If I could only have one riding jacket, it would have to satisfy a lot of needs. For four-season adaptability, the jacket would have to be constructed of rugged water-resistant textile, in a three-quarter length that thoroughly covers the top of my pants when seated. A cozy, stand-up collar with a strap that can be snugly closed or fastened out of the way is mandatory, and so is a large amount of zippered venting for warm-weather riding. CE-approved armor in the shoulders, elbows and back is a must, as are plenty of large pockets inside and out, some or all of which are waterproof. Nice details to have include adjustable waist, sleeve and cuff straps, YKK zippers, reflective panels and a double storm flap for the main zipper that closes with rubber-covered snaps instead of noisy hook-and-loop.
Fortunately this description fits a lot of riding jackets out there, but rarely does it apply to anything under $300. Yet Olympia’s new Richmond jacket is just $269.99 and it has all of those features and a lot more. Constructed of 600-denier Evo Thread polyester with 1,000-denier ballistic panels on the elbows and shoulders, the Richmond is said to have excellent abrasion resistance, and the armor is easily removed for washing the jacket. A waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed Reissa membrane sandwiched between the shell and cool mesh inner lining makes the Richmond mostly waterproof, but Olympia took the practical approach of having the zippered vents in the shoulders, chest and back open all the way to the inside, rather than just to the waterproof membrane, so that lots of air reaches the wearer. The tradeoff is some leakage through the front vent zippers in a hard rain despite being of the water-resistant variety. Carrying a lightweight rainsuit top for stronger downpours solves that problem.
All of the vents have hook-and-loop tabs to hold them open for more airflow, and the long shoulder vents have additional lock-down straps to pull them wide open, so the jacket really flows a lot of air. Yet sealed up tight the Richmond is as cozy as they come, and among the nine pockets in the shell I found that the inside wallet pocket, two front cargo pockets and large pocket in the lower back are all waterproof. The jacket also comes with a full-sleeve, zip-out insulated layer that has two pockets, and an under-helmet, rubberized nylon rain hood with neck gaiter that tucks away in the back yoke. Layered up with a thick long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt the Richmond fends off light rain well and is effective down to temps in the high 40s, yet quite comfortable in summer temps over a cooling base layer with the vents open.
Overall, while complete waterproofness would be nice, the Richmond jacket meets all of my needs for single year-round riding jacket and then some, and the low price is just a bonus.
The Olympia Moto Sports Richmond jacket has a one-year warranty and comes in the gray/black color combo shown, silver/black and neon yellow/black in men’s sizes S-4XL.
For more information, see your dealer or visit olympiamotosports.com