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Old 08-04-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
Yosemite4 OP
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Women's BMW Santiago Jacket vs BMW Comfort Shell


Me and my Santiago on the McCarthy Road, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

I wear a 2007 BMW Santiago jacket women's size 46. Living in the Eastern Sierra I wear this jacket in cold (25 degrees and below) and hot (110 degrees plus) weather. It is an incredibly versatile jacket. I don't wear electrics as my single cylinder F650GS has only enough amperage to power a vest. In winter, I can layer up with five layers that include a compact Sierra Designs down coat and Mountain Hardware pile jacket, all under the Santiago Gortex liner used primarily for warmth. When the exterior of the Santiago gets wet and/or it is cold/windy, the Gortex liner holds in the cold, creating a chilling effect. I do carry and wear a full Gortex rainsuit over the Santiago and my overpants, Tourmasters/Cortech, not waterproof, but roomy and comfortable. It is a combination that has worked for me during the last 45,000 miles/3 years.

http://www.wynnebenti.com/wb_photo/CS3.jpg
Me and the Comfort Shell, Death Valley adjacent
I also own a 2010 BMW Comfort Shell Jacket and pants. It's a great jacket if you have enough amperage to power a Gerbing's electric jacket as there's not much room for layering. I usually wear a size 12, but had to go up one size in this jacket. A beautifully designed form-fitting jacket, the Comfort Shell functions optimally at 48 degrees and above. The Eastern Sierra is a land of extremes. In Inyo County, we have both Badwater (-282-feet) in Death Valley and Mt. Whitney at 14,496-feet, with almost as large a temperature difference on the roads. It can be 78 degrees in Furnace Creek and the Comfort Shell works great, but riding out of Death Valley 4200-feet to Bishop or east to Nevada, where the temp can drop 55 degrees in an hour, the Comfort Shell is stretched to the limit. It is a jacket for late spring-summer-early fall, not for extremes. It is the kind of jacket perfect for the Bay Area, fairly temperate but with lots of rain, as it fully waterproof. The Comfort Shell's armor is incredibly robust and the best you can find in a BMW jacket, almost as robust as the TF5 used in Aerostitch gear. My husband has both the Aerostitch Darien and Transit suits and will wear nothing else after surviving a head on collision with an out-of-control squid that killed the squid, and that my husband came out of relatively unscathed. The Santiago's armor is the thinnest of the three jackets and I would suggest replacing the standard armor with something more robust.
http://www.wynnebenti.com/wb_photo/I..._Goldfield.jpg
Photo shows fit of Comfort Shell jacket with pants (Goldfield, Nevada)
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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Thank you for your comparo. They are both top notch suits. I've been using a Streetguard 2 for several years now and it's the finest textile suit I've ever owned. I've always liked the Santiago too but never pulled the trigger, love the feel of that Dynatec material and the pants fit me so well. I'd say you are ready for any type of weather.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:32 PM   #3
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Yosemite 4 --thanks for the great review/comparison

I have a similar experience to your Santiago with my Rev'it Cayenne Pro -which i find to be very comfortable...until the outer shell gets wet and then it is annoying.

So I am looking to supplement it with a fixed liner type waterproof jacket, either the Comfortshell, Aerostich Transit, or the Rev'it Everest.

Can you elaborate on why the Comfortshell does not do as well in the temperature extremes (makes sense though, it not billed as a four season jacket)?

Anyway you can convince your husband to do a Transit review????

thanks!
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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Elaborating on the Comfort Shell : )

With a Gerbing's (or similar brand) electric jacket underneath the Comfort Shell, this jacket should easily be able to tackle temps of 32 degrees and below (considering wind chill with light snow or heavy rain). Since I am limited to using only an electric vest (the 650 does not supply enough amperage to power a Gerbing's full electric jacket), and only being able to fit a Mountain Hardware Geist (shell and fleece) under the jacket, my arms get cold, cold radiating back to the torso. If I could squeeze my down jacket underneath the Comfort Shell as well, no problem. Riding two up, assuming the partner on the back is wearing a Comfort Shell, unless he/she is plugged in and wearing a full electric jacket, during inclement weather it would be a cold ride.

The Santiago's super positive is the jacket both expands (and cinches down) allowing the addition of many layers, and it's longer. I like the length. The Comfort Shell is a short jacket. I am never cold in the Santiago. I estimate having worn it in near sub-zero temps with the wind-chill on a 22 degree morning. That said, the hottest temperature I've worn it in was 118 degrees, coming across I-80 from Wells to Reno.

