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Rukka Armaxion Jacket Review

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Review
Rukka "Armaxion" Jacket Review
by Rick K. and Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The Rukka Armaxion jacket is sort of a variant of the ultra-spec Rukka Armas jacket (review).

The Armaxion jacket differs in that it doesn't have the Superfabric or the Gore Lockout closure system (report) of the Armas.

It also has a slightly different cut or styling than the Armas; the former is more of a sport/touring jacket and the latter is shaded towards adventure-touring.

The Armaxion does have the Gore-Tex Pro Shell With Armacor (report), which has to be one of the most durable textiles currently available for motorcycle gear.

The Gore-Tex Pro shell means that the Armaxion is waterproof at the outer boundary layer and a separate water-resistant liner is not needed. A very warm removable thermal reflective liner is included.

With its shorter length, the Armaxion jacket feels more comfortable for everyday riding than the Armas. The Armas also has the stiff and somewhat raggedly-applied Superfabric on the elbows, which made the arms feel more constrictive. For all-around motorcycle use, we prefer the Armaxion.

The Armaxion has hidden zippers on either side along the torso that open up for ventilation over the Gore-Tex membrane and these give the jacket a dual personality by relaxing the fit for off-road riding.

This is a Rukka product, so it's going to be expensive. But consider this: with the lifetime Gore-Tex guarantee and the very hefty construction and materials, this jacket should last indefinitely while keeping you dry, warm and -- hopefully -- safe.

Amortize the cost over its lifetime and it's possible that you could actually save money in the long run.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket 

The Rukka Armaxion Jacket: Details

The Rukka Armaxion jacket is new for 2014, sliding into third place in the Rukka textile jacket lineup, with the Rukka Armas jacket (review) still top dog and the Rukka Cosmic, which we haven't reviewed, in second spot.

The Armaxion seems to be more of a sport-touring and "all-around" jacket compared to the Armas and Cosmic. The Armaxion has a slightly shorter jacket length that feels more comfortable for street riding.

This is a heavy-duty three-season jacket for Fall, Winter and Spring wear in the U.S.A., although it may also serve for all-season riding in cooler northern European climes.

So while our current equatorial jungle-like Mid-Atlantic hot and humid July weather may seem an odd time to post an Armaxion review, cooler weather will be here sooner than you think and it may be time to start saving your pennies. Especially if next winter is anything like the last...

With the removable full-length "thermoreflective" liner removed, the Armaxion does winter as well as anything you'll find. And it's actually more functional than you might expect as the temperature climbs, probably due to the breathability offered by the Gore-Tex shell.

In fact, this jacket feels much like the Klim Badlands Pro (review) in warm weather, which has the same type of Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric. The Klim jacket does have a looser off-road type fit though, which somewhat counteracts the black fabric color, while the Armaxion has a slightly more tapered sport-riding shape.

Back when the weather was cooler and about the time when we thought the winter of 2013-2014 would never end, the thick "thermoreflective"  liner with the Armaxion shell was about as warm and comfy as it gets for motorcycle gear. The thermal liner attaches to the shell with a full length zipper in the front and has two buttons inside each of the sleeves at the cuffs, one red and one black for identification.

The jacket feels very substantial with the liner in place and if combined with the Armaxion pants, you'd have an excellent no-holds-barred winter outfit.

The Armaxion comes in typical Rukka Finnish winter colors, all variants of basic black. These include all-black; black with orange piping; black with yellow or the black with red accent panels shown in these photos.

I've complained about Rukka's color pallet before, but at least they're getting close with this one. Now all they need to do is reverse the black sections for yellow or red or orange and they'd be on to something.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Stitching
Misaligned panels on the left shoulder (L) and misaligned panels on the upper sleeve (R).
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Stitching and Construction

Many of the features of the Armaxion jacket will be familiar to Armas owners and Rukka owners in general. But while the Armas has Superfabric, an Outlast thermal liner and a Gore Lockout closure for the main entry, the Armaxion has a waterproof YKK zipper for the main entry; no Superfabric and a thermoreflective rather than Outlast liner.

Otherwise, the Armaxion and Armas are very similar jacket in terms of construction and functionality.

The stitching on the Armaxion has the same rugged countenance as other Rukka gear and, in fact, the contrasting stitch look is a signature Rukka styling feature.

It all looks nice but there a couple of panels on the shoulders of this particular Armaxion jacket that don't match up correctly, which seems an oversight (photo above). The mis-match probably doesn't affect the function or performance of the jacket, but you'd think they'd sweat the small details on a thousand-buck jacket, no?

The stitching on the Armas was exceptionally nice (other than the construction of the Superfabric on the elbows), so the difference here is, well, interesting. But, elsewhere on the Armaxion, the stitching quality is top-drawer.

