When SBT, Inc. launched its own line of riding gear and apparel – SBT Racing – one of the first items announced was a neoprene tour coat. Now, in our experiences, very little can be said for tour coats. There’s not a lot to them. In fact, we joked internally that we could wax poetic about gloves far more than we ever could about tour coats. Apart from the one or two manufacturers making their coats from heavier canvas materials (the same sort of stuff used for PWC covers and backpacks), the usual neoprene-hewn coats are typically cut large, are not exceptionally innovative, and act more like a parachute than any sort of protective covering.
At first glance, the SBT Racing Tour Coat looked deceptively “middle-of-the-road” until we took a closer look. Small features and a few thoughtful additions are enough to set this above many others, all of which we came to appreciate. As is with most tour coats, the SBT Racing Tour Coat is designed to be worn over a life jacket in cold weather. Yet, separating this one from a few others include strong flush-loc seams throughout the entire coat, a sturdy two-way zipper unique to this piece, Velcro wrist cuffs, front neoprene pockets that close with zippers, a hood with a drawstring.
Design-wise, the SBT Racing Tour Coat comes in a single unisex design, black with blue inserts on the arms and white graphics. While the SBT logo looks strong and prominent on the chest, we did think the “Racing” script running down the right arm looked a little less thought-out. As to be expected, neoprene holds water, cooling the coat as wind passes over, but manages to sufficiently retain bodyheat as would a wetsuit. We found the overall cut of the coat to not be as wide or blousy as some others that we’ve tested in previous years, which was welcomed especially as we rode at speed. Larger-cut tour coats tend to flap annoyingly even when those with drawstrings are pulled taut.
Priced at $99.95, the SBT Racing Tour Coat is the most expensive of the SBT Racing line, but comes in $20-$30 more affordable than Slippery Wetsuits and a whole $50 less than Jettribe. Only JetPilot comes close at $109.95, still giving SBT the advantage. Considering the cost savings and the added details put into this coat’s design, we think it’s a smart purchase for those who ride in colder weather or are looking for a little added protection from the elements.