Review: Rukka Navigator jacket and trousers.
Tested by: Mikko Nieminen // RRP: Jacket £899.99, Trousers £689.99 // Sizes: Jacket XS-6XL, Trousers S-7XL// Colour: Black // Info: www.tranam.co.uk
The Navigator jacket and trousers from Rukka are premium products with a premium price tag. You could buy a couple of Chinese mopeds for the cost of these garments, so the expectations are justifiably high. And the thing is that these really are very fine motorcycling garments indeed.
The best thing about the Navigator jacket and trousers is that they are waterproof. And I mean properly waterproof. I’ve been out in the rain for hours and come back home bone dry every time. The secret behind this level of waterproofing is the Gore-Tex Pro three-layer laminate. This is situated on the outer layer of the clothing so water is stopped before it gets through the top layers, with only a small amount of water staying on the surface of the jacket and trousers, while most of it simply drips off straight away. The garments don’t become heavy with water, and they remain breathable because the outer layer is not saturated with water.
Weatherproofing is also evident in how much thought has gone into the cuffs with the soft inner and the waterproof outer. With the help of big zips that open the cuffs wide, gloves fit neatly between the layers. Finally, a Velcro adjuster tightens the fit to seal out the elements good and proper. The collar is soft neoprene and there’s a detachable stretchy Gore-Tex storm collar.
There are plenty of pockets to keep all your bits and bobs handy. The jacket has two big waterproof inner pockets (one with a mobile phone holder). On the outside, the jacket has two non-waterproof chest pockets and two waterproof lower pockets. The lower ones have poppers and zips, while the top ones have poppers only. The trousers have big cargo trouser-style waterproof pockets (zip and poppers) and a non-waterproof hip pocket (zip only). All the pockets have handy little labels that tell you if they are waterproof or not, just in case you forget. All of the pockets are just about manageable with gloves on, with the zips having fabric tags that help you to pull them open and shut. The zips on the pockets, vents and closing systems are all completely snatch-free. It probably helps that the Gore-Tex laminated Cordura is stiffer than many other textile jackets and doesn’t fold so easily, letting the material catch in the zips.
The materials used in the jacket and trousers are high-quality stuff: the outer is 500 denier Cordura, with Armacor (a combination of high-tech aramid fibres and Cordura) reinforcement in the elbows and shoulders. Abrasion resistance is combined with quality D3O protectors in the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and back. I have removed the back protector to make room for my wearable protector, but as in-jacket protection goes, it’s a nice big protector. Because the protectors are all made of malleable D3O material the suit doesn’t feel too stiff, although compared to lighter products the initial feeling is that of wearing a suit of armour. After a little wear you soon get used to the stiffness of the materials and the suit is very comfortable on the bike. It feels heavy when you first try it on, but in regular use you don’t really notice the weight.
There’s a connecting zip to secure the jacket to the trousers, which helps stop draughts and prevent any builder’s bum incidents. The trousers also come with detachable braces, and feature the Rukka AirCushion and Rukka Anti-glide system in the seat area, which give a bit more comfort and grip on the seat. Another great feature of the trousers are the heat and abrasion-resistant leather patches on the inner side of the knee area, which give you a bit more grip on the bike.
Both the jacket and the trousers come with a detachable liner with 60g insulation and Outlast temperature regulation. The liners are easy to remove with zips and buttons, but stay firmly in place when in use. With the liners in, the weather can do what it wants for all I care. I have not felt cold or wet yet, and I have worn these garments in all weather conditions.
These are pretty heavy and warm garments, even with the thermal lining removed. There are big vents on the chest of the jacket, under the arms and under the trouser pockets. Even with these vents you will get warm on hot summer days unless you can maintain enough speed to benefit from the wind chill.
The fit was fine for me from the start, but there are waist and sleeve adjusters if needed.
There’s no denying that the price tag is beyond the budget of many riders, but if you want a jacket and trousers that are as waterproof, protective and comfortable as possible, and you’re willing to pay for them, the Rukka kit is about as good as it gets.