FIRST GEAR brand protective motorcycle riding jackets

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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The lovely Mrs_Bob has been using a FIRST GEAR "Monarch" riding jacket in Hi-Viz Yellow. She's had it for a while. Its not the most ventilated jacket on the market, but it is waterproof, has 2 front and 2 rear vents and is good for temps below 80 degrees. Maybe 75 if it is really humid.

Link to her jacket => https://firstgear-usa.com/womens-gear/womens-jackets/tpg-monarch-jacket-dayglo-xl.html

TPG Monarch Jacket
FirstGear’s, top of the line, TPG Monarch ladies jacket is specifically designed for women riders and passengers and has all the same features as FirstGear’s top of the line men’s jacket. The TPG Monarch is a waterproof and breathable outer shell with some very high tech features. TPG stands for Technical Performance Gear and it is the perfect outerwear to add to the rider’s base layers creating an optimum microclimate. The Monarch’s outermost fabric is tough, yet supple, polyester laminated with a 37.5® waterproof and breathable barrier. This 37.5® laminate significantly improves the comfort and performance of this technical outerwear by using micro particles to accelerate the capture and release of moisture vapor which helps keep you cooler when it is warm, warmer when it is cool, and above all, dry.

The TPG Monarch also has all the protection and details you’ve come to expect from FirstGear. Crash protection comes from D3O® brand armor at the shoulders and elbows. This armor is CE certified to the highest level of impact protection, EN 1621-1 Level 2, absorbing up to twice the impact energy of other CE certified protectors. D3O® brand EVO T5 back armor is far more supple, breathable and comfortable to wear while still being CE certified for rear impact protection. A high level of abrasion protection comes from an internal Aramid panel that starts at top of shoulder and comes down all the way to the forearm.

When the weather turns wet you have 100% waterproof zippers and a hidden rain hood that fits under your helmet. Storage is never a problem with the eight pockets and two, additional, oversized pockets.

Additional comfort and climate control comes from the two adjustable waist straps, four arm straps and wrist closures

  • 5 year materials & workmanship warranty
  • 2 year crash replacement warranty
  • Reflective piping from shoulders down to drop tail
  • 5 interior pockets
  • 5 exterior pockets
  • Inner cuff wrist gaiter
  • D3O® brand elbow & shoulder guards CE certified to EN 1621-1 Level 2
  • D3O® brand back protector CE certified to EN 1621-1 Level 1
  • YKK® brand waterproof zippers in strategic areas
  • YKK® brand 2-way front zipper comfort and breathability
  • 8 inch rear zipper for attaching to pants

I always wanted a Hi-Viz jacket, still don't have one. But when we got the new motorcycle the dealer was closing out one of their FIRST GEAR styles and made me a hell of a deal. So while I would have preferred the Hi-Viz version, I'm happy with what I bought and I am finding that I like it better than I like my wife's jacket. I have the mid-level offering from FIRST GEAR called the Kilimanjaro 37.5. Mine does have some high contrast black, light grey and florescent green markings with reflective points, so its not a low-vis jacket.

While the armor on her jacket is a slightly higher grade, and I believe the elbow/shoulder fabric on her jacket may also be a bit more wear resistant if I were to go skidding down the asphalt, I think mine still offers a good deal of protection and a bit more comfort. Mine has a couple more vent points, including two way zipper vents on the arms. The venting on my jacket should make it more summer friendly on hot humid days but still is not going to rival any brand of armored mesh jackets for ventilation.

Link to my jacket => https://firstgear-usa.com/mens-gear/jackets/firstgear-37-5r-kilimanjaror-textile-jacket.html

37.5 Kilimanjaro Jacket
The FirstGear 37.5® Kilimanjaro jacket is our newest, high end, waterproof breathable shell. Performance shell jackets are the perfect outerwear option to add to the rider’s base layers creating an optimum microclimate. Our 420 denier nylon outer fabric was chosen for its balance of lightweight, suppleness and outstanding abrasion resistance. Added to that we have extra abrasion resistant, 620 denier, nylon at the elbows, upper arms and shoulders. Durable stretch fabric at shoulders makes for bind-free riding.

The 37.5® Kilimanjaro jacket is named after the 37.5® waterproof and breathable barrier. This 37.5® laminate significantly improves the comfort and performance of this technical outerwear by using micro particles to accelerate the capture and release of moisture vapor which helps keep you cooler when it is warm, warmer when it is cool, and above all, dry.

Water is kept out by the chassis fabric, rolled neoprene collar with hidden, under helmet, hood, storm flaps, waterproof zippers, six arm/wrist adjustments and our drop tail cut.

