The Rukka Armas jacket and pants represent the highest level of technology for motorcycle gear available today.
It includes "everything but the kitchen sink", as the idiom goes.
This includes high-tech goodies like Gore-Tex Pro Shell With Armacor, Superfabric, an Outlast liner and the latest iteration of the Gore "Lockout" closure system (report).
And don't forget motorcycling's most ubiquitous fabric, Cordura by Invista.
The fit, style and the design philosophy of this outfit differs somewhat from most other gear in a number of subtle ways.
You'll pay for all this goodness though -- so make sure you pop that nitroglycerine tablet before you take a look at the price...
But in this case, spending money now may actually save money in the long run.
Break out a pencil and pad and do the sums; this outfit should last longer than two or three of the lesser types and during that time, you'll experience better protection from the elements and anything else the pavement throws at you.
Plus, you'll probably be more comfortable -- and heck, you'll look better too.
But this isn't "poser" gear; it's super-serious, hard-core armor for true road warriors who depend on their equipment for their life -- literally. How much is that worth?
webBikeWorld readers have been asking for reviews of Rukka products for, ummm, about a decade or so, but the gear was harder to find than Marans eggs for James Bond's favorite breakfast (he likes 'em scrambled).
First distributed in the U.S. by Adventure Motorcycle Gear, I'm happy to announce that our esteemed affiliate RevZilla is now the sole Rukka importer in the U.S.A.
RevZilla will also assume responsibility for any warranty work for Rukka owners in the U.S.A. who purchased their gear from the previous importer.
RevZilla already has all of the Rukka gear in stock, including jackets, pants and gloves, listed and ready to go.
First, we'll review the top-of-the-line Armas jacket and pants designed for cold weather. This will be followed up by a review of the Rukka Airway jacket and matching AirVision pants, which are designed for warmer temperatures.
We also have a handful (pardon the pun) of Rukka gloves to review, so be sure to check in for this cavalcade of Rukka goodness.
As they say, "When it rains, it pours!" From a decade-long Rukka drought to a veritable Rukka deluge! Rukka fans will surely be pleased that the Finland-to-U.S.A. pipeline is now open and the taps are flowing, so to speak...
Here's a quick matrix we put together comparing some of the features of the Rukka Armas jacket with a few of the other high-end jackets we've reviewed (links go to the webBikeWorld review).
This is a "rough" comparison for the following reasons. First of all, the Badlands Pro outfit is more of an 85% off-road design, while the Rukka Armas outfit has Adventure Touring and off-road capability but it's also perfectly suited (another pun) for street/sport riding and touring.
Actually, now that I've said that, I realize this is yet one more justification for the Armas outfit -- it is indeed a multi-purpose rig that looks and works just as well off-road as it does on.
And as I think about it further, I realize also that the Rukka Armas outfit may be unique. Other outfits are not coming to mind that would be a direct comparison.
The Rev'it Everest GTX jacket is focused on street riding and touring, as is the Richa Spirit jacket.
The Rev'it Defender GTX has street/touring style but it does work well for Adventure Touring, although the styling is more genteel than the tough-looking Rukka Armas.
By the way, Rukka has a five-year warranty on their clothing, which is another factor in the purchasing calculus.
Note also that the Richa Spirit outfit is the only one to come with CE Level 2 back protector. The Rev'it jackets do not include a back protector, which is an issue I think at those prices.
The Rukka Armas jacket includes the Gore-Tex Pro shell with the Armacor rip-stop and the Outlast liner.
Also included are large swaths of Superfabric and the large main entry Gore Lockout 2.0 closure and a Level 1 back protector (and full set of rated protectors in the elbows and shoulders) all included in the price.
The Armas jacket is the current top-of-the-line "all singing and dancing" Rukka offering.
Both Google Translate and the English-Finnish dictionary are telling me that Armas translates as "true love" in Finnish, but we'd like to think that the Spanish translation is a bit more appropriate, where the word Armas translates to "arms" (i.e., weaponry).
If that's the case, then it's a good name for this outfit, because it includes the latest, greatest and highest-tech textile protection your money will buy. But call it what you will -- this is the top of the food chain when it comes to motorcycle gear.
Let's take a quick tour through the major features and technology, then we'll shift into subjective mode for the opinions...
