Just ahead of midnight, the lady was locking the gas station’s door. My Ducati Multistrada’s gas light had beeen on for the past 25 miles or so, and the hotel was still about 30 miles away.I rushed towards the door, and the lady – likely in her mid-40s – looked me up and down. “I’ll shut the pumps off when you’re done,” she said, “It’s not often we get sharp-looking motorcyclists stopping here in this town. So nice to not see a do rag and sleeveless leather.”
I suddenly noticed myself in the reflection of the now-closed front store door, and she was correct. I was wearing a Spidi Ventamax H2Out jacket and Thunder H2Out pants (reviewed separately), and this is the first time I noticed the apparel’s actual looks; amid a halo of bugs gathering around the bright lights, the reflection made me smile. Could motorcycle gear designed for adventure touring ever look so good? But don’t subject this jacket to just adventure; I’ve worn it in sport touring, sport and even cruiser situations (Italian gear on a brand-new Harley-Davidson Road Glide at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?).The ride that day, about 30% off road/70% on road, was already comfortable – even if rain plagued nearly 80 percent of it – and now I was complimented on the looks. Styling has always been an attractive part of Italian motorcycle apparel companies. But styling with full functionality? Now we’re talking.Considering its name, Spidi targets the jacket towards warmer weather and waterproofing, and the Spidi Ventamax H2Out crushes it in this regard. I have around 2,500 miles with this setup in temps ranging from triple digits down to about 45 degrees (F), and my complaints are minimal.The textile jacket is 50% mesh, providing effective cooling during the warmer temps. For anything colder than 60 or so, I recommend a mid-layer, such as the Spidi Thermo Liner Underjacket. And the H2Out inner jacket – arriving with comfortable polyamide mesh on the inside for added comfort – keeps all the water out.Unfamiliar with Spidi until now, I had been a little skeptical on the jacket’s waterproofing abilities, however the jacket would clearly provide comfort during hotter temps due to its mesh construction, which covers most of the front, and part of the sleeves and back areas. The hottest I endured were temps just around 100 outside of the urban situations, and one stop-and-go 98-degree day in downtown Philadelphia.Of course while moving, the jacket provided a sense of coolness – especially with a base layer such as the Woodcraft Dry Out – but in town things got a bit stuffy with the H2Out liner intact. This is especially true if the humidity is high and rain is falling.The waterproof liner, which can stand alone as a fashionable rain jacket, kept me 100% dry during one ride back to Northeast Pennsylvania from New Jersey Motorsports Park, and yet another back from Laconia Bike Week. The New Jersey trip began warm, but when I was throttling home, the temps cooled to around 48 degrees and it rained for nearly three hours. This didn’t prevent fun riding though, with a few highway moments deep into triple digits. Modern motorcycles are more than capable of high speeds in the rain, especially with a trained rider. But it all starts with comfort, both from a psychological and physical perspective. The Spidi Ventamax H2Out provided both of the latter, allowing for some super fun in less-than-ideal conditions.The liner removes quickly; just five snaps – one on the neck, two midway up the main zipper area, and one for each cuff. Also, the H2Out liner itself has its own zipper – that and the others on the Spidi Ventamax H2OUT are YKK, something all jackets should arrive with. The main zipper is thick and feels like it can last years of torture, even from a person like me who breaks at least three zippers yearly (it just happened on a pair of pants from a Spidi competitor).The neck fitment is unique, with Spidi using an EST closure. This allows the rider to customize fitment, with the base snap able to move to tighten or loosen the snap collar. And the material against the skin is comfortable – one of my biggest com plants with many motorcycle jackets.Further adjustment arrives from the “Ergofit System” – aka Velcro on hips and arms – and drawstrings at the bottom to keep things snug. I used these whenever the rain started, to snug the jacket against the top of my pants, securing against that annoying water that always creeps in through the bottom of a jacket’s opening. The final round of adjustment is at the cuff, which features two snap adjustments for a tight/loose fit.The Spidi Ventamax H2Out arrives with EN1621-1 certified “Forcetech” protection in the shoulders, and a slot for Spidi Warrior back protectors (Lev1 or Lev2 only). The protection is not bulky, and unlike most other jackets, it appears to add comfort to the jacket, especially in the shoulders.Cargo space is minimal, with four pockets in total out front – two zip-up breast pockets perfect for a cell phone and maybe some cash/credit cards, and two “easy-in” pockets used for items like a smaller wallet or gas receipts. Be warned, though; all four external pockets are not waterproof. There also is one internal Napoleon pocket with a single snap enclosure. Also, for colder temps, you can also snap in an optional full-sleeve Spidi Thermal Jacket Liner.Leave it up to the Italians to design a fashionably functional motorcycle jacket – one that I would use spring/summer/fall for not only touring and adventure riding, but urban and cruising situations.
Spidi Ventamax H2Out Quick Facts:
Colors: Black/Grey (shown), Black, or Yellow Fluo, all three featuring reflective pieces to increase nighttime visibility
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!