Featuring D3O® brand, CE certified, armor padding at the shoulders and elbows as well as chest panels to provide additional impact protection. D3O® brand EVO T5 back armor is far more supple, breathable and comfortable to wear while still being CE certified for rear impact protection. D3O® is light and flexible with extraordinary energy absorption properties. FirstGear was a first adopter of D3O® and we are proud to expand our use of this extraordinary technology in the Kilimanjaro.

  • 5 year materials & workmanship warranty
  • 3 interior pockets including oversized cellphone specific pocket
  • 5 exterior pockets including under-flap, quick access, pocket
  • Adjustable slider, snap collar closure
  • D3O® brand elbow & shoulder guards CE certified to EN 1621-1 Level 1
  • D3O® brand back protector CE certified to EN 1621-1 Level 1
  • Armor pocket bags; micro-adjustability allows fine tuning of armor placement
  • YKK® brand waterproof zippers in strategic areas
  • YKK® brand 2-way front and cuff zippers add comfort and breathability
  • Reflective patches front & back, body & arms
  • Adjustable waist strap - facilitates fit with various layering
  • Top shoulder vents with hold-open straps
  • Huge, vertical back panel vents
  • Articulated sleeves - optimal fit in the riding position
  • Elasticized, draw-string hem – seals out the elements as required
  • Grommet in left hand warmer pocket for heated garment cords

FWIW, the quality of FIRST GEAR is not even close to the quality of hard core riding gear like the ultra-premium brand KLIM. I'd rank it a notch below DIANESE. They don't offer the product choices but they are in a similar level of quality with ALPINESTAR, SPIDI and REV'IT. I think much nicer/more protective than JOE ROCKET and several others. So I'd put it squarely in the "middle" of the quality/design range. They don't use "name brands" like GORE-TEX or CORDURA but rather substitute slightly lower grade materials but they do use a bit better protective armor than most other brands, even some that are priced higher.

If you want nice stuff, with good armor, you may want to consider FIRST GEAR. Honestly I'd rather have some of the KLIM stuff or, at half that price, the DIANESE stuff, but on sale at less than 1/2 the price of what I would have paid for a DIANESE jacket, I was able to get a nearly as good jacket with similar protection. Just throwing this out there, clearly not saying it is the best, and their selection of jackets is not as wide as most of the other brands, but if one suits your needs its worthy of consideration.
 

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Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
FWIW the upper temp limit for comfortable riding in high humidity is about 80 degrees with these jackets assuming you are not sitting in traffic. The vents work well at 30mph or above but don't flow enough air in hot humid air for city driving.

The Kilimanjaro jacket has air vents in the arms and velcro tabs to hold open the shoulder vents, it vents a little bit better than the woman's Monarch jacket, which lacks both arm vents and hold-open tabs. Both are great for cool summer mornings and weather up to about 80. But both are too warm if the sun is really pounding down and the humidity is high, especially if the travel speeds are limited by low speed commuting.

It was 96 and humid yesterday afternoon and we were both pretty miserable while driving through town. Getting to and from town, where speeds hit 45mph gave some relief due to the breezes flowing through the jackets but there was still not enough airflow for that weather.

On the bright side it did convince the Lovely Mrs_Bob that she also needed an armored mesh jacket. Those were ordered about an hour after we got home!
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Resurrecting an old thread with a new jacket.

Just ordered my 3rd motorcycle jacket. When we bought our current motorcycles they came with tiny factory windscreens. Great for short rides, but ride 100 miles on the highway and the wind would beat you up badly. But that also meant I had great airflow to keep me cool on hot humid days. As we tend to take longish rides and as our speeds are typically 45-70mph, and specifically because of our trip around the Great Lakes, I installed large touring windshields.

Touring windshields have a downside. They dramatically reduce the cooling airflow you feel on hot days. It was 94 degrees and humid yesterday. I had all the vents on my Klim Apex Air open and was still sweating like a pig. Clearly the touring windshield does a great job.

So given the windshield is a keeper, and given I also want to be comfortable, I needed a new jacket. The review above, of the FirstGear Kilimanjaro is all still valid, expect that I would never consider wearing it above 80 degrees with a bike that has a front cowl or touring windscreen.

The new jacket is another FirstGear brand. So now I will have 2 FirstGear and 1 Klim jacket.

  1. Rain/cool weather: FirstGear Kilimanjaro ... textile jacket, heavily padded, just a shell, so no insulation. Waterproof, breathable, some venting for warmer weather.
  2. Warm weather: Klim Apex Air ... Leather & textile, big vents that open to mesh. Nice for cool morning to warm days. Not hot or humid days.
  3. HOT nasty weather: FirstGear Rush Air ... this is the new one I just ordered.