It's interesting that the first thing anyone notices about the Armas jacket and pants is the construction -- especially the stitching.
The quality of the stitching is actually pretty amazing when you get right down there and study it, with perfectly edged double rows that align with the fabric sections and match together like no other we've ever seen.
We're sort of obsessive about stitching and construction because over the years we've discovered that this is one of the most significant, yet subtle, differences that seperates the good stuff and the rest of the pack.
I can say that personally, I've never seen anything like the stitching on the Armas outfit before.
The double lines of stitching sometimes end exactly at the edge of the fabric or another row, or they cross over each other with perfection that borders on art -- it's that good.
The ends and wear points are bar tacked and the stitches and thread is doubled up at the ends and wear points.
All of this means extra time taken for both design and construction of the jacket, surely accounting for some of the cost.
Stitching goes a long way towards making a good first impression, but there's much more to the Armas jacket than that.
The shell is made from the ultimate Gore-Tex outerwear textile, the Gore-Tex Pro Shell (report) and for the Armas, this also means the three-layer "Armacor" technology is used in the critical areas.
Armacor combines a bonded (laminated) Gore-Tex membrane with a Kevlar and Cordura shell to provide water resistance at the outermost boundary layer.
This is the "gold standard" for motorcyclists -- that is, having the shell as the waterproof layer, rather than a separate internal waterproof liner. Everyone wants it...until they see what it costs.
But this is it; the current top-drawer state-of-the-art textile motorcycle jacket shell protection your money will buy.
The Pro Shell Armacor, with the rip-stop crosshatch pattern, is found in the shoulders and outer arms of the Armas jacket for added abrasion protection.
We've seen Superfabric before, used in some of the high-end Rev'it GTX clothing we have reviewed.
The Armas jacket includes big sections of Superfabric, which is a mesh of ceramic shield-like "plate" material used on the shoulders (upper arm actually) and elbows, along with a small patch of Superfabric just behind the back of the head at the upper part of the neck/collar.
The tiny ceramic shields that make up the Superfabric are designed to provide high levels of abrasion protection and cut resistance and there are tiny spaces in between that allow for good flexibility and also some air flow.
Superfabric is expensive and very difficult to cut and sew, which means that you'll only find it on top-of-the-line motorcycle gear. Rukka bonds the Superfabric to the Gore-Tex shell so the water resistance is not affected underneath the Superfabric layers.
Outlast is an interesting technology that has been occasionally found in motorcycle gear. We have described it before, way back in 2005 when it was introduced and featured in the Roadgear Adaptive-Tech Outlast jacket (review).
Outlast is also used in one of my favorite pair of winter motorcycle gloves, the Roadgear Adaptive-Tech gloves (review), which were also a webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year for 2007 (report).
I still wear those gloves and I'm a big fan of the Outlast technology, because it works!
Outlast was originally developed for NASA, according to legend. It is a "phase change material" that is used to form the lining of gloves, jackets or pants.
The fabric has something called "Thermocules", which are some type of proprietary material that actually can absorb, store and release heat; in this case, body heat.
Outlast isn't just a cold-weather technology; it works in the summer also. When you get warm, the heat is absorbed into the Thermocules, and when heat is transferred away, you become cooler.
When the skin becomes cooler, the heat in the Thermocules is released for warmth.
No, it's not the type of instant heat you'd experience from an electrically-heated garment. And it's not like wearing one of those water-absorbing cooling vests in the summer either.
The effect provided by Outlast is more subtle and the end result is that you can wear fewer layers with less bulk, yet remain just as comfortable in a wider range of temperatures.
You don't really notice it, other than you'll feel more comfortable in the ambient temperature than you probably would wearing -- or removing -- base layers.
The liner attaches with a single full-length zipper around the front of the jacket. A button is located on each side under the arms to attach the jacket to the shell and another button secures the sleeves at the wrist, above the internal attached wind cuff.
I'm always amazed at how well the Outlast Roadgear gloves work in a variety of riding conditions and the Rukka Armas jacket was no different. I can definitely feel the Outlast liner in the jacket and pants doing their job.
The Armas jacket and pants do not have any other additional insulation; just the shell and the Outlast liners and this also allows the clothing to fit with a more tailored appearance.
webBikeWorld readers were the first to be introduced to this new waterproof "zipper" closure technology through our Gore Lockout Closure report, published in 2009.
