Review: Frank Thomas XTi leather riding gear
No motorcyclist should ride without adequate protective gear. This includes an armored jacket and pants, gloves, boots and a helmet.
But all this protection comes at a price, which is why I chose the Frank Thomas brand for my jacket, pants and gloves.
This is a review of those critical pieces.
The Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle jacket offers the protection of leather and titanium at a price cheaper than competitors. And it's great-looking to boot!
Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle jacket
The Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle jacket is an attractive, good-fitting and well-priced piece of gear. I purchased mine from the national retailer Cycle Gear for $299.
My jacket, which I've used for more than 500 miles of riding, is actually my second, having returned the first to my local Cycle Gear after blowing a seam on the right arm (next to the cuff zipper). Cycle Gear happily replaced the jacket under their outstanding guarantee.
Aside from that issue, the XTi jacket has been an outstanding component to my riding wardrobe.
I'm 5' 9" and 152 pounds, and needed a 38 -- the smallest size Frank Thomas makes. But the jacket fits snug, and doesn't shift around in elbows, which is essential for protection.
And the jacket offers protection in spades, what with it's titanium shoulder plates, CE-approved, form-fitting Arma-Flex armor at shoulders and elbows and back padding with an option to drop in additional armor. All of the zippers are covered by leather.
There are also two cinches on each side for tailoring the jacket's fit.
The XTi comes with a zip-out vest for added warmth, which also adds two pockets for a total of five (including the two outside hand pockets). It also has the capability to zip into the Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle pants, which I also purchased. (The integration is spot-on.)
I've only worn the jacket in fall temperatures, so I can't comment on its breath-ability in summer. But it does an adequate job of wind protection, which is always essential on cold mornings.
Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle pants
Note: If you've never worn leather motorcycle pants, prepare yourself before slipping into a pair. They are supposed to be snug. You will feel silly wearing them. And they will need to be broken in.
I purchased the Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle pants from Cycle Gear at the same time as the XTi leather jacket. Not only did this make sense from an integration perspective -- they zip together -- it also netted me a free pair of $129 Frank Thomas XTi leather gloves. The leather suit also makes for a formidable barrier to asphalt landings; reason enough for purchase.
The pants fit true to size: I wear a 32 jean and hence wear a 32 in the XTi. The pants are fitted with a zipper and Velcro await strap. The cuffs are zippered to allow for easy putting-on/taking-off as well.
Keep in mind that there is supposed to be an open area in the lining: This is where the knee padding is inserted and removed. I mistakenly thought this was a defect, and returned the pants, only to find it present in all Frank Thomas pants.
The XTi pants I ordered did not come with the removable knee sliders as shown on the Cycle Gear Web site. A quick call to their customer service solved the issue, and I was prompted shipped a pair free of charge!
Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle gloves
*Note: I received these gloves for free from Cycle Gear with purchase of the XTi leather jacket and pants.*
The Frank Thomas XTi leather motorcycle gloves are an excellent set of riding gloves that not only fit snugly, but appear to offer great protection in case of a crash.
The XTi gloves have two Velcro cinches for the extended cuff and wrist. They also feature a composite knuckle and kangaroo leather/Kevlar grip/palm area.
I have noticed that cold air gets channeled into the fold behind the knuckle, but this doesn't overwhelm their protection from the wind. But you probably won't be riding in these gloves for long below 50 degrees.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with my purchase of the Frank Thomas XTi kit from Cycle Gear. As long as the retailer continues to stand behind the products they sale, I have complete confidence that the well-priced, attractive leathers will offer both comfort and protection as I rack up the miles.