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MSR ALTERRA TEXTILE JACKET


justplainbill
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Photos taken with flash, so reflective material shows brighter than in natural light:
 
DSCN0700.jpg DSCN0701.jpg
 
Iron Pony Motorsports Direct seems to have cornered the market on these closeout MSR (Malcolm Smith Racing) Alterra jackets which were originally priced at $400, and is selling them on eBay ($110 shipping incl.) and on their site ($99.99 + shpg.).  http://www.ironpony.com/ipd/pi.asp/ImageName/ALTERRA_JKT.JPG/Brand/MSR/c2/Jackets-and-Vests/c3/Textile-Jackets/c1/Street-Products/KitKey2/Alterra-Textile-Jacket  
 
I bought one (photos above) and can attest that they are as advertised; a high quality jacket with gobs of costly features (D3O armor, water sealed zippers, waterproof, lots of vents for heat etc.).  The questions for me, were why were they discontinued and why so heavily discounted.  Part of the answer seems to be that MSR isn't making or selling any jackets any longer.  The other part could be that there are a  couple of design "flaws" with the Alterra model that buyers might have found unacceptable on a high end jacket.
 
Namely, the collar sits  low on your neck and the adjustment strap provides almost no adjustment for pencil neck geeks (such as me).  The "fix" is simple enough:  wear something to fill in the gap (balaclava, turtle neck shirt/sweater, neck tube). Problem solved.  Second issue (for me) is that the shoulder armor, which fits into pockets in the mesh liner seems to almost "float" loosely inside the jacket. (Back and elbow armor are fine.) That could be from having bought my jacket one size larger than I normally wear (got an XL) to fit more layers in for riding in seriously cold weather.  Wearing an under-jacket, the shoulder armor stays in place, at least it does short of crash testing it.
 
Iron Pony offers a 10 day exchange on closeout items, so if either problem is insurmountable for a buyer,  there's a way out.   
 
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  • 11 months later...
Did a 500 plus mile ride yesterday with my MSR Alterra jacket in temperatures ranging from 65*F to mid 30's F, with a little sleet, snow and rain thrown in at elevations above 8000'. Wasn't expecting the precipitation but did have three layers, including a First Gear electric jacket under the MSR jacket. I was quite comfortable without powering the FJ jacket until temps went into the low 40's but the main takeaway is that once the space between my body and the MSR jacket was fully layered, the shoulder armor absolutely did not shift and I had the feeling I'd bounce more than crash if I happened to drop the FJ. I was even more impressed than before by the number of outer and inner pockets. The only downside to that was remembering which pocket I put my sunglasses in...
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