The days of wearing an unprotective cotton shirt for a comfortable ride are over. The ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt uses cotton as the basic chassis, and then reinforces it with a RhinoMesh lining for abrasion protection. While ScorpionExo sells the shirt without armor, you can upgrade to Sas-Tech armor for the shoulders, elbows, and back, giving you a riding shirt that offers lightweight comfort and legitimate protection in the case of a fall.
The ScorpionExo riding shirt feels comfortable as soon as you put in on, as well it should since it’s made of midweight cotton. There’s zero break-in—it is ready to go right off the rack. The jacket secures in the front in two ways—a mid-duty zipper, plus six buttons. The buttons don’t run to the bottom of the shirt, and the zipper is short, preventing you from scratching your tank. The loose cuffs have a single button, and each arm has a pair of two-position buttons so you can customize the fit on your arms.
Hitting the city with the ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt is a bit unnerving, initially, for those of us used to leather jackets and substantial textile jackets. It really feels like you’re just riding around in a slightly heavy shirt. It is worth remembering that in the standard configuration, there is zero impact protection—only abrasion protection. So, it flows in the wind with you, offering a throwback feel that looks great with a retro motorcycle, as well as contemporary machines.
On cool days, it gives you good protection from the wind. It’s doesn’t have a removable liner for warmth, so the chillier it gets, the colder you will be. I rode in town with temps in the 50s, and it was fine. As it gets warmer, there’s an eight-inch zippered vent under each armpit to get the air flowing. It works, though I haven’t tried it on triple-digit days yet.
After a few rides, I put in the Sas-Tec armor that ScorpionExo offers as an option. The shoulders and the elbows get the Sas-Tec Flex Armor, which runs $20 a pair. The Sas-Tec shoulder and elbow armor is floppy to the touch, and it’s hard to believe that it protects you in a fall. However, hitting with a hammer turns it impressively rigid instantly. This floppy feel means you never notice it’s there, and it doesn’t ruin the casual look of the Abrams riding shirt. Consider this $40 option for full shoulder and elbow protection to be mandatory.
Also essential is the Sas-Tec back protector, which provides high-end CE Level 2 protection. It’s a thick closed-air cell design, so it’s flexible, though not nearly as much as the Flex Armor. While it is definitely noticeable when riding, I find it reassuring. Its outline is visible under the ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt when you’re reaching for the grips, but disappears when you’re just hanging out. Although the Sas-Tec back protector does compromise the comfort and appearance of the shirt while riding, I consider it well worth it for the protection in a fall. Go ahead, cut loose with $45 to prevent serious injury.
If you like to carry a lot of small items with you, you’ll love the ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt. There are two nicely sized expandable breast pockets, along with two hand warmer pockets and two left bicep pockets (one open, one zipped). The hand pockets use just a single button closure, so you can’t put anything small such as keys in them securely. Inside, there’s a standard Napoleon pocket, which I like for my iPhone, along with a roomy interior pocket in the mesh liner with a hook-and-loop closure at the top. If you’re satisfied with the level of protection from the RhinoMesh, then the Abrams riding shirt can function as credible three-season, good-weather touring apparel.
Sizing of the ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt is generous. I usually wear a Large jacket and went with the Large shirt. It’s roomy, rather than oversized, even with all the armor installed. The two-position buttons on the arms are quite different—the full position is very loose, with the tight position cinching up and scrunching the sleeves. I’d like to see the two snaps closer.
Matching the Abrams riding shirt are the Abrams gloves. They are retro-styled with a bit of an old-school motocross influence—a perfect match for the shirt, and great on a scrambler motorcycle. Made of top-grain goatskin and mesh panels, it’s a glove for cool to hot weather. There is soft padding for the knuckles, thumb, and palm, and a leather palm for abrasion protection. The wrist closure is sturdy hook-and-loop.
Looking at the ScorpionExo Abrams gloves, they have a flat look that doesn’t look particularly ergonomic. Once you put them on and let the mesh and accordion stretch panels do their jobs, any apprehensions disappear. Out riding, the gloves are transparent, never giving you a reason to think of them, unless it starts to get chilly. They move air, so they aren’t cold weather gloves. When it warms up, that airflow is welcome. I wear a Large glove, and the fit of the Abrams glove is appealingly snug. If you’re going to get the Abrams riding shirt, you might as well go for the gloves, as they are an excellent functional match, and they look good together.
Motorcycle riding gear is going through constant evolution, and something like a riding shirt was unthinkable not that long ago. Unfortunately, that meant many people ventured out in unprotective shirts, and paid the consequences in lost skin and worse. The ScorpionExo Abrams riding shirt and gloves are urban ready, in both appearance and performance.
Action photography by Kelly Callan
ScorpionExo Abrams Riding Shirt Fast Facts
- Sizes: SM – 5XL
- Colors: Black; Grey
- Armor: Optional Sas-Tec for back ($45), elbows ($20), and shoulders ($20)
- ScorpionExo Abrams Jacket Price: $130 MSRP
ScorpionExo Abrams Gloves Fast Facts
- Sizes: SM – 3XL
- Color: Black
- ScorpionExo Abrams Gloves Price: $40 MSRP
ScorpionExo Abrams Riding Shirt and Gloves Photo Gallery