A couple weeks ago I flew out to Southern California to ride the new Yamaha YZF-R3. If you don't know, January is peak rainy season out there, so the ride promised to be soggy at best, miserable at worst. The weather forecast suggested that 60 degrees Fahrenheit and scattered showers was the best I could hope for. Clearly, I'd need a jacket that would keep me dry, warm, and safe. Luckily I had just the thing—a BETA H20 by Spidi.
Spidi, if you don't know, is a maker of stylish, high-end motorcycle gear. Founded in Italy in 1977 by Renato Dalla Grana, the company started out making gloves and quickly branched out into all things riding gear. The company currently makes everything from jackets and full racing suits to boots, gloves, and jeans. What I'm saying here is that Spidi is definitely legit and makes some good looking gear. Now, with the history lesson out of the way, let's talk about the jacket.
Spidi's BETA H2Out is, as the company states on its website, "The ideal motorcycle coat for urban mobility, even in the most intense rainy days". It's a thigh-length three-season coat cut vaguely like a US Army M-65 Field Jacket with long sleeves and a tall collar. Made from a high-tensile polyester fabric with built-in, removable armor at the shoulders and elbows, the BETA is certified Class A PPE protective motorcycling apparel. It has space for an optional back protector, a detachable padded, insulated vest, and a whole slew of zippered pockets inside and out.
The BETA's real party trick is the H2Out membrane—a breathable, windproof shield woven into the jacket that's flexible, lightweight, and keeps the wearer remarkably warm and dry. In addition to the H2Out membrane, the BETA has a thin but potent thermal liner, knitted cuffs to keep warmth in, and an additional waterproof barrier at the cuffs and hem to keep the water out. For added safety and visibility, the jacket has reflective stripes located in strategic areas like the neck and cuffs.
So, how does all that fancy technology and Italian style perform in the real world you ask? Pretty well, in fact! The beginning of my R3 ride involved a high-speed blast down a SoCal freeway in the face of a driving rainstorm. Tucked in on the little sportbike at 70-ish miles per hour, the BETA was very warm and the H2Out just shrugged off the rain like it was no big deal. All day I was pleasantly warm but not sweaty thanks to the breathable lining, and thanks to the jacket's cut, fit, and finish I was comfortable all day. It never impeded my mobility in any way despite being cut a little slimmer than I typically like. Oh, and the roughly one million pockets were great for holding all sorts of equipment.
Overall the Spidi BETA H2Out is a great jacket. It's a warm, comfortable (I know I said that already, but I wanted to reiterate the point), very sharp-looking jacket that's as safe and practical as it is stylish. The only complaints I have, and they're pretty small, are that the outer pockets zip down to close instead of up and it may be a touch too long for some riders.
The Spidi BETA H2Out goes for $349.90 and can be found online or at your friendly neighborhood bike apparel dealer.