Made to measure, waterproof Kangaroo leather jacket with ray skin inserts - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    Wonderful Monday morning everybody

    I just got a new job and will need to commute on the M25 through all seasons, hence I am going to make the bike pay back what I spent to get it - means I will commute on it. I have some OK kit, such as Frank Thomas two piece leathers, waterproof overalls, thermal layers and such but I want a kit that is waterproof from the start and I really like the snug fit of leathers.

    Instead of waiting for the NEC bike show to get some Revit kit (which I really learned to like through numerous tests and long term usage reports in several magazines both in the UK and Germany) I am thinking about getting waterproof made to measure leathers. I have looked at several manufacturers but the only renown one that makes such equipment is a German company called ALNE. I asked for a quote on a waterproof kangaroo leather jackets with ray skin inserts - yes, ALNE doesn't use any type of metal on the shoulders or elbows but ray skin instead. They say metal inserts whilst grinding on tarmac can become sharp and the splinters can also cause injury. Ray skin also has 90% less grip on tarmac then metal and hence will decelerate the body inside the jacket much more gently on impact.

    I read good reviews about this company and asked some details about the jacket itself, for example do I want UK made forcefield EN1621-2 approved protectors in there instead of the SaS-Tec 1621-1 certified ones. They can make one to my measures and with my protectors but would need to see them first to be able to sew them in. They also sent me some pictures of a leather suit with the ray skin worked in there. I am not sure if the seams on the inserts are not a weak point on the leathers, they cost 100 Euros for the shoulders and another 100 Euros for the elbows. On their website it says that with kangaroo leather the ray skin is not really necessary so I might just go for the plain jacket. The quote for the jacket is normally 811,25 but they seem to have an end of season kangaroo leather promotion and want to give me 20% off. On top of that I will be paying UK VAT instead of the higher German one.

    What do you think about the skin ray inserts? Are they a good idea or would you go for the plain jacket? And does anybody on here commute all year around in leathers? I see mostly bikers with good textiles such as Rukka.

    Cheers,

    DJ
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    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
    http://www.ridewithattitude.com/good...-clips.asp?f=1

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  4. #2
    SunnY's Avatar
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    As far as I know. There is no type of truly "waterproof" genuine leather on earth. Real leather is breathable. There are products available to make it "water resistant", but not "water proof"

    I have never heard of ALNE leathers, but will likely do more research on them.

    For quality leathers from a well known brand, and a great overall 2pc suit, although a bit heavy. I would be looking at Hein Gericke.


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  5. #3
    Scorch's Avatar
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    If I had the money, I'd go for the wonderful hydrophobic Rukka Merlin suit:

    http://www.rukkasuperstore.com/Rukka...990_ARIT0.aspx
    http://www.rukkasuperstore.com/Rukka...ingColor=black

    Unfortunately, Rukka stuff is horrendously expensive, and this suit is no exception, costing about 2,500 for the full set.
    Formerly on a Lahar Grey F800S, then after 47,000 happy miles it was traded in for a new Midnight Black F800ST, which was more or less converted back to an S. And now I'm on a brand new R1200RS, which is rather awesome! I'll still stick around if you'll have me, though, as my wife is now on the F800...

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  7. #4
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    That Rukka leather suit certainly is nice But somehow more expensive then the Alne made to measure ones (might be due to end of season and 99% of Germans having a bike more as a toy then a work tool). To say in fact after looking at some high quality textiles and waterproof leathers in the Hein Gericke and Infinity stores close to my old office these leathers are cheaper then some Rukka textiles! As I will be driving towards Munich anyway I am going to pass by their factory close to Aschaffenburg in two weeks to get me measured up, I explained that I need that jacket for commuting and they promised me to give priority to my order and to deliver within two weeks. I will take my camera and take some shots of their factory store, hope to have that jacket for many years to come.
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
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  9. #5
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    I had a Rukka one piece vinyl rain suit oncest. After about 10 years it leaked in the crotch. Sigh, nothing lasts forever.
    Aerostitch is offering a similar leather suit for about 1497 dollars. AAARRRGGGHHH!

