Versatility is one of those components that can make or break gear. When you get one piece of kit that tries to do too many things, it ends up doing none of them well. Tourmaster touts the Transition as a proper touring jacket, capable of keeping you dry and warm in the cold as well as cool and protected in the summer. At a price point of just $269.99 MSRP, that’s a tall order.
The Transition 5 accomplishes the warm and dry part of this equation with a zip-in quilted liner and a RainGuard-branded membrane liner in lieu of Gore-Tex. The Transition shrugged off the typical Bay Area drizzles with no problem at all, and then I was blessed with an opportunity to test the waterproof claims in a recent windy-as-hell downpour. You know, the kind that creates miniature lakes along Highway 24 and cuts visibility down to almost unnavigable levels.
Photos: Angelica Rubalcaba
Turns out Tourmaster is not lying. Combined with my trusty waterproof riding pants and treated logger boots, I survived more than three hours on the freeway in monsoon conditions and made it home dry as can be. Color me impressed.
The Transition 5 features Tourmaster’s patented Aqua-Barrier under-helmet hood to keep water from sneaking into the back of the jacket via the vulnerable back of the neck. Putting a hood on under my helmet felt a little unnatural at first, and I usually wear a balaclava to mitigate the water getting in to that area, so letting go of my precious balaclava required me to acquire a neck roll to keep my chin warm, but it’s certainly a worthwhile trade. When not in use, the hood rolls into the microfiber collar, and created a reasonably thick padded collar in the “just right” sizing range for upright riding. Forward-leaning riders may find it a bit bulky, however.
Beyond the excellent waterproof capabilities, the Transition is one of the warmest jackets I’ve worn in recent memory. The quilted liner provides the right amount of bulk, but doesn’t feel at all cumbersome on the bike. Removing the liner doesn’t create a baggy fit, as I’ve experienced with some jackets—there’s nothing worse than having your jacket flapping around at 80 MPH.
Fish rides Aprilia’s Shiver 900 in the Tourmaster Transition Series 5 jacket.
Fit is adjusted with snaps and elastic tension straps in the forearms and shoulders, and hook and loop tabs at the collar and sleeves. Hook and loop is also uses to tailor the fit at the natural waist.
Switching between warm winter mode and mild dry mode is quick and easy. When the temps get into the 70s, the Pipeline vents in the chest and shoulders are quite effective, and I really appreciate the sleeve vents that direct air into the jacket’s arms. While it doesn’t replace mesh gear, the Series 5 does live up to its promised versatility.
With CE-approved elbow and shoulder armor and an articulated back protector, the Transition Series 5 ticks the essential boxes without sacrificing function, as you’d expect from a high-quality jacket. The bonus lies with the versatility of the Transition—it functions very well both on and off the bike If you’re a commuter and need something that doesn’t scream “I rode here” but still want warmth walking to and from, or end up riding somewhere and then swapping modes of transportation, you’re covered without the fuss that comes with more specialized jackets. The abrasion panels are low key, the labels are small and tasteful, and the Phoslite reflective strips are subtle.
I wear an extra-large t-shirt, usually a USA 46, Euro 56, and at six feet tall, that puts me into an extra-large according to Tourmaster’s sizing chart. Fit is spot-on. Tourmaster is known for offering a broad range of sizes, and the Series 5 is offered in sizes from XS to 5XL, as well as select tall sizes and women’s sizes making it pretty easy to get a proper fit for almost anyone.