Gore-Tex Pro Shell With Armacor

Let's take another look at the textile used for the Armaxion shell. We've described all of the latest Gore-Tex fabric types before in our Gore-Tex Membranes for Motorcycle Clothing report, so be sure to read that article, which has a lot of information and photos on all the Gore-Tex shell types.

The Armaxion features the ultra-high-end Gore-Tex Pro Shell with "Armacor" technology in the critical areas, like the other high-end Rukka jackets. Armacor combines a bonded (laminated) Gore-Tex membrane with a Kevlar and Cordura shell to provide water resistance at the outermost boundary layer.

As we wrote in the Rukka Armas review, the Gore-Tex Pro Shell provides a guaranteed waterproof layer at the outer part of the shell, which is what many motorcycle riders demand -- although few are willing to pay for it. The Armaxion does not have a separate internal waterproof liner and it doesn't need one. This shell is 100% waterproof, at least in any reasonable test we've concocted for it.

The Pro Shell Armacor, with the rip-stop crosshatch pattern, is used in the shoulders and outer arms of the Armaxion for added abrasion protection. The elbows have a complex design, which adds some curvature to the arms to make the jacket more comfortable and the design seems to work.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Front Side Views 

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Vents

While we're on the subject of the shell, you may have noticed in the photos that the Armaxion has no vents in front. This is to maintain the integrity of the Gore-Tex membrane and, in theory, the breathability of the membrane makes vents somewhat redundant.

There are two vents in the rear of the jacket, under a flap and the vents use water-resistant YKK zippers. I don't feel any direct air flow through the jacket but I'd suggest you keep them open all the time, as they help exhaust moist air from around the Gore-Tex membrane.

The Armaxion also has a couple of hidden side vents, located under the arms on the body of the jacket (photo in the Lightbox slide show). These use the water-resistant YKK zippers and they're very long, about 34 cm.

Opening the sides gives the jacket a looser off-road type of fit, which means the Armaxion is actually a better dual-sport jacket than you might think. The open vents also help move the air around the inside of the jacket and out the exhausts in the rear.

The system does works better than expected and I don't really notice the absence of front vents, at least in cooler-weather riding. Let's face it: most of the front vents on this type of heavier winter-focused jacket don't do much anyway and it's always a compromise between warmth, water-resistance and air flow.

I'm a fan of the modern iteration of Gore-Tex and the Armaxion confirms my belief in the product's usefulness for motorcycling. But for true hot-weather riding, Rukka would probably prefer that you buy the Rukka AirMan jacket (review) or the Rukka AiRider jacket (review), both with large doses of mesh.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Collar 

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Zippers

The main entry zipper of the Armaxion is a water-resistant YKK type rather than the Gore Lockout closure (report) used on the Armas. Some owners aren't too fond of the Lockout closure but it has been improved since it was introduced in 2009. I rather like it and never experienced any issues with it and I'm guessing it will continue to be improved.

The water-resistant zipper on the Armaxion surely costs less than the Lockout closure. It has rubberized fabric on either side, which slides into the runner as the jacket is zipped. The two sections then fit pretty tightly together when the zipper is secured, although it doesn't create a perfect 100% waterproof seal.

But behind the zipper is a big 60 mm wide flap with a rain gutter to block what little moisture may find its way through and this proved to be perfectly functional during an awful summer downpour that caught me by surprise one day.

The jacket has a large hook-and-loop flap at the bottom hem and at the neck to further improve sealing. The bottom flap also covers the zipper end to help prevent paint scratches.

The neck has a double hook-and-loop area and it seals up nicely and provides a wide adjustment range where it meets a 100 mm wide matching section of "loop" bonded to the right-hand side of the collar.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Sleeve Cuff

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Sleeve Cuffs

The sleeve cuffs are the standard Rukka design, with a vertical 120 mm zipper along the outside and a hook-and-loop cinch flap.

I/we have complained about this design also in other webBikeWorld Rukka reviews; I think the design should have a dart or "V" shape sewn in behind the hook-and-loop so the sleeve can be tightened without bunching. I also don't like the zipper pull tab hanging down on my hand.

On the Armaxion, however, the design doesn't seem quite as bothersome. The jacket also has the attached inner cuff that forms a secondary sleeve that keeps out the wind and water, and while this adds some bulk, it does a good job in keeping the wearer comfortable in wet and/or cold weather.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Pockets
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Jacket Adjustments

The Armaxion has dual sleeve width adjusters on both arms; one adjuster is located at the bicep and one at the forearm. These have three snaps for adjustment and the outer button has a rubberized coating.

