Triple vents. Two gloves in one. Faraday pockets and Defiant-X. Much like the announcement of its forthcoming 2020 models, Harley’s latest top-notch FXRG gear and apparel collection features a few new twists, from a glove with an inner liner that divides it into two compartments to motorcycle jackets with a protective pocket for your cellphone to prevent cyber-theft. And while the FXRG collection has plenty of slick, attention-grabbing gimmicks, being well-made gear that can withstand the road is still paramount. That said, I’ve been putting a full ensemble of FXRG gear to the test. Washington State even obliged with a squall on a recent road trip, so I could test waterproof claims. While I’ll focus on my experience with the gear over the last month, be sure to check out Carlos Scintilla’s 2019 Harley FXRG Collection article for more information.
The jacket features the FXRG Triple Vent System, which is comprised of three side vents that can be opened and closed independently. The front vents are right behind the hand pockets. Inside the vent is a small bungee tab that snaps back to keep the vent open and air flowing. The second set of vents lie just beneath the armpits, while the last pair are back by the kidneys. With all three vents open, the system circulates well, which is a good thing because save for a few small perforations in the shoulder, it’s a solid leather jacket. The vents are zippered, with small pull tabs, but the vent under the armpit is challenging to reach with the jacket on.
The FXRG jacket has four outside pockets, two chest and two side, all about hand-deep. Inside the right side of the chest is a zippered Faraday pocket, a lined pouch that’s designed to deter data thieves. The inside pocket on the left side is cellphone-size and has a small hole to run headphone wires through. Sizing is spot-on, as an XL fit me perfectly, from the length of the arms to the length at the waist. You can dial in the fit, courtesy of zippers at the wrist and two adjustable straps on the side. I got to follow a fellow rider wearing the same jacket and the 3M Scotchlite reflective stripes on the back of the shoulders proved to be highly visible at night.
Harley’s FXRG Triple Vent Waterproof Leather Jacket was perfect in fall temperatures, but around sundown I did need another layer underneath. Some leather jackets are a bit stiff around the collar, but this wasn’t the case with the FXRG. Between its supple leather and pre-curved arms, the jacket was comfortable from the get-go. Where it proved its worth most was during a daylong rainy ride through the Pacific Northwest, when it did a great job keeping me dry. Getting to your destination with a warm core and a dry body always feels good after slogging through the rain. The jacket does have a back zipper to attach to the FXRG Waterproof Overpant, but I never stopped to connect the two.
The Harley FXRG Defiant-X is an intermediate oval-shaped helmet, and one that fits my head ideally. It has two vents at the top, two chin intakes which open and close from inside the helmet itself, and even two small eyebrow vents in the face shield that funnel air toward the temples. The Harley Defiant-X also has three exhaust vents in the back to draw air out from inside. With all the vents open, the helmet definitely circulates well.
The cheek pads and liner are made from an antimicrobial material but still snap out easily for cleaning. The face shield likewise pops off quickly, thanks to Arai’s push-button system. The face shield is Pinlock-ready, and we’re just coming upon the season when those antifog inserts will come in handy. While the face shield seals nicely when down, the small release mechanism in the lower left-hand corner didn’t always work smoothly and it took a concentrated effort to get it to unhook and pop up.
Two of the best traits of the FXRG Defiant-X helmet are the nominal amount of buffeting I experienced and the quietness; wind noise never was an issue. The helmet looks sharp in gloss black, and its construction is definitely a step up from Harley helmets I’ve tested in the past.
Dual functionality is one of the finer points of Harley’s FXRG Dual-Chamber Gauntlet Gloves, which have a soft liner permanently sewn inside the glove. Slide into the front compartment and it’s really snug, with your fingers against the perforated leather. In this mode, the gloves breathe better and are cooler. Slide them into the waterproof liner and there’s a little more wiggle room. I gotta admit, being able to simply slip into the second part of the glove when temperatures dropped as the sun went down was a welcome convenience. I’d estimate the gloves were good down to about 45 degrees. But in the daylong rain deluge I rode through, the gloves didn’t stand up in the waterproof test: At the end of the ride, the backs of my hands were stained black from water seeping through.
The FXRG Dual-Chamber Gauntlet Gloves feature extra swathes of leather in the palm, convenient reinforcements where riders roll on and off the throttle. The gloves are made from a combination of goatskin leather teamed to neoprene cuff and finger panels, and the knuckles are protected by a pliable armor plate. One of my favorite features is the little rubber tab sewn into the gloves’ dividing liner, which comes in handy when your hands are wet and cold. It’s easy to grab, even with a gloved hand, and it pulls the gloves down tightly from the inside.
Lots of motorcycles have touch screens these days and I had no problems using the Road Glide’s display with the Dual-Chambers on. While the gloves are snug, you can loosen up the wrist a tad thanks to a small zipper on the back. Conversely, a Velcro strap on the inside of the wrist can be cinched tightly to prevent air from getting in. Who doesn’t like two-for-one? Kudos to Harley for a cool concept.