This one is an all MESH jacket with elbow & shoulder armor. They don't ship it with back armor so I had to order that separately. Abrasion areas are reinforced with thicker material that shouldn't wear through in a slide. Should arrive in 5-7 days. Looking forward to increased airflow.

If the quality is remotely close to the FirstGear Kilimanjaro jacket I already own I will be thrilled. FirstGear is a "mid" quality brand. Materials are not quite top of the line. Details are not quite the finest. But the brand seems to be much better built/designed/featured than Joe Rocket, Icon, Tourmaster and several other common brands that I have also looked over.

I'll post a review after I get to try it out. Obviously stock photos below. Yes, bright yellow! :moon:
 

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Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
FIrstGear RUSH Air jacket arrived YESTERDAY. Amazingly fast shipping.

Not sure when I will get to test it as we have the new foster baby in the house, which arrived just before the new RUSH Air jacket was delivered.

But I did get a pretty good chance to inspect the jacket. It is pretty much what I hoped it would be. Stripped out the rain liner and tossed that on the upper shelf in the closet... never to be seen again. I have no intent on using it, and I there is a KLIM GoreTex rain jacket packed in the top box of the bike at all times so I really don't need the rain liner at all, it just came with the jacket.

The FirstGear RUSH Air is petty light weight but materials are not cheap feeling and construction is very good. But it is literally only 2/3rds the weight of my Klim Apex Air jacket because it has far more mesh, no thick leather panels, etc. Both are cut to the waist shaped jackets. Lots of mesh on the RUSH Air to allow air to flow too. Construction looks very good, very good. Nice details to the jacket, microfiber inner collar is very comfortable. I really like the curved collar above the zipper, no hard corner/stiff fabric to poke into skin. I wish the main body zipper was a 2 way zipper, it is not. But the zipper does have bottom protector and a fastener at the top to keep the fob from flapping. Good pocket details on the inside of the jacket too, better than on the Klim Apex Air.

I'll give detailed photos and description at a later date after things settle down with the new baby.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Got to take the FirstGear RUSH Air jacket for a ride today.
80-degrees. 40% humidity. Full sun.

I have 2 other armored motorcycle jackets, this was specifically purchased for use on HOT SUNNY HUMID days. If the weather is not HOT SUNNY and HUMID then I will wear a different jacket. This jacket is probably only 2/3rds the weight of my KLIM Apex Air jacket, which is a spring, summer, fall jacket. This is a SUMMER ONLY jacket offering minimal weather protection. My review is from the perspective of someone looking for a HOT weather jacket who is not looking to stretch the utility to anything beyond use on hot, sunny and humid days.

OVERALL this is a nice lightweight jacket that offers a modest amount of protection, flows a lot of air and has pretty good construction and some nice features. Not as nice as the premium brands, but for the price it offers a lot.

The black fabric on shoulders and elbows is a medium-heavy abrasion resistant material and runs from wrist to wrist over the shoulders. There are also light abrasion resistant panels on both sides of the torso, largely for structural purposes to hold the lighter weight mesh together in a crash/slide. There are 2 nice sized zippered slash style 'hand warmer' pockets on the front.
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THE GOOD:
Well made with good materials and at a very attractive price. Nice details throughout.​

THE BAD:
Tiny back protector pocket reduces back armor options. One way front zipper. While it has a rear stow pocket to hold either the rain liner or some other items, it is not very large and anything placed in the pocket would reduce rear airflow. No back protector included, so that is an extra cost.

THE UGLY:
Outright false statements in the product description. Manufacturer claims it has a 2 way front zipper; I knew it did not before I bought it. The tiny back protector pocket will make it hard to find a suitable piece of protective back armor.​


Generally speaking FirstGear makes nice products, with nice features, at nice prices, using better than average materials. The RUSH Air mesh motorcycle jacket fits all those descriptions. I paid $169 (list is $229) for the Hi-Viz Yellow version of the jacket. Its also available in all black as well as a two tone grey/black.

RAIN LINER: Meh, I have a Gore-Tex over jacket for rain, I have no use for this. Took it out, tossed it on the top shelf of the closet. It does have color coded snaps to make it easier to put into place. It might be nice to extend the temperature range of the jacket as a wind block. Downside of these rain liners is that the mesh soaks up water and the rain liners don't breathe very well, if at all.
gJ7oRa_CQ0WxKu6gEapf2A.jpg




ARMS: The mesh covers approximately 50% of the arm from the wrist to the armpit on the inner arm side. The outer arm is a Cordura-like fabric that is abrasion resistant, heavier in wear areas. There is a snap adjustment mid-arm to allow you to fit the sleeve to your arm so it doesn't flap around. At the wrist there is velcro adjustment. The wrist also has a zipper to allow you to expand the cuff. There are no wrist pockets. On the inside there are pockets elbow & shoulder armor. The jacket comes with CE certified Level 1 armor at the elbows/shoulders that is very light and comfortable.

