So when Clare and I started prepping for this trip, I always knew that my main concern would be getting the proper suit for it. As having done a wee little trip before I now understood why it was so important to do our homework on this subject. Don’t get me wrong, you can do a trip like this with any old riding gear but as I found out last time what should be a motorcycle adventure turns out to be a constant battle to keep warm and dry. This battle can turn what should be enjoyable and fun into something depressing and ultimately dangerous.
Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, as travellers we are now able to share our views and experiences. So searching online we began to whittle down our choices, RUKKA was always top of our list. As we searched we came to the conclusion that we really needed to see the suits for ourselves, because at the end of the day however much someone tells you something it might not be right for you. So we took ourselves down the bike show in Birmingham with our list of possibles, towards the end of the day we ended up at the RUKKA stand and met the wonderful Pete and his team from TranAm. They went through all the stuff, let us try on the gear. At that point we both realised that we had found the suits that we would be wanting to use on this trip. I have more confidence in these suits than I have in all the ones I have before. I have foolishly spent thousands on other suits only to be a cropper, due to lack of quality and my own desire for name brands. So when we spoke to TranAm and heard the news that RUKKA would be willing to help us, we were ecstatic, so thank you to all at RUKKA and TranAm.
RUKKA ARMAS FABRIC
As a three season adventure suit, the Armas have been developed to withstand freezing temperatures, driving rain, sunnier and warmer climates as well as plenty of bumps and boshes. The fabric is a Gore-Tex Pro Shell three-layer laminate with the use of both Kevlar and Cordura. In layman’s terms this means it is pretty darn mega in the wear and tear sector, 100% waterproof, 100% windproof, flexible in all the right places whilst remaining breathable at the same time.
Also the Armas comes with the Super Fabric for the shoulders and elbows, while not sporting a cap and underpants on the outside this material is meant to be the daddy as not only is it abrasion resistant it also is heat resistant, so not only do you have the pads to cushion your fall but the material will help not rip the suit on those small offs!
Another added bonus for the Armas is that it has a material called outlast which by some magic helps regulate the temperature of the fabric so keeping the temp inside just right, so no more adding and removing layers when the weather decides to be indecisive. Look if it’s good enough for the astronauts its good enough for me! All this witchcraft and wizardry comes together to make a really durable light weight piece of kit.
RUKKA ARMAS COLLAR
When you first see the suit one of the first things you notice is the big Velcro collar, this is another nice little touch for this kind of suit. The last iteration of the suit had a magnetic version which sounds great but from some reports it had some problems. Now RUKKA have listened and have gone back to the tried and tested Velcro. I initially thought it would be rather restrictive when the helmet is put on, but I was to be proved wrong. Easily adjusted and comfortable, and is high enough to sit just under the chin guard of the helmet so covers the entire neck. So being goretex this should give enough protection from the elements, and save you from having a soggy neck warmer. If you want you can also remove this in warmer climates.
The inner collar is a nice soft neoprene material (similar to the stuff on wetsuits, just a word of advice do not pee inside this suit to keep you warm!) which stops it rubbing and just gives you a bit more manoeuvrability when moving your head around.
Also on the rear of the jacket we have a separate piece of Super Fabric to protect the jacket from abrasion from the helmet.
RUKKA ARMAS WATERPROOF GORE LOCKOUT CLOSURE
The other thing that you notice straight away when seeing the suit is the zip. Rukka have constructed a completely flat and waterproof closure for the main body zip.
Consisting of two double-channelled polymer tracks, it interlocks when sliding the“zip” up and down. One of my concerns with this design was how tough it would be (would it split apart with excessive use or force) but I’ve witness it survive a various strong tugs and have read many reports stating it’s incredibly strong. To release the lock there is an easy locking mechanism at the bottom which remains neatly protected and hidden by a material tab when riding. Rukka provide a silicone pen for the maintenance of the closure too!
All in all, an incredibly innovative and stylish feature! I am intrigued as to how well it will hold up of a year and a half of constant wear in comparison to your standard toothed zip… watch here for reports!