Anyway, call me old-fashioned, I don't like relying on electrics. Layers always work.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:57 AM   #5
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Thumb

Ah, gotcha....
So the comfortshell is colder wearing because of it being a tighter fit (and less able to layer up) rather than any inherent properties of the shell itself.

And the Santiago you can cinch up or loosen to fit as the layers get taken off or put on.

Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:07 AM   #6
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Pair with an electric jacket in cold temps

The Comfort Shell really needs to be paired with an electric jacket. It is not possible, because of the jacket's tailored cut, to fit a down jacket beneath it (at least I can't). Definitely a stylish waterproof summer jacket.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:32 AM   #7
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I've had a men's Comfort Shell for about three years now. Below 50F, it breathes too much (for me anyway). When it gets colder than that I throw a rain jacket over the top. Packing size wise, the Comfort Shell/rain jacket combo shouldn't be much different than the Santiago/liner combo. With the outer rain jacket approach, I can still get a Gerbing or fleece liner underneath the Comfort Shell. I'm pretty cold blooded, but I can get that mix to work well for me down into the 30's.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:13 PM   #8
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400 watts vs 720

Looks like you're riding a 1200 and powering your Comfort Shell with an alternator that supplies plenty of power:
BMW 1200 RT/GS: 720 watts/60 amps three-phase alternator or an older model: BMW 1200 GS: 600 watts

The power makes all the difference. A single 650GS is also 49.6hp vs. the 110hp of a 1200GS!

The F650GS (2005 to current models including the twin) has a 400 watt alternator (280 watts in prior year models, from what I understand). If you go to the Gerbings home page: http://gerbing.com/ and click on the lightning bolt in the center of the page, it will take you to a link that is used to determine how many amps will be left over using a Gerbing's with an electric system. The calculator fails to include the heated grips which account for 25% of the watt usage when used on high. There are not quite enough watts to power the jacket at 100%, per their calculations which do not include using the hand grips on high.

That said, the only power port on the 650 is located on the lower left side of the bike below the oil dipstick/battery: an awkward location. It is not possible to pull the plug in and out while riding. I can't tell you how many times I've been riding and looked down to see that the end of the power cord has popped out of the outlet and is flying free alongside the bike. I prefer to not to have a cord wrapped up in my front wheel.

Every one has different comfort levels. I'll be wrapped in my ten layers and my husband will have only his Transit suit and Gerbing's jacket on, and a long sleeve poly top, wondering why I'm cold. As previously mentioned, I can only fit a fleece jacket, thin cashmere sweater and long sleeve Patagonia underwear top under the Comfort Shell, and with all that, I'm freezing in air temps of 45 degrees or less (not including wind chill). In coldest conditions, I wear: Santiago, down jacket, fleece jacket, fleece shirt, thin cashmere sweater and long sleeve underwear and always, a full Gortex wind/rainsuit on the exterior if weather warrants.

In Alaska, on top of all of the layers, I wore a North Face Gortex rain parka and pants. It rained every day for a month. I was warm, dry and incredibly happy. Recently, I started using the BMW rainsuit, jacket and pants, for a more streamline look. No complaints.

But we must remember, like most motorcycle jackets, the Comfort Shell was not designed as a four-season jacket. Used with an electric jacket it comes close. Unlike most of the motorcycle jackets in its class, behind it's beautifully tailored waterproof exterior, is an incredibly robust suit of armor, the best BMW currently offers. It is my number 2 jacket next to the BMW Santiago number 1.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #9
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Thumb Happy to report Comfort Shell totally waterproof

Was caught in a rain/hail squall on Deadman Summit (Sierra Nevada, US-395 s. of June Lake) 9/11/2011 at approximately 1:00pm. Was wearing the Comfort Shell suit and decided to test it by not stopping to throw on a rain suit. Happy to report the Comfort Shell worked: I was completely dry.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:21 AM   #10
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Yosemite4,

thanks for your review of the CS jacket...it helped me with my jacket buying decision! (I wound up with the Aerostich Transit)
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:41 AM   #11
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Womens Comfort Shell sizing/fit vs Aerostitch

