I’m not usually a casual leather-jacket wearer, so the Richa Toulon 2 Lady Jacket is a bit of a departure for me to review. That being said, it didn’t take long for me to realise that this is a lovely jacket with all the protection necessary for my journeys, which means I’ve worn it on my commutes for about four months, covering around 4,000 miles – except in the heaviest of downpours – on roads covering forests, open fields, single- and dual carriage A-roads and city traffic, all on my Honda CBR500R.
I have the jacket in what’s called ‘brown’, though there isn’t an exposure problem in these pics – it really does look almost black.
While the size 14 Richa Toulon 2 Lady fits me in all aspects, if I had a cup size greater than C I would find this jacket rather tight across the chest. It would also make the use of the inner pockets a bit uncomfortable.
The folds at the back of the shoulders not only enhance the looks of the jacket’s back section but also allow for a little stretch in the arms if the handlebars are a reach, without having the sleeves ride up. The sleeves themselves are the perfect length for me and don’t pinch in the crook of the elbow either, something that’s a problem in my racing leathers. This is partly thanks to the insert strips of double-stitched stretch weave that runs down the inside of the Richa’s sleeves, under the armpits and down the sides of the jacket. This adds to the jacket being able conform to different riding positions and adds breathability in warmer weather.
The overall feel is lovely. The cowhide leather is soft, pliable, and still feels reassuringly thick, especially the back section. The ribbed kidney protection is well padded and everything about this jacket says high quality and is backed by what seems to be good, solid stitch work. The armour is unobtrusive and there really is nothing outwardly showing that this is not just a stylish jacket, but also certified protective gear.
The only features that distinguish this from an old-fashioned cool biker jacket is the stretch weave insert – although it does blend in rather well – and the hoodie, but that is detachable