October 24, 2010

Frank Thomas gear mini-review

Filed under: rides — SiKing @ 3:57 pm

Even before my bike arrived I wanted some rain/winter gear. One of the local shops carries Frank Thomas – I like being different from everyone else. :mrgreen: Since I was buying all this stuff in the summer, I got a very good deal on the winter stuff. Recently we got some good rains in Vegas, and so only now did I get a chance to try all the gear out.

Professional review:

My review:

The jacket is the FT XTi nylon waterproof. It does exactly what it says on the box: cozy warm (I had it at 70mph in 60°F without the inner lining), completely dry even in a serious downpour. Elbow, shoulder, and back guards. The inner lining has full sleeves, not just a vest. It does have vents in front (right above the nipples 😮 ), back, and on the sleeves, but if you take it out even in mild summer you will cook in it! About the only complaint that I have, is if you close the sleeve vents and do not tighten up the sleeves against your wrist enough, the air rushing in will balloon up the jacket – very minor complaint, and an easy workaround (gloves – more below). If you’re a pockets freak and like to carry a lot of crap on you, you will be disappointed by this jacket: two regular jacket pockets, one breast pocket inside, and one pocket also inside for a phone.

Ft jacket

the jacket

The pants are the Aqua Ride trousers. They are surprisingly comfy! Guards only on the knees. If you have a nylon seat, your ass will slide all over the place – I got rubber and no problems; I would suspect that leather would also have no problems. Breathing vents only on the front, so your lower body is completely sealed once you zip and velcro everything up. The inner lining is just shorts, however, most of the time I wear them with jeans underneath, so that I can take the pants off when the temperature picks up. Couple more complaints with these, but all very minor. When I was trying these on in the store, I actually first tried the 2010 model and first thing I noticed that they have a snap at the waist, which was already broken off. The older model does not have the snap, only a velcro “belt”, which I thought is a much better solution. There is a little rubber grabber, but after only three uses, that ripper off. The bottom of the legs does not shut tight, so if you are riding through the rain, you will get water up the pants! That is, unless you install some after market parts – couple of rubber bands will do. Only two front pockets.

FT pants

the pants

FT snap

broken belt strap

The pants and jacket also zip together. There are actually two zippers, and you have to be at least half-way dexterous to be able to zip up both of them. You must do the outside smaller zipper first, and then pass the inside longer zipper around your back. I did try to zip them together before putting them on, but getting into it that way I suspect would eventually rip the zippers out.

FT zippers


FT mismatched zippers

mismatched zippers

I continued with the FT theme when looking for gloves – actually I continued with the deep discounts theme, but whatever.

The summer gloves have only guards across the top knuckles. Lots of breathing space. You cannot close them tight, but they will not come off easily. The velcro strap comes apart after some use (they got some fancy wire mesh built into it), which I corrected with some crazy glue.


FT summer gloves

summer gloves

The winter gloves have the same protection – guards only across the top of the hands. Very warm. The gauntlets also nicely solve the problem of air rushing inside your jacket sleeves. Weird thing: the summer gloves size large fit perfectly, the winter I had to get X-large to allow circulation to flow into my hands.


FT winter gloves

winter gloves

Bottom line: I am quite happy with FT line of gear, especially at 50%+ discounts. 😀


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