The Lockout closure system has gone through a couple of revisions since then and the Rukka Armas jacket uses the latest iteration -- "Lockout 2.0" -- of this technology.
The Lockout closure is a type of vinyl seal -- a zipper without teeth, more or less -- that is positively waterproof. The problem with traditional zippers is, of course, that the water can seep in between the teeth.
This has led to various experiments with rubber sealants, zipper covers and the rest, which aren't particularly effective over the long term.
The Lockout system had its teething problems (get it?) but this latest version works well. It feels more robust and the zipper pull -- I mean closure pull -- is now longer and it's easier to start the mating pieces and slide them closed.
The Lockout system may require a little bit of maintenance and Rukka includes a small container of silicone lubricant with each jacket, and an occasional spritz on the Lockout closure will help keep things running smoothly.
This is no different from running a cake of paraffin wax or a cake of soap up and down a zipper to lubricate the teeth. You've never tried that? It works!
The latest version of the Lockout closure as implemented in the Armas jacket includes a metal lock at the end that prevents the closure from opening. Flip the lever on the back side of the zipper box and the Lockout closure is, well, locked.
Don't forget to fold over and snap the fabric protector on the jacket, which will protect the metal box from scratching your fuel tank.
Here's a photo:
I first tried the size 50 Armas outfit but both the jacket and pants were too small, fitting more like a size medium than a large.
I used to take a size 54 in European clothing but lost some weight, so I'm about in-between a 52 and 54 (5'10" with a 43" chest and 35" waist) and will choose either, depending on the cut.
But the size 52 Armas jacket and pants fit me, although they are sportbike snug, which is the way I like it.
This has been mentioned this before in other webBikeWorld reviews, but I'm of the opinion that too many motorcyclists buy their riding gear based on street clothes fit.
You don't want baggy motorcycle clothing; not only will it flap around in the wind, which can be both annoying and tiresome, but a loose fit means that the armor and abrasive protection may not remain in the correct location for optimal protection in a crash.
The bottom line is that ideally the clothes should fit as snugly as possible while still providing enough room for movement. They may feel too snug when you walk -- and that's OK.
The trend has been for looser and more comfortable street clothes, so when a motorcyclist puts on a jacket that actually fits correctly, it probably will feel too tight at first.
One test for a jacket is to cross your arms in front and there should be a definite resistance without binding to a point where it becomes uncomfortable.
The Armas jacket is cut to fit, with slightly broader shoulders and upper arms, and that's one of the reasons why the 52 fits me.
The construction and fit of high-end clothing is another one of the subtle differences that also raise the price.
The panels must be cut and sewn in a way that both decreases the exposure of the critical stitched areas to abrasion and impact while the sections must also be designed to move with the body. This usually means more complicated stitch patterns and some manual fitment, which adds cost.
But the difference is usually dramatic; put on the Rukka Armas jacket and you'll notice the cut and fit. The armor is correctly located while the body of the jacket is tailored to look more sport than touring. It's style and comfort combined with true body shaping that makes the difference here.
I mentioned in the Summary at the beginning of this review that "the design philosophy of this outfit differs somewhat from most other gear in a number of subtle ways".
The first example of that is probably the overall shape of the jacket shell. It's sort of a cross between an adventure touring and sport riding outfit, with a sportbike type of length.
This is not a 3/4-length jacket, which is obvious looking at the photos, although one might expect that to be the case because the overall ambience of the Armas jacket (and actually most of the other Rukka gear) says "Adventure Touring" and that usually means 3/4-length.
Remember I mentioned the trimmer fit of the Rukka clothing and the Armas jacket should be sized to fit more like a sportbike jacket than the billowing type of fit like, say, the Klim Badlands Pro jacket (review).
The Armas jacket shell is cut with more of a form-fit, broader in the shoulders and upper arms and it's slightly tapered in the waist.
The jacket includes a strap in the back that can be brought up around the crotch and attached to a pair of Rukka or other pants. This helps to keep the jacket secured and also helps to ensure it will remain in place during a crash.
A nearly full-length zipper is located to make it easy to attach the jacket to the Rukka Armas (or other Rukka) pants.
Also, along the sides at the hem are vertical zippers that can be opened to spread a gusset. Hook-and-loop closures along the hem can be tightened to trim the fit along the bottom of the jacket.
