Well-developed touring kit doesn’t need to break the bank. At least, that’s what Tourmaster have shown in the Transition Series 4 jacket.
I gave it a shakedown during the spring months in southern Oregon, when temperatures are moderate, the chance of rain ever-present and the odd hot day not out of the question. Exactly the type of uncertain conditions the Series 4 was built to face.
For the price, $269.99, the Series 4 jacket provides a refined fit and collection of features that rivals competitors priced double or more.
Starting with the exterior, the Carbolex 600 denier shell is complemented by a 1680 denier Ballistic fabric in the elbows and a Rainguard barrier to lend waterproofing. Rainguard is a membrane developed to keep moisture out while remaining breathable. This is achieved with pores in the material that are 650 times larger than water vapor, thus allowing perspiration and body heat to escape, but 15,000 times smaller than a drop of water. And the technology worked as advertised for me, keeping my topside nice and dry anytime one of those pesky spring showers appeared.
Carbolex is waterproof and breathable also, in addition to providing abrasion resistance. These two materials together help ensure that the Series 4 jacket is prepared for all manner of inclement weather.
Add in the patented Aqua-Barrier under-the-helmet hood and you can even be sure that rain won’t find its way down the back of your neck in a storm.
This last bit is, frankly, an ingenious bit of design that should be standard on any touring jacket. The stretch material is similar to that used with base layers – it’s form fitting and flexible and easily fits underneath a full face helmet. You can rotate your head side and it doesn’t feel restrictive. Even if it’s not raining and just a cool day, the hood proves helpful in retaining that extra bit of heat. When the skies do open, it performs exactly as advertised. It’s one of those features that I never knew I was missing, but now that I’ve used it, I don’t want to leave home without it.
And for those brighter days, Tourmaster has built in numerous venting options to allow air to flow freely. The collection of vents is called the Pipeline venting system, and includes two large waterproof intake vents on the front of the shoulders. These are complemented by snap adjusters below the vents that can be adjusted to hold the two shoulder intakes open. There are two waterproof chest vents also, and two non-waterproof options that can work either as vents or small pockets if necessary. Two large, waterproof exhaust vents at the top of the back complete the system.
With the full sleeve, quilted liner removed and all the vents open, the Transition Series 4 jacket works wonders in hot temperatures. The airflow is generous and continuous. The shoulder vents are particularly effective when the snap openings are employed, and when completely opened reach down to the top of the bicep on each arm.
More snap adjusters are included down each arm for a refined fit, and there are Velcro waist adjusters on each side of the torso allowing the Series 4 to suit a range of body types.
Storage options abound as well. In addition to the aforementioned chest pockets, there are two waterproof and Velcro sealed flap pockets, along with two non-waterproof, fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets. Around back is a dual-zipper fanny-pack cargo pocket too. Inside the main chassis are two interior pockets and a mobile media pocket. The liner has a single interior pocket and mobile media carrier as well. There’s even a small storage option at the bottom of the left sleeve too, for the smaller bits you might be carrying like an extra set of keys.
The cuffs and collar are fleece-lined for comfort and Velcro adjustable. Action pleats on the back ensure movement is unencumbered while on the bike as well.
In addition to the abrasion resistant exterior, there are impact protectors included inside to help keep you safe in the event of an off. There’s CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows and a triple-density back pad included, with additional padding reinforcements built into impact areas on the outside of the jacket.
The final touches include a pant zipper attachment and Phoslite 360°reflective piping.
That’s a lot of amenities for the starting MSRP of $269.99.
Fit is right on with the Series 4 too. I’m a large and it’s not too snug, but not too loose. You won’t feel the need to strut down an Italian catwalk, as with some of the more form-fitting options on the market. But if you do prefer a more cozy fit, the adjusters offer a broad range of adjustment. It does get a bit more crowded when the liner is zippered in, but even then it’s not at all restrictive. Most importantly, even when you adjust the fit to allow for a bit more room to move the impact protection remains right where it should be.
I’ve only had the Series 4 jacket a few months, so can’t speak to its longevity, but in that time there’s been no fraying or noticeable wear. The seams and construction appear to be durable and I don’t see why this jacket can’t perform up to brand-new standards through a number of riding seasons.
There’s four different color options available – Black, Light Grey/Gun (as tested), High-Viz/Black and Gun Metal/Black. Tourmaster also offers a generous assortment of sizes, with XS through 5XL in Standard and M to 4XL in Tall for the Black and High VIz options. XS and 4XL standard are the choices for the other two colorways. Women’s sizes are included too, XS through XL, with Plus S through L in the Black option.
At the end of the day there’s not much bad to say about the Tourmaster Series 4 jacket. For the price, it delivers a generous array of features and construction quality is high enough to get your money’s worth. A worthy addition to your gear closet, to be sure.