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Review Tour Master Magnum Air Jacket

Thursday, May 11, 2006
Tour Master s Cortech Magnum Air jacket provides versatility and protection. Its venting system keeps a rider comfortable during warm rides  and a removable liner insulates in cooler climes.
Tour Master's Cortech Magnum Air jacket provides versatility and protection. Its venting system keeps a rider comfortable during warm rides, and a removable liner insulates in cooler climes.
While I was preparing for my Sturgis trip last summer, I realized that I needed a well-vented jacket to cross the southwestern deserts in August. So I did what any good net-head does, I went poking around the internet checking out what is out there. I have a weird set of demands for gear that I wear. I'm sold on the merits of technical riding gear, but I really like traditional "biker" styling over "Euro-dude" or "squid." So it's sometimes hard to find the right stuff.

Tour Master's Cortech Magnum Air Jacket comes pretty close to perfect. On the 1500-mile trip up through the Rockies and around the Black Hills from Los Angeles, it was never not enough jacket (at least with the aid of a rainsuit). The key to its versatility is a cool combination of all-over perforations and a removable liner, which allows it to keep the rider protected and comfortable in a wide range of conditions. (A non-"Air" Magnum is also available for the same $249.99 MSRP.)

The Magnum Air is said to be constructed of 1.2-1.3mm leather, though its supple nature makes it feel lighter than that. It's reinforced with hard CE-approved foam armor at the shoulders and elbows, and it has a built-in back protector. All of the armor is removable and relatively easy to replace in the jacket, even though it barely fits into its pockets. This is actually a good thing, as this design will keep the armor where it belongs in the event of a crash.

The 'Air has a slew of pockets (eight counting the one in the liner), making storage of all the little things you need while riding easy. Its arms are pre-curved into a natural riding position, and it has a zipper around the bottom to attach compatible Tour Master/Cortech riding pants.

One of Billy s few gripes about the Cortech Magnum Air is the way it fit. The XL size he tested bunched up in places yet was tight in the areas around the body armor
One of Billy's few gripes about the Cortech Magnum Air is the way it fit. The XL size he tested bunched up in places yet was tight in the areas around the body armor
My gripes with the 'Air were few, and all related to fit. It doesn't have the tapered cut I prefer. In fact, the fit in general was odd. I'm typically an XL t-shirt, but in jackets I'm typically between Large and Extra Large, as I have a good-sized frame but I'm kinda lanky. Numerous online sources noted that the jacket runs small so get the bigger size. I got an XL and it was both floppy in some areas and constrictive in others, especially around the armor pieces. If it were just uniformly big, I'd have swapped for a smaller size. That said, it's comfortable in most situations. Sizeable backpacks, however, are out unless you ditch the shoulder armor.

For the trip to Sturgis it was just the thing I needed. Its superior adaptability made it the perfect jacket for an epic summer trip. With the liner in, it's comfortable into the 50s and even wearable into the mid 40s, but at that point I started adding layers. I was asked repeatedly by guys in t-shirts (and their pillions wearing less) how I could wear a jacket in such heat. But the Magnum Air is like wearing nothing once traveling above 20 mph. And if you soak your shirt first, it's even better.

When the thermometer starts to dip (and it doesn't take much with this very-vented jacket) simply slide in the liner and it's somewhere between an old-school leather jacket and a modern one in wind protection. For in-between days (70ish), the liner's arms are detachable to give some venting without going full monty.

In the final tally, the Magnum Air Jacket is a jacket whose killer set of features (venting, liner, armor) more than offsets quirky sizing. Blasting down a back road on a 100-degree day, you'll have the enviable combination of a cooling breeze while wrapped in a protective blanket of foam and leather.

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