Review by Olaf Wolff
[This Roadgear XKJ Motorcycle Jacket and Pants Review was originally published in the March 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
There’s just no better way to say it-I’m into leather. I like the way it looks and feels and surrenders to my riding position. There’s forgiveness and a sense you’re wearing a living, breathing substance. What other material challenges thick cowhide for the total package of abrasion resistance and comfort while pegging the cool meter?
Like one young motorcyclist said to me: That gear is bomb.com, dude. Both the Roadgear XKJ motorcycle jacket and pants are made of premium 1.2mm drum-dyed waterproof leather. Hoist the jacket and pants and the weight alone leaves little doubt about this being anything less then serious leather made for serious riding. There’s nothing weak or flimsy about this stuff.
Inside the jacket and pants is a removable zip-in liner made of state-of-the-art Reissa fabric insulated with DuPont Thermolite. It’s the liner that keeps you dry and protected from the wind and chill. With the liners removed the perforated leather design allows plenty of air to circulate and keeps you reasonably comfortable during the summer swelter.
The jacket has CE-approved, removable armor in the shoulder and elbow areas, extending down along the forearm. The only problem I found with the elbow/forearm armor is that it slides down a little too far toward my wrist in the mesh lining, creating a slight obstruction when zipping the sleeves shut. This becomes even more exaggerated with the liner in.
There’s also a contoured, removable spine guard, which works in conjunction with additional Tempurfoam spine and kidney padding stitched in the back as part of the jacket’s design. There are two vertically zippered pockets outside and one inside. The jacket fit well from the get-go—both standing and riding, nothing hikes up or binds. And the jacket’s sleek look turns heads.
Out of the box, with the liner in, the pants were initially another story. They wrestled on real tight and closing them all the way was almost impossible. After confirming that I’d indeed gotten the correct size I removed the liner and tried again. The adjustable waist belt and expandable gusseted leather sides and upper back conformed into a custom-feeling fit almost immediately when I sat on my bike—like only leather can. After a discouraging start, they’ve become some of the most comfortable riding pants I’ve ever worn—with or without the liner. The zippered closures at the base of each pant leg easily cinch over my boots and stay in place when closed. There are also two zip-up pockets on each side of the pants.
Reflective Dynatec material is sewn on the pant knees and jacket elbows, and it flares up like an airport runway at night when light hits it. At the knees, sandwiched between the leather and the Dynatec, is more energy-absorbing Tempurfoam.
I prefer wearing the XKJ jacket and pants in moderate temperatures, without the liners, using varying layers of short-or long-sleeved shirts or a vest. The body-conforming fit just keeps getting better with every ride, and having the liners in my bag gives me the confidence that I won’t get caught unprepared. For actual cold-weather riding I’d make other choices.
The XKJ jacket and pants attempt to anticipate anything the road may throw at you—wind, rain, heat, even a crash—without ever conceding an inch of style, and they succeed commendably well on all levels. Roadgear feels so strongly about this equipment it has given both a three-year warranty. The XKJ jacket comes in men’s sizes 38-52 and women’s S-L for $469.90; the XKJ pants come in men’s 24-42 (inseam lengths of 30, 33 and 36) for $289.90.