I confess I’ve never been a textiles guy. Being a sports bike lover, textiles have just never given me the look and feel I have wanted. Over the past year, I’ve been riding other things than just sportbikes, and wearing a full leather race suit on an adventure bike is silly. I’ve been trying out RST’s X-Raid Textiles to see if they can convert me from leather!
It was always imprinted that sports bike = leathers, even on a 125. I’d bought my first suit before even buying a bike. Since then I’ve always worn leathers, or armoured jeans with a leather jacket. Being a sports bike rider, leather has always been the go-to garment material of choice.
This has always been a personal preference, but as comfortable and practical both of these options are, they are poor in wet and cold conditions. Normally when it comes to winter, and I’ve still worn leathers. I have always layered up well and that manages to keep some of the colds out.
Are textiles better than leathers?
2020 was a change. RST sorted me out with the Pro Series X-Raid textile jacket and trousers. Designed for riders who like to ride distance in all weathers, the X-Raid textiles focus on practicality and function. Despite this, it still looks and fits great, and keeps the wind and rain out.
As with all of RST’s clothing it is CE approved. The X-Raid is approved to level A, which balances great protection with lightweight and comfort. The jacket comes with a built-in level 2 back protector and armour to the shoulders and elbows.
The bottom half ‘Jeans’ (more of a trouser) features the same textile material construction with a 360degree zip to join the jacket, over the shoulder braces which are removable and level 2 knee armour. Both top and bottom half are waterproof, and feature a removable thermal liner.
More pockets than Findus
Key features for a touring jacket is lots of pockets, and the X-Raid jacket does not disappoint. It is filled with storage space for everything from keys, maps (apparently they told you where to go before sat navs) or in my case, snacks. I’ve managed to fit a meal deal into the large pouch on the lower back! On the front is yet more storage pockets, including waterproof phone and wallet pockets a double zip, and poppers to the front.
Interchangeable hook and loop patches on the front come with either a blank patch, RST patch or a union jack. This is useful for anybody who can make use of a name patch for example Blood bikers who usually have a name patch.
The jacket uses Molle straps, to the front which allows for the addition of a cargo pouch (available separately for £9.99) making the use of another bumbag or small rucksack redundant. The cargo pouch provides plenty of space for even more accessories.
Textile has replaced the leather jacket!
For me, this jacket has replaced the use of a leather jacket, as these textiles give better protection, from both the elements and the road. The thermal liner keeps the temperature toasty during winter, and with it removed allows nice airflow during summer. The jacket keeps the rain out and has held up to me who can be heavy-handed with kit, at the best of times. All the straps, zips and adjusters still work well and there seems no sign of wear apart from the abundance of bugs splattered everywhere.
The jacket fits great which is rare as I normally fit between sizes in clothing. It comes with adjustment on the arms for a looser or tighter fit. For me, the length of the sleeves is just right however longer limbed people would be worth trying before buying. The cuffs are slightly bulky, having a zip and popper, which makes wearing gauntlet style gloves, over the cuff a slight issue (Knox Handroid are quite thick over the wrist). This isn’t an issue for me as I’ll wear the cuff tucked into the glove. A summer glove, or thinner winter glove wouldn’t have an issue.
Are textiles warmer than leathers?
Instead of adding more and more T-shirts and hoodies under and over a pair of leathers, these textiles are magic at keeping out the cold. Water is kept at bay, and even when only using the top half of the suit with jeans, it keeps the cold at bay and still looks great.
The jacket does feel heavy to carry, but with so much armour it’s expected, but not noticeable when worn. If wearing it on a sports bike, wearing a helmet with a noticeably low chin (like an AGV) the shoulder protection combined with an aggressive position can mean you have to move your body more on a lifesaver, but this isn’t an issue as I tend to do it anyway.
Thankyou RST for keeping me warm and dry!
The Jacket comes in at £270, and £220 (£490 for the top and bottom half) however it’s coming towards the end of the ‘biking season so you might be able to get some deals.
Overall I’m mega impressed by these textiles, they have kept me warm and dry and that is the most important part. Thank you to RST for giving me the opportunity to give the kit a go!
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