Fly Racing Terra Trek 4 Jacket Test

Fly Racing Terra Trek 4 hi-visFly Racing’s Terra Trek 4 jacket—Fly’s flagship textile jacket—delivers good materials and workmanship for the budget-minded adventure rider. It’s actually surprising that Fly Racing can provide such a jacket for a nickel under $200 and,  while you can spend three to five times that amount with other manufacturer’s offerings, the Terra Trek 4 jacket will get the job done well.

The Terra Trek 4 is aimed at the four-seasons market that, in many cases with most brands, were sorely lacking in summer comfort. I am seeing many new offerings around that focus more on the summer element of the four seasons equation — that is, more comfort with better designs and more effective venting.

Fly Racing has accomplished this in the new Terra Trek 4 jacket by adding two chest vents running vertically on either side of the main zipper. They start at the top of the breast pockets and run down to the waist. There are also vents on the leading edge of both shoulders to help create a ram air effect. Fly adds zippered intake vents located on the Terra Trek 4’s shoulders so hot air is exhausted through large vents located on the back. These zippers are waterproof, with a strong YKK main zipper.

After checking it out I sent this jacket to my Sturgis-based pal, King Cavalier. He makes possibly the best outdoor clothing for hunters—certainly the most expensive—and I wanted his opinion. He sent back an interesting story, so rather than use his notes in my review I’ll include it, minus the profanity, here:

Take it away, King Cavalier:

King Cavalier of SturgisI’m in the clothing business now for 35 years. I’ve had 100’s of 1,000’s of US$$ on the line in textiles, sewing, parts and production, hell, maybe a million or 2 by now. And I’ve been riding motorcycles since about 1963.

I wear leather, so when it came time to take a look at the Fly Racing Terra Trek 4 jacket I was a bit “MEH.” Hey, it’s not leather but I’m always good for a chance to see garment construction. As a baseline, I am 6 feet tall and about 227 pounds. I wear 35/35 jeans comfortably and an XL shirt. The FLY jacket is a size Large and it’s RED… a lot… I thought, “NO WAY.”

The first thing I did was try it on because it would have been easier to just send it back and say that it was nice, but didn’t fit. But it did fit, surprisingly, because in my own styles a Large would be way too small in the arms and shoulders. The Fly jacket fits darn well on 18” arms and a 48” chest. Yeah, it’s not exactly roomy, but it’s not really tight either. In fact, it fits so well in the waist that I was, at first, sure that it would bind reaching for the handlebars. It didn’t and it’s comfortable which means that the back is wide enough or the sleeves would pull up on outstretched arms. That’s a #1 misunderstanding about arm length being too short.

So far so good, I thought. But, seriously, wearing this down to the Loud American for a beer should be a hoot. First thing my favorite server said was, “Hey! Nice jacket! Is it new?”

“Yes, thought I’d try something a little different”, says I.

“Good color on you, too,” says she.

Says I, “I like the black and silver.”

“I thought it was Red?”

“Coors?” At least she remembers. I took off my sunglasses and found a convenient pocket that fits them perfectly inside the liner where they won’t get scratched or crushed. My wallet fits easily in the pocket on the other side and both are fastened with Velcro. The sunglasses pocket also has a flap cover. This pocket pattern repeats on the inside of the shell so that if you don’t happen to have the liner installed you can find your stuff in the same place.

Fly does have a thoughtful feature; the cuff loop/liner attachment points are color-coded. That is nice so your sleeve doesn’t get installed all twisted up. Grey-to-grey and black-to-black… easy peasy. The body loops are also well-spaced and proper length so the liner doesn’t end up around your neck. It stays put and moves comfortably with the shell.

The shell is lined so it both holds the armor as well as glides nicely on the liner. Until you have one that doesn’t, you won’t realize how annoying it is for one to bind against the other. The liner is an integral part of both the armor pockets as well as the ventilation. This bears noting, as the huge vent zipper in the front has no corresponding huge zip in the back, which, to operate, requires removing the jacket or a willing partner. This is accomplished by a unique cape/vent in the back that can be optionally closed with hook-and-loop patches that are covered if not in use. This is extreme garment engineering, folks.

The raglan-style sleeves are part of the reason that this large fits an extra-large dude comfortably. The range and mobility of the raglan sleeve versus the whole sleeve on an active wear jacket is hard to beat and the Terra Trek 4 does this well. In fact, part of the ventilation is a zipper along the front seam of the shoulder to elbow that is also easy to reach and use.

The chest pockets are deep with flaps that are hook and loop closed and zip as well. Nothing falls out, ever. The waist pockets are also deep, hook-and-loop closed and the shock cord waist adjusters are right there so you don’t have to open the jacket to pull a little out of the middle. Awesome. The hand warmer pockets are behind those and they zip shut, as you would expect.

There is a longer tail on the back to keep out the draft in the crack, plus it’s zippered for even more cargo. All of the points of the jacket from zipper sizing to zipper pulls, linings selected, reflective insert placement, armor access, elbow density and construction are well thought out. I really appreciate that Fly Racing took pains to select proper nylon for the elbows vs. the shell, etc.

All of the jacket adjustments are hook-and-loop that are easily reached and adjusted with the jacket on the wearer. There are side expansion panels that expand with a simple zipper. I have never had the need to attach the jacket to my pants, but the full zipper is there if you care to use it.

The Fly Terra Trek 4 has impressive features that are very well thought out and professionally executed from the point of view of both a user and a garment industry professional. Guess I better buy an ADV bike.

Thanks, King Cavalier. We now return to our normal review.

The Terra Trek 4’s fabric is “multi-material construction with an advanced polyfabric textile main shell and reinforced ballistic elbow panels for excellent abrasion and tear resistance,” according to Fly Racing, with reflective panels for visibility. To that, Fly adds a waterproof, windproof, and breathable membrane.

There is CE-certified elbow and shoulder armor with PE-rated back and spine protection. Reflective panels are incorporated for improved rider visibility. Other important features include: side expansion panel, removable long sleeve thermal liner, inner pocket and fleece lined back panel, two sleeve adjusters, external and internal zippered pockets, elongated rear profile, combined D-ring and Velcro waist adjustment, hidden rear cargo pocket, micro-fleece collar and zipper to allow attachment to Fly riding pants.

For the ADV or touring rider, this garment, when comparing price and features, offers an outstanding bang for the buck.

Fly Racing Terra Trek 4 Jacket MSRP: $200.