Shift Vertex: Safety Meets Style – BikersRights
When Shift Racing began in 1997, the company had a major goal: provide fresh and unique products that not only protect but also appeal to the latest style trends for both street and motocross riding.
On the street, the Morgan Hill, California, company had much work to do with competition from giants like Alpinestars and Dainese, so they set out to create a product that would gain consumer confidence. One series of products that quickly gained my confidence was the Shift Vertex line, which offers a full race suit, a jacket that attaches to Shift leather pants, and gloves.
For the past few weeks I’ve been testing the Vertex jacket and gloves, along with the Shift Redline pants on both the street and track. Talk about style…I’ve received many compliments while sporting the black Vertex jacket on the streets, the aero hump attracting the most attention.
But don’t mistake the Vertex as only aesthetically pleasing; the jacket offers very comfortable protection and enough perforation to keep a constant flow of air on those hotter days. The jacket is made from 1.2 – 1.4mm premium grain leather, with removable CE approved shoulder and elbow armor. The removable armor pieces are constructed of a hard outer shell, with energy absorbing foam on the inside. And like most top-quality designs, the Vertex Jacket has an integrated pocket for a back protector.
The aero hump is designed for extra protection and improved wind resistance, and is also removable. Since it’s a solid piece of rubber, the two vents designed on the sides of the aero hump are more for style over function (unless you wear the jacket without the hump for whatever reason).
But this doesn’t affect the amount of airflow in the Vertex. Air is constantly moving due to the massive perforation design on the entire lower front torso area (on the black jacket; for some reason the white jacket contains less perforation), above and below the aero hump, and along two strips on the lower back. For additional airflow, the Shift Vertex features ram-air-like shoulder vents. Even on the hottest of days when most jackets become uncomfortable and hot, the Vertex offers a feel that’s totally un-leather like.
Adding to this comfortable feeling are the KorMax stretch Aramid panels for flexibility and abrasion resistance, and leather accordion panels in key flex areas such as the elbows and the rear of the armpits for unrestricted movement. Another tasteful addition is the collar; it’s made from neoprene, which is soft on the neck and unrestrictive.
Although I wouldn’t recommend this jacket for cold-weather riding, it comes with a removable thermal liner for those cold nights/mornings. It’s one of the easiest to remove, with a zipper on both sides of the sleeves and five snaps. Those cold moments of fishing buttons through strings to attach a liner are gone with the Shift Vertex; snaps make things much simpler.
The thermal liner also has much to do when sizing the Vertex. I’m 5’-11” tall, weighing around 170 with a semi-athletic build. Since I knew I’d be doing many track days and hardcore sport riding, I decided on a size medium, which provides a tighter fit. The jacket is perfect with a thin layer underneath, such as a T-shirt, but fits a bit snug with the thermal liner. A large would have been a better fit if I planned some colder-weather riding.
Also, my first day with the jacket was a bit too snug, but by the second day and almost 200 miles later, the jacket broke in perfect, seeming to mold into my shape.
Regarding fit, the jacket also has two adjustable straps on the lower right and left sides to finely tune waist fitting. And the cuffs are comfortable with both shorter- and gauntlet-style gloves.
Added features are two outside pockets, two deep breast pockets, a 360-degree attachment for the SHIFT leather pants, an 8-inch zipper for other pants, a belt loop to hold your jacket down while riding and some reflective piping behind the elbows.
Sizes come in Small-XXL, and the jacket costs $499.95.
Want more information about Shift Racing? Go to http://www.shiftracing.com/us/.