Firstgear Kenya? (Other winter jacket talk welcome)

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by kpt4321, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. kpt4321

    kpt4321 Long timer

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    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...
    #1
  2. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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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.
    #2
  3. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

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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.
    #3
  4. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

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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.
    #4
  5. jmanz6

    jmanz6 Been here awhile

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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.
    #5
  6. kpt4321

    kpt4321 Long timer

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    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)?

    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.
    #6
  7. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

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    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.
    #7
  8. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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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.
    #8
  9. ccherry

    ccherry carter

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    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!
    #9
  10. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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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.
    #10
  11. ccherry

    ccherry carter

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    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!!
    #11
  12. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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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.
    #12
  13. stiff1

    stiff1 n00b

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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.
    #13
  14. PrairieMan

    PrairieMan PrairieMan

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    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.
    #14
  15. matkal

    matkal Assault Commuter

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    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.
    #15
  16. matkal

    matkal Assault Commuter

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    Oh, FWIW I picked up a pair of 'Stich Darien pants in the fleamarket for $150.
    Very versatile.
    #16
  17. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    Another option,similar in many respects to the Keyna,but with better ventilation.The Olympia GT Air Transition jacket.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=334812

    Recently purchased one from the flea market here as a street jacket,
    it's a match my Olympia Xmoto ADV jacket.
    The hi viz version.

    I also have an older version Keyna and used that as well as pics of
    the new version to compare with the GT.

    JR356
    #17
  18. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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    Appreciate where you're coming from Matkal. It's like shopping for an audio system. Allot so much money for the hardware (amp, pre-amp, receiver, CD) but make sure you leave enough for comparable speakers otherwise you're still going to end up with shit sound. Your motorcycling budget has to prioritize for both the motorcycle and the gear. $400 is not enough to adequately cover yourself assuming we're talking retail or retail with typically applied discounts. Unfortunately the standards for "good" and "great" are not what they used to be. Better to compare on the basis of real protection vs. a false sense of security. All the mass market brands are cutting corners which is why my company chooses the higher-end. But it is possible to spend less and not get taken. Choices abound within Olympia, 'Stich, Motoport and Klim, some of which will likely ring in cheaper.
    #18
  19. keiji

    keiji Long timer

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    Olympia uses real Cordura, but they skimp on the seams. Even Fieldsheer puts more work into a seam than Olympia does.

    It might work for 90% of the crashes, but if you wear the top stitching out, that's all you get, and the panel is going to come off. Assuming they left a large enough seam allowance at the factory and you actually get the two rows of stitching you see.

    Here are some pictures of the "Safety-Stitching" from my old Ranger 2 pants

    Outside
    [​IMG]
    Inside (only two rows)
    [​IMG]

    Cutting the seam open-there really are only two rows of stitching.
    [​IMG]

    Somebody at the factory didn't cut the seam allowance big enough!
    [​IMG]

    And I'm not the only one.

    http://www.st-owners.com/forums/showthread.php?91838-
    Olympia-brand-clothing-and-seams

    It is hard to check for "hidden" stitching, but most companies that do use it sew the two pieces of fabric together, then fold along that row, and put the other rows of stitching in. If try to put your fingernail under the fabric, and it goes deep enough to hit the stitching you can see, there probably isn't any hidden row.

    Of course, if a reinforcement is sewn on top it is impossible to hide the stitching, but it doesn't matter as much as a failure of those seams does not cause a breach in the suit. (Olympia uses method B)
    [​IMG]

    The greatest materials in the world won't do much if they are held together with spit and bubble gum.
    #19
  20. Roam

    Roam If you want to

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    I just picked up a new Firstgear Kenya jacket. I have had an older model Kenya Jacket since 2002 which I really liked a lot and I've generally been pleased with all of my Firstgear purchases.

    The design of the new Kenya's is mostly improved over the old model. the old model was sorely lacking in exterior pickets and that's been nicely remedied with the new design. Another thing the old jacket was lacking was ventilation in the sleeves and I would often feel my forearms broiling on hot days. This new jacket also added a vent starting at the cuffs. This seems to have made the cuffs very stiff but I think they'll break in over time and should take care of the broiling forearms.

    One of the other things I don't like about the new jacket is the very bulky shoulder and elbow armor. The jackets are also sized significantly smaller than they were previously. While my old size large Kenya was a snug but comfortable fit even with my heated liner installed the new jacket was very tight and the sleeves rode up excessively even with the annoying armor removed.

    Since the jacket didn't quite fit I'll be exchanging it for an XL. I ordered the silver which I'm pleased to report is more of a very light grey. I was worried that I was going to look like a disco ball but it's actually a very nice looking jacket and not flashy at all. I'll probably try to find some softer elbow and shoulder armor also.

    Motorcyclegear.com (formerly newenough) has the tan jackets on sale for $190.
    #20