APPLICATION: Black only, in sizes S to XL
WHAT IT IS: The Squad Cold Weather Riding Vest is made specifically for motocross and off-road riders to wear either over or under their jerseys while riding. Featuring a Neoprene front panel, stretch mesh side panels and a water-resistant nylon back panel, the vest also boasts a double-layer constructed ventilation system to keep things from getting too hot. Though most motocrossers won’t appreciate the reflective piping, those of us who venture onto the road aboard dual-sport machines might, and trail riders will also dig the zippered pockets on the chest, lower back, and both front sides.
HITS: Back in the day during my stint as Test Editor at Dirt Rider Magazine, I acquired a Moose Racing riding vest, which—like the TLD Squad Vest—was designed specifically for riding motorcycles. Featuring a purple nylon shell, I ditched my trusty Moose vest when Prince changed his name to “The Artist. After all, with the exception of Answer Racing’s new purple girl’s gear, purple is a color that has (thankfully) been absent from motocross since Kawasaki came to its senses and ditched the purple, green and pink paint splatter motif.
But back to the Squad Vest! I, for one, hate riding when it’s cold and would rather sweat bullets and drink 10 gallons of water on a hot summer day. Riding in a hooded sweatshirt or enduro jacket in cold weather is pretty lame, too, as you inevitably become too hot and sweat your ass off; only to become chilled to the bone once you stop. A riding vest is the perfect solution in most instances, but to the best of my knowledge a new MX-specific vest has not been introduced in years. (Sure, there’s those stiff, sleeve-less nylon enduro-jacket things, but they make you look like a Power Ranger reject.) The Squad Vest is both comfortable and relatively inoffensive when it comes to looks, as its sleek black design isn’t too baggy or too tight. The Neoprene front panel blocks the wind nicely, and actually provides some roost protection, to boot! We found that the vest kept our core nice and toasty, while still allowing just the right amount of body heat to escape.
MISSES: Not really a miss, but for motocross applications the pockets are pretty useless; who carries their keys or a monkey wrench during a 20-minute moto?
THE VERDICT: If you like to stay reasonably warm while riding motos during the chilly winter months, the Troy Lee Designs Squad Cold Weather Riding Vest is as good as it gets.
Call 951/371-5219 or visit www.troyleedesigns.com