Sunday, November 18, 2012
Richa Sky Jacket (and trousers) Review
The Richa Sky jacket is a three-quarter length touring jacket which retails in the above-€200 bracket (generally on sale for between €220 and 250) and is touted as being one of Richas top of the line jackets. I bought one six weeks ago (October 2012) as a replacement for a Duchinni item I had bought in a sale for €80 about 3 or 4 years earlier and which had served me well. However with a couple of rips from a spill I had over a year ago I reckoned now was a good time to go and replace it as the winter set in.
It was strange buying the Sky because I had actually went into the shop convinced that it was not the jacket I wanted. Riding a VFR I wanted something that was a little more of the sports-style cut so it would not bunch against the tank as the Duchinni had. However what the Sky had on offer for the price (it was on sale for €120 or 130...can't remember!) could not be beaten and there was no way I could leave it behind especially seeing as it fitted me so well.
The jacket seemed to fit like a glove with a slight tightness that made me feel safe within it and which I knew would "give" ever so slightly as time went on as much like leather fabric gear also tends to loosen, although to a lesser extent that leather. Even if it did become that bit looser there was a waist strap and buttons to narrow the sleeves too. The shoulder and elbow armour all fitted into place perfectly and the back armour was reassuring too with the tight(ish) fit ensuring that it all stayed in place. Thwt being said I do find that the elbow armour sticks out when you are hunched over on the bike and leaves the elbow itself a little exposed. It may be that the sleeve needs a twist when I go to zip the end of the sleeve and pull across the velcro tab at the wrist so as to move the armour to keep it on my elbow.
It is a 3-in-1 jacket which is one reason I didn't want it initially as I didn't want to fiddle around with so many liners but actually I haven't had to. I find that I don't sweat much in it despite it being a warm jacket while the Reissa waterproof liner is something I had much hope for it keeping me dry in downpours as I have had the trousers version of this jacket for some time and it has never let me down.
In light rain the outside of the jacket just shrugs it off but in today's extremely heavy rain I found that the jacket may have let some rain in....through the gloves and the neck. Not exactly the jackets fault then! I was dry everywhere bar around my neck and the wrists as water gathered there (I wear my gloves OVER the jacket so water must have seeped down). In the safety of home I put the Reissa lining in the shower and it kept my hand dry underneath so the stuff does work (now bear in mind I did 75 miles in heavy rain with an average speed of 65mph so eve if it did leak you can't blame it much!). A good test after the long ride was to check the thermal liner in the jacket and this was all dry so the waterproofing did it's job as far as I am concerned and the task goes on to find what can keep the water away from seeping down my neck and gloves.
Apart from rain storms the jacket is actually quite comfortable to walk around in as it's perfect fit allows you to move easily and it keeps the wearer warm in cold weather too. However there are some fiddly points that a potential buyer should be aware of...
There are not many pockets in the jacket - 3 if you discount the phone holder pocket in the thermal liner when I had been used to 4 large ones on the Duchinni. However the Duchinni pockets were never waterproof while one of the Richa ones most certainly is (tested in that rain storm!) while the other two ain't bad either. The thing is however that the "other two", they're waist pockets, close by velcro and can be tricky to close properly when you've gloves on as there is an overcut on the pocket to ensure the contents stay dry and this can stop the velcro from sticking.
There are two zips to close the jacket - one for the Reissa waterproof liner and one for the jacket itself. You don't need to close both unless you want to in the rain and the storm flap does a good job at sealing the zips anyway. The neck could tighten up a bit more but it closes by means of a button rather than the conventional velcro that many jackets use. I also find the jacket can show up rain stains as I have the lighter coloured of the options (grey as the predominant colour). Still these are but small complaints for the price I paid for it in the sale!
Overall I would not hesitate to recommend the jacket to anyone whether they use it for commuting or for long tours. It keeps the cold at bay, seems to be very waterproof and fits me like a glove. Of course reviews of motorbike gear need to be considered with the bike they are used on...in my case a VFR 750. Perhaps comfort and dryness levels would be different on, say, a Bandit as so much more is exposed to the air on a naked bike. From what I have seen in a month of almost every-day wear though, I would bet it would take it all in it's stride. Keep it on your list if you need a jacket that can serve all purposes equally well, be useful in all seasons (it has vents and the thermal liner can zip out) and be protective.
Oh and you may as well pick up the trousers as you're at it...they're just about perfect with my only complaint being that the pockets are not waterproof (but they kept dry through the rain storm today...may be because the jacket covered them or the fairing of the VFR diverting the rain). They can also tend to make your legs very sweaty if you are walking around in hot weather but the same can be said of any heavy clothing I suppose.