The heat in Texas is a uniquely brutal thing only matched by living on the surface of the sun itself. Handling it on a motorcycle is far from easy. You will get hot, you will sweat, and you will be miserable. No biggie, just ditch the ol’ leather jacket and throw on a t-shirt, right? Wrong. You need a riding jacket even in the heat of summer. Maybe especially in the heat of summer. The crash protection provided by riding gear is, in my opinion, actually its secondary function. Protection is more like an insurance policy. It’s often overlooked that gear also serves to provide protection, comfort, mobility, and ease while riding. There’s a lot to contend with in the summer months: sunburns, windburn (the circulation of hot air at high speeds is a lot like a convection oven), and bugs and hot debris pelting you. So what’s the avid motorcyclist to do in order to stay protected and cool during the hot summer months?
Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there – from mesh materials, to perforated leather and textiles, and Kevlar-reinforced cotton garments – to score both great airflow and protection. My go-to piece for the last few years has been the Roland Sands Design Truman Perforated Jacket. I’ve put who knows how many miles on the road in it, and have definitely put it through its paces. It has never worn out its welcome in terms of fit, style, or function, and remains a staple garment in my gear kit.
RSD products are known for being quality pieces, and the Truman doesn’t disappoint. It delivers the goods with laser-perforated waxed cotton for the body of the jacket and RSD’s Dakota leather reinforcing the shoulders and elbows, where you’re most likely to experience contact with the tarmac in a crash. Under that is light and flexible CE-rated Knox Microlock armor in the shoulders and elbows (back sold separately). Quality brass YKK zippers and RSD logo embossed snaps afford secure ingress and egress. It’s a well made jacket with not so much as a loose thread subverting its construction quality after a few years of (ab)use, and is likely to withstand many more. The jacket’s classic enduro styling and good looks haven’t just remained intact, but have actually improved over the years with the jacket picking up a good deal of weathering, fading, and patina.
The fit on the jacket is solid. It runs true to RSD’s size chart, which led me to purchase it in a 3XL a few years ago when my chest measurement was 54″, and I was wearing a size 40 in pants. Since then the jacket has both broken in, and I have lost some weight and inches (my current chest measurement is closer to 51″ now, I’m a 36-38 pant size, and I fit a 2XL in RSD jackets currently), but the adjustment buckles at the waist solve most of that, keeping the jacket pretty secure and comfortable. There’s certainly more room in the body and chest than there used to be, but for a summer jacket where airflow is key, it’s not too big of a deal.
At the end of the (hot summer) day, though, it wouldn’t be a useful summer riding jacket if it didn’t at least perform two main functions; 1) provide protection and 2) keep you cool. When it comes to the former, I’ve fortunately not had the misfortune of crash testing it, and can’t attest to its crash-worthiness firsthand. However, I suspect it would be up to the task of saving my hide, given the thick canvas shell, Dakota leather reinforced abrasion zones, Knox Microlock armor, and overall premium build quality. The thick waxed canvas keeps a layer of separation between your skin and the worst of the bugs, debris, and sun, for maximum ride comfort. For the latter, it’s hands-down the best jacket I’ve ever owned when it comes to maintaining a cool temperature on hot days. The combination of laser-perforations in the canvas to flow a ton of air and the Cool Core (an award-winning high-tech chemical-free thermoregulation fabric that never washes or wears out) mesh lining work wonders to keep you cool and dry. I can wear the Truman and still ride in relative comfort on days when the mercury creeps well above 100°, which is quite the test for any jacket.
Honestly, there aren’t many downsides to the jacket given its intended role. It works great, looks great, and will hold up for years against the punishment of tens of thousands of miles in all manner of hot weather. Available in black or ranger (brown), for around the $300 mark, the Truman Perf is a proven winner worth adding to your moto arsenal.