Review: Corazzo Tempeste (Mens Jacket)

2010 January 4
by Oz

Let me start out by saying I own far too many jackets for one scooterist (this is only slightly hyperbole).  A good jacket is absolutely essential for serious riding – I know people will disagree, and I know that there’s always the tendency to believe that a scooter’s top speed obviates the need to wear protective gear, but as I like to state, the ground doesn’t care what you were riding before you hit it, all it cares is how fast you were going when you did.  That in mind, I own the following jackets:

  • Corazzo Max
  • Dainese Milano Evo
  • Tourmaster Coaster II
  • Corazzo Tempeste (well, now, clearly)

So OK, 4 jackets isn’t necessarily the hugest amount ever – but that’s not the point.  The point is that I can’t realistically use every jacket I own at any given point in time.  Jackets tend to need to serve a purpose to be worn – I don’t just buy jackets for the sake of buying.  So picking up the Tempeste meant finding a way to fit it into what I needed as a rider.  So does it fill a good niche?

Oz modeling the Corazzo Tempeste (on a "sporting" ride)

Oz modeling the Corazzo Tempeste (on a "sporting" ride)

Because, like many of you, I’m a hard working adult with a day job, my riding really comes in 2 forms:

  1. Get my ass too and from work (the unfortunate majority of my on-bike hours)
  2. Haul my ass at totally inappropriate speeds on roads that I’m using as my personal race track on a vehicle that wasn’t intended to be ridden the way I insist on riding it (the majority of my miles, and yet probably the place I want to be the most)

This means that my jackets, as you might have noticed, fall into the category of a commuting jacket (e.g., the Milano Evo) or a serious riding jacket (the Coaster II).  Some play a bit of double duty – the Max is reasonable for commuting and a bit of the “hot dogging” (as my significant other Lesli calls it), but all in all, because I spend so much time on my bikes getting from point A and point B (where point A is generally home and point B is generally some place I probably don’t actually want to be), I was looking for style and versatility.  The hope was that the Tempeste could really play switch hitter and be both for me – heavier than the Max and Milano Evo, lighter than the Coaster II, armored, and yet doesn’t make the rider look like a Power Ranger in San Francisco’s Financial District.

I purchased mine at my local Corazzo dealer, San Francisco Scooter Centre.  I suggest supporting your dealer as well.

The Features
Corazzo marketing boilerplate lists the following features for the Tempeste, in case you didn’t happen to see them at the Corazzo store:

  • Removable CE Rated Knox® Armor in shoulders, elbows & back
  • 100% waterproof with Storm Shield 8000 technology
  • Reflective 3M Scotchlite™ pipping for 360° degree nighttime visibility
  • Superior venting for warm days
  • 3/4 length styling for more coverage
  • YKK® high-grade zippers throughout
  • Zip out fleece vest liner

Spine armor is pretty standard fare, but a bit bulkier than that of the lighter Max.  It’s a thicker foam pad, and does stiffen up the jacket.  Like the rest of the armor, it’s removable, but I wouldn’t – what’s the point of buying an armored jacket to remove the armor?  The shoulder armor is fairly innocuous, unintrusive, and doesn’t add much bulk to the over-all look-and-feel of the jacket.  You’d never really notice it was in there were someone not patting (or punching) your shoulder.  They’re evenly spaced for someone with moderate to broad shoulders, so if you’re a bit narrow, it might not fit that well.  The elbow armor is long (and that’s good) – it extends essentially from the base of the elbow (surrounding slightly in a cup shape), and extends down most of the forearm.  I do actually prefer, generally, a little bit more upper arm coverage in my elbow armor, but it barring a crash test, it seemed to have an appropriate level of coverage.  But this is where my appreciation for the armor wanes a bit – the elbow armor pockets are long and loose, and the armor can get into very awkward positions while even putting on the jacket.  It’s prone to shifting a touch at an arms-flat position, though fixes itself reasonably well when arms are parallel to the ground (as in a riding position).  It feels reasonably secure, but given the amount of play in the armor pockets I had some (rather) mild reservations.  Not enough to slow me down, of course.

The jacket is quite water-proof/resistant: I found this out the hard way one day after working with Jess (a clubmate of mine) to run power for my GPS on my MP3 500 8 miles away from home, when it started raining.  The ride, ~20 minutes, was in the pouring rain, and the jacket didn’t miss a beat.  What I did discover (and found odd) was that not all of the pockets are water proof.  There are four pockets on the front – two zip up (breast pockets) and two button-clasp hip pockets.  The hip pockets seem relatively water resistant: the flap is folded over like a water proof bag.  The breast pockets leaked significantly – my phone and camera that resided in those pockets were a more than a tad damp after the ride.  This was a bit disappointing but now that I know, it’s easy to simply not keep electronics in those pockets if it’s going to rain.

Speaking of pockets, there are actually 2 pockets that aren’t accessible without the fleece lining vest removed, on the left inner lining.  The fleece lining itself doesn’t actually have any pockets, and is really a vest, which contributes to a relatively major flaw of the jacket, which I’ll discuss in a few.

This vest comes inside the Tempeste, and zips out (and can be worn separately)

This vest comes inside the Tempeste, and zips out (and can be worn separately)

From a visibility standpoint, the Tempeste has very subtle reflective piping that doesn’t intrude on the aesthetic of the jacket.  It runs along the back, from the waist (and “flanks”) up to the arms, and on each sleeve is a fairly large (1″x2″ approx.) rectangle of reflective material on a velcro strap.  In the daylight it disappears into the jacket, making it blend quite well in with standard business attire.  At night, the piping glows brightly and is quite visible, thereby succeeding in its mission to make a rider stand out in the darkness.

