The XC Jacket not only got tested on enduro rides, but a couple rainy, nasty dual-sport adventures as well.
After completing our comparison of the Fly roost protectors, we decided to see what else was available in the hard-protection market to keep stinging roost at bay. Shift donated a Profile chest protector and tossed in one of their XC enduro jackets as well. We spent time with both throughout the late spring and early summer riding seasons.
Shift’s new enduro jacket is one of the better-looking pieces we’ve seen. The lines are clean enough for racers but neutral enough for casual trail riders. Unfortunately, the fit isn’t as well-rounded. The XC’s cut feels a little like a tuxedo jacket. Some people have no qualms about the tight shoulder, but others can’t cope in a monkey suit, and the same goes for the XC. Larger riders especially will find themselves restricted through the shoulders and upper arms. This is the worst part of wearing the Shift jacket, but leads to the best part about it.
Zipping off the sleeves transforms it into a vest and eliminates the tight fit. Of course, removing the arms and tucking them into the rear pocket also takes away the excellent elbow protection offered by the replaceable insert, another of our favorite features. We spent most of the time using it as a vest not only for the increased mobility, but for the venting as well. The zippered shoulder and underarm vents allow some air, but not enough to keep us totally cool. Besides, as a vest the XC is awesome. Plenty of storage is available with an inner chest pocket, two outer cargo pockets and a large rear cargo which has built-in elastic tool straps.
The 100% polyester and nylon construction is extra durable with ballistic reinforcements on high-wear areas like the shoulders and elbows. A low-profile, fleece-lined collar can be snapped back if not closed to keep the flap out of the way, and the jacket also has a drink port to accommodate hydration systems.
Profile Chest Protector
For only $60, you should already know that the Profile is a fairly basic chest protector, which isn’t necessarily bad. The Profile doesn’t have any cheesy chrome and offers a simple, clean design that does a respectable job of roost and minor crash protection. The front and back panels are edged with 12mm Lycra-lined bio-foam. It doesn’t particularly have a lot, but enough to keep your body from contacting hard plastic and provide a comfortable fit without pressure points. Adjustable nylon straps use 3-prong fasteners to cinch tight and the shoulders are held up by mesh liners.
We had the original chest protector that Shift produced years ago, and the first thing to go on that piece was the stickers and it’s the same story on the Profile unit. It seems to us that Shift needs to get some better adhesive, but perhaps the more expensive Proflex model has better graphics.
The XC Jacket could easily be one of our favorites if it weren’t for the funky cut through the shoulders and arms. However, it still gets plenty of use because we love it as a vest. The removable arms, high durability and tons of usable storage give us the things we need for enduro riding.
Aside from the chintzy stickers, the Profile turned out to be a pretty good chest protector. It easily converts to a sleeveless model and not once were our nipples rubbed raw. It falls into the same dilemma as any other protector in trying to find a balance between complete coverage and mobility. Shift’s affordable piece does a decent job of that though leans a little more to the complete coverage, but larger riders especially will have no problem moving around. The four color schemes are simple but should fit into most bike/gear combos.
Product: Shift XC Jacket, Profile Chest Protector
Color Options: Jacket – Black, Blue, Orange, Red; Profile – Black, Blue, Red, Yellow
Sizes: Jacket – S-XXL; Profile – Adult, Youth
MSRP: Jacket – $139.95; Profile – $59.95 ($49.95 Youth)
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