This Harley-Davidson jacket must be the first in the world to be designed specifically for a particular bike and tested in a wind tunnel.
When Harley set about making the Rushmore Project Touring bikes released last year, the engineers headed for two university wind tunnels to test the aerodynamics of their bikes and the cooling effect of the new vents in the windscreen and fairing. this was in answer to comments in focus groups of riders who said they wanted more cooling on the big touring bikes.
The engineers found that they could direct the cooling air toward the rider’s torso. but, of course, there was no point if the rider was wearing a leather jacket that didn’t allow that cool air to touch the rider’s body.
So Harley also developed a leather jacket with a vented system to match exactly where the air flow would be. Their patented triple-vent system is the result.
The jacket only just arrived at MotorbikeWriter HQ before I set off for the hot Californian climate for the launch of the new Harley 2015 model range.
Before I left, I gave it a short test on my BMW GS and, even though it wasn’t designed specifically for this bike, it does have the desired effect of channelling cool air on to your body. And if your torso is cool, then the rest of you stays cool. On the Rushmore Project Touring , the venting works even better – more like having a fan directed at your body!
All the zippers, including the vents, have long leather tabs so it is easy to find them and adjust them, even when wearing gloves. There are two vents at either side, one which goes right up to the armpits, and two vertical vents at the back. These “triple vents” combined to allow the air to flow from front to back. The side vents feature snap buttons to open the vents wider to allow more air in.
The sleeve vents only open a short way from the cuff. They just loosen the cuff so you can get your hand in easier when putting the jacket on. They also allow a bit of air to flow up the sleeve, but it’s not enough to keep your arms cool, especially at low speeds. I would have preferred a longer venting system on the arms or a separate small vent on the inside of the elbow..
The jacket is made of high-quality, soft cowhide like so many Harley jackets. So it’s extremely comfortable. There is also a soft collar for a soft feel around the neck when the top clip is fastened.
Also, like many Harley jackets, it has a double-header main zipper which you can undo a little at the bottom when seated so it doesn’t bunch up at the front, sits flatter and is more comfortable.
A jacket not only has to be comfortable, but also offer crash protection. This features the new breed of soft CE armour in the shoulders and elbows with a pouch in the back in case you want to insert a back protector.
There are plenty of pockets in the jacket. There are four pockets on the outside – two on the chest and two at your sides – plus three interior pockets, two of which have separate compartments for various items such as a portable player, with a weatherproof hole for the headphone cable.
It comes with a warm and “waterproof” liner and zippers that are “waterproof”. I’ve only ridden in light drizzle so far, so I can’t vouch for its waterproof qualities.
There are four men’s leather triple vent jackets and two women’s jackets. Men’s leather jackets range in price from $590 through to the Evolution at $754 and women’s from $386 to $590. Harley also makes a textile triple-vent jacket called the Canon which is available only for men at $650 for sizes small to XL and $695 for 2XL-5XL and tall sizes.