I recently got a chance to experience the new riding jacket from GoGo Gear in Los Angeles. The men’s “Military” jacket is a long, lean touring-length jacket that features looks above all else. Sure, it’s packed with features that are simple and thoughtful, but the statement that this jacket shouts is that the wearer knows something about looking good, and was concerned enough about both that and safety on the scoot to invest in some serious protective equipment.
The Military is a full-featured jacket – it is a 3/4 length jacket that’s good for three seasons wear, (four with some decent layering – I wore it walking in a snow shower and rode in on a 24-degree Detroit morning) including under arm vents for cooling. It’s made of tough but light 600 Dernier Cordura water repellent and abrasion resistant fabric. It’s also equipped with removable CE-approved back, shoulder and elbow protectors that are very well hidden. The Military offers a removable, lightweight, vest-type internal quilted liner. On the closure front, it has YKK zippers throughout and a very strong Velcro wind flap over the zipper. There is very bright 3M Scotchlite reflective piping around the front, neck and back of the jacket. The Military is currently avaliable in black, gray and and a very stylish olive drab color. The jacket features interior headphone loops that just work and a sturdy feeling internal mesh liner. One of my favorite features is the windproof thumb cuffs – by placing one’s hand through the opening, (fingers in one hole, thumb through the other) one basically seals off the sleeve from wind gusts. It can also be comfortably worn without the wind cuffs and the Cordura fabric of the jacket is light and flexible enough to simply be folded over for use with gauntlet gloves. There is a lot of storage in the Military, with a total of six pockets (4 external with zippers include two with flaps and Velcro closures, 1 smart phone packet on the liner and one over-sized internal vest pocket).
Like all GoGo Gear jackets, the features are simple and usable. The headphone loops are just that – small loops located on the right inside edge of the jacket. Nothing fancy, but they just work for holding one’s headphone cable in place whether they are in your ears or hanging loose. The external pockets are each zippered and the front-facing part of them are lined. The two lower pockets have flaps over the zippers, decorative metal buttons and even a small velcro tab to hold the flaps closed. Someone thought a long time about the features on this jacket. Nothing jumps out, but the features just work, sort of like a wonderfully detailed Broadway Ave. (Detroit) suit.
Earlier this year (at the Dealer Expo show in Indianapolis) GoGo Gear creator/owner Arlene Battishill told me to keep my eyes open for a new GoGo Gear jacket coming out for men. I saw the beginnings of the men’s line and was sworn to secrecy. The men’s Military Jacket came out over the summer, and like all things GoGo Gear, it was a hit. With Arlene’s manufacturing process, there are only so many of each edition of each jacket. In fact, when I bought my wife a version of the Hologram jacket over the summer, I was informed that it was the “last one” certainly in Michigan, and one of the last available in the U.S. That’s what happens with the low production numbers of GoGo Gear. Just like “real” fashion, you are buying one of just a few pieces (but typically lots of sizes) of a jacket.
What I had seen in the pre-production versions was a slim, trim, jacket that would look great on the scoot and one that could transition to a work environment and not look as though you just got back from a transcontinental trip. As it turns out, the Military is that and more.
There are a few minor issues with the Military. The zipper is one of those finicky two-way zippers. They are designed to zip up to close the jacket and to zip up again to allow the bottom of the jacket to spread when one is seated on the scoot. The jacket was specifically designed for this to allow for more comfort for some riders and to not scratch the tank on motorcycles. Perhaps I got a more tricky zipper than standard, but it takes a good three to four tries to get it zipped up. Also, the grip strip windflap closure is aggressive, and it will grab onto your gloves, your shirt and anything else that comes close, even the threads of the button that are showing through the mating surface on the other side of the jacket. The liner is a vest type of liner – I prefer a full sleeved version, but I knew that going in and I’m happy with the slim look that this jacket provides. The sleeves are lined with a cotton material that seems to grab my sleeves when I put the jacket on, so I have to remember to grab the cuffs. Again, not a big deal, but it’s not that way with my other jackets (or my wife’s GoGo Gear Hologram and ladies Military for that matter).
Despite my few nits to pick with this jacket, I like it a lot. I enjoy the way that this jacket looks, the way it makes me feel, and the ability to effortlessly move from the scooter to the meeting without having to explain the how/why/where/what’s it like on a scooter questions that one sometimes gets when making an entrance. The Military is worth it just for that factor alone… and that’s what spending a couple of extra dollars ($219.00) on fashion will get you. Something that looks and feels great and you look forward to wearing. The neo-Nehru styling is almost universally approved by my family and friends and the single vent in back is both elegant and the right size. The jacket is very comfortable and I’ve developed a little game of having people knock on my shoulders to discover the armor underneath the style. That it will also help save your bacon in the event of an “off” is a bonus.
All GoGo Gear jackets are produced in relatively small numbers. That allows creator/owner Arlene Battishill and her team to tweak each “run” of GoGo Gear jackets in a sort-of continuous improvement effort. They can change the zipper, the lining materials and yes, even the color if the demand arises. I’m happy with mine, and you might be happy with a little GoGo Gear in your future. Look for more GoGo Gear news about new plans and products in the near future.
What’s next: Last minute gifts for the scooterist in your life