  10. #6
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    I got back from my last trip to Germany some three weeks ago (new job, training...GF all keeping me too busy to be on here too often...) and passed by ALNE Leder to order my jacket. That shop is what I call a family owned, craftsman business! I was helped out by the owner himself and had a nice chat with him about how to care for leather, but about that part later.

    I thought I would go for the 1000 Model that is similar to my actual Frank Thomas sporty looking leather jacket, but after considering what type of rider I am and what I would use it for I ordered the long jacket model; very similar in design to a traditional Belstaff touring jacket. Mine will be made out of Kangaroo leather with TFL cool treatment, removable inner lining (which should make it good to ride through winter) and a mesh base lining treated with silver particles to avoid smell and bacterial built up. The protectors are all from SAS-TEC and had very good test results from several magazines; my back protector will be 61 cm in size and is EN1621-2 certified so when I'm using that one I will not need my forcefield back protector. All seams are double stitched and protected (can't be seen from the outside), they use flexible and very sturdy material I was helped out by the owner himself and he told me that the seams need to have a certain degree of flexibility or else they'll burst on impact!

    He also said that they repair all the major brands on the market: Dainese, Alpinestars, Hein Gericke...you name it. 99% of them are made in China and the seams are crap! The material might be good but the stitches are mostly single, exposed to the outside, with inflexible material and the leather panels are glued together at one stage of the process and then passed on to another very busy labourer who hastily stitches them together...on first impact, they'll burst....he also said that stitches are always weak spots, no matter what. Hence when choosing a leather jacket it should ideally be made out of just one or two panels put together.

    You can get the same jacket either from cow hide or kangaroo, on the picture the one on the left is made from the Australian leather I was impressed by the difference in weight between the two!

    The owner also said that my jacket could take road grime and salt, and that there is nothing better to wash it then washing up liquid and that to keep the leather nice I should use Nivea oily skin cream every 4 years!!!! All these years I've been spending on expensive leather care products on all my leather shoes, jackets, belts and gear in vain I suppose if I can just use penny stuff on an 800 Euro Kangaroo leather jacket....
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    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
    http://www.ridewithattitude.com/good...-clips.asp?f=1

  11. #7
    RadMan's Avatar
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    Other than reduced weight, are there other advantages with going kangaroo? How about the hopefully never experienced pavement slide, would kangaroo be as durable?
    Silence is Golden but Duct Tape is Silver.
    2010 F800R - 2011 GSX1250FA

  12. #8
    LytteltonKen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadMan View Post
    Other than reduced weight, are there other advantages with going kangaroo? How about the hopefully never experienced pavement slide, would kangaroo be as durable?
    Radman - have you seen where kangaroos live? Compare that with where cows live. How durable does their skin have to be?

    I think I'd have a bit more faith in 'roo hide than cowhide, but having said that I've taken a few slides down the road in cowhide leathers and jacket and not lost any skin.

    As per Sunny's comment - I have a pretty jaundiced view of leather that claims to be waterproof - however, I'm open to have my mind changed on that (and I truly would like to believe it), so let us know how it goes, djcatshow, through the rain and misery of a European winter.

    As an aside, I bought a Frank Thomas textile jacket about 18 years ago because it was the best available. Once I started using it, I found that it had all sorts of useless stuff and poor design, so I took it back to the factory with a heap of modifications to be done. I asked the warranty guy if any of their design team actually rode motorcycles and he responded "No" to which my reply was that it was bloody obvious none of them did. They were a bit sniffy, didn't listen to any of my feedback, but did the mods anyway, and the jacket is still serving me well, including a major get-off where I broke both my arms and leg (woman ran a red light). FT are clearly still in business, so either their marketing team are extremely good, or they now have some bikers in the design team, but I won't buy any of their gear again. I got some Hein Gericke gloves about the same time, and they've only just given up being waterproof, but they've had a tough life and I'll buy another pair.
    Grammar: The difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you're shit.

