CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

Two shells, three layers, all conditions.

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When describing how to plan a trip by motorcycle, CW Editor-at-Large Peter Egan once advised, "Take riding gear that doubles as rain gear." Well, that's what we have here, and then some, with the "Twin Shell" Macna Chameleon jacket.

Why Twin Shell or, as Macna calls the Chameleon, “two jackets in one”? For starters, The Netherlands, home base for this new-to-the-U.S. apparel maker, averages more than 30 inches of rainfall annually, and ambient temperature hovers around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. More often than not in that part of Europe, it’s cold and wet.

Safety, however, is priority number one. That is why the basis, or "core," for the Chameleon (High-Viz or Black; S-XXXL) is a 1.2-1.4mm-thick leather jacket with three external pockets, a dropped back, both long and short trouser-connection zippers and a zip-out, fully sleeved quilted liner. CE-approved SAS-Tec armor safeguards the shoulders and elbows, and the spine is covered shoulders-to-waist by a thick, foam pad, upgradeable to an anatomically shaped, washable CE Level 2 protector. Hook-and-loop straps, three on each side of the chest zipper, and a trio of neck/sleeve zippers secure the outer RainTex "direct-laminated" Durylon/R-tech "weather shield" (above left) to the leather jacket (right), forming a wind- and waterproof barrier.

You can set up this modular coat four different ways: core only; core plus thermal liner; core plus weather shield; core plus thermal liner and weather shield. But the waist-length leather coat always serves as the base. Both the core and seam-sealed weather shield are trimmed with reflective NightEye panels.

Vents? Just two, a pair of 8-inch-long zippered, mesh-backed openings in the forearms of the leather coat. But with the outer shell and thermal liner removed, airflow through the open vents and synthetic sleeve/armpit inserts is good. Plus, on bikes with low handlebars, cooling air tends to funnel past the mandarin-type collar down your chest and back—nice on hot days, less so on cold nights.

Macna's unique "Easy Cuff" system eschews buttons, snaps, hook-and-loop tabs or other attachment methods for full-circumference zippers that hold the quilted liner and outer textile shell firmly in place. Sleeve zips are small and staggered to reduce bulk, but getting thick, long-gauntlet gloves under or over the mass of fabric can be tricky.

“Grip Strips” stitched to the leading edges of the shell’s lower front pockets allow easy access to the contents within, even while wearing thick gloves. “Click”-type zipper pulls on the leather coat don’t flap in the wind. A heavy-duty peg loop is located at the back of the neck; no coat hanger needed.

Motorcyclists are used to layering as a means of dealing with wind, rain, sleet and sunshine. With its effective Twin Shell design, the Chameleon makes traveling by motorcycle in even the worst weather pleasurable. Just ask Egan.

DETAILS

**Twisted Throttle, LLC

570 Nooseneck Hill Rd.

Exeter, RI 02822

401/284-4200

Price…$649.99**

Ups

• High quality, great attention to detail

• Nine pockets: one in the quilted liner, four in the leather jacket, four more in the textile shell

• Jacket accepts Macna’s optional over-the-shoulder Vision Vest; matching Twin Shell pants available, too

Downs

• Outer textile shell is bulky, not easily stored; quilted liner is strictly that, not intended to be worn off the bike out on the town

• High-Viz color may not match your helmet or bike or, well, anything

• Not priced for bargain hunters

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket

CW Evaluation: Macna Chameleon Jacket