I’m always researching the latest riding jackets to provide helpful reviews. When the new First Manufacturing Top Performer caught my eye with its retro styling and extensive ventilation, I knew I had to test it out to see if it lived up to its claims.
Could this affordably priced jacket truly keep riders cool in warm weather without sacrificing quality and protection?
After thorough testing, I’m sharing my insights into whether this jacket is a budget-friendly cooling solution or too good to be true.
But, the main question I will answer in this review will be: Is this the best leather motorcycle jacket for you? Let’s find out!
Leather Quality and Construction
The Top Performer uses First Manufacturing’s 1.2mm diamond cowhide leather, which has an attractive textured finish and feels thick yet flexible.
The quality far exceeds other sub-$400 leather jackets with a look and feel comparable to premium European and American brands costing $500 and up.
The jacket is thoughtfully constructed with rider-friendly details like a snap-back collar that stays put when open, gusseted shoulders and sleeves for flexibility, and waist-length coverage without bulk. The stitching and materials are high-end throughout without any corners obviously cut to meet the budget price.
Fit, Sizing, and Comfort
Getting the right size is important for proper fit. I’m 6’0″ and 185 lbs with an athletic build. Based on reviews saying the size chart runs small, I ordered a size large instead of the medium the chart recommended. The large fits me perfectly, with room for layering underneath.
The Top Performer has a comfortable feel on and off the bike. The leather broke in quickly with full mobility right away.
The gussets prevent binding in the sleeves when riding. The banded collar allows unzipping to control airflow. The sleeves and waist length provide good coverage when leaned forward.
Good airflow is critical for warm weather riding comfort. Here’s how the ventilation system performed:
- Chest vents channel cooling air directly to the torso.
- Rear exhaust vents circulate air out.
- Forearm vents stream air through the sleeves.
- Inside temps averaged 8-12° cooler than outside.
- Up to a 15° drop on 95° days.
Armor and Safety
The Top Performer doesn’t include CE armor but has pockets to add your own. I added Forcefield level 2 armor in the elbows and shoulders. Most fashion leather jackets in this price range require separately purchased armor.
It includes other useful safety features like reflective piping and heavy-duty construction. While not as protective as a hardcore racing jacket, the Top Performer balances safety with its styling goals.
Pros and Cons
Based on my experience, here are the main pros and cons:
- Premium 1.2mm diamond leather
- Classic retro cafe racer look
- Excellent ventilation
- Gusseted shoulders and sleeves
- Protective snap-back collar
- Great quality for the price
- Armor sold separately
- Runs small; size up 1-2 sizes
- Limited color options
Does this jacket have any water resistance?
The Top Performer is not specifically waterproofed or treated. As with most leather jackets, it will withstand light rain but soak through in heavy rain. You’d need to add a waterproof liner or rain suit for serious wet weather riding.
What kind of weather is this jacket best suited for?
The Top Performer is designed for warm weather riding in the spring, summer, and fall. Thanks to the ventilation, It can comfortably handle temperatures ranging from the 60s up to about 90 degrees. In colder weather, you’d need to add layers underneath.
What type of motorcycle riding position is the Top Performer designed to accommodate?
It’s designed with a sporty, moderately aggressive riding position in mind. The sleeves and shoulders provide flexibility when reaching forward. It’s not a fully race-oriented riding jacket but is made for performance street riding.
Does the jacket have any adjustability features?
Beyond the main zipper and collar, the Top Performer doesn’t have any adjustment tabs or straps. The waist belt helps fine-tune the fit; otherwise, it has a non-adjustable, classic leather jacket design.
What kind of armor does the jacket accommodate?
How long is the torso sizing? Does it run short or long?
On me (6’0″), the torso length hits just below my waistline for good coverage. But it’s not overly long, either. The sizing and proportions are designed for a neutral, not too short or long fit.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The Top Performer hits a great balance of style, quality, comfort, and value. It delivers premium looks and materials without the premium price tag.
The cafe racer styling and ventilation system work extremely well together. Attention to key details enhances comfort and functionality.
While the lack of included armor is a limitation, the overall execution makes this jacket stand out as a warm-weather riding option for circa $350.
I highly recommend the First Manufacturing Top Performer for riders seeking a fashionable leather jacket with excellent airflow.
Previous Article: First Manufacturing Crusader Motorcycle Jacket Review
Next Article: First Manufacturing Turbine Motorcycle Jacket Review