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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









PRODUCT REVIEW: Speed and Strength “To The Nines” Textile Jacket

An perfect fit for this rider

by Rachael Westfall
5/29/2012

I’ve always said the best jacket is the one you don’t realize you have on. Women’s motorcycle riding jackets, while they've come a long way, still fall short in some areas when it comes to fit and function—bulky collars, restrictive fit, awkward cut in the chest or arms, lack of protection, and lack of adjustability. Normally I can find at least one of these problems in each of the many jackets I’ve worn, but not so with Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket.    
   
Rachael felt right at home in Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket. It fit naturally over her petite frame, just the way a regular jacket would.
Rachael felt right at home in Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket. It fit naturally over her petite frame, just the way a regular jacket would.

When it comes to fit, this jacket is my Cinderella’s slipper. Even when I’m sloped over the gas tank of a sportbike, the To The Nines jacket fits securely and comfortably over my chest and arms. It even covers my lower back. The sleeves are the perfect length, as they meet up with the Velcro straps of my gloves at my wrists instead of hanging over my knuckles or coming up short at my forearms.
 
The length of the sleeves felt perfect to Rachael in her normal riding position, and the armor behind the inner liner was barely noticeable.
The length of the sleeves felt perfect to Rachael in her normal riding position, and the armor behind the inner liner was barely noticeable.

The jacket’s AR-600 textile frame staves off wind completely, which kept me warm and comfortable during a cool freeway ride at night. Once the sun comes out and the temperature warms up, I can easily remove the full-sleeved inner liner by unzipping it from the torso area and pulling apart the Velcro at the edge of the sleeves. Also, opening the dual “speed zip” vents in the back and arms of the jacket allows plenty of ventilation during around-town riding. The "speed zip" zippers are constructed of a thick plastic material instead of a grabby metal material, which makes the zippers easier to open and close.

The "600" designation means 600-denier polyester, a midweight textile fabric commonly used in the frame of motorcycle jackets. The jacket is water-resistant, not waterproof (waterproofing this jacket would jack up the price a bit). However, if you've ever ridden in the rain with a water-resistant textile jacket, you know you can get by in a light sprinkle without the water penetrating the fabric. In fact, I got caught in a few sprinkles while wearing the jacket on the way to work and didn't get wet. However, water-resistant fabric wouldn't withstand a heavy downpour for an extended period of time—for that type of riding you'd need to don a rain jacket.
   
The inner liner kept Rachael warm during cold rides but was easily removed once temperatures got warmer.
The inner liner kept Rachael warm during cold rides but was easily removed once temperatures got warmer.

The removable Knox CE-approved shoulder and elbow protectors are tucked invisibly behind the cotton liner, and they don’t rub on my skin like cheaper, plastic armor might. In fact, other than sensing the hardness of the armor in those areas while in a riding position, I barely knew they were there. The To The Nines jacket comes with a removable, dual-density back protector for added protection. The armor remains planted and nearly undetectable while carrying a backpack as well.

The back protector can be easily removed from the jacket when it needs to be washed.
The back protector can be easily removed from the jacket when it needs to be washed.


The jacket is equipped with zip-up vents in the back and arms, allowing for plenty of airflow on a warm day.
The jacket is equipped with zip-up vents in the back and arms, allowing for plenty of airflow on a warm day.

Velcro adjusters make for easy adjustment with or without gloves on.
Velcro adjusters make for easy adjustment with or without gloves on.

Zip-up adjusters at the lower back can bring in the waist a little bit if needed.
Zip-up adjusters at the lower back can bring in the waist a little bit if needed.

Velcro adjusters can tighten the jacket at the waist if necessary.
Velcro adjusters can tighten the jacket at the waist if necessary.

One of my favorite aspects of this jacket is its adjustability. It has two “lock down” Velcro waist adjusters, along with zippers, to take in the material at the lower back. What’s nice about this is that the jacket can be easily worn over a sweater or cinched up to fit a woman rider who is between sizes. Velcro straps at the wrists on both sleeves can be easily adjusted with gloves on.
      
Filigree around Speed and Strength’s logo on the sleeve adds some bedazzle that stands out against the black color. Also notice here how the sleeves are just the right length on Rachael.
Filigree around Speed and Strength’s logo on the sleeve adds some bedazzle that stands out against the black color. Also notice here how the sleeves are just the right length on Rachael.

The jacket is equipped with reflective trim, keeping me visible in the darkness despite the jacket’s apparent shadowy appearance. The angelic wings stitched into the upper back of the jacket are bejeweled with shiny accents, and Speed and Strength’s logo is embroidered with glossy silver filigree on the right sleeve (a smaller logo is embroidered on the left shoulder). For me, this jacket is the perfect balance of fashion and function—not too girly to be embarrassing but feminine enough to stand out as a women’s jacket.
    
The Speed and Strength wings, embroidered like a tattoo into the back of the jacket, are one of Rachael’s favorite things about this jacket.
The Speed and Strength wings, embroidered like a tattoo into the back of the jacket, are one of Rachael’s favorite things about this jacket.

 
Logos across the chest and back add artistic flare to an otherwise plain jacket.
Logos across the chest and back add artistic flare to an otherwise plain jacket.

In this rear view, you can see the how the jacket covers the lower back.
In this rear view, you can see the how the jacket covers the lower back.

Speed and Strength’s To The Nines Textile Jacket is available in black or white in sizes XS-2XL. I ordered a size small, my normal size, and noticed that the fit was a bit loose. Riders who prefer a snugger fit may want to order a size down. You can pick one up for $149.95—not a bad deal for this functionally awesome riding jacket. For more information and to find a dealer, visit SSGear.com.  

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