  13. #9
    Torro Rosso's Avatar
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    Hein Gericke also came out with Gore Tex 2pc leather for around 800. I would not trust leather on itself to be waterproof for long but Gore Tex rules.

  14. #10
    SunnY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LytteltonKen View Post
    As an aside, I bought a Frank Thomas textile jacket about 18 years ago because it was the best available. Once I started using it, I found that it had all sorts of useless stuff and poor design, so I took it back to the factory with a heap of modifications to be done. I asked the warranty guy if any of their design team actually rode motorcycles and he responded "No" to which my reply was that it was bloody obvious none of them did. They were a bit sniffy, didn't listen to any of my feedback, but did the mods anyway, and the jacket is still serving me well, including a major get-off where I broke both my arms and leg (woman ran a red light). FT are clearly still in business, so either their marketing team are extremely good, or they now have some bikers in the design team, but I won't buy any of their gear again. I got some Hein Gericke gloves about the same time, and they've only just given up being waterproof, but they've had a tough life and I'll buy another pair.
    BKS leathers, a well respected UK brand, owns FT, so yes, they are still in business. However, the FT stuff (at least the stuff I've seen that is shipped to US) is lower grade entry level leathers, and the price reflects this. It appears to me that BKS is the premium line, and the FT is the value line. Having said that, I tried on an FT suit, and it was poorly designed and laid out. Tiny armor areas, poor fit. The suit screamed cheapness. No thanks! The BKS suit I tried on, was much nicer. They didn't have my proper size, or I would have bought it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RadMan View Post
    Other than reduced weight, are there other advantages with going kangaroo? How about the hopefully never experienced pavement slide, would kangaroo be as durable?
    Any advantage of Kangaroo is perceived, for the most part. Regular leather is just fine.
    What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner?

  15. #11
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadMan View Post
    Other than reduced weight, are there other advantages with going kangaroo? How about the hopefully never experienced pavement slide, would kangaroo be as durable?
    This is my first experience with Kangaroo leather so the only perceived and very noticeable difference to me is the weight and the softness of the leather. I read a little about it before deciding to go for Kangaroo, one thing that most sources posted was that (e.g. per wikipedia) when split into thinner substances kangaroo retains considerably more of the original tensile strength of the unsplit leather than does calf. When split to 20% of original thickness kangaroo retains between 30 to 60% of the tensile strength of the unsplit hide. Calf on the other hand split to 20% of original thickness retains only 1-4% of original strength.

    I was told by the owner of ALNE that Kangaroo leather is much "denser" (if that is the correct wording in English) and never lets water through, even with cowhide most of the time its not the leather that leaks but the water goes through the seams.

    Funny that FT is mentioned here, my previous leathers are Frank Thomas and I have to honestly say that they fit me very well. After using them for two years I am totally satisfied with them but I have to say that I also bought them whilst on a tight budget and it was a "better FT leathers then nothing" decision. Before buying that ALNE jacket I also tried on some other branded stuff (including Rev it) and they didn't fit me as well as FT. The 285 jacket (the one with the titanium shoulder and elbow inserts) shows a little weakness on one seam plus the velcro straps on the left wrist came off and given that that one is made mostly of smaller leather patches stitched together I wouldn't put as much confidence in them now. However I still trust them for slow speeds riding and commuting and like any well fitting leathers they held the protectors well in place. I had a 0 mph spill (stupid me...) last week coming off the M4 motorway filtering through traffic and I didn't even feel the impact with the road (more on that when I have time to post the pictures of the bike....just telling you now that R&G crash protectors and sidi boots paid off ).
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
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  16. #12
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    My favourite riding jacket is actually deer skin. Never been subjected to pavement so can't speak for abrasion resistance, but it sure is a lot more comfortable than my old cowhide gear. It definitely is not waterproof, however, and the manufacturer never claimed it would be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LytteltonKen View Post
    Radman - have you seen where kangaroos live? Compare that with where cows live. How durable does their skin have to be?
    How good are kangaroos? They're cute, their skin is perfect for bike jackets and they taste good too!

