Triumph SympaTex Speed Motorcycle Jacket and Pants Review
[This Triumph SympaTex Speed Motorcycle Jacket and Pants Review was originally published in the September 2008 issue of Rider magazine]
OEM-branded riding gear tends to reflect the particular image of a marque. Harley-Davidson apparel evokes freedom of the open road with American flair; Ducati apparel suggests speed and Italian style; and BMW’s technical apparel blends German engineering with world travel. It is rare to find owners of these historic marques not wearing branded gear.
Triumph also has a rich history, and it offers riding gear that allows customers to match pieces with particular models. Retro-styled jackets are designed to look good on Bonnevilles and Thruxtons, whereas the SympaTex Speed Jacket and Riding Pants have a more modern, urban look that goes well with the streetfighter style of the Speed and Street Triples.
Water-repellent Hitena nylon makes up the outer layer of the jacket and pants. There is an inner layer of SympaTex, a branded fabric like Gore-Tex, that is waterproof, windproof and breathable. Rain and cold air can’t get in, sweat vapor can get out, rider stays happy. The added benefit is that you don’t have to pack a rain-suit.
All black and covered in copious gray stitching that highlights the various pockets, the Speed jacket has a utilitarian, stealth look. It would have been perfect for Tom Cruise when he rode a black Speed Triple in Mission Impossible II, but the costume designer had other plans. Pockets abound, with two outer chest pockets and two handwarmer pockets with flaps and snaps, as well as two zippered interior pockets. There’s even a small outer chest pocket on the left side that is perfect for storing earplugs. A wind flap covers the main zipper and is secured with snaps and hook-and-loop.
Upper arm, shoulder and back vents on each side circulate air, while a zip-in quilted liner provides additional warmth. Reflective Triumph logos on the upper arms and across the back, and 3M reflective piping make the rider more con- spicuous at night. Removable CE95 armor is located at the elbows and shoulders, and dual-density foam protects the back. Cuffs and waist are adjustable. A horizontal zipper around the entire waist secures the jacket to the pants.
Stylistically, the SympaTex pants actually match better with Triumph’s Pantha jacket since both have gray accents and the same fabric texture. But I may just be splitting hairs; it’s not like wearing polka dots with stripes. Like the Speed jacket, the pants are lined with athletic mesh and have a quilted inner liner for cold weather. The pants also have airflow vent panels on each thigh, reflective logos and piping and removable CE95 armor at the knees. Knee and seat areas have reinforced fabric and double-stitched impact seams. For comfort, accordionlike stretch panels are located above the knees and across the lower back.
Analysis: the Speed Jacket is a great piece of gear. Well-made, good fit, stylish and versatile with water/wind/crash protection. I wish the back protector were sturdier, though. As for the pants, they get the job done, but I take issue with the side zippers. Rather than splitting the pants apart entirely, the open zippers reveal additional fabric that allows the pants to flare out bellbottom-style. Two problems with this: It is hard to put on the pants while wearing boots (which is why those zippers exist), and the zippers easily grab the thin inner fabric—a frustrating experience much like zipping up a sleeping bag. Getting in and out of gear quickly and easily is important for me.
The Speed Jacket is available in U.S. sizes 38-52 (S-XL) for $319.99, and the riding pants are available in U.S. sizes 30-42 (XS-XXXL) for $282.99.
For more information: See your Triumph dealer or visit www.triumph.co.uk/usa