The piping is both subtle and effective

The piping is both subtle and effective

Over all, the jacket does a great job of providing the table stake features one would expect in a modern, multi-season riding jacket.

The Fit

I feel the need to preface this with, “I’m a small guy”.  I’m relatively short (5’6″) and only run about a buck forty.  I look bulkier than I am, but I still like my clothing relatively fitted.

This being a 3/4 length jacket, it is not.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the Tempeste is designed with an ever-so-slightly larger than average build in mind – it has a bit extra room in the stomach area.  This wouldn’t bother me at all – most jackets do, but there’s no way to cinch the waistline at all, so this jacket is permanently a bit baggy in the gut region if you’re slim.  Corazzo does offer fitted-style jackets, so if you need that (I can’t say it’s critical), you might want to go elsewhere.

It’s both zip-up and button-up, which is good to ensure it remains on and protective during a spill.  The jacket has a collar and a faux-inner turtle-neck looking thing that’s actually far more fetching zipped up than you’d imagine – making it look like you’re wearing both a 3/4 length jacket and a zip-up sweater underneath.  The collar is firm in place, and doesn’t flap in the wind, even in the mid 80-mph range: this is not the case for the shop jacket, which flaps incessantly.

Now on to that one critical flaw – while the jacket inspires confidence in keeping “position” during a fall around the torso, it does not around the arms, for one simple reason: the sleeves cannot be realistically tightened.  The reflective velcro / hook-and-loop strips are actually quite short, and really can’t be adjusted any more than being undone and redone.  This makes the sleeves float around your arms (unless you have grotesquely large, Popeye-esque forearms), and it makes me wonder a touch about whether or not a 70-mph spill would pull the sleeves up my arms and expose the tender flesh to the horrors of fast-moving asphalt.  This is something I’ve not once ever worried about with my Tourmaster, but then again, that’s a fairly thick leather jacket which by nature withstands a spill better than textile.

The other problem with a loose sleeve is, unless you’re tightly packed or wearing multiple layers, cold air easily enters the sleeve on chilly days.  The fleece vest, not having sleeves, offers no additional protection, so your torso will remain reasonably toasty while your arms freeze slowly.  Not a jacket for those with Renaults.  Even with a medium-sized gauntlet Dainese D-Dry winter leather glove, I still felt more wind in there than I was comfortable with, and more than any other jacket.  I’ve paired the Tempeste with both the Corazzo Underhoody and the Scorpion Hybrid underjacket, and both seem to help a lot, but I vaguely lament the number of layers involved in keeping oneself reasonably warm when the temperature drops below 40F.

Does this kill the jacket?  No.  But it’s, again, a bit disappointing.

The Look

So we know how it fits, we know how it’s appointed – how does it look?  This is probably the second best looking jacket I own, next to the Dainese Milano Evo.  It’s handsome in black, and also comes in a brown or green-ish hue.

It also does in fact look right at home with a dress shirt and tie, or slacks.  This is, unfortunately, a big sell for me being a cube-surfing wage slave, and while I really do appreciate the aesthetics of the Milano Evo, the Tempeste looks good and feels like it can take a punch: that’s a good thing in these painfully angry urban streets.

The jacket paired with casual businesswear doesn't make you look like a Power Ranger

The jacket paired with casual businesswear doesn't make you look like a Power Ranger

The tail has some zippers to allow it to flow out a little bit, and the zippers are nicely hidden behind the reflective piping.

These help alter the flow of the jacket's tail

These help alter the flow of the jacket's tail

There is one little vexing part of the jacket’s aesthetics, and that’s near the collar.  There’s a small piece of velcro I don’t quite understand the utility of – tried to sort it out but I just don’t get it.  That piece looks like it keeps the collar affixed but it’s not clear to me why it’s even there.  Does it matter?  I guess not, but it’s just a curious appendix of velcro that doesn’t seem to have a definitive purpose.  Doesn’t affect the over all experience of the jacket.

vestigial velcro strip whose purpose is relatively unclear

vestigial velcro strip whose purpose is relatively unclear

Over-All and Parting Thoughts

So after all of that, I have to say, the Corazzo Tempeste is currently my go-to jacket.  I bought it with the goal of having a jacket I could take in all sorts of conditions – whether it be my daily commute or a hard day’s riding – and it’s met that goal quite competently.  There are some areas of construction that weaken my overall confidence in the jacket, e.g. the sleeves are very loose, that do affect the gestalt of the jacket, but at the same time, it’s an over-all solid performer that I still trust.

The marks:

  • Features: 8/10
  • Fit: 7/10
  • Aesthetics: 9/10
  • Over-all: 8/10

The details:
The Corazzo Tempeste retails for $249 USD, and is available in sizes S-2XL
Available colors: Black, Green, Brown
Buy: online at Corazzo.net or find a local dealer

3 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 January 4
    Michael Moore permalink

    I can attest to the visibility. The piping is quite striking at dusk as it looks like a skeleton is riding the bike.

    All in all it’s a nice looking jacket.

  2. 2010 January 5

    which jacket(s) are you most comfortable a) spilling beer on, b) stuffing a pin into, c) sleeping in.

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