Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rukka Cosmic suits

Below you can read our on-going evaluation of our Rukka clothing, or you can go straight to the Rukka website by clicking on the Rukka logo on the left. Of course you can also read what we think about it first and then click on the logo on the left for more information…!

Rukka kindly supplied us with their Cosmic suits for evaluation. A pretty bold step as I wasn't that impressed with fabric motorcycle jackets and pants in general. I've written on these pages that I prefer leather as our so called 4-season jackets had failed miserably in both cold and hot weather and weren't all that waterproof either. Rukka could have supplied us with their leather jacket but instead said we were wrong about dismissing fabric and that we should try their Cosmic suit. The jackets and pants arrived at the end of the day before we left for the UK, we hadn't even tested them and were already hurrying for the shuttle to Dover…

The weather in the UK is pretty much like our own Melbourne weather; 4-seasons in a day. Rain, dry, rain, dry, cold, warm, wet etc. I can still remember the holiday we had when Mike was just 3 years old and we went to the UK with our Royal Enfield with sidecar. We have never changed in and out of our waterproofs so much as then.
The Rukka Cosmic impressed from the start and kept impressing as we went along. It has clearly been designed by a motorcyclist and is full of simple but smart features that makes life so much easier. For starters it isn't a jacket with a waterproof liner, the jacket itself is waterproof. That means all your pockets are waterproof too… and you don't end up with a heavy jacket which is soaking wet and can't be stored inside your tent. It has pockets everywhere, inside and out. The inside ones are huge as well, and what a clever idea to use magnets for closing the flaps.

But there is more. The soft neoprene removable storm collar fits over the jacket and keeps the wind and water from your neck. As it fits over the jacket, rain water runs over your jacket, not in it! The thermal liner is removable and via the easiest system I've seen so far, they even went as far as colour coding the buttons with which they attach in the sleeves. The sleeves have a double cuff, which means water will not run from your sleeves into your gloves and yet water being driven up from your gloves won't run into the sleeves either. 

I must say that at first I was a bit unsure about the limited ventilation options, especially since all the ventilation openings in our previous jacket were still not enough to prevent us from sweltering. There are just two zippers in the front and one in the back of the jacket plus two in the pants. So far they have been enough though. Apart from the jacket being of much better quality, the ventilation is also channeled inside. Rather than cold air hitting you straight at the shoulder and leaving the rest of your body to sweat, this jacket channels the stream of cool air through the whole jacket. In practise it means we can now get off the bike and take a photo without sweat dripping from us everywhere.

The jacket and pants are fitted with CE approved protectors. Usually these are necessities that offer a balance between hinder and safety. In cold weather they usually become uncomfortably hard and seriously hamper any movement. Not these. Rukka uses a protector which not only works better than just CE standard, they also work when it's hot or cold and don't hinder at all. 

As I'm writing this we've been using the Cosmic suits for 5000 km and 3 weeks, every day and all day. We've already noticed they keep us warmer when it's cold and cooler when it's warm compared to the leather jacket Jeanette uses. We haven't had a massive downpour yet but it kept us dry in the rain and yet when we arrived at a campsite it was simply a matter of shaking off the drops on the outside and store it in the tent. The material seems to be water repellent so there isn't a lot of water on it at any one time. 

We tested the jackets as we went along to find out where the limits were. When to use the thermal liner and how far we could go with and without the liner. The simple answer is we haven't worked it out yet! Up to 25 degrees the thermal lining is ok but at the same time we rode with just 12 degrees with the liner removed and that was fine too. We have had so much wind in the Peak District that Jeanette had to wear a rain jacket over her leathers to keep her warm, has a jumper on and she also uses her neck warmer. We are riding without the thermal liners, in T-shirt and nothing but underwear under the pants and we're fine… 
The reason I'm comparing to Jeanette's leather jacket is because her leather jacket was both warmer and cooler than our previous 4-season jackets… now it's the other way around!

Due to unforeseen issues we ended up having an 18 hour riding day, wearing the Rukka suits the whole 18 hours too. The pants' built-in cushions obviously works a treat! During that single trip the weather changed from coldish early in the morning to 27 degrees in the afternoon, followed by a blustering wind and rain at night. The only thing we had to do was close the vents at night, zipped-on the storm collar and changed from summer to intermediate gloves (both Rukka as well).

Like I wrote earlier we are impressed with the Cosmic suits, we like them more everyday. They are full of clever features and details that make life on the road so much more comfortable. Rukka believed they could do better, much better, than my previous 4-season jacket and they do. With Rukka there is no need for ventilation panels everywhere and all kinds of removable layers (which you have to store somewhere too…). Instead they have made a jacket with build-in climate control. It just works, and very good too! It is by far the best motorcycle clothing I've had in over 30 years of motorcycling, I simply can't fault this jacket and pants and hope they will last us a long time. As Rukka even offers 5 year warranty, which for motorcycle clothing is very good as we all know bike gear has a hard life, we think they will last!

Testing the waterproofness of his Rukka suit. Mike rode up and down 7 times so that I could take this shot! The suit was properly wet(!) yet Mike was still perfectly dry!