So it all started out as a joke. At least I thought it was a joke. My buddy David posted up a link to Ventz Rider Cooling System and we all laughed about how silly they were, this, that, and the other. Then my buddy Tim over at The Cycle Guys chimes in about testing a pair and deciding if he wanted to stock them. Some time goes by and Tim contacts me asking if I want to test them out. Hey I’ll try almost anything once. The worst thing they could do is not work, right?
So that’s the big question. Do they work? Well, yes. Kind of. But not without some caveats.
What are they?
Ventz (with a Z because that invokes images of death defying motorcyclists) are a clip-on air duct for your jacket sleeves to help direct air into your jacket, and presumably create some kind of venturi effect pulling in air from the waist of your jacket. Does it really work that way? No idea. They say it does and I’m not going to contest their science.
They’re made out of some kind of ABS’ish plastic with a rubbery underside and clip, along with some friction areas to help them stay on. They come in different colors for the fashion forward biker, and have some mesh on the inlets to keep out larger debris (although Tim hacked some of the mesh off to see if it worked better.)
How is it wearing them?
I wore these for a week commuting in mid-70’s dry SoCal March. It took a little work getting them to sit in the right spot on my wrist so they’d be up in the air flow. Couple minutes before leaving for work was all it took, just a little fiddling around, nothing major. Cruising down the highway, you notice them. I mean, there’s this extra chunk of plastic and rubber pressing into your wrist and back of your hands. You can’t help but notice them. But whatever, I figure I’d get over it.
My general commute speed ranges from 30mph up to 75mph so I feel like I had a good range of speed where air flow would actually be noticeable. My bike has no fairing and mid-height bars. I couldn’t feel anything at parking lot or low street speeds.
The first day, putting my jacket on leaving for the evening commute both of them fell off the sleeves. My jacket sits on a hanger all day, so apparently gravity said ‘seriously, you think those are going to stay on?’ I should’ve known this was a bad omen because later on the way home I waved to a cager who let me lane-share and the left one almost fell off. Now if I’d paid for them, I wouldn’t have been so worried about it. But these were on loan and I didn’t want to try and explain to Tim why I only had 1 to return to him. No more waving that day.
Add to that, they’re not soft at all so when you’re getting all the zippers, chin straps, and buckles sorted before taking off, the edge of the underside is digging into the back of your hands. I am slightly concerned how these plastic and rubber things would feel against your skin on a very warm day, or in areas with excessive humidity. I don’t even want to think about how they’d feel in a get off. Maybe they’d fly off? Maybe they’d shatter? They say they are ‘shatter proof’ but I’ve seen crazy shit break in accidents. So, I don’t know. Don’t want to know.
Do they work?
Well. Yes. Kind of. We had an unusually warm week when these arrived so I had to wait for it to cool down enough to wear a non-mesh jacket. I didn’t think it was fair to wear them with my Alpinestars mesh jacket since it flows so much air anyway. I tested them with a ‘solid’ textile jacket, an Alpinestars Grease Monkey, and with my NJK Americana leather which does have a perforated section up the sleeve and across the chest.
For the Ventz to work, a few things need to happen:
- You must wear shorty gloves or wear gauntlets under your sleeves.
- Your cuffs must be thick enough for the clip to hold on to.
- Your hand/wrist/arm position must be just right to get into the air flow.
They worked better on the Americana jacket pictured in this article. They were pointless on the Grease Monkey. Between almost falling off, the cuffs are larger so they were just flowing more air to begin with so it was impossible to tell if they were actually doing anything. Wearing the NJK jacket, I could feel some airflow up my forearms, but not past my elbow/upper arm. Was there air getting sucked up around my waist? Maybe. I didn’t have remote sensors to test it all out. Could I tell a difference? On the clutch side, yes if I adjusted my wrist position. Throttle side? Not at all. In the pics below you can see how the angle of twisting the throttle blocks most, if not all, of the air flow. Never really felt anything on that side unless I angled my wrist strangely, which consequently gave me shoulder/back pain by the third day wearing them.
Funny story, on the last day of my test, I rode through a swarm of bees at around 70mph. Several of the little bastards broke all over me – visor, pants, jacket, sleeves. Of course, my mind was convinced some of them had flown up my sleeves and were buzzing around inside my jacket. The people behind me on the exit ramp must’ve thought I was tripping on acid or a weirdo as I unzipped everything and danced around getting all the eeby-geebies out of me.
Do I recommend them?
No. Sorry Ventz. Unless the three factors above all aligned I can’t see buying these for me. Plus, they’re just one more thing to carry around when you’re off the bike. One more thing to put on before you leave. One more thing to store somewhere.
I’m also more than a little curious about the UV stability of the rubbery bits. I mean, I have a black jacket that’s pretty sun faded just from riding 300 days a year. What happens to these things after 10,000 miles in the sun?
On a supersport with clip-ons? They’d be useless. Even on my standard they’re almost pointless. MAYBE on a touring bike. On a cruiser with mini-apes or something that gives a flatter arm position, they might work. Sadly I only have one bike so I couldn’t test them with other hand positions, other than moving my clutch hand around at highway speed.
The whole thing of them digging into the back of my hands was a non-starter for me. I’d never be able to get used to that feeling. You can see in some of the pictures where they’re digging in. Was it painful? No, just annoying. If the bottom was neoprene or something, I could deal with it, but as they’re manufactured now, no go. It’s a neat idea just needs a few tweaks for me to be interested.