I’ve done a lot of riding in ice and snow during the last few months and my faithful Barbour International jacket , fashionably distressed by 20 years use in long distance trials and such like, has been starting to show its limitations.
The Barbour is quite waterproof, especially after it’s been waxed, and it’s very comfortable. It’s also commendably thornproof, an attribute Barbour used to actively promote. This probably has little relevance to the average Joe-on-a-bike but it does have some resonance if like me,you spend a fair amount of time navigating ancient lanes overgrown with hawthorn or gorse.
The down side of wax cotton is becomes as stiff as a board in cold weather, it also has no insulating properties whatsoever which necessitates the wearing of many layers to keep warm.
Having looked around at the many motorcycle clothing options available I decided to look for a Rukka. You only have to look at what professional riders are wearing such as the police or motorcycle couriers and you’ll see Rukka are a highly regarded brand. The downside is of course they’re expensive. I fancied the look of Rukka’s Shakal jacket,
probably because it has a traditional look to it. A quick scan around the web suggested £350 is the going rate amongst UK discounters and I’d more less resigned myself to forking out for one when a pal suggested trawling around some German motorcycle clothing suppliers. A quick Google found me on the site of http://www.motoland.de who were advertising the Shakal at €229.95. Now I’m all for shopping local but this was a huge difference to the quoted UK prices. I sent Motoland a quick email using the address on the Kontact page and proprietor Bernard Kuhn wrote back almost immediately to say yes, they could supply and yes, the shipping to the UK would be €17. It sounded almost too good to be true but what the heck , they take Paypal and so I sent the payment and would you believe less than three days later a nice new Shakal landed on the doorstep. Now that’s what I call service.
And the jacket? It’s superb, warm comfortable and with excellent body armour. I used it in anger yesterday on a seven hour ride in cold misty conditions with a bit of rain. It was so warm I had to stop and remove the inner lining. I’ve never had to do that before!
By the way, the Shakal picture above is for illustration only, that’s not me wearing the jacket although I can’t help noticing the model has a receding hairline, so you could be forgiven for thinking it was me…
Just for posterity , here’s a couple of gratuitous pics of happy times wearing the old Barbour.
Enjoying the Tuscan sunshine during the Moto Giro D’Italia
Early morning on the Edinburgh Trial some years ago, can’t remember the date. Happy days.