WRIST detail:
Rj-Wt2rw-CSo-CH-a-a-dl4z-Q.jpg


MID ARM adjustment detail:
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ABRASION RESISTANT Fabric on the exterior side of the arm has a couple black reflective strips and a subdued logo. It is thicker along the elbow-shoulder area. This is not Cordura brand fabric, that would cost more, but it is claimed to be abrasion resistant in a slide (I hope to never find out if it works):
dpWnDzZeS3C0RVAg5kF8fQ.jpg



BODY details:
Velcro at sides of waist for a proper fit. Slash hand warmer pockets along the fabric seam for a clean look.
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Despite product description claims it has a 2 way zipper, this is only a 1 way zipper.
fullsizeoutput_78fd.jpg


Zipper is secured at the top by a velcro flap to keep the zipper fob from blowing around in the wind. Not really clear in the photo, there is a microfiber inner collar for comfort and the front of the collar has a nice rounded shape so it doesn't dig into your neck. All good details.
fullsizeoutput_78fb.jpg


Rear collar/shoulder detail has a reasonably understated logo.
kXer4THZQdSIyT076_RF2g.jpg


Rear lower back stash pocket. Handy to have. Supposed to be large enough to hold the rain liner. If filled will block some of the airflow in the lower back area.
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INSIDE Details:
One feature it does NOT have is a Napolean pocket that is accessible without unzipping the jacket. That would have been a really nice detail to add. There IS a Napolean pocket on the upper left side, but it requires you unzip the jacket to access that pocket. I prefer having it located on the outside of the jacket's main zipper so its accessible at all times; that is just my nit-pick and personal preference. So basically I'm complaining about a pocket that is already there and that is decent size simply because I would prefer the zipper be moved.

Cell phone pocket, velcro flap, sized large enough to actually hold a cell phone.
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Opposite side there is a large interior baseball cap pocket. Also with velcro closure.
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Lower back zipper to connect the jacket to a pair of FirstGear riding pants. Inner liner is a comfortable silky smooth/tricot like mesh. I really wish the manufacturers would standardize the zipper size and length on these. As it is I have 3 jackets and 2 pants and none of them with in any combination.
OTOMRM-i-R-m-o7-K9e-Riq7w.jpg
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
Two updates on this jacket.

Armor is CE Level 1. I happened to have a pair of Level 2 knee pads from a pair of Bull-it motorcycle pants. The Bull-it pants are cut badly, the knee armor pockets are not adjustable and the armor fits badly. So when I use those pants I ride without armor. Knee armor and shoulder armor is typically interchangeable. Such is true with this jacket, the Knee Pads totally fill the shoulder pockets but they do fit. Nothing larger would fit. So I now have Level 2 shoulder armor.

Bull-it CE Level 2 knee armor (Left) replaced the original FirstGear CE Level 1 shoulder pads (Right)
r3-Yg-Az-Nz-Rpuq-Rsnvg28c-TA.jpg



There is now one criticism of the jacket. I'm getting a little collar bite. Had a good ride this morning, it is pushing 90 degrees. 70% humidity. I had the zipper down a few inches and at 60 minutes into the ride and noticed the discomfort. Even after zipping it up and adjusting everything I still was feeling a little bite. I notice the jacket riding up and my neck rubbing on the top of the zipper. No way to really avoid that, no matter how much adjusting I made to the jacket.

It probably would have been less of a problem if I had started the ride with the jacket fully zipped because my neck would not have gotten rubbed a little raw by the side of the zipper. So lesson learned. Ride with the zipper up all the way.

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JamesKnt

New member
I like the white jacket more. What is the condition of these jackets? I am searching for a jacket for winter rides.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
I like the white jacket more. What is the condition of these jackets? I am searching for a jacket for winter rides.
The white jacket is a FirstGear Kilimanjaro but it is not suitable for winter riding unless you use heated gear under the jacket. It is only a wind/rain shell, with no insulation.

Take a look at Rev'it jackets. Rev'it is a Dutch company that makes a wide assortment of riding gear for winter and summer riding. The brand is widely sold in the US, Canada and Europe. I have some Rev'it riding pants (Tornado 2 model) and they are top quality. Much nicer materials than these FirstGear jackets.
 
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