MXA PRODUCT TEST:
TROY LEE DESIGNS BLAIS RIDING JACKET
WHAT IS IT? A waterproof offroad jacket that not only keeps you warm, but accepts a Leatt brace.
WHAT’S IT COST? $260.00.
CONTACT? www.troyleedesigns.com or (951) 371-5219.
WHAT’S IT DO? When it is cold outside and you want to ride, you need to bundle up. The problem with the bundling approach is that when you are finally warm, you can’t move. There is no doubt that the offroad crowd knows more about cold-weather riding than the typical motocrosser. Offroad guys spend hours in the saddle, at high altitude and in freezing conditions. So, when the MXA wrecking crew went looking for cold-weather gear that we could wear during morning practice on a brisk spring day, we elected to test the Troy Lee Designs Blais Jacket.
It is hard to imagine that a riding jacket could push the envelope, but the Blais jacket does just that.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Troy Lee Designs Blais Jacket.
(1) Neck-brace compatible. With a normal riding jacket you have to leave your Leatt, EVS or Alpinestars neck brace at home (or at the very least leave the top of the jacket open to clear the structure). Not so with the Troy Lee Blais jacket. The complete collar unzips from the jacket to reveal a neck hole sized perfectly for a neck brace. A rider can remove the collar, put his neck brace on, and put the jacket on over the neck brace. It’s a great concept.
(2) Zippers. Troy chose the largest, toughest waterproof zippers he could find to facilitate getting in and out of the Blais jacket with gloves on.
(3) Vents. If you start to feel a little overheated, there are zippered panels that can be opened up to let cool air in under your arms and across your back.
(4) Liner. The Blais jacket uses a polyester mesh liner to keep the jacket light.
(5) Snuggers. There are Velcro straps across the waistline on the back and at both wrists to ensure a tight fit.
(6) Cargo. There is a secret fanny pack hidden in the rear cargo pocket. There is also a rubberized iPod port in the breast pocket.
(7) Sizing. The Blais is available in small, medium, large, extra-large and extra-extra-large. The MXA wrecking crew opted to go larger on the jacket so that we could fit it over our roost protector.
(8) Pockets. There are eight of them.
(9) Colors. Since this jacket is going to get roosted, you don’t want any fancy neon colors. That is good, because the Blais jacket only comes in one color.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? When you aren’t riding (and in the attack position), the sleeves seem a little long. Several test riders rolled up their cuffs.
Riding jacket technology hasn’t advanced much since the advent of the original Malcolm Smith Gold Medal jacket 30 years ago. The Troy Lee Designs Blais jacket is a step forward in jacket evolution.