  18. #14
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    What did I see in my living room when I got home yesterday? A big box with my jacket in it!!! YES! YES! YES! Just a pity its that late in the year and not all days will be good for riding...

    First impressions: Looks really good on me and the inserted SAS-Tech back protector is freakin large (which is good), larger then my forcefield back protector! Feels really snug on me and just a little hard but not as much as cowhide would be when new, its impressive that it fits so well and got absolutely no stretch panels, all leather (but then that is one of the reasons you pay extra for a made to measure jacket but still I smile when thinking about it)! Just the removable liner is a little too thin for my taste, not really made for winter. Will do first ride this weekend.
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
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  19. #15
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    Daniel, when you said, "washing up liquid." Do you mean mild soap to clean leather and after using Nivea skin cream?

  20. #16
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saskxplorer View Post
    Daniel, when you said, "washing up liquid." Do you mean mild soap to clean leather and after using Nivea skin cream?
    No...I mean that soap that you have to clean your dishes in the kitchen sink (no, I'm not kidding) and I believe before using the skin cream. Nivea is a really cheap one available over here, I guess any fatty skin cream might do.
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
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  21. #17
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    BTW: As I'm logged in anyway, first impressions of the first ride were:

    - Very comfortable, as that jacket is really light. I don't sweat any more walking around and I move much more on the bike as I don't need a dedicated back protector with tight strap around straps on my belly.

    - fits like a glove!

    - Smells good!

    - I hope I don't get fat within the next 20 years or I will have to spend another 800 Euros....


    Ok, have an early one tomorrow, hence good night for now
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  22. #18
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    Well my Leather jacket was a lot more waterproof than the textile rubbish I bought. The waterproofing should be on the outside (just like humans, cows and roos) not on the inside.

    See:- https://f800riders.org/forum/showthre...h-in-the-rain?

    BTW: My new leather tramping (hiking for those in the UK) are leather with a gortex lining.

  23. #19
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    Now that you've gone through most of the winter in your roo-skin gear, djcatshow, how is it getting on? Is it truly waterproof? Warm (well, as warm as the equivalent textile gear)?

    Tell us the reality - whether we should be converts to the cause or stick with our old fashioned gear.
    Grammar: The difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you're shit.

  24. #20
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Seems to me that the Americans have some sort of ban of Roo hyde. A friend had to get his kangaroo hide boots shipped to somewhere else and then sent to him.
    I had a kangaroo skin jacket jacket in the '60's with faux sheep lining. Lasted long time, I finally out grew it.
    When I was in the Forest Service fighting fires in the 60's one of the guys got hand made boots with sharkskin heels. The back part of the boot. Very rugged, never gouged or abraded like the other leather boots the rest of us wore.
    So how is your suit wearing now that you've had time to break it in?

  25. #21
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    Well, since I bought it I moved homes, got a girlfriend, changed jobs, been repeatedly in and out of the US for work and still trying to adapt to a new "corporate culture", been stuck in airports and diverted halfway across countries due to winter conditions and parked the bike for nearly two months...to make it short: I didn't ride as much with the jacket as I wanted to this winter. It also took a little longer then expected to be shipped but then it is a hand made one and by the experiences of many people in other forums with the same supplier, Alne is known to take their time. But then they are also known for their quality, hence I didn't complain.