One quirk of the Armas jacket design is that unless it fits correctly and the wearer gets the adjustments right, the shorter length can mean that some air might flow up the front from underneath.
A 3/4-length jacket pretty much eliminates this possibility due to its length.
On some motorcycles (most actually), you probably wouldn't notice it, but we did find that under some conditions, air can flow up from underneath the front of the jacket, so be sure to check all those adjusters first.
The Armas jacket also includes snap-type adjusters on the forearm and biceps. There are effectively two adjustment ranges after the snap is in the "home" position at the first snap.
The short stand-up collar on the jacket shell is made from Neoprene, with a soft inner side, micro-fleece around the bottom of the collar and a soft piping on top.
It's pretty comfy, except the collar tab in front can be felt if the front of the jacket isn't pulled down by the waist to line everything up.
The collar tab secures across with hook-and-loop; I was hoping for an adjustable snap, but at least Rukka added a long enough section of hook-and-loop to give a wide range of adjustment.
There's a short rubber pull grip on the end of the tab, which helps make for quick adjustments.
The Armas jacket comes with a detachable Gore-Tex neck wind protector. It attaches with a zipper around the base of the collar, which provides insurance that the protector, or "gaiter", will stay in place.
The gaiter also has a metal "Prym" brand snap that connects to a matching male snap post at the top of the collar.
The gaiter opens with some hook-and-loop sections and it also has a large width of elastic to keep it snug against the neck.
It fits pretty nicely under a full-face helmet and it definitely works in wet and/or cold weather, as I can attest. It does take a slight amount of adjustment to get everything lined up correctly under the helmet but the results are worth it -- especially for keeping that cold winter rain from running down the neck!
Here's another one of those subtle (or in this case, maybe not-so-subtle) differences that make up the Armas jacket.
The sleeve cuffs do not have an external cinch of any type. There's a short 100 mm vertical zipper on the rear of each cuff, but no hook-and-loop, strap or cinch.
This distressed me at first, because I'm very much in the habit of carefully securing the sleeve cuffs on a motorcycle jacket before putting on my gloves and pulling the gauntlet up over the sleeve.
The sleeve ends of the Armas jacket are tapered and on the inside of the sleeve is an attached wind cuff. The system is designed for the glove gauntlet to be placed over the top of the wind cuff and then underneath the outer jacket cuff.
I know some motorcyclists wear their gloves under the sleeve cuff, as this is supposed to prevent water from running down inside the cuff. I'm not in that habit and it usually takes more fussing than I care to undertake to get it all properly arranged.
But, all is not lost, as so far I have found that my standard winter motorcycle glove collection fits over the top of the outer jacket cuff, helped no doubt by the slight tapering of the sleeve and the closer overall fit of the Armas jacket.
The internal wind cuff also does an excellent job at keeping out any cold air and it helps to keep my wrists and forearms more comfortable.
It does make for a bit of a strange feeling when the jacket is removed; pulling out the arms turns the "sock" of a wind cuff inside-out, which gives the feeling that the liner sleeve is coming out with the arm. But it reverses itself easily enough the next time the arm enters the jacket.
Continuing down the front, the Armas jacket features the latest "Version 2" of the Gore "Lockout" closure system (report). This is a unique design that replaces the classic zipper. The Lockout closure is designed to be completely waterproof.
Rukka includes a small spray bottle of silicone lube for spreading on the edges of the Lockout closure and this is enough to probably last about five lifetimes.
There's not much of a trick to using the Lockout closure; if you've used a zipper (and who hasn't?), then you got it. The main difference is the metal lock at the zipper box on the hem.
When the Lockout closure is engaged, snap the lock home and remember to cover the metal with the fabric tab -- this is an idiosyncrasy of the design and if you don't remember to fold the tab up and snap it closed, there is a chance that you'll scratch the fuel tank on some bikes.
I've been very happy with the Armas jacket, no two ways about it. But, here's the one issue I have: there is no wind-blocking flap behind the Lockout closure and the Outlast zip-in liner doesn't run across the chest -- the vertical zippers are located on either side of the placket.
So if it's really cold, you might feel a temperature difference in back of the Lockout closure; there's basically nothing else there to block it.