RUKKA ARMAS ARMS & SHOULDERS
The RUKKA Armas excels in this area, with adjustable widths on the arms with the use of clips at 2 points on each of the arms, mighty helpful in the event of those pie eating contests I am sure we will encounter! Each Shoulder and elbow has Rukka’s patented RVP protector in, these are then covered in the Super fabric like patches on a professors jacket (pipe not included).
The piste de resistance is the goretex cuffs which act as a seal for when the weather decides to get a bit frisky! These cuffs slip into the glove, then the glove slips under the jackets… bobs your uncle, a nice waterproof seal. Even with all this the jacket is rather flexible and unlike others I feel I can get move around a lot more. So getting off the bike to fix a tyre in the rain should be a doodle!
RUKKA ARMAS POCKETS & AIR VENTS
Usually I like a jacket that allows for as much airflow as possible as it can get rather moist on warm days, but one thing I have found out is that the more holes you have on a jacket the more chance of water finding its way in when the weather does decide to turn. So having only only two vents is a bit of a new one to me, but the positioning of said vents and the with the combination of the specialised material I am ready to be converted. The positioning of the vents are in a logical place which are on the shoulders, as this moves over the shoulders and then down the back which helps take the heat from your body.
Now on such trips we always need to have the right equipment at hand, and this is where is marvellous as it has several pockets in and around the jacket to keep all manner of items in, such as mobile phone, cereal bar, leatherman and bear spray (that ones for the pirates in Somalia). All of the ones on the outside have waterproof zips and nice tabs to help when you have gloves on.
RUKKA ARMAS THERMAL LINING
Both the Jacket and Trousers have a fully removable what looks like quilted thermal lining. They have paid beautiful attention to detail here as the linings have colour coordinating zips so when fitting them back in it’s simple to know which way round they go, and the same applies to the buttons on the arms. With the lining removed both the jacket and trousers remain comfortable to wear.
RUKKA ARMAS TROUSERS
The trousers are great and so adjustable, I have never had anything that required braces as most of my trousers usually hang around my bum so this will be an experience. With Velcro tabs on either side and an elasticated waist, no matter your shape or how many layers you have on you are not restricted to a set size. If you prefer your pants a bit looser too you have the famous Rukka braces which, not only are incredibly comfortable, but can be easily adjusted with gloves on. If you don’t fancy braces though, that’s not a problem, as they are held in by a tough Velcro pocket so can be removed if desired.
Now all of this is held in without the aid of a button or clip at the top of the trouser, what we have here is an adjustable Velcro band and a zip, which is simple but brilliant as you can adjust the waist size so they always are the right fit. Plus it makes stopping for the call of nature a lot easier! Again the hip and knee protectors are RUKKA RVP air which makes everything a lot lighter.
A nice addition to the trousers is the fabric on the inside of the legs and bum to stop you slipping down the seat in wet conditions and crushing yourself on the tank. I have yet to test this out but rest assure, anything that helps protect down there is always a welcome addition.
The knee protectors have the Super Fabric covering. There are two zips towards the bottom of the trousers, one of them allows you to adjust the size to either fit over or in the boot, then the second zip above that is where you can adjust the actual protector, which is rather unusual as most of my suits all have access to the protectors have been inside the suit. All zips are waterproof as well.
The same materials used on the jacket is used on the trousers so keeping that helps whats important down there nice and cool/warm.
RUKKA ARMAS PROTECTORS
Throughout the suit RUKKA have placed some rather unique RVP air protectors. These are highly flexible lattice shaped protectors and designed specifically to help the suit fabric breathe, distribute impact more efficiently and prevent the surrounding fabric from damaging. With the damping affect being hundreds times larger than a standard hard protector, they not only offer comfort, reduced weight and flexibility but better protection for those offs. It is incredibly noticeable when walking around in the suit how much more movement you have! A superb feature!
RUKKA ARMAS SUIT
Overall the suit oozes quality, from the material used, the stitching down to the protectors. As I have said before many suits I have owned in the past have always made certain claims and failed to deliver, also I have not found one that is able to do it all. So with high hopes and even higher expectations I look forward to testing this suit to its limits, from what we have seen so far I am sure it can meet them all.
For a full video review, please take a look at the youtube below!
Furthermore, if you fancy getting your mitts on these wonderful suits visit the Rukka or TranAm websites below… you won’t regret it!: