The product lines from the revamped Cortech brand continue to expand in interesting ways. Previously known as a sport brand, Cortech has introduced The Boulevard Collective—a collection of retro-styled jackets that will appeal to riders of both sport and cruiser motorcycles. To introduce ourselves to Cortech’s Boulevard Collective, we went all-in with the most stylish offering—The Trans-Am leather jacket.Although the Trans-Am name is associated with automobile racing—the closest motorcycles got to that name was the Trans-AMA 500cc motocross series of the 1970s—it’s still a name that resonates with gearheads. The bovine-hide jacket is highly stylized with racing striped, quilted shoulder and elbow padding, numerous patches, plenty of vintage-style YKK zippers, and an external buttoned pocket. Either it speaks to you, or you consider it over-the-top. Regardless of your taste, it will look appropriate on a retro-style motorcycle of any type.
From a functional standpoint, it’s a highly versatile jacket. It’s summertime right now, so I’ll jump right into a feature I found helpful as the temperatures were nearly 100 degrees in the Mojave Desert. The Trans-Am jacket offers venting—something you rarely see on a leather jacket. There are four discreet leather-flapped vents with thin black zippers to flow air through the Trans-Am. There’s one at each bicep, and one for each side of your upper chest near your armpits.With all four intake vents open, along with the two zippered vertical exhaust vents in the rear, air generously flows through the jacket. I was able to ride for hours in 90+ degree temperatures on a faired 2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival. Yes, I was warm enough to sweat, yet the airflow kept me comfortable enough to put on hundreds of miles in baking conditions.At the other end of the temperature spectrum, the Cortech’s Trans-Am jacket is quite comfortable when the mercury drops—with the vents zipped closed, of course. Keep in mind that there’s no quilted liner-permanent or removable. I started a mountain-to-desert ride in 45-degree temperatures on that same Electra Glide Revival, with just a thin ultra-lightweight long-sleeved base layer and cotton t-shirt under the jacket. I never felt the least bit chilly at speeds up to 85 mph. It’s impressive to be able to wear the same stylish leather jacket on a ride featuring a 50-degree temperature swing, with only a change in a single base layer.As for comfort, this is a jacket you’ll enjoy wearing on and off your motorcycle. The leather is highly pliable right off the rack, with the thickness ranging from 1.0 to 1.2mm. Dual accordion stretch panels in the upper back allow easy arm movement in all situations. Riding cruisers or sportbikes where you have to reach for the grips are no problem for the Trans-Am jacket.Inside the jacket is a satin-like polyester liner that feels great against your body and bare arms. The neck is soft leather and has a loose fixed-button closure. The waist can be adjusted via two dual-position flaps on the sides. Thanks to the supple leather, you can wear this jacket for an entire day without feeling fatigued. Sizing is spot on—I’m usually a Large, and this fits perfectly.The YKK zippers are high quality, though the main zipper with double sliders demands you get everything lined up just right. The two sliders must be lined up, and then the box pin pushed all the way down to the bottom of the lower slider. If you don’t do it right, the zipper is uncooperative. To make up for the zipper’s recalcitrance, the upper main slider has a Blvd.-branded pull in the shape of a lightning bolt. Happily, the Trans-Am’s other zippers are consistently obliging.Storage is distributed differently than you usually find on a leather jacket. The familiar large squarish interior pockets, typically either unsecured or hook-and-loop, are not there. Instead, inside, you have a choice of two mid-height, vertical-opening, button-closed pockets on opposing sides. That is in lieu of a traditional zippered Napoleon pocket. While Cortech helpfully describes them as “conceal carry pockets,” I like them for my wallet and phone.Outside, you have a variety of choices for cargo. There are two hand pockets with robust zippers with steel-and-leather pulls—plenty of room on those. In the right chest area, there’s a zipper that closes up a spacious pocket behind the Cortech wrench-and-rod patch. It’s easily accessible, so I could see storing something there that you want to be able to get to in a hurry.The Trans-Am also has a square pocket in the front that has a snap closure. My wallet fits in it, but the snap doesn’t feel as secure I’d like for my relatively bulky wallet—it’s probably fine for a thin wallet, or if you want a place for toll money. Finally, the two exhaust vent zippers are at the ends of a single large pocket at your lower back, though you’d only want to store something soft there for safety reasons.Speaking of safety, The Trans-Am jacket by Cortech has the expected CE-rated Safe-Tech elbow and shoulder armor. Cortech offers an optional Safe-Tech CE level 2 back protector—it’s $20 and well worth it, and I won’t ride without it. As we’ve said many times, we think CE back protection should be standard on all motorcycle jackets. However, another Jackson added to a $350 jacket is no big deal.The Trans-Am jacket by Cortech is a pleasant surprise. Sometimes, a highly stylized jacket can be less functional than I’d like. The fact that I get unsolicited compliments on the jacket’s appearance is expected—it’s a statement jacket. The nice bonus is that the Trans-Am is simply a fantastic jacket for motorcycle riding.Photography by Kelly CallanThe Trans-Am Jacket by Cortech Fast Facts
Sizes: S-3X Large
CE protection: Elbows and shoulders (back is $20 option)
The Trans-Am Jacket by Cortech Price: $350 MSRP ($370, as tested)
The Trans-Am Jacket by Cortech Review Photo Gallery
KTM RC 390 and Gordon McCall of Quail Motorcycle Gathering
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
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 features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the new KTM RC 390. The entry-level KTM has always been an impressive motorcycle that has sold extremely well, however the factory has now taken the bike to another level, with top-spec features that are typically found on flagship machines. Clearly KTM has realized that even smaller engined machines should have high spec suspension, brakes and electronics packages. Nic tells us how well the new RC 390 is equipped, and what he thought of riding the smaller displacement rocket.
In the second segment I chat with automotive and motorcycle industry icon, Gordon McCall. Gordon is the Director of Motorsports at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, California.
This weekend of Saturday May 14th sees the annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering re-start after its Covid-forced hiatus, and having attended every one of the previous Motorcycle Gatherings, personally I’m very happy that the event is back on the schedule. Gordon chats about the event and a little of what’s happening this year. It’s a great event and if you feel like a trip to the gorgeous Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, you’ll get to meet Gordon, Roland Sands, and of course a large number of stunning motorcycles too.
From all of us at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!