The Outlast works so well that in cold weather I can feel where the Outlast ends on either side of the plackets and I can feel a cooler strip down the front of the jacket, behind the Lockout closure.
If you're riding behind a fairing or windscreen, you'd probably never notice it. I'll also guess that most riders probably aren't out in 35 degree (F) weather on a "naked" bike like I was, wearing the Armas jacket with only a short cotton T-shirt underneath...
The problem is easily solved wearing a base layer in cold weather, or something like the Rev'it "Scoop" windproof vest (review) or other type of windproof vest. Otherwise, the Outlast liner works a charm to keep me warm in some pretty cold weather.
The remaining zippers on the Armas jacket are the standard YKK type but with the water-resistant zipper coverings.
The two top vents are located at the upper shoulders and they open directly into the jacket body, although there isn't much to hold them open so the air flow is minimal.
Since the entire jacket shell is waterproof without requiring a separate liner, the vents open directly through the shell and flow air on to the rider. Those are the only two vents on the jacket; the Gore-Tex Pro Shell allows moisture exchange properties provide a comfortable interior, although the Armas is really a Fall/Winter/Spring jacket.
For hot-weather riding with Rukka levels of protection and quality, the Rukka Airway is the ticket and I'll be reviewing that next.
The vent zipper openings are covered by the Gore-Tex shell fabric, with the zipper located underneath and at the bottom of the overlying material. All of the zippers have "Rukka" labeled textile pull tabs.
The Armas jacket includes a total of seven pockets. The three internal pockets are "waterproof", only because they're located on the inside of the Gore-Tex shell. They don't appear to have any other waterproof properties.
One pocket is in the Outlast liner at the lower left and there are two placket pockets on either side of the jacket on the inside. These are useful for storing a wallet and cell phone to keep them dry.
The jacket has four external pockets, including two hand pockets and two on the upper chest located on either side of the placket.
I'm not sure why Rukka doesn't label these pockets as waterproof, because technically they're behind the outer shell material. Perhaps the water-resistant zipper covers aren't completely waterproof?
Also, the hand pockets have external flaps to cover the water-resistant zippers and the flap is placed on top with the opening pointing down, so any water flows over the flap and off the bottom, further protecting the zipper.
In practice, however, they remained dry during some wet weather I encountered when evaluating the Armas jacket.
My feeling is that the outer pockets are about as waterproof -- or water resistant -- as most of the external pockets on other motorcycle jackets.
April 2013 - A few days after our Rukka Airway jacket review was published, we received a press release from Forcefield regarding their new Pro Back Insert, which is available for Rukka Jackets. Here's an edited version:
The ever popular Forcefield Pro Back Insert range has been bolstered with yet another new shape to further increase the range of motorcycle jackets and suits the protective inserts can be fitted to.
Designed to upgrade or replace existing armour, the new Pro Back Insert 009 is suitable for men’s and ladies Rukka motorcycle jackets using the existing built in pocket.
Made from Nitrex Evo, a unique high tech shock absorbing material, energy can be dispersed and absorbed evenly over the whole surface whilst remaining flexible and comfortable.
Nitrex Evo also provides Repeat Performance Technology (RPT) to ensure that even after multiple impacts there is no loss of protective performance.
The Pro Back Insert 009 is fully CE approved to the very latest standard FprEN1621-2:2013 Level 2 and will be available from May 2013 through this link to RevZilla.
[UPDATE: Read the webBikeWorld Forcefield Pro Back Insert review; first EC Level 2 back protector to meet the 2013 standards, now with a shape designed specifically for the Rukka jackets.]
The Armas jacket comes with Rukka "RVP Air" protection in the shoulders, elbows and back. The back protector is CE Level 1 rated and it has a very open type of molding that allows good air flow.
It was specifically designed to work with the more heavy-duty Gore-Tex with Armacor outer shell on the Armas jacket; the maximum amount of vent spaces allows the moisture control system in the Gore-Tex membrane to work unimpeded.
The elbow armor is inserted in pockets inside the sleeves, while the back protector is easily accessible via a zippered pocket opening at the lower part of the jacket in the rear.
Rukka has collaborated with d3o to develop another type of protection that will be inserted as original equipment in some of the other styles of Rukka clothing.
The Rukka version will be a Rukka-only and Rukka-labeled design, but it looks very similar or based on the new d3o "Xergo" padding that is designed to meet the updated prEN1621-1:2011 certification at Level 2.
