Weise Explorer Textile Jacket | Review
Weise Motorcycle Jacket
Recently, I’ve become serious about sport touring, racking over 50K yearly on my motorcycles throughout the four seasons here in Northeast Pennsylvania.
But because I’ve spent most of my life straddling sportbikes, my jackets continuously presented problems. Whether it was comfort during those 300-plus mile rides, the snugger-race fit, or the lack of warmth and rain/snow protection throughout the seasons, my current selection of jackets weren’t optimal for long-distance traveling.
I needed a motorcycle jacket that would battle the former mentioned issues, but also one that would provide protection, have some style, and also be kind to a slim wallet. And I wanted a ¾ length jacket, one that went past the hips for extra comfort while in the more upright sport-touring position.
After some research, I chose the Weise Explorer Jacket before the leaves began to change colors last fall. The UK company designed the Explorer textile motorcycle jacket with all the necessities needed for sport touring, especially the thick, full-sleeve 120-gram thermal quilted liner demanded in the cold Northeastern PA fall/winter months.
Weise, which derives from the German word “wise,” designed the Explorer jacket with a 500/600 Denier nylon outer layer for tough abrasion in case of a crash, and a drop lining that is built from waterproof, windproof and breathable Isotex.
On a recent 200-mile trip, I experienced temps ranging from 38 to 71 degrees (F) in consistent rain. The jacket’s outer layer repelled the water, but after about 90 miles, the nylon was saturated, adding a bit of weight to the Weise Explorer, but not much.
The reason it didn’t take on much weight is due to Weise designing the jacket with two Water Release Systems (WPS) near the lower back section; when water gets between the outer nylon layer and the waterproof Isotex, the WPS allows the water to drain, helping the jacket remain light. Once out of the rain, though, the Explorer dries quickly, losing that extra weight.
Although the outside became saturated after my rain ride, the drop lining did its duty – I remained completely dry. And when I began ascending cold mountain passes in the Poconos, my skin didn’t feel damp due the outer layer being wet. This was mostly due to the full-sleeve thermal liner doing its job; even when the ambient temperature dipped below 40 degrees, I remained warm.
On a side note, I wore Under Armour ColdGear shirt and leggings, with only a zip-up fleece underneath for layering. But due to it’s thin construction, the thermal liner doesn’t obstruct comfort if extra layering if needed.
While the Weise Explorer jacket performs optimal in cold/wet conditions, it also features enough venting for the warmer weather. But when the temps hit above the 90-degree mark, the jacket can seem a bit stuffy.
The Explorer has two front shoulder vents, two chest vents that also act as pockets, and two huge arm vents that go from the wrist to the elbow, providing much needed air to the armpit area. And while riding, these zippers are easy to open/close while wearing gloves.
These six vents are coupled with an exhaust vent out back that runs horizontally along the shoulder blades. Unlike most jackets, the vents don’t push the air directly onto your skin. These vents direct air to the drop lining, which means that even when there’s slight participation falling you can open the vents for some venting without getting wet, slight being the key word here.
In the comfort category, the Weise Explorer isn’t bulky, mostly due to the thinner CE approved armor in the shoulders, elbows and back. The jacket has twin Velcro-retained straps on the upper arms for a custom fit, and also in the waist area.
And the area that most annoys me on motorcycle jackets, the collar, has a few features that provide extra comfort on those long-distance rides. The inside of the Weise Explorer’s collar is made of a soft neoprene that feels smooth on the skin, and like the waist, the collar has two adjustable Velcro straps to customize the fit. The latter is a great feature for tightening up the collar when the colder weather arrives.
The jacket fits true to size, also; I take a 42 USA (52 EUR), and the Explorer is roomy enough for layering. But when you need to slim it down, the adjustable waist/arm straps easily perform this duty.
All of this is wrapped with YKK zippers and 3M Scotchlite reflectors on the chest, back and lower arms of the jacket for added visibility during the night. And if that’s not enough, the Explorer also arrives with a removable 3M Scotchlite “H” belt system for additional visibility.
The Explorer features enough pockets for the necessities such as a wallet and phone, and a compartment on the lower back that stores away larger items, such as the thermal liner if needed. The upper chest/vent pockets work well for these minimal items, but when the rain begins to fall there can be some struggle getting the items into the two external waterproof waist pockets due to their skinny design; when fully unzipped, I can only get my fingers into the deep pockets, not my whole hand.
Other useful features on the Weise Explorer motorcycle jacket are the internal 6 inch and 360° zipper for attaching to Weise jeans.
If you’re into sport touring, adventure riding or whatever other genre of long-distance street touring arrives in the future, the Weise Explorer is one jacket to consider due to its abundant features, especially for the all-season rider.
As mentioned before, it can get stuffy in extremely warm temperatures, but compared to similar jackets, it performs quite well. As for colder riding, the Weise Explorer has become my number one pick.
And with an MSRP of $299, the Explorer has the needed features of higher-priced jackets built for the same purpose. Weise products currently have to be shipped from the UK, so expect to pay extra for shipping.
But Weise’s distributor, Fowler, has recently opened an office in Connecticut, and will soon distribute the Weise motorcycle brand in many dealerships throughout the US. If you see this weise jacket in your dealership, it may be a “wise” decision to try it out.Google+