There's a short waist adjuster -- or rather a hem adjustment -- at the rear bottom section of the jacket. The Armaxion does not have the typical waist strap type adjuster often found in motorcycle jackets and I wish there was a bit more adjustment at the waist.

The overall shape of the jacket tapers slightly towards the bottom, but for riders with a too-many-beer stomach, opening up the side vents adds a size or two to the lower width, which can be a bonus.

Rukka Armaxion Fit and Sizing

Rukka clothing seems to run about 1 to 1.5 sizes big and this size 54 feels like a U.S. size XL, especially once the insulating liner is removed. It should fit about a 44" chest and 36" to maybe 38" waist. The size 54 jacket is actually too big for me; I should have ordered a 52 or perhaps even a 50.

Although I have to say, most U.S. motorcycle riders seem to like their clothes to fit loose -- too loose, in my opinion. Many riders I've talked to in the local shops think that what is actually the correct size, with a snug fit for motorcycle clothes, is too tight.

That's a shame, because properly snug-fitting motorcycle gear is crucial to performance with regards to warmth, water-resistance and -- most importantly -- for safety (by keeping the protectors tight against your body).

If you don't believe that motorcyclists generally prefer sizes that are too big, just take a look at some of the magazine photos of people wearing different brands. The jackets and pants almost always look a couple of sizes too big -- especially the riders in the Olympia ads.

The RevZilla size chart for Rukka gear seems off to me and I've mentioned this before. They show a 54 as fitting a 42" to 43" chest, but I think that for anyone with a 42-43" chest, the size 54 Armaxion would be a size or two more than needed.

The only quirk is that the Armaxion jacket -- even in the size 54 that is at least one size too large for me -- feels a bit tight across the back. I wish there was a pleat designed into the shoulder to provide a little more flexibility.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Rear View
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Pockets

The Armaxion jacket has four pockets, including two hand pockets on the outside with water-resistant YKK zippers hidden under protective flaps and two internal pockets, one on either placket (nice!). There's also a pocket in the insulating liner.

The pockets in the placket are noteworthy for their very smooth zipper operation. The zippers are unbranded but have a nicely contoured large metal pull with "Rukka" embossing.

Safety and Protection

The Armaxion jacket comes with the Rukka D3O Air protectors in the shoulders and elbows. There was a special deal running when our jacket arrived that included a free Level 2 back protector, but this has apparently ended; Rukka is having difficulty filling orders for the Rukka D3O "Air Central" back protector, which is currently out of stock until the Fall.

The Forcefield Pro Back Insert (review) is said to fit the Armaxion jacket (available here) and, to be honest, I prefer it over the D3O, although I have to say that the D3O Air Central protector we have in this Armaxion is nicer than D3O products I've used in the past.

The Level 1 elbow protectors and shoulder protectors are 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.

The proprietary Rukka D3O protectors are perforated for breathability, air flow and moisture transfer.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket Reflectivity

Reflectivity

Rukka jackets have excellent reflectivity and the Armaxion is no exception. The jacket has the same type and style of laminated strips of very highly reflective material on the upper arms and mid-back that are found on the Armas jacket.

The brand of retro-reflective material used by Rukka is unknown, 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.

wBW High-End Clothing Comparison
Jacket Review Shell Fabric Armacor Liner Superfabric Lockout Back Protector Protectors Cost
Rukka Armaxion Gore-Tex Pro Y Thermal N N None Level 1 $999
Rukka Armas Gore-Tex Pro Y Outlast Y Main Entry Level 1 Level 1 $1,299
Rev'it Everest GTX Gore-Tex Pro N Exkin Y Vents None Level 1 $980
Klim Badlands Pro Gore-Tex Pro Y None N N Level 2 Level 1 $890
Rev'it Defender GTX Gore-Tex Performance N Exkin Y N None Level 1 $700
Richa Spirit Nanosphere/Schoeller C_Change N Schoeller
C_Change
N N Level 2 Level 2 $700
Comparisons

Just for reference, we had put together a matrix comparing some of the features of the other high-end jackets we've reviewed in the Armas jacket review, so we might as well continue it here.

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 Armas and Armaxion back protectors are optional, also kind of a problem at the prices they charge.

