Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review: Back to the Start

After getting up to a fifth edition, Tourmaster has started over with the new Transition jacket. Lacking a number—though there is a V6 on the inner label—the new Transition is a back-to-basics adventure-touring jacket with a price tag that is a penny under $200. The Tourmaster Transition is positioned as a versatile jacket that focuses on delivering multi-season performance in a bulk-free package.

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review: Price

The Tourmaster Transition jacket uses a standard shell of abrasion-resistant polyester. Heavy-duty 600D polyester is used for most of the shell, with 1000D nylon overlayed in the elbows and shoulders. The result is a pliable jacket that is comfortable to wear while is resists self-destruction should the jacket find itself sliding down the highway.

Safe-Tech supplies the CE Level 2 armor for the elbows and shoulders for the Transition. Tourmaster includes a back pad that offers no impact protection. We went with the Safe Tech 851 CD Level 2 back protector sold by Cortech, which is a perfect fit. At $20, this is an upgrade that you do not want to pass on—your spine may thank you later.

The outer shell has a natural water resistance, but you don’t want to rely on it for long should it start raining. The Tourmaster Transition has a couple of strategies for rain. The first is a waterproof hoodie that is built into the collar. Just unzip it, put it over your head, and your head into your helmet. This will prevent rain from running down the back of your neck. If you need more rain protection, a Reissa waterproof, windproof, and highly breathable long-sleeve layer can be zipped inside the jacket. We didn’t have a chance to test the Transition in the rain, but we’ll update the story if we do.

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review: MSRP

When it cools down, there’s a traditional quilted long-sleeve liner to hold in body heat. The wrists on the jacket are trim enough that it’s easy to get a gauntlet glove over them. I rode on the highway with temps down to about 50ºF with just a cotton long-sleeve shirt underneath, and I was completely comfortable. If I had a proper thermal layer under that, I would easily be good down to 40ºF. Everyone’s sensitivity to heat and cold is different, so your comfort level may vary.

The Transition does not have the extensive venting found in some adventure-touring jackets, so it’s not ideal for the hottest summer days. However, there are two six-inch zippered chest vents and matching pairs of shorter bicep, wrist, and collarbone vents. Also, you can button up the front of the jacket without the zipper, which adds more airflow. Two seven-inch upper back exhaust vents give the incoming air a way to escape the jacket’s interior. The system flows some air, though not as much as you’d need when it gets scorching.

Pocket space is limited. There are two hand pockets, with five-inch vertical zippers closing them. They will easily hold a smartphone, wallet, and paperwork. For touring, I prefer top-opening pockets rather than side-opening, as it’s less likely something will fall out of them—especially if you forget to zip them. The chest vents can also function as pockets, though they can’t do both simultaneously.

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review: Adventure Touring

There’s no Napoleon pocket inside—my favorite place to carry a phone. However, there is an interior right-side lower pocket that will fit all but the largest smartphones. It does have a hook-and-loop closure flat at the top—a nice touch.

In the back is a large pocket that can carry the quilted and waterproof liners for swapping in, or out, as needed when conditions change. The liners attach to the jacket in various ways—a long zipper, snaps, and snapped straps with loops. Swapping in or out takes a minute or two. When using the waterproof liner with the quilted liner, the waterproof liner gets installed in the jacket first.

The Tourmaster Transition jacket fits true to size, with or without the quilted vest. There are several ways to personalize the fit—two hook-and-loop belt straps on the sides, two-position button snaps on the forearms and biceps, and the collar is adjustable.

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review: For Sale

At speed, the Transition jacket doesn’t have anything loose and flapping around to cause a distraction. The overall lay of the jacket on the body is natural. Adding the Safe Tech back protector improves the Transition’s feel, as it makes you feel more secure—and you are.

There are plenty of high-end jackets with more features, and if you ride in the extremes of weather, they’re definitely worth the money. If you ride in temperatures between, say, 45 and 95, the new Tourmaster Transition jacket might not only be all the jacket you need—it’s possibly all the jacket you want.

Photography by Kelly Callan

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Fast Facts

  • Sizes: S-5XL; MDT-4XT
  • CE Level 2 Armor: Shoulder and elbows
  • Colors: Black; Sand; Hi-Viz; Navy/Red
  • Tourmaster Transition Jacket Price: $200 MSRP

Tourmaster Transition Jacket Review Photo Gallery