Home > Motors

Speed and Strength True Grit Armored Moto Shirt Review: Old-School Style Meets Technical Riding Gear

Armored Moto Shirt review(Photo/Indian Motorcycles)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Speed and Strength’s True Grit Armored Moto Shirt pulls off the trifecta of looking old school and casual, while also being a well-equipped piece of technical riding gear.

Back in the 20th century, motorcycle gear was one of three things: old school, technical, or casual. Old school is what you think of with The Wild One and Easy Rider — lots of leather, chaps, engineer boots, etc. It’s heavy, it’s hot, and in the right crowd, people will know you’re kinky as hell.

Technical gear came in many versions — sometimes leather (but always the lightest and strongest). This riding apparel was sometimes made from nylon, plastic, and aramid fibers, but was always just a little geeky. And to mimic whatever the style was in sportbike racing, you might also find bright colors or fluorescent fabric alongside the functional grays.

Casual was just that, casual. At the time, these were the guys who made the rest of our insurance premiums high, riding in sneakers, hoodies, and jeans (or less).

Thankfully, that was a different time. Starting around the year 2000, things began to change. Lines were blurred. There was (what looked like) classic old-school riding gear (jackets, pants) that was actually a technical marvel of protection and visibility, with hidden armor and reflective strips.

Same with casual gear. Sneakers had steel shanks and armored ankles. The jeans came with hip padding and aramid-reinforced impact zones. And then flannels, like this one.

In short: The Speed and Strength True Grit Armored Moto Shirt ($130) leverages technical materials and construction to provide protection while giving off a super casual vibe. It trades the weight and expense of a traditional jacket for a modicum of safety in a stealthy package.

Speed and Strength Armored True Grit Moto Shirt Review

True Grit kevlar armor
(Photo/Speed and Strength)

While the True Grit Moto Shirt looks like just a flannel shirt from the outside, a few key features help make your ride a little more comfortable and a lot safer.

Contrary to what you might think, road rash is the rider’s worst enemy. Bones will generally heal, but if you’ve got bad road rash, an infection can set in and cause real problems, and even death. Your skin is the first line of defense against germs, and quality riding gear like the True Grit Moto Shirt helps you keep your skin on your body when you find yourself sliding down the road.

Armored Moto Shirt review
The author shows off the True Grit Moto Shirt; (photo/Billy Bartels)

If you choose to do so, removing the armor is easy and smooths the shirt’s profile for off-bike errands, a night out, or if you just want to layer up in cold weather.

The Speed and Strength Armored Moto Shirt comes with belt loops for attaching your riding pants to the jacket, which helps prevent road rash in some pretty sensitive areas, like your back and abdomen. This feature also helps keep the shirt from riding up in the wind.

Pop the snaps, drop the zipper, and the inside of this shirt is a different world.

Armored Moto Shirt review
(Photo/Billy Bartels)

The double fasteners at the front show that what looks like a shirt is far closer to a jacket in build quality. The zipper will help secure your armor where it needs to be to protect you. It has a slick poly liner that makes getting in and out of it easy. Expansion gussets in the shoulders allow the jacket to stay put or stretch when your arms are on the bars.

You also get access to an inside pocket (like a jacket would have) as well as all of the armor panels in the elbows, shoulders, and spine.

True Grit Armored Moto Shirt Features

True Grit Armored Moto Shirt review
Billy Bartels on a ride wearing the True Grit Moto Shirt; (photo/Indian Motorcycles)
  • Fabric: Cotton-polyester blended frame with four-way stretch
  • Armor: Removable Vault Chain-Link C.E. Level 2 (shoulder, elbow); Level 1 (spine)
  • Shoulders and arms reinforced with aramid fiber
  • Reflective trim
  • Hidden YKK main zipper opening
  • Snap-down collar
  • Shoulder expansion gussets
  • 2 snap pockets at the chest
  • 2 zippered hand-warmer pockets
  • Internal stash pocket
  • Belt loops for pant attachment

True Grit Moto Shirt: Size It Up

True Grit armored flannel
(Photo/Speed and Strength)

The True Grit Armored Moto Shirt has a fairly tailored fit, which in-shape riders will probably love.

If you’re like me and could lose a few pounds, you might want to get it a size up from your usual jacket. I’m 6′ and 210 pounds. The large size was a little snugger than I’d prefer, even though that’s my size in most jacket brands.

True Grit Armored Moto Shirt review
(Photo/Indian Motorcycles)

Out on the road — on someone used to wearing the technical/old-school hybrid gear I mentioned above — the moto shirt feels almost like being naked, for better or worse.

The cotton-poly blend shell blocks the wind at not-quite-windbreaker levels — definitely less than a jacket — and weighs very little. It feels incredibly free, but for someone used to more weighty apparel, I felt slightly anxious.

A Technical Riding Jacket Replacement?

Is it as good as a true technical jacket? Hell no. But it leverages the technology inherent in one (armor, mostly).

Speed and Strength has made this riding jacket look super casual and far better than the thing it pretends to be: a casual flannel shirt.

There’s not as much protection and not as much weather versatility as a good technical jacket. Leather and heavy Cordura will block the wind (and sometimes rain) entirely, but also let it in via vents when needed. But the True Grit is also a fraction of the cost of a fully armored and vented all-weather jacket, and far less bulky.

True Grit Armored Moto Shirt: Pricing & Availability

Armored riding jacket review
(Photo/Indian Motorcycles)

One last advantage of the Speed and Strength True Grit Armored Moto Shirt is versatility.

It shines in the summertime, adding protection without much bulk. In cold weather, it can be used as an underlayer, but you may have to take out the armor for more comfort. You can wear it casually and have a secure inner pocket for storing keys, a wallet, etc.

As a person with a lot of gear, I only use this moto shirt for casual riding. But if you have fewer pieces of kit laying around, it can fulfill several roles.

The MSRP for the Speed and Strength True Grit Armored Moto Shirt is $130.

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Revzilla

rev'it dirt series full collection

REV’IT! Dirt Series Review: The Complete All-Weather Off-Road Moto Riding Gear System

For all weather conditions, the REV’IT Dirt Series Off-Road Collection might just be the holy grail of motorcycle riding gear. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.