Shift Racing Off-Road Motorcycle Apparel | Review

For two of our recent off-road tests–2007 Yamaha WRs (April/May 2007 issue) and 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 (in our August/September 2007 issue)–we were outfitted with Shift Racing off-road apparel.

XC jacket. For adventure riding, this is a tough jacket to beat. Lightweight and highly adaptable, the XC goes where you go, without complaint. In cool conditions (I tried it in the 40s), it closes up nicely, keeping the chilly air at bay. The neck buttons up tightly, and has a soft collar to prevent chafing. If the temperature rises, the jacket adjusts. There are vents in the arms and upper chest area to get air flowing, plus, the upper chest fly is in two parts, so the zipper can be unzipped up top. If it gets even warmer, the sleeves zip off and the XC becomes a vest. As you get thirsty, you can drink water from a hydration pack, via a port on the upper right chest area. CE-certified armor in the elbows makes the jacket suitable for both street and dirt, and they’re so well integrated, you don’t even notice their presence. Three large cargo pockets (two front, one rear), plus an interior pocket for your cell phone and wallet add to the jacket’s practicality. A long tail keeps your back end covered, and interior drawstring can be used to cinch it up. This is an outstanding jacket.

Chill glove. Not as bulky as some cold-weather gloves, the Shift Chill glove has an off-road focus as its not going to protect you much in a fall on pavement. It does its job perfectly, as it didn’t require glove liners for street riding in temperatures in the 40s. As things warmed up, so did the gloves, though they are fine up to the mid-70s. The plush interior is extremely comfortable. All we’d ask for is a longer, gauntlet style that better matched the XC jacket. (Click image to enlarge)

Recon Ride pants. These over-the-boot pants are an excellent match for the XC jacket, as long as you don’t mind dirt-style pants on the street. They’re extremely comfortable, but the 600D polyester construction isn’t streetworthy. On the dirt, the Recon Ride pants fine, as they have a relaxed, baggy fit that doesn’t hinder movement. A simple cam belt and adjustable Velcro waist straps allow you to personalize the fit. For added functionality, the pants have two zippered storage pockets

Faction racepant, jersey and gloves. This is Shift’s entry into the high-end off-road apparel market, and it shows. The Faction pants are heavy-duty, taking everything that Costa Rica had to dish out, including resisting the temptation for permanent staining from the red Central American mud. All the features you expect in a premium pant are there, including a generous number of panels (for ideal fit), light venting to keep you cool when riding hard, simple ratchet belt, heavy-duty zipper (though I prefer a fly), rubberized interior waist (to keep the jersey tucked in) and a convenient rear hook for drying. Rubberized logos are more for appearance than protection, and they do that job well. The lightweight, almost vented, Faction jersey is what you’d expect–comfortable raglan cut, a squared-off V-neck, non-restrictive cuffs, a long tail and light elbow padding. The Faction gloves are also light in weight, rather than heavy in protection. A thin palm provides great feel, while the radial-cut wrist eliminates irritation when rotating your hands on the bars. A simple wrist closure, tacky silicone on the index and middle fingers, and flexible-but-minimalist finger and hand armor complete the outstanding package. (Click image to enlarge)