By Dave Spinnenweber

The seasonal shoulder. It’s the first glimmer of riding season, it’s the beginning of the end. It’s the time when you can comfortably swap out your snow shovel for the Shovelhead, or dry out the swim suit then dust off the Santa suit. There’s two a year for most of us, one offering warming temps and good things to come, the other cooling off while the memories of recent rides are still fresh. However different the two may be, they share similar temperatures for the rider. In these temperatures, an outer layer that’s “just right” is important to have on hand. In my hand, I have the Denim Hoodie from Z1R, and I’m not giving it up.

We all know the feeling, not cold enough for a heavy coat, but a t-shirt is gonna be too chilly at road speed. There are lots of options that would work, but I’m looking for something that fits my style as well as my needs. A “jean jacket” has often been the solution, blocks just enough wind, and holds just enough heat to stay comfortable. But the image of the acid wash denim my… “elders” wore is definitely not my style. So when I found the Denim Hoodie from Z1R, I had to grab it. It’s the perfect mix of a dark denim vest tastefully mated to a comfortable soft hoodie.

While riding in the shoulder seasons a slight chill can make a ride less enjoyable, even dropping into a small valley and feeling the bubble of cool air at the bottom can change things for the worse. The Denim Hoodie softens those changes and makes the entire ride better. It blocks just enough wind to prevent a chill but also flows enough air to keep you cool. The thickness of the denim even adds a bit of protection from the early season bugs – or the ones holding on till the first freeze. I could barely feel it when they hit me in the chest. (As it turns out, it’s more than enough to protect from stinging, flying types, too. I’ve found several of the bad-tempered, black and yellow ones stuck to me without ever suffering their wrath). While it doesn’t offer impact protection nor waterproof liners, it does exactly what it’s meant to do; keep you comfortable in a modern style.

It seems Z1R has a good handle on the styles riders want and they don’t skimp on features. This hoodie is sleek in appearance yet built with the right materials to hold up against the rigors of the road without (literally) coming apart at the seams. It has pockets in all the right places, with zipper closures and solid snaps on the chest, and an inside pocket for those of us that carry our own “theft deterrent.” The gussets in the back around the shoulders allow for a comfortable riding position without pulling the sleeves up to your forearms. The longer than normal tail prevents the wind from chilling your back or inflating you to look like a popular tire company’s mascot. As a 6’ 1” rider on a low slung Softail with drag bars and no pull back on the risers this generosity in design is appreciated. Contemporary design means the hoodie also looks great when I’m off the bike.

In fact, the casual nature of this piece has made it my go to outer wear for happy hour with my other half, social gatherings or just running errands. It’s the perfect balance of functional riding gear without screaming, “HEY, LOOK AT ME, I RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.” For a lightweight piece of outerwear, Z1R has found the perfect balance of functionality, comfort, and style for shoulder seasons. I won’t be giving this one up anytime soon.

Z1R Denim Hoodie
$144.95 – $154.95
Men’s Sizes S-5XL