

While fit and finish are important none of it matters if the basic material chosen for manufacture is lacking. Yes, we know alot of war stories how any choice has saved somebody's bacon and granted you can get lucky wearing next to nothing. Being informed means developing some cynicism to the marketing. "Ballistic" is a name-game ploy to get you jazzed up over nothing special. If you really need bulletproofing visit your local police supply house, or try riding through a better neighborhood. Everything in your options list (saving time) is junk, except for the Cordura-based Olympia (best buy in this category) and perhaps the P1. Credit Aerostich, the grandaddy of the form - all Cordura with the more fitted Roadcrafter preferable if you are in shape for it. A bit more $ but not near prices for the higher-end Klims, Motoport or the Rukka we handle. Try to stay interested in what's real and get past what isn't.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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Ast

kpt - AST is a nice jacket but if you think what you currently use is prone to bunching, just try the AST. Had 2 (I can't pass on a bargin even if I don't keep or need what I'm buying), sold both for exact same reason. Had a Voyager (and an Airglide II and a Stealth one piece)- short version - same problem. And the neck on those things sucks. I really like the quality of the Olympia gear but until Kevin does a redesign on the neck, I will steer clear.

You might try the Teknic Freeway - it's a 5/8 jacket and the fit is much more Euro (and it's cordura). Had one, shouldn't have sold it. They are hot as hell though (only reason for selling - Moab at 90+ was not a fun ride in that jacket). I use a Rev'it Sand at the moment (yea, I know it isn't cordura)..........

good luck!
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:34 AM   #10
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Teknic Freeway - not Cordura but "velocity textile with TexPlus overlays"? Photos show nice fit and color blocking. Teknic usually resides at upper end of territory dominated by JR et al.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trophy Mike View Post
Teknic Freeway - not Cordura but "velocity textile with TexPlus overlays"? Photos show nice fit and color blocking. Teknic usually resides at upper end of territory dominated by JR et al.
iirc it was cordura on the earlier models but you are correct on the current stuff. i also see that their smallest size is now a 42......must be building them for us Americans!!
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:38 PM   #12
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The list goes on. Most brand gear apparel has dumbed-down over the years. Perhaps not functionally but in materials used. It happened years ago with leathers and is well on its way with textiles. Whatever the market will bear.
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:46 AM   #13
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How do the Scorpion jackets compare? The spec sheet says the Commander has cordura panels in impact areas plus, ce armor. Motorcycle Superstore has them for $210-230.

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:58 AM   #14
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New Set of First Gear

I bought First Gear's Rainier jacket and Escape pants last fall. I really like them. 5'9' 175lb riding a GS. Worth the money. I also bought First Gear's heated jacket liner, pants liner and gloves. Nothing beats staying warm in the Fall.
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiff1 View Post
How do the Scorpion jackets compare? The spec sheet says the Commander has cordura panels in impact areas plus, ce armor. Motorcycle Superstore has them for $210-230.

I've got one, I like it. The back 'armor' is......not, I upgraded to Knox.
Other than that; it fits nice and snug in the arms, very draft resistant,
nice zippers that you can actually work with one hand.

The water/wind liner thing (in general, not just the Scorpion)is good for keeping out the drafts but if its going
to rain hard, i use a rain jacket. The liner IS waterproof, but when its warm
(too warm for liner) I'm not gonna stop to put it on.

Trophy Mike, if one only has, say, $400 to spend on jacket and pants they have to get lesser quality gear than what you sell. 1stgear, Scorpion, Tourmaster, JR, etc, etc, make good stuff.Good, not great.
Any gear is better than nothing. To a certain extent, you get what you pay for, but just because somethin costs twice as much doesn't make it twice as good.
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