    Still I think I got a good bit of winter experience, as I commuted two weeks in it now, the conditions I found varied from - 3 to + 10 degrees C, from rainy nights to sunny afternoons. I have to say that I am very impressed by the softness and comfort of that jacket in comparison to my old, racer style cowhide Frank Thomas. It is much, much lighter and once I walked half an hour in it, keeping the wind out very effectively due to the near inexistence of seams and the high collar - yes I think its a biking jacket that can be a good walking jacket, which was one of the objectives I got it as I want to be able to go to places and walk around without sweating. I got the "cool black" coating that reflects 80% of the UV rays, combined with the lightness I really believe I will not sweat even in the summer.

    In the rain it didn't leak at all, with two T-Shirts, a snug on cycling jacket underneath and a thin neck tube it always kept me warm. I have absolutely no stretch material, everything is real Roo leather. The zips are massive bras, the hand cuffs are snug on and just perfect. I can say I do not regret this purchase.

    I can't compare it with expensive textiles, as I never ever had them myself. I shopped around and compared the price of my jacket to Rukka, Rev It and Hein Gericke gear and honestly, for the price I got that Roo leather (end of season special) I would not or just get one of their top of the line jackets. I know these are very good, but in tests I saw even the best textiles are not as good in abrasion resistance as mediocre leathers (I am not talking about the quality of the seams, which is a different story). Then I got the best armor in it I can get (made by SAS-Tech), the back protector is so massive that it covers my shoulder blades and my coccyx!

    Funny thing is that I commute with that really expensive jacket but I still use my very first textile trouser that I bought four years ago at a Lidl Supermarket special...they are made of Cordura 1000, tougher material then many branded textile trousers and I feel safer in them then in the Alpinestars I got. Only thing I might change is the knee armor, I think I will get some Forcefield upgrades for it.
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
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  26. #22
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    Thanks, djcatshow, I'm almost a convert. I still can't understand how leather can be waterproof, but if it proves to be, then I can't argue with that. My textile gear is so old now it's given up on keeping me dry on long wet rides, so new gear is on the cards sometime in the next 12 months. (Got to get another bike first, though).
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  27. #23
    djcatshow's Avatar
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    The waterproofness with leather jackets depends on the number and quality of the seams I was told by the owner of Alne. The more seamed together leather panels, the more water will leak through. With textiles its a different story though and I remember one cowhide nubuk leather jacket that was useless after heavy rain (no, it was not a biking jacket).
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
    http://www.ridewithattitude.com/good...-clips.asp?f=1

  28. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by djcatshow View Post
    The waterproofness with leather jackets depends on the number and quality of the seams I was told by the owner of Alne. The more seamed together leather panels, the more water will leak through. With textiles its a different story though and I remember one cowhide nubuk leather jacket that was useless after heavy rain (no, it was not a biking jacket).
    Hi djcatshow, I sent you a private message ref the jacket! I will appreciate your help!

  29. #25

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    A search of Kangaroo leather jackets brought me to this thread, you have had many months of testing the Kangaroo now, whats your opinion of their durability etc. Being lighter, does that mean they are not as warm, do you need more layers under it in winter than with the cowhide? That company doesn't have an English language option on their site unfortunately. Have you considered getting Kangaroo pants too? I might look them up when I visit Germany next time, I have language obstacle though!!

  30. #26
    djcatshow's Avatar
    Real Name
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    Hi, I am using the jacket every day now for 60 miles to and from work. It is definitely absolutely waterproof! At least for an hour long nothing leaked. I just fitted the second layer it comes with to make up for autumn temperatures, Kangaroo leather is much lighter than cowhide but performs the same or better in everything (and I mean it) other than the price They are warm in the cold, cool in the warm and waterproof (plus they are much more protective - abrasion resistant).

    I just sold my last pair of cow hide leather trousers and am using Weise textile ones that are fully waterproof. I thought about Kangaroo trousers but I am not passing by that store in Frankfurt any time soon, so I may upgrade to something that is EN 13595 certified (I ride mostly on motorways) and waterproof if they have that during the NEC bike show next month.