The d3o protectors use a different technology than the Rukka RVP Air protectors, but Rukka indicated that the best choice for the Armas jacket is the RVP Air protectors to provide the optimal breathability, air flow and moisture transfer.
There is an optional d3o protector kit for the Armas jacket however, for those who wish to try it.
The RVP Air padding is located in the elbows, shoulders and back. It is removable but, like most protection of this type, you don't want to remove it if you don't have to -- it's fairly easy to remove but difficult to replace correctly.
I can say that the Rukka "Air" protection does not seem to block the transfer of air and moisture through the Gore-Tex Pro Shell, and it also provides excellent coverage and it's flexible and doesn't interfere with mobility.
The Outlast liner fitted to the Armas jacket is one of the best features of this product. It is about as thin as it gets for a motorcycle jacket liner and it has a slightly strange feel, but the Outlast technology really works.
It was evaluated by two different motorcyclists over a period of time and in a variety of weather and temperatures and it never failed to keep the riders comfortable.
Of course, since we're in December, the temperatures have been cool, rather than warm, but we've experienced a range of about 35 F up to 62 F, which is probably perfect for the Armas gear.
When the temperature is warmer, the Rukka outfit feels comfortable and moisture-free on the inside. In cooler weather, the Outlast effect can really be felt, keeping the rider warmer than expected, considering the minimal layers involved.
We specifically did not wear any thermal underwear or liners underneath during our evaluations, only a standard cotton underpants and T-shirt, to ensure that we would feel the full effect of the Outlast technology.
The only issue was the one I addressed earlier, where it would be nice to have a wind barrier or thermal flap behind the Lockout closure to keep the center part of the chest warmer.
The Armas jacket has laminated strips of very highly reflective material on the upper arms and mid-back. I'm not sure what type of retro-reflective textile is used by Rukka, but it really "pops" when light hits it.
Even when the jacket is on the hanger, any nearby light will reflect back from those strips and it is surprisingly bright.
|webBikeWorld Opinionator: Rukka Armas Jacket|
The Rukka Armas jacket incorporates most of the best technology currently available in motorcycle clothing. It feels like it looks -- rugged, no-nonsense and built to last.
It has easily bested every type of weather we've experienced in the last month or so, from cold rain to damp fog to Spring-like sunny days.
Perhaps there is a psychological effect of knowing the cost of the jacket -- and the reputation of the Rukka brand -- but wearing the Armas jacket does make me feel like I'm as protected as I can be, and that is always a good thing.
I have worn it in a wide variety of early winter weather and find that it has less bulk than my other heavy winter motorcycle jackets while still providing the same levels of comfort.
The jacket is probably more focused on cool-weather riding, from early Fall to late Spring and the Gore-Tex shell should also be appropriate for wet-weather riding and some summer use.
When the temperatures reach above 75 degrees or so, the Rukka Airway jacket and AirVision pants would probably be the better choice.
I'd like to see Rukka add a storm flap behind the main Lockout closure to insulate the rider's chest, but this is a minor issue.
Yes, the Armas jacket is about as expensive as it gets for motorcycle clothing. It will be difficult to justify for some.
The only thing I can say is that it really does feel "built like a tank" and it sure seems like it would last longer than 2-3 cheaper outfits and during that time, it will probably provide better protection from the elements.
In the end, it might actually work out that you could spend more and get less, at least over the long term.
It's not for everyone, but there are many Rukka fans out there and have been for years.
If you're a serious, year-'round rider who needs ultimate protection from the elements and the pavement, you probably already know the value of the Rukka brand.
|wBW Review: Rukka Armas Jacket|
|Manufacturer: Rukka (L-Fashion Group Oy, Finland)||List Price (2012): $1,299.00|
|Colors: Black with Black, Gray, Blue, Yellow or Red.||Made In: Unknown|
|Sizes: 46-66 (64-66 only in black).||Review Date: December 2012|
From "M.S." (February 2016): "I first bought my Rukka Armas shortly after UK launch in 2009. It's now 2016 and it's still going strong, showing a little wear in places, but then I’ve been doing 15,000 to 20,000 miles every year for six, nearly seven years in it, so that’s to be expected.
