We’re in the middle of a Vermont winter and the snow has flown quite liberally this year. Our back yard has a foot or so on the ground now and thus far, we’ve received nearly 5 feet of the cold white stuff. So when a company named Motorcycle House www.motorcyclehouse.com contacted us and asked us if we would test some of their products, I had to explain that it was presently the middle of the winter here in Vermont, and that we’d be happy to test their gear, but that we couldn’t test it on the bike until spring. That didn’t bother Dewayne from Motorcycle House one iota, and he rapidly agreed to send us a couple of Viking Cycle Enforcer jackets to test and provide comments on, whether they were good or bad. Soon the two Viking Cycle Enforcer jackets arrived and upon opening the box, I was quite impressed. So while we are waiting for Spring to come to Vermont, we decided that a winter test was in order. We couldn’t ride with the jackets on the bike, but we could try them out at one of the east coast’s largest ski areas. So we put on our boots, skis, gloves and Viking Cycle Enforcer jackets and headed to the mountain for a few rides. Before we tell you how it performed on the mountain, here’s some info on the features and design of the jackets.
This 3/4 touring design is well thought out and it has several features that are not included in jackets costing hundreds of dollars more. Here are just a few of the thoughtful features you will find on this jacket. The interior has several well arranged pockets. On both interior sides of the jacket are three pockets. Each side has two small pockets which can hold small items as well as a third zippered pocket of good size. The first of the small interior pockets has a tag indicating that they are for a small electronic device. These pockets are suited for an item the size of an ipod. Thoughtfully, there are two wire pass through holes in each of these pockets through which you can feed cables or wires should you want to use wired headphones or the like. A nice touch is that the wire holes are not directly in line, so if any moisture gets into the pocket, it can not directly travel through to the interior pocket where the device is being kept. Smart!. Directly below the device pockets are slightly larger pockets (perhaps 4″ deep) that could hold larger items such as pens etc. There are also nice zippered pockets on both sides of each main zipper. On both sides of the jacket behind the main jacket zipper is a larger zippered pocket one of which is labeled to hold sunglasses, but could equally hold maps etc. as well. There is one more 6″ X 6″ zippered pocket in the interior of the jacket with a covered zipper. So what does the interior of the jacket give you? Seven different size pockets three of which are zippered. All of these pockets are accessible with the jacket liner installed in place. With the jacket liner removed, you lose the 6″ X 6″ pocket, but you gain a 10″ x 7″ zippered pocket with a water resistant zipper. You can also get to this pocket with the jacket liner installed, but you will have to unzip the liner about 5″ to get to it.
Speaking of the liner, it is not very thick but it does insulate well. There is a tag indicating that the liner is polyester, PU coated. This seems to indicate that the liner may act as a rain liner as well, but since we were skiing on the snow, we can’t comment if it is waterproof or not. Many jackets come with liners that insulate you around the body, but the liner does not have sleeves. We were pleased to find that the Enforcer’s liner did have attached sleeves all the way to the sleeve cuff. Removing the liner is quite simple, a single zipper wraps around the interior of the jacket and the sleeves are removed by detaching a single button at the sleeve’s cuff. I can say that the liner insulated fairly well, was not uncomfortable and was easy to get in and out of.
The exterior of the jacket has several zippered pockets as well, one zippered pockets of each side of the chest and one fold over and velcro pocket at each side of the waist. The cuffs of the jacket are are adjustable with velcro as is the waist with the use of two separate side cinch straps. Each sleeve is adjustable for size with the placement of three separate snaps which allow you to adjust the fit of the bicep. I have fairly large biceps and with the liner installed and the button at the loosest, it fit well with no tight feeling.
The jacket’s main zipper is of the storm flap design (double flap) with each side of the jacket’s zipper being covered by material to seal out wind and moisture. Each of these flaps button together over the main zipper. As we stated earlier, we did not use the jacket in the rain so we can’t comment on its water resistance, but can vouch for the design idea. Lastly, the collar of the jacket is covered with a neoprene like material. Smooth, it was comfortable, sealed out the wind well, and did not chafe or catch my beard. A nice touch, nicely done.
Lastly, the jacket is armored, with foam armor in the shoulders, elbows and back. We could not tell whether the armor was ECE approved, but based on the foam material, we don’t think it was. If it is, we will let you know.