    I need to give the jacket a good clean soon, will post some pictures of how it looks like now. It wasn't much used until this year but since July every day. I guess it will last me many more years.
    BMW F800S, Yellow. R&G frame, fork and end can crash protectors, drive train crash bobbin, Hornig LED back light, paint protection and foot stand, Becker Crocodile GPS.
    http://www.ridewithattitude.com/good...-clips.asp?f=1

  31. ThanksLytteltonKen thanked for this post
  32. #27

    Real Name
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    Communicating with Alne is easy . His son in law is English. I had the opportunity to purchase the RUKKA Lancelot ( the latest version is called Merlin and has a few extra improvements over the Lancelot ) twice in two different sizes and colours. http://www.rukkasuperstore.com/Rukka...ogy_ARIU9.aspx .
    It does works. In the rain is completely waterproof , the leather does not soak . Water just runs off. In the summer is good to up to 38 C , but if you are in stop/start traffic you will get hot ( heat from the engine etc ).
    The bad: fit is strange, I am 40/42 chest . Normaly size 50 Continental is perfect, but the RUKKA to tight under the armpits. I went for a size 52 next, but the jacket was now to long.
    The price...a lot , the latest version now is 1200
    The jacket is stiff with no give.
    Clean only with clear conditioner/wax product if you want to keep the UV protection.
    In the end I sold the jacket, the fit was wrong.
    This year I managed to purchase a jacket from Held: http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/Pr...-held-rezzato/
    which is really identical to RUKKA but the cut is spot on and a few extras like twin front zips, rear zip for ventilation, removable vest,6 pockets. The original price was 750 , which is steep . My purchase price was about a third of that...
    Only complaint I have is the zip , called lockout http://www.held.de/344-1-Lockout+closure.html . Mine is the second generation but is still a pain . Used correctly it works very well.
    I also have the Held Phantom Tex glove:
    http://www.ukgser.com/forums/showthr...f-summer-glove .
    After over 2 years and 25000 miles of use, I can say they do what they were design to do. Importance is fit . There is absolutely no give in the leather.

  33. #28

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    Thanks for the feedback, I think I will go the kangaroo option as well. Did you have a choice of design & colour options with the jacket?

  34. #29
    padaek's Avatar
    Points: 13,668, Level: 80

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    Motorcycle
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    '02 Sprint RS
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    '90 Le Mans
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    '15 F800R
    Quote Originally Posted by LytteltonKen View Post
    Radman - have you seen where kangaroos live? Compare that with where cows live. How durable does their skin have to be?

    I think I'd have a bit more faith in 'roo hide than cowhide, but having said that I've taken a few slides down the road in cowhide leathers and jacket and not lost any skin.

    As per Sunny's comment - I have a pretty jaundiced view of leather that claims to be waterproof - however, I'm open to have my mind changed on that (and I truly would like to believe it), so let us know how it goes, djcatshow, through the rain and misery of a European winter.

    As an aside, I bought a Frank Thomas textile jacket about 18 years ago because it was the best available. Once I started using it, I found that it had all sorts of useless stuff and poor design, so I took it back to the factory with a heap of modifications to be done. I asked the warranty guy if any of their design team actually rode motorcycles and he responded "No" to which my reply was that it was bloody obvious none of them did. They were a bit sniffy, didn't listen to any of my feedback, but did the mods anyway, and the jacket is still serving me well, including a major get-off where I broke both my arms and leg (woman ran a red light). FT are clearly still in business, so either their marketing team are extremely good, or they now have some bikers in the design team, but I won't buy any of their gear again. I got some Hein Gericke gloves about the same time, and they've only just given up being waterproof, but they've had a tough life and I'll buy another pair.
    I think Aussies are the only nationality which eats their coat of arms and now makes biking clothing out of Skippy. Sheeeeesh!
    padaek - A putrid and fetid smelling fermented fish sauce from Laos.

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