In between I’ve used a number of other Brands for specialist purposes, such as Klim for Off-road adventure riding, which included about 6,000 miles off road through Africa. I wish I’d taken the Rukka, even in those hot temperatures…my comfort would have been so much better.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with my Rukka Armas jacket and pants. Fit and comfort are first class, I NEVER get wet -- something of a plus for the UK -- and I know many have complained about the front closure, but for me at least (provided you lube it well and frequently -- bi-weekly) then it's a dream.
Flexible, comfortable, water tight and doesn't scratch the tank on my BMW R1200GSA LC.
Sadly, I’ve had occasion to test the kit “on road” -- literally -- landing on my shoulder at about 30mph/40mph, and it's as tough as old boots, frankly, I was amazed…unharmed and amazed.
Gripes? Well, ideally more ventilation, maybe a zipper across the back between shoulders and at least an option to have a hydration pack between the outer and the back protector?
Anything else after six years hard use? Actually no. Would I buy another? In the blink of an eye -- it's a wonderful product that’s kept me safe, dry and comfortable, warm when needed, cool too, though I would like a little bit extra in the way of ventilation.
One more thing: I use a 62 and I’d like high viz but high viz stops at 58. Do Rukka think that in the bigger sizes our shape casts a shadow large enough that we don’t need high viz? Really?"
From "A.P." (February 2013): "I have had my Armas jacket for over two years and the pants for one and have found it to be an excellent product. I currently ride a BMW K1600GT and before that the R1200RT.
In life you get what you pay for, and while expensive I feel I am worth the protection it provides. It was -4 C and I was very comfortable riding."
From "O.R." (December 2012): "First, let me say that I am baffled at P.W.'s comment (below). That person seems to believe that the entire universe should be focused on the U.S of A. market, and be reminded that "[they] live in different latitude, and actually get intense sunlight…"
There are hundreds of millions of customers elsewhere in the world, and maybe, just maybe, the U.S. of A. are not such an important demographic to Rukka that they should be forced into manufacturing for.
And to say that "The southern most points in Spain are at about the same latitude as NYC…" in the hope of proving that south Spain is not really very hot, is showing a total lack of geographic knowledge, since temperatures can easily climb into the mid 30s C in summer there, if not higher.
Hotter than many places in the U.S.
That being said, I have tried several brands of high-end kit -- Rev'it, BMW, Dainese and Rukka has always come up first. Construction, materials, fit, comfort, waterproofing, windproofing -- everything is always top-notch.
To the point that Rukka is now the only brand I look into.
The only big mistake -- and I mean big -- they have made recently is giving in to Gore's demands when negotiating with them, and accepted to fit their stuff with their horrible Lockout closure.
First, if you're not extremely careful to insert the slider into the female part all the way down, and then closing the safety lock (a safety lock on a zip system!) this thing will eventually open on its own while you're going 120 kmh on the highway.
Then, the maintenance with the silicone bar is an every two-week chore, not from time to time. Otherwise, the systems starts sticking very quickly. Also, it is rigid and uncomfortable. Finally, it's downright ugly.
I have written to Rukka to vent my frustration with what I call a cheap decision on their part to augment profit, even on their most top-of-the line products. I don't know if they have improved the thing, but by the look of it, I doubt it.
And it's still as ugly as ever. It's a shame because, as I said, Rukka jackets are generally the best out there."
From "P.W." (December 2012): "I'm one of those guys who is lucky enough to be able to buy the good stuff but with that comes the demand for getting what I want and this Rukka gear isn't it, yet. Nor is any other of the high end gear out that you have reviewed.
Someone needs to remind these higher end Euro manufacturers that we live at a different latitude and actually get intense sunlight, especially in warmer months and that makes the mostly black pretty foolish despite the claims made by some for reduced heat absorbance, etc. for some materials.
The southern most points in Spain are at about the same latitude as NYC and Finland is much further north so I guess I can see why Rukka hasn't figured that out. But the folks at RevZilla surely ought to be able to provide some useful guidance for them.
Then there's the fact that dark colors are far less visible than light colors in any lighting condition; I'm not a fan of starting out handicapped like that when visibility is one of the things you can easily improve to stay alive on a bike.
Also, they need to can the ads all over the product. I won't buy gear that carries a highly visible bike brand logo let alone a full set of ads from all the guys who supplied parts for it.