Rukka Armaxion Jacket - wBW Lightbox - Click a photo to start the slide show.
Rukka Armas Jacket Collar Rukka Armas Jacket Elbow Rukka Armas Jacket Pocket Rukka Armas Jacket Shoulder Rukka Armas Jacket Side Vent Rukka Armas Jacket Sleeve Adjusters Rukka Armas Jacket Upper Chest
Collar Elbow Pocket Shoulder Side Vent Sleeve Adjusters Upper Chest
webBikeWorld Opinionator: Rukka Armaxion Jacket
Picks...
...and Pans
  • Excellent overall quality.
  • Top-drawer specifications and technology.
  • Absolutely waterproof at the outermost shell layer.
  • Heavy-duty "lifetime" feel.
  • More comfortable cut than the Armas jacket.
  • Eye-popping reflective strips.
  • Price.
  • Mis-matched panels on the shoulders.
  • Back protector not included.
  • Not a fan of the Rukka sleeve cuff design.
  • Could use a pleated design in the shoulders for more flexible fit across the back.
Conclusion

I/we have been rather critical of some Rukka clothing in the webBikeWorld reviews and there's a reason for that: the higher the price, the greater the scrutiny. Small details that can be overlooked on, say, a 200-buck Tourmaster jacket become glaring faults on a thousand-dollar Rukka, Klim or Rev'it jacket.

That said, the Rukka Armaxion is my favorite Rukka jacket so far. I do think the cut and the shape is more suitable to a variety of riding styles and types than the other Rukka textile jackets we've reviewed.

I don't miss the Superfabric, because it seemed too bulky, stiff and a bit crude as applied to the Armas. The arms and elbow design on the Armaxion just seems to make this jacket more comfortable, at least for my style of riding.

Like all Rukka clothing, the Armaxion jacket is expensive. But it does offer a lot, with a fully waterproof Gore-Tex Pro Shell exterior and a very rugged feel that should provide about the best protection going. Just make sure you buy the correct snug fit...

This is a jacket that should be labeled "For Professional Use Only". Serious motorcycle riders -- including street, sport, dual-sport and even cruiser owners -- could buy one of these and it should last for...who knows? Decades?

If it does -- and I'd have no reason to believe otherwise -- the price can be justified because it will provide better weather and rider protection than 3-4 cheaper disposable jackets. We've mentioned this before in Rukka reviews and it's this long-view outlook that is probably the most important factor to consider when buying -- or investing, rather -- in a motorcycle jacket of this caliber.

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wBW Review: Rukka Armaxion Jacket
Manufacturer: Rukka (L-Fashion Group Oy, Finland) Suggested Retail Price: $999.00
Colors: Black with black, yellow or red inserts. Also black with orange piping. Made In: China
Sizes: 46-66 (64-66 only in black). Review Date: July 2014
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

Your Comments and Feedback

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Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "N" (July 2014): "A few times in this review you mentioned that while the cost is high, the durability and lifetime warranty mean that you'll have it for [possibly] decades, making the value proposition much better than the cheaper jackets that we usually consider "disposable."

Something I was curious about, however is if the warranty covers crash damage as well. If these extremely high price jacks have the same 1-2 crash limitation as the $300-$400 jackets and don't have an AFX helmet style "if it's destroyed in the crash, we'll give you a new one" warranty, that value proposition does go down a bit.

In your experience, have you guys found that these jackets can withstand a proportionate amount of damage to make up for the extra money you're out if you do trash it? Just a thought. Thanks!"

Editor's Reply: It's impossible to say how one piece of motorcycle protective gear will react in a crash and/or compared to another type or brand. I have always regarded motorcycle boots, pants, jackets, gloves and helmet as "one time use expendable". By this I mean that if you crash, the gear protects you to the best of its ability. You thank it, hang it up in the garage as a reminder and buy another to replace it.

Since there really are no "scientific" tests that will tell motorcyclists whether or not a Rukka (for example) product will protect a rider better than, say, a Joe Rocket product, we as motorcyclists can only go by what the manufacturers tell us. Yes, there are some CE standards and tests, and that's a step in the right direction, but there's a huge knowledge chasm out there regarding real-world (i.e., street) protective clothing crash performance.

It's too bad there isn't an independent, not-for-profit organization that tests motorcycle gear. One way to do this would be to get the manufacturers to support a tax on all motorcycle protective gear that would go towards funding such an organization. Dream on...

Regarding Rukka products, they are currently warranted for 5 years. Warranty issues from a manufacturing defect or failure in a material are covered, but not crash damage. The waterproofing is guaranteed for life via the Gore-Tex lifetime warranty.

In the U.S., warrantee issues should be directed to the U.S. importer, RevZilla, who will either facilitate a repair or replacement. Rukka products outside of warrantee may be repairable through Rainy Pass Repair (U.S.A.).


From "S.G." (July 2014): "For this kind of money you are firmly in BMW Atlantis territory, where you can get real leather, with leather feel and wear (pliability), through-the-grain waterproofing (no sweaty membrane), leather breathability and leather abrasion resistance. The observations in the review confirm my experience (from trying on textile jackets) that any textile jacket that tries to compete in sturdiness and safety with real leather is bound to feel much stiffer and less comfortable."

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