Here at CMG, we like dual sport motorcycles, probably because even the best asphalt near our secret base on the east coast needs long-travel suspension. And when you’re riding a versatile motorcycle, you generally want versatile gear to go with it.
That’s why I went with Scott’s Dual Raid jacket and pants for my 2014 test gear. Along with the jacket and pants, they also sent me a rain suit and gloves from Scott; I’ll publish those reviews in the future on CMG.
The Dual Raid jacket and pants have the same general features you’ll find in most decent dual sport gear. There’s a tough 500D textile outer shell, with removable armour (SAS-TEC protectors in shoulders and elbows are standard). There’s an assortment of handy pockets, including a large compartment on the back of the jacket for a Camelbak-type water bladder and a map pocket over your derriere.
The exterior of the jacket and pant isn’t waterproof; zip-in liners (provided with the suit) keep out wind and water.
Now some users might like the zip-in rain protection, but experiences on my trip to Arizona in 2013 leave me convinced zip-ins are a poor solution to one of motorcycling’s biggest problems. They require you to strip off your gear, insert the liners and then redress. As a result, I never use zip-in liners, opting instead for an external rainsuit, which is far more convenient.
The Dual Raid gear isn’t the only set of equipment that uses this system though – it’s fairly standard, for reasons I cannot fathom, and Scott is hardly to blame for using it when much pricier gear uses the same basic design.
Now that that’s out of the way, onto some of the fancier aspects of the suit. For starters, if the weather is hot, you can unzip the sleeves of the jacket and run it as a vest. That would allow you to still ride with your Camelbak, shoulder pads and optional back pad, but with your arms free to cool off in hot weather.
The jacket has snap adjustability on the arms, and hook/loop adjustability in the cuffs, which work fairly well. Although it isn’t quite as adjustable as some of the competition, I found it fit well to start with, so it wasn’t an issue. Anyone with a normal body shape should be fine. The jacket also has two vents on the chest that snap shut, along with full-length zippered vents on the sleeves, and two vents in back.
The pants have adjustment tabs in the waist, leaving you a little wiggle room should you decide to lay a thumping on a Chinese buffet mid-ride. The pants have zippered vents that flow air very well at speed.
How it worked
After using some pricy dual sport gear in 2013, I wondered how the Scott equipment would hold up. Through the season, I had no problem with broken zippers, fraying fabric, fuzzy Velcro, or … anything.
The jacket and pants appear to be made of top-quality material, if somewhat beefy, meaning that if you get a bike bogged down on the trail, you’ll have to remove some gear before you commence the extraction procedure, or you’ll overheat quickly. Of course, I found this out the hard way when I got the Beta 498 RR stuck in a washout on top of a mountaintop somewhere in Cape Breton.
However, once up to speed, the chest vents do pass cooling air very well. Almost too well. Even with the vents snapped shut, a little bit of breeze would sneak in, something rather annoying on a chilly day. This might be a good reason to keep the zip-in jacket liner, which would prevent this draftiness, though an external rain jacket also worked just as well.
Pockets aren’t something many people think much about when they buy gear, but it’s my observation on the road that since you’re constantly in and out of your pockets for money, receipts, etc., it pays to have good ones.
Overall, the jacket’s pockets worked very well; the waterproof ones actually keep water out, and the flaps stay closed. There’s also a fantastic pocket on the left arm with a clear cover; you can store a small map in here, or a paper with turn-by-turn directions, or even (in theory) a small GPS. This was actually one of my favourite features of the jacket.
However, the jacket does lack handwarmer pockets. This might not sound like a big deal, but those are pretty standard on motorcycle jackets, and if you want to … well, warm your hands at a stop, then you’ll miss them. I know I did.
Scott is a company best-known for helmets and goggles, but if this jacket and pants are sign of things to come, I think they’ll make a sizable dent in the adventure riding/dual sport marketplace.
I was very impressed with the quality of the gear; I never crashed in it, but it handled all sorts of other rough use without popping so much as a stitch. I even liked the asymmetrical styling, which might be a turn-off for some.
With only two complaints about the jacket (neither of them major), and none about the pants. On the whole, I was very happy with this outfit and I plan on continuing to use it in the coming season, as I see no reason to replace it.
At around $440 for the jacket and $390 for the pants from Canadian retailers, it represents good value. It’s a little cheaper than the really high-end enduro gear, but as far as I can see, it offers the same functionality and durability.
Give the company a few more years, and they’ll likely have fine-tuned their design a bit further to offer a product that’s truly on par with the bigger brand names.
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