Gore-Tex, Outlast, etc. is all good stuff but keep the ads on the tags and interior labels.
The Rukka approach is better suited to customers for low end gear who might like to display their ability to buy a certain brand, not their potential customers here. Folks who can afford expensive stuff aren't generally into flaunting that fact.
What I'm looking for is well styled, light background (perhaps a light grey) with decent but not overwhelming high viz amount on sleeves and body panels, all the high tech features including good night reflectivity and 3/4 length.
As far as I'm concerned, nothing made matches that description, yet.
Looks like my 4 year old Revit gear will get to go a few more seasons, yet. Can't make sense of spending the extra unless I get the features I want (I prefer white or hi-viz helmets, too, for the same reasons).
From "L.B." (December 2012): "I have been following your site for years and learnt a lot of things from your reviews. I think it is one of the best made bikers' sites in the world.
After reading your review of the Rukka Armas Jacket, let me raise some doubts. I do not doubt it is made with state-of-the-art technology, fabrics and stitching.
What makes me wonder is the fact we have no frame of reference for Rukka's claims abouts its safety and real ability to withstands crashes, abrasion, attrition, etc.
Nowadays, the only almost objective way we have to evaluate those parameters is their compliance to EU-EN standards (EN 13595-1 to EN 13595-4).
Rukka sell protections that are already compliant with internationally accepted standards, why should not they make their best products compliant to other parts of those standards?
I know you already treated this topic (of motorcycle clothing safety standards). Otherwise, we must be confident they made it the best way possible, passively accept their ads and hope not to test their products personally.
Rick's Reply: I agree with you and we have discussed this issue several times in different reviews. And what you say about Rukka can also be said about almost all of the other clothing manufacturers.
One really never knows if one brand of clothing or another will provide better protection. Part of the problem is that no rider wants to act as the tester for crashing wearing the different clothes! And, no two crashes are alike.
So in the end, if the clothing doesn't meet some type of recognized standard (and the standards have their own problems, they aren't necessarily representative of a real-world crash), then the rider never really knows.
However, subjectivity and common sense come into play. If I was going to crash, I'd want to be in the best leather one-piece suit I could buy. After that, perhaps the Rukka gear. If I had to crash, I'd rather not be wearing one of the inexpensive brands of clothing...
From "S.S." (December 2012): "If there are any engineers among your readers, could one of them chime in and explain how Outlast can possibly work?
Everything I have found on the web seems to describe it as being small balls of a paraffin-like oily, waxy substance that melts when it gets warm. It just does not sound plausible.
I'm wondering if the positive comments have more to do with the placebo effect rather than actual measureable results?
Given the advanced fabrics present in many of these expensive garments, I am not sure how one would be able to distinguish where the actual credit for a given effect were due, especially since most of us are used to the typical nylon or polyester fabric's performance?
My second comment is that I think some of these companies might want to tone the billboard like appearance down a bit if they want to attract older riders (the ones with money).
As for the cost, at this price point (Motoport, Rukka, Klim, etc.) you are not really buying a garment so much as an armored climate control system, and if the various features meet your needs and the armor and protective qualities are first rate, they really are a bargain.
The outstanding quality of this type of garment means it will outlast (sorry) several less expensive alternatives, and perform better while doing so. Not such a bad deal, really?"
Rick's Reply: Outlast works, it's definitely not a placebo effect. I have several Outlast garments and I've always been impressed. Best explanation is here on the Outlast website.
Regarding the styling, I like it and...I bet I'm older than you! So, you never know about opinions on styling, everyone is different. I actually don't like motorcycle clothes that are too demure, I'd rather have some pizzazz.
It's one person's opinion and taste over another's, and everyone has a different feeling about it.
"Armored climate control system" -- I like it!
From "D.W." (December 2012): "I really enjoyed reading the review of the Rukka jacket. It reminded me of the the car magazines I receive and their coverage of Ferraris and Lamborghinis and other ultra expensive rides.
I can't afford them but I hope that in time, their technology will filter down to cars closer to my budget. Keep up the good work."
From "D.H." (December 2012): "FYI, the Jan. 2013 issue of Ride (UK) contains a post-crash review and photos of the Armas jacket and pants one of Ride's editors was wearing when he was knocked off his bike by an out-of-control cager at 45-50 mph."