An additional observation about fit:
Darien, Transit, Roadcrafters are tailored for men: wide in the shoulders and narrow in the hips. If I go up one size in any of the three to accommodate the hips, the sleeves are too long, shoulders way too wide. The BMW Comfort Shell (women) is tailored for female fit, but the Comfort Shell does run small, so if you wear a 12, go up one size to a 14. The BMW Santiago still has the perfect fit, right off the shelf with the preferable longer cut, but lacks the beefier armor of the Comfort Shell. I learned this after taking a header in dirt (through my faring and side mirrors) wearing the Santiago and landing on my right shoulder resulting in a painful bone bruise that lasted about 3 months. Would beefier shoulder pads have helped: I think so. That experience, even on dirt, made me re-examine the durability of my protective roadwear. I might mention that I was wearing a Scorpion EXO 400 helmet, not my Shoei RF1000 and sustained a major concussion. I have often wondered if the head injury would have been the same wearing the Shoei or minimized. In either case, had I not been wearing a helmet, I would not have lived. That's a fact. Had I been wearing an Aerostitch Transit suit, would I have sustained less injury in the shoulder - perhaps. I swear by the Sidi Canyon Explorer boots.

The Comfort Shell is waterproof. I tested it on 9/11 on US 395 between Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes, California in heavy hail/thunderstorm at approximately 8047-feet for 45 minutes:
http://yubanet.com/regional/4-078-Li...Sept-11-12.php

Not wanting to stop to put on my Gortex rain suit, I rode through the squall and was pleasantly surprised by the Comfort Shell's shedding of hail and water. I was totally dry.

In the end all I can say is: wear all the gear all the time and buy the best protective gear you can afford.

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Old 01-01-2012, 03:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite4 View Post
The Comfort Shell really needs to be paired with an electric jacket. It is not possible, because of the jacket's tailored cut, to fit a down jacket beneath it (at least I can't). Definitely a stylish waterproof summer jacket.
I'm good down into the 30s with a Comfort Shell.

I start with a polypropylene crew neck base layer top and bottom. I have some REI think fleece pants and crew neck top that go on next. I put an electric jacket liner over that and I'm good to go. A crucial part of making it work is the neck tube. A Buff seals your neck and protects your neck from the breeze.

Tina has been using a Comfort Shell for the last four or so years, after a few years with a Savannah II and a Savannah I before that. She has some issues with layering the Comfort Shell in cold weather without having it too loose in the summer. She finds it to be really comfortable in moderate to hot weather.

We almost always ride on an RT, so we probably tolerate cold weather better than unfaired bikes.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:18 PM   #13
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I almost bought the comfort shell because I like the armor, fabric, and cut. However, when I sat on the bike I noticed that the jacket is folding up behind the collar creating a big pocket for collecting water, so I decided against it. I am leaning a little more forward on my bike but I think it should still fit better in the neck area. The new tour shell fit much better. Does anyone else have this problem with the jacket?
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by totomoto View Post
I almost bought the comfort shell because I like the armor, fabric, and cut. However, when I sat on the bike I noticed that the jacket is folding up behind the collar creating a big pocket for collecting water, so I decided against it. I am leaning a little more forward on my bike but I think it should still fit better in the neck area. The new tour shell fit much better. Does anyone else have this problem with the jacket?
When I was trying on the CS and sitting on a GS in the showroom, the jacket would ride up on my shoulders, basically being pushed up because the material was new and rather stiff. I took a chance that the jacket would soften up and sure enough it has and I don't find that riding up to be an issue any longer. So, not sure if this is the same issue that you were having, but its worth considering.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by EJ_92606 View Post
When I was trying on the CS and sitting on a GS in the showroom, the jacket would ride up on my shoulders, basically being pushed up because the material was new and rather stiff. I took a chance that the jacket would soften up and sure enough it has and I don't find that riding up to be an issue any longer. So, not sure if this is the same issue that you were having, but its worth considering.
Thanks for the advice. So despite my earlier concern I ended up buying the CS because it was on sale. It indeed softened up and the collar is not an issue anymore. After 2000 miles and several days of non-stop rain I can attest that his is the best gear I ever had. I feel comfortable in temperatures ranging between 95 and 58 F with just a t-shirt, below 58 I wear a fleece and I also got a heating vest which I haven't tried yet. Another great feature of the suit is that it is 100% mosquito-proof, which came in very handy on my tour of the Pacific North Wet.
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