February, 2011 – By Jordana Whyte

Another brutal winter month means another multi-season riding jacket review for those of you who aren’t satisfied with Jack Frost nipping at your nose and prefer he gnaw it clear off whilst riding your scooter through the elements.

While nothing can quite convince me to keep rolling my Buddy out in anything below, say, 45 degrees on a regular basis I did sacrifice the feeling in my extremities to assess the ability of Scorpion’s Diamond jacket to keep my core warm in less than ideal riding temps.

The Diamond is a women-specific, classic moto style jacket with a tapered fit that hits at/just below the hip. It is constructed of a substantial 600 denier, water resistant shell with a removable, full-sleeve interior thermal liner for warmth that also wicks away moisture. Neither external nor internal moisture were an issue for me, however, as riding conditions were dry and I don’t see myself sweating again until approximately May. On long rides that start with chilly mornings and carry on into warm afternoons I could see this dual thermal/sweat wicking feature being handy, though. Similarly, there are two easily accessible zippered vents on the front as well as two on the back of the jacket; they remained closed on my frigid test rides, but would be helpful in transitional weather.

The fit was comfortable. I am typically a size 6, and the small fit but I sized up to a medium for layering in cold weather. The small did not accommodate a sweatshirt without compromising my range of motion. Sleeve length was absolutely perfect, which is to say a bit long when not in riding position. There are zippers at the cuff that run parallel with the arms and help keep a tighter fit around the wrist to cut down on drafts. I liked the clean and streamlined look of the wrist zippers, but they weren’t terribly practical for cold weather since the jacket can’t be cinched all the way down like a French cuff would allow. While this wasn’t an issue with my outsized over-the-cuff cold weather gloves, it could be with an under-the-cuff pair.

The zipper is backed with a liner flap to help insulate against wind and drafts. Zipper pulls on the pockets and at the main zipper were large and easy to grasp and use when wearing gloves. There are two hip pockets lined with fleece and an internal chest pocket big enough for my cell phone. A stretchy panel around the hips is comfortable and keeps the jacket snugly in place while riding and twisting but didn’t bind. The waist adjustments have two snap tabs on either side of the bottom of the Diamond and were somewhat inconvenient, especially with gloves on; a Velcro adjustment would allow for a more flexible fit.

Safety should be the main concern with any moto jacket, and this one is no exception.  Elbow and shoulder armor are both CE-rated and quite unobtrusive when riding. I did not find myself fussing with the elbows to keep them in place like I have in other jackets. A foam back pad is included to help protect the spine but as is typical with most moto jackets it isn’t full-fledged armor; consider replacing it with something more robust. All armor is easily removable for replacement or for cleaning the jacket, which is conveniently machine washable. Reflective trim on the sleeves and back provide visibility after dark.

Overall, the features of the jacket are solid, functional and convenient. So how did it perform in the cold weather? Considering conditions – cloudy and a lowly 17 degrees with a windchill – I give the Scorpion Diamond high marks. Wind infiltration was a nonfactor and my core stayed nice and warm even though I was just wearing a lightweight wool sweater underneath. I was expecting the tapered fit to be a bit draftier at the waist but the stretchy side panels took care of that issue. My over-the-cuff gloves eliminated any worry about drafts up the sleeves though keep in mind that may change with under-the-cuff gloves. While my face and feet were frozen solid, anything covered by the Diamond was comfortable.

It can’t all be gold. The Diamond’s Achilles heel is in its styling which is – how do I put this delicately? – hideous. This is all a matter of taste, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder yada yada yada…but I’m just saying if your tastes run a little Jersey Shore then this jacket just might be your huckleberry. The Scorpion name is stitched loudly (and largely) down the left arm and again across the bottom back flap, which is serious branding overkill and, quite frankly, pretty embarrassing. Come on, Scorpion. Then there’s the embroidered design on the back of the jacket, which can only be described as a stylized depiction of a glitzy uterus, as though to say “Look at me! I’m a female rider!” While the fit was comfortable, it wasn’t exactly flattering. Sure, the tapered fit is nice at the waist, but it only accentuates the comically square and outsized shoulder armor, making the fit more refrigerator-box chic than subtly feminine. Did I mention the glitzy uterus?

To be fair, though, the Scorpion Diamond is a quality jacket with good safety features; function should always be prized over form when you’re trying to keep yourself intact on the road. And at about $160, the Diamond is a reasonably priced way to keep yourself toasty in colder conditions. The jacket is available in sizes S-XXL and comes in red and black colorwise both replete with those distinctive uterine designs.

Jordana Whyte