Story: Harry Fisher
What are the main requirements when buying a bike jacket? Fit, comfort, protection, features, fitness for purpose, cost; they have to be the main criteria. But, with the number of jackets on the market, it can be hard to make the right decision.
Luckily, you don’t have to because we’re going to tell you what’s good out there.
So, to kick off this month, here’s what I think might be the best adventure jacket available right now. It’s from RST, which is an English company and what the English don’t know about protection from the elements probably isn’t worth knowing.
This is the Pro Series Adventure lll jacket. As the name suggests, it’s an adventure-styled jacket but it is equally at home in the urban jungle as it is in the wilds. The extra length of these types of jackets offer better weather-protection over the waistband of whatever trousers you may be wearing.
A hallmark of the RST series of jackets is their versatility. You will obviously have read my review of the Ventilator 5 jacket from the same manufacturer so you will know that I am talking some form of sense here. The Adventure lll jacket has a waterproof outer shell of tough cordura along with two removable inner liners – one breathable waterproof and one thermal. Both can be used independently of the other or together to make a super-snug and waterproof garment. They zip in and out at the chest although the bottom-of-sleeve fastenings can be a bit fiddly. I tend to ignore fastening them at this point and just take a bit of care when taking the jacket off so they don’t come out of the sleeve with your arm; not difficult.
Built-in protection is incredibly thick and tough but avoids any of the uncomfortable sharp edges common to armour. In short; you don’t know it’s there until you need it. The back protector is really that; a proper piece of CE-certified armour that will do its job. There are extra external shoulder pads of hard plastic.
Both sleeves and waist are adjustable for fit and there is a ‘parachute strap’ that will reach under the crotch from back to front of the jacket to stop the jacket riding up your back. There is a 360-degree zip fastening to join jacket and matching trousers.
Of course, adventure riding can be a hot business so ventilation is important. The Adventure lll has two large-ish panels on each breast that can be unzipped and folded out of the way – again a bit fiddly but it does get easier as the garment wears in – along with full length sleeve zips and venting zips on the back.
One nice feature is a large, Velcro-flapped and zip-closed pocket at the base of the back. This can be completely removed and the attached strap can be used to clip it round the waist, bum-bag style which could be useful if, at the end of a hot ride, you wanted to leave the jacket with the bike but easily carry valuables such as wallets or passports and any other flat-ish items.
Another feature that has been most welcome in the cold of a Gauteng winter is the snap-fit thermal neck collar that renders the need for a buff obsolete and shuts off the neck opening from unwelcome drafts. When removed, if squashes small enough to fit into one of the two voluminous outer pockets without feeling bulky.
So, this is a good jacket; it fits well, is comfortable and has no obvious drawbacks but lots of interesting features and very good quality. I’ve worn it for four months almost non-stop and across every kind of riding and I couldn’t be happier with it.
Moto Mate 011 234 5274
Rad 011 234 5007
Full Throttle (3 branches) 011 452 2397
Suzuki Bike Shop Boksburg 011 918-7777
Honda Wing 051 430 1237
Trac Mack (3 branches) 021 945-3724
Suzuki South 021 761-0157
Neves Motorcycle World 021 930-5917