IMAGES BY PEDRO VALDEZ.
Now that fall is officially here, a few female riders have asked me where to find cold-weather riding jackets that still look classy and offer great protection. My response: Knox Armour.
If you’ve been following me awhile, you’ll know that I L-O-V-E this company. All the Knox products I’ve tried have been high-quality, high-protection and high-style. And because they’re based in London, they know how to make gorgeous motorcycle gear that keeps the cold and the wet out.
Last spring, Knox graciously sent me a kit of their products to try, which included the armored shirt, the Roberta leather jacket, and the Zephyr summer jacket. The armored jacket and Zephyr I used right away, but with the Texas heat, I ended up neglecting the Roberta in the corner of my closet.
Though I’ll admit, it’s so cool-looking that sometimes I’d take it out just to try it on in front of the mirror. With a sleek collar and wide-breasted zipper, this jacket is both classic and unique. I like to think of it as “contemporary urban with 80s glam influences” ⎯ but I’m no fashion expert 😉
Now that I’m in Portland (yay West Coast!) and it’s November, I finally have some decent weather to put the Roberta through its paces. And so far, in slightly rainy weather and somewhat chilly weather (~45°F), this jacket has definitely held its own.
Now, one thing you need to know is that this jacket does not have built-in armor, or even pockets for it. All Knox’s jackets (except for the summer Zephyr) are made to wear with a separate armored shirt. And no, it’s not because they want you to buy more stuff…
The armored shirt is actually one of the safest ways to wear motorcycle gear. Most jackets with built-in armor have a hard time getting the fit right ⎯ especially on the elbows. If you crash in a badly-fitted jacket, your armor can move, leaving you unprotected. The armored shirt eliminates this problem, because its elastic material keeps the armour fitted tightly to your body.
So, yes, you have to buy the armored shirt separately. But the buttery-smooth cowhide leather on the Roberta is abrasion resistant, so it won’t shred in a fall and leave you exposed. Also, how about that stitching on the arms? So sexy.
The Roberta also has a nifty little secret up its sleeve (under its sleeve?) that I haven’t seen in any other jacket. Each Roberta comes with two extra strips of leather with zippers on each side. I admit, I was pretty confused by it at first, but now I see the genius.
If you need more space in your Roberta (for the armored shirt and/or bulky winter layers) all you have to do is zip in these extra strips of leather and *boom* ⎯ your jacket is a half size larger, with plenty of room for all your undershirts and sweaters.
I mean… so brilliant! Personally, I don’t need the extra space for the armored shirt, but I know I will for extra winter layers, so I’m so glad to have it.
Storage is one of the number one things I look for in a riding jacket, so I was pleased to find out that the Roberta has five zippered pockets ⎯ four on the outside, and one on the inside ⎯ which gives me plenty of space for my odds and ends.
The Roberta has a couple of external adjustments you can make, too. The cuff bands around the wrists have elastic in them, so you can pull them tight to make sure cold air doesn’t go up your sleeves. And there are two metal buckles on either side of the waist to give you a bit more control over the fit.
Knox really thought of everything in this jacket. The back panel of the Roberta even dips a bit lower, to ensure your lower back isn’t exposed while riding.
As far as price goes, this jacket retails on Knox’s website for ￡291.66 ⎯ $380 with the current exchange rate. That makes the Roberta about $100 cheaper than comparable jackets by brands like Roland Sands, REV’IT or Dainese.
And yes, you do have to buy the armored shirt separately, but most high-quality motorcycle jackets don’t come with armor either, and this is a safer way to wear your armor overall, under any jacket you want.
Altogether, the jacket and the armored shirt will set you back around $500, which is absolutely comparable to (and often cheaper than!) the leading leather jacket brands. But, in my opinion, the Roberta has better protection and better style than most 😉