Tour Master Raven Motorcycle Jacket Test
Tour Master’s Raven, which features a waterproof and breathable Rainguard barrier, is a fairly versatile jacket for most riding conditions. I have worn this jacket in cool temperatures along the Southern California coastal area and in cool and winter cold temperatures primarily commuting to and from work in North Texas from June to the following March.
I first donned the Tour Master Raven jacket in mid-June for a Southern California coastal ride that lasted for about a half-day. My first impression was how well the it fit without any binding in the shoulders and upper arms or any constriction in the body area.
As a reference point, the Raven’s size Large (44) fits very well on my 6’ 1”, 200-lbs. frame. The length did not leave any back side exposed even when bent over the gas tank, and the sleeve length is long enough so that the cuffs overlap the bottom of gloves to prevent cold air from coming up the sleeves.
The Velcro-based tabs on the waist area allow fine-tuning the fit to the rider’s comfort level and the collar closure is anchored with a Velcro tab. Both of these adjustment features allow the rider to wear an item as bulky as a hooded sweatshirt without feeling choked or constricted. Over the course of that day’s ride in the typical mid-June weather of damp 50 degrees the quilt-type removable liner provided ample protection.
At home in the North Texas area I was able to evaluate the Tour Master Raven’s temperature handling range over the course of 10 months. Without the liner, the maximum temperature I felt comfortable riding in has been 80 degrees. Even though there are vents in the upper sleeves, and the open mesh-lined chest pockets double as vents, I felt that the airflow was not adequate enough to handle temperatures any warmer.
With only the liner installed the minimum temperature that I felt comfortable riding to and from work was around 40 degrees. Any temperature less than this resulted in a chill setting in part way home, which can be handled for short rides.
Removing and installing the quilt-like liner is pretty straightforward – two zippers on the side, three metal snaps across the top, loop-snap attachments inside the sleeve cuffs. I did realize that I couldn’t be in a hurry when installing the liner. Connecting the liner’s sleeves to the jacket’s sleeves requires a bit of finger dexterity and patience.
The sleeve vents, located on the upper arm section, are not that easy to close. Opening the vents is fairly quick but when closing them, the interior mesh and zipper border tend to interfere. Also, the overlapping Velcro closure does not want to stay sealed up due to zipper interference.
The Tour Master Raven’s safety features encompass CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders, triple density foam in the back, and reflective piping and signature triangle on the back. Fortunately, the only safety feature I have tested is the reflective piping when I found myself riding in the early mornings or after sunset – I’ll leave the testing of the armor to others.
Even though having shoulder and elbow armor might seem to create an awkward, bulky feel, quite the opposite happens. Except for inadvertently banging an elbow into a hard object, I would never know the armor is in the jacket. The reflective piping is helpful even if the rider wears a reflective vest, which is what I do, since the reflective piping helps outline the rider’s profile for greater visibility when in the dark and in traffic.
The zippers and Velcro fasteners are heavy duty and operate fairly well, with the exception of the sleeve vent zippers. However, the pull-tab on the front zipper broke off in my hand after consistently wearing the jacket for about 5 months. From the fragment’s appearance, this failure seems to be an issue of using a low-cost aluminum alloy instead of a slightly higher-cost steel alloy, which is too bad given the overall high quality of the jacket.
Overall, the Tour Master’s Raven jacket is a well-designed, useful riding jacket in most riding condition. Along with the comfortable, well-fitting feel, there are plenty of interior pockets in the liner as well as the shell to easily hold phones, wallets, and plastic cards. This jacket will stay in my riding wardrobe for as long as the material lasts.
Sizing: S – 3XL
For additional information, visit Tour Master.