If there’s one thing I love about Portland, it’s springtime. Wave after wave of pink and yellow trees, sunny daffodils, lacy irises and vibrant tulips line the streets. Texas, I love you, but Portland’s got your springtime beat. Oh, and fall here is pretty epic, too 😉
Early and late season riding in Portland, however, can be hit-or-miss. When it’s good, it’s amazing — 70 degrees, clear blue skies and vibrant flora.
But it’s also unpredictable. You can never be sure that those charming cottonball clouds won’t soak you on your way home — no matter what the forecast says. So it’s important for any self-respecting Portland rider to have a good waterproof, multi-season jacket.
When Knox Armor first sent me the women’s Levett jacket last summer, I was impressed. This is undoubtedly a stylish, quality jacket. But as the months passed, the Levett surprised me with its technical features and wearability. Over time, the Levett became my first choice for unpredictable spring and fall riding.
Waterproof without feeling “waterproof”
I’ve never owed a waterproof motorcycle jacket before. In Texas, I just stayed inside when it poured. And when I moved to Portland, most waterproof jackets I looked at were highly technical adventure jackets, which I’m sure are wonderful, but they were a bit much for my casual riding style.
The Levett jacket proved to be the perfect compromise for a casual rider. It’s fully waterproof, with taped seams and a water-beading finish. In the light-to-medium rain that’s typical of Portland’s spring and fall, the Levett has done an excellent job keeping me dry.
But the best part about the Levett is that it doesn’t look or feel waterproof. Its brushed fabric is soft, comfortable, lightweight and breathable — nothing at all like a typical rain jacket. Even when there isn’t a chance of rain, I find myself bypassing my leathers and reaching for the Levett because it’s so easy to wear and layer.
Knox used a 50/50 polyester/cotton fabric that, when paired with the fabric of their armored shirt, has a slide time of 3 seconds — which Knox says is above average performance for a textile jacket. And of course, when paired with their Micro-Lock armor the slide time on key zones increases to more than 25 seconds. As usual, you can be confident that Knox did their homework.
Made for Layering
As with all Knox jackets, the Levett is designed to wear over an armored shirt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the flexibility of wearing an armored shirt. It’s more comfortable than most in-jacket armor I’ve worn, and armored shirts keep the armor close to your body so it’s more likely to stay put and protect you in a crash.
Because it’s designed to wear with the armored shirt, the Levett jacket has a unique zipper that runs inside the arm down to the outside of the middle, which allows you to expand or tighten the jacket as needed.
At first I thought the zipper might be uncomfortable, but I don’t even notice it. In fact, it’s been my favorite feature.
When I wear the jacket with an armored shirt, I unzip the extra inch in the arms but keep the mid-section zipped, which gives me a really nice custom fit. If I need to wear a few layers underneath, the space in the mid-section gives me plenty of room.
Fully expanded, the Levett fits my down jacket easily, which means I can comfortably wear this jacket in temperatures anywhere from 40 to 85 degrees — covering the full range of temperatures you might face in a day of PNW spring or fall riding.
Thoughtful Technical Features
As I have come to expect from Knox, the Levett has several useful technical features that make it easier to ride in all day.
The adjustable cuff tightens down to easily fit my gauntlet Covert gloves and keep the wind out of my sleeves. The stretch panel at the shoulders means I’m comfortable leaning over on the Little Rat or sitting up on the FZ. And the zip panel and cinch buckle on the lower back of the jacket keep it perfectly fitted.
This jacket also has ample storage, with two snap-pockets and two zip pockets on the outside, and one zip pocket on the inside, which easily fit my phone and keys with room to spare.
My only complaint about this jacket is that one of the snaps hits me right at the soft spot of my throat, which makes it hard to snap without cutting off my airways. It doesn’t stop me from wearing the jacket, though 😉
How Does the Knox Levett Compare?
The Levett jacket is available in green or black, and it retails for £219.99 on the Knox website (about $300 USD at time of writing). Right now, however, you can also get the jacket and the Action armored shirt for just £50 more, for a total of £269.99 ($365 USD).
One feature I would love to see added to the Levett would be some kind of visibility aspect, like reflective piping or panels. The Knox Armour women’s Olivia jacket, which is also waterproof and has a longer cut, has “invisible” reflective panels on the back and sleeves, which I love. There are so many ways to be visible that don’t require wearing highlighter yellow.
Overall, the Levett is another excellent addition to Knox’s line of high-quality, high-style motorcycle gear. If you need a rainy-weather jacket for casual (or even not-so-casual) rides and you don’t want to sacrifice technical performance for style, it’s hard to do better than the Levett.
Disclaimer: Knox graciously sent me the Levett jacket with no strings attached. I wrote the review because I love it and wear it all the time 🙂