So with all these features, how did the jacket perform? Overall, very well! When we arrived at the top of the mountain it was about 30 degrees F (-1 C) and the wind was blowing quite strongly. I was wearing a poly undergarment and a wool sweater. The liner in the jacket was in place and I can report that I was nice and warm. During two runs, no air seeped into the jacket and the blowing snow did not penetrate it. It was comfortable and the longer tail of the jacket kept any air from penetrating from underneath. We’ll report again on the jacket once Spring has arrived and can try it out on the bike.
As of this writing, the jacket is priced at $99.99 and represents an amazing bargain for the price. It would be well worth it for double the price. We don’t know how long it will be at this price, but based on this test, I would even buy it for a ski jacket, never mind having it do double duty as a motorcycle jacket.
I received an email the other day from a Kiara Wilson of Motorcycle House (www.motorcyclehouse.com) a few days back. She had seen our site and asked if we were interested in doing a review of some of their riding gear. They would make the gear available for free if we would agree to review it on our site giving our honest opinion.
I did a precursory check of their website and found that much of Motorcycle House’s gear is cruiser oriented, so I initially declined adding that we don’t really use cruiser gear and therefore couldn’t give an honest opinion.
Kiara suggested that I spend some more time on their site and browse through all their items and let her know if there was anything we would be interested in reviewing. While I was browsing, Kiara suggested that I might be interested in the Thor Phase Jacket. So I checked it out and it seemed to be a nice piece of enduro gear.
I reinforced the fact that I would give an honest review and that there were no promises that the review would be positive. But I did promise that the review would be honest. I also let her know that it was the middle of winter in New Hampshire, so I likely would not be able to give a full riding impression until things warmed up. Kiara agreed to all of this and as such I agreed to do a review of the jacket. Before I knew it, a Thor Phase Jacket arrived at my home.
I opened the box and was surprised at the contents. My first impression was positive. The quality seemed good, but the engineering of the jacket was what impressed me. The front of the jacket had two 12 inch long air vents complete with waterproof zippers. These types of zippers are more expensive compared to the normal zippers. The pulls are good sized and you can open and close them with a gloved hand. There was none of the “stickiness” that waterproof zippers sometimes have. The main zipper of the jacket is not waterproof but it does have an inch wide flap covering it with Velcro to hold the flap over the zipper. For normal riding it should do a good job of keeping the wet outside where it belongs. The back of the jacket has a similar 15 inch air vent zipper.
Inside the jacket is a mesh inner liner to help move the air around your body and keep the outer shell of the jacket off your body. There is also a an inner pocket lined with fleece big enough for your smart phone/music player. It even has a flap with Velcro to hold your ear bud cord in place. Nice.
An interesting feature are the zip off sleeves. So if it’s really hot out there and you are comfortable riding without the additional protection sleeves provide, they can be quickly removed and replaced when things cool off a bit.
Near the cuff of the left sleeve is a small 6 x 4 inch zippered compartment with a clear cover. It seems to me that this would be a good place to store your license or other motorcycle documents. This is perfect if you find yourself in one of those aww, sh!# situations where you have to produce documents.
The cuffs are also adjustable with a zipper and Velcro tabs to set the adjustments. So on those hot days with the sleeves on, you can also open the cuffs and leave them wide open for some cooling airflow.
In the back of the jacket is a built in ditty bag that could hold perhaps some light tools, a tire tube and similar gear. It could even hold those zip off sleeves. The compartment also contains a belt so that you can fold up the jacket into the compartment and wear it like a bum bag. This is a great idea for those “off the bike” times.
So all in all, not yet having ridden with the jacket I am pretty impressed. It seems like a good piece of kit and I am anxious to try it out.
Does the above mean that there isn’t anything I don’t like about the jacket? No, but my concerns are quite minor. This is a Thor piece of gear and has roots in the Motocross world. As such, the graphics are a bit much for me. The jacket itself is black, but there are some graphics applied that I could do without. It also has some sewn on rubber bits with the Thor logo on it that I don’t care for. But other than those niggles, I’m a pretty happy camper with the jacket and the fact that Motorcycle House made the gear available to us for free.
Stay tuned for a riding impression and video when things warm up.