Review: Firstgear Women’s TPG Monarch Jacket and TPG Escape Pants

Aug 16, 2014 View Comments by

Review: Firstgear Women's TPG Monarch Jacket and TPG Escape PantsWith more and more women taking to two wheels, women’s gear is finally starting to come into its own. Female riders have more choices than ever before (though still nowhere near as many as men), and we’re not just talking about downsized men’s apparel with some pink butterflies thrown on. Perhaps one of the best and most technically advanced examples of this new wave of women’s gear is the TPG Monarch jacket from Firstgear. The Monarch’s list of attributes is long, but let’s start with one of the most important; it’s cut to both look stylish and wear comfortably on a woman’s body. Yes, there’s also a men’s version called the Rainier, but the Monarch is tailored just for women. The jacket also has a variety of adjustment points to further perfect the fit. Motorcyclists tend to lean forward while riding, a fact Firstgear has taken into account by giving the TPG Monarch a pronounced drop tail in the back, which does a great job of keeping the rider’s lower back covered while on the bike.

The jacket, along with most of Firstgear’s product line, uses the latest D30 armor for the best combination of comfort and protection on the market. The Monarch incorporates D30’s T-5 Evo Pro CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows as well as a Viper CE Level 1 back pad. The Monarch uses a Cocona outer shell, which is billed as a waterproof, yet breathable, laminate material that is supposed to allow perspiration and moisture to escape from the inside while still preventing rain from penetrating. Unfortunately, the waterproof claim doesn’t stand up as a moderate rain was able to soak through after only 15 minutes or so. Sealed zippers throughout and a rain hood built into the collar round out the TPG’s weather defense, though you’re still going to want to bring rain gear.

When the clouds part and the sun comes out, the Monarch is ready with a variety of vents on the front and two large exhaust slits in the back. The zipper pulls are extremely large and a cinch to work. In addition, the vents on the back can be reached quickly and easily—even with gloves on. Airflow is good, and the jacket remains quite comfortable in warmer temperatures.

The Monarch has a decidedly premium touch to it; every material feels high end. From the fleece-like collar to the Cocona shell and the mesh inner lining, the jacket exudes quality. There are plenty of nice little perks like spandex inner cuffs in the sleeves that help keep wind from blowing up the arm and cleverly thought out pockets, including one on the left forearm.

Though the Monarch isn’t cheap, it is quite well priced for what you get. It’s easily one of my favorite pieces of gear. The Monarch offers a well-tailored fit combined with great functionality and style. It’s clear that this women’s jacket was no afterthought.

Firstgear Women’s TPG 
Monarch Jacket
Colors: DayGlo/Black or 
Sizes: XS-2XL
Price: $499.95

Firstgear Men’s TPG Escape Pants
The Escape pants offer much the same feature set as the rest of Firstgear’s TPG line. This includes top shelf D30 T5 Evo Pro armor in the hips and knees as well as the same Cocona waterproof/breathable outer layer (though, as mentioned in the Monarch review, they’re more breathable than waterproof). There are, however, several functions unique to the Escape pants. One of these is adjustable knee armor. Due to the great variation in body types, oftentimes kneepads (especially) fail to stay in the optimal position when riding. Firstgear’s simple solution was to place the D30 pad in a fabric case, which then attaches to the pants interior (via Velcro) with a degree of adjustability that’s usually lacking even in high-end gear. Unfortunately, the downside to this innovation is that there’s a little piece of Velcro that can rub your knee in a particularly painful way. Thankfully that piece isn’t totally necessary and can be removed.

The pants have a waterproof side zipper on each leg that allows you easy access to the armor as well as provides ventilation. Another nice feature is a waterproof gaiter in each cuff that fits tightly around your boots to prevent water from spraying up the legs. The Escape is technically an over-pant, and the inside materials are really designed to go over a pair of long johns or jeans for maximum comfort. Despite being a men’s pant, they work relatively well for women, too. Firstgear does offer women’s pants, but I actually found that the men’s version fit me better. The men’s size 30 roughly corresponds to a women’s size 8.

Like the TPG Monarch jacket, the Escape pants are clearly a top-shelf product with uncompromising design and materials, and despite the price, they offer outstanding value

Firstgear TPG Escape Pants
Colors: Black
Sizes: 29-46 regular, 32-38 tall, 
and 30-36 short
Price: $399.95


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