Photo by Anila Ademi.
It’s no secret that I adore what UK-based Knox Armour is doing for motorcycle gear. In the past few months, I’ve reviewed their Covert gloves and their armored shirt (which you should read if you haven’t yet!).
But this women’s Zephyr jacket… it’s something special. Most of Knox’s gear is good looking, but this jacket is straight up sexy.
Disclaimer: Knox kindly sent me this jacket without any expectation that I would even wear it. For better or worse, everything in this review is 100% my own opinion.
The Zephyr is a sleek women’s summer riding jacket that encompasses the holy trinity of women’s motorcycle gear: function, protection, and fashion. Not only does it aesthetically leave most armored summer jackets in the dust, but it’s abrasion resistant, it’s equipped with well-fitted CE-rated protectors, and it’s amazingly comfortable.
That’s one hell of a package.
Whenever I wear the Zephyr, I’m pretty much guaranteed to get compliments ⎯ and not just from other riders! This jacket can and does compete with non-moto jackets, and it also makes me feel like a super sexy Soviet-era spy. Which I’m considering making a new criteria for riding gear 😉
Wrapped into all this sleekness is a lot of function. The Zephyr includes shoulder, back, and elbow protectors, that are (of course) CE-approved. These lightweight and flexible protectors give the jacket a sleek silhouette and don’t hinder movement in the slightest.
Both the mesh body and the nylon arms are strong, high-tensile fabrics chosen for their abrasion resistance, which is, of course, a must. Besides abrasion resistance though, the nylon serves two other functions: 1) it’s extremely comfortable, 2) it keeps the protectors from sliding around.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: if your gear doesn’t fit, it can’t keep you safe. I’ve had trouble finding armored summer jackets that keep the elbow armor in place, so I was thrilled when I first tried on the Zephyr. Whatever jacket you choose, make sure it fits!
Now, about storage. The Zephyr doesn’t have any internal pockets, likely because it’s so close-fitting. However, the two external front pockets have been plenty of space for me.
I have an iPhone 5 in a bulky case, which fits perfectly in one pocket, and my sunglasses and wallet fit the other. No problem!
At first I was concerned that the pockets have snap closures, not zippers. But they are strong snaps, and in several months of wearing this jacket I haven’t even come close to losing anything.
Now, the last thing I’d like to say is that, unfortunately, this jacket a bit too heavy for sweltering Texas summers. The Zephyr is a fantastic jacket for casual riders who want something both fashionable and protective, but I certainly wouldn’t wear it on a midsummer trip through the desert, or anything of the sort.
The problem for me is the nylon sleeves. On one hand, I love them for the fit and abrasion resistance, but they get much too hot under direct sun. They do cool off a little when you get up to speed, and the mesh body helps quite a bit, but it’s not enough in 98°F (not to mention the 60% humidity. Miserable!).
We can’t fault Knox for this, though ⎯ they’re based in London, and rarely see temperatures higher than 85°F (excuse me, 28°C). Lucky bastards.
All in all, I’m very impressed by the Zephyr. It’s a fashion-forward jacket that packs some great technical features. Other manufacturers of women’s motorcycle gear should take notes!
And, not to be insensitive, but right now is a really good time for Americans to buy UK. The Zephyr costs 166£, which currently converts to just over $200. Some people would pay much more than that for a jacket that just looks like this, never mind the features 😉