Cruiser Tested : SHIFT Avenger Textile Jacket And SHIFT Havoc Pant Web Exclusive

(October 2007)

A few months back, I received SHIFT's Avenger Textile Jacket and Havoc Pant to wear during my summer rides. The jacket ($199.95) is constructed of Dynax 600-denier poly fabric and KorMax stretch Aramid "for flexibility and abrasion resistance." Sleeves are articulated, with a large section of accordion-pleated material behind the shoulder. For safety, CE-certified armor covers the shoulders and elbows. There are also four zippered pockets and a lightweight zip-in vest. A short zipper mates the jacket to SHIFT riding pants

In use, the jacket is comfortable, has a close-cut fit and provides good freedom of movement, though I needed to fuss with the positioning of the shoulder armor to get it right. The ventilation is very good, bringing cooling air flow to the arms, chest and shoulders. While the vest liner broadens the temperature range for the jacket, it's still limited to temperatures no colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Havoc Pants ($199.95) are a fine accompaniment to the jacket. Primarily leather, they also have 600-denier nylon and stretch fabric panels for added flexibility and ventilation. There are accordion flex panels above each knee and at the lower back, an adjuster around the waist plus a zipper in back to attach the pants to SHIFT jackets. The knees have CE-approved armor and there are two zippered slash pockets and a cargo pocket in front. A leather hem prevents fraying at the cuffs.

The pants are sized well and the cut is over-the-boot style without looking like bell-bottoms. They flow some air, but not as much as the all-textile jacket. Like the jacket, the pants are not warm enough to wear once the temperature dips into the low 60's. The pants are quite comfortable in actual use, though when not zipped to the jacket, they feel like they are pulling down in back. But our main quibbles are that the inside of the lower leg should employ leather to prevent exhaust pipe heat damage and there is no CE-approved armor at the hips or tailbone.

Overall however, the SHIFT gear shows a great deal of forethought in its design, styling, fit and construction, and is a fine warm-weather addition to your kit.

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-Evan Kay