I was walking past Jon Langston’s office sometime early last year when a particular jacket caught my eye — ironic, because it wasn’t bright and reflective, but rather one of the most subtle jackets he had. Jon informed me it was from SHIFT, and he, too, had fallen in love with its quiet appearance and common-sense performance. He referred to it as his go-to jacket. Being in the market for new leathers, this was going to be one of the easiest decisions of my life.
Right off the rack, the Vantage impressed me even further with its fit. The shoulder and elbow armor sit nicely where they’re supposed to, not off my back or up by my wrists. The Vantage has small waist adjustment straps on the sides which really help out with the overall fit. On hot days, I leave them undone to get a little more ventilation. Also helping in that department are the two zippered chest vents and a back exhaust vent. The vents send air over the shoulders and down the back. Just don’t get stuck in traffic on a sunny day; the Vantage is made of thick, black leather. I’ll take a sweaty T-shirt over road rash any day of the week, though, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Vantage would stand up to even the worst abuse. And the material that SHIFT uses in the lining feels like pure silk.
I found the jacket to be comfortable on an array of machines, from an Aprilia supermotard to a Harley Softail. Being a cruiser-oriented rider, I didn’t want a jacket that was built to be used with clip-ons and rear sets. If armor isn’t your thing, but you like this jacket, don’t worry, it’s easily removable. And, just as importantly, it’s easy to put back in! The zippers and snaps do a great job of keeping the sleeves on my arms and not around my shoulders. A little bit of air gets in, but that provides much-needed cooling. I got my Vantage in matte black but it was a tough choice between that and Dark Vintage.
Hard Data: SHIFT, Vantage Leather Jacket, $349.95, www.SHIFTracing.com
Review by Tyler Greenblatt
Story as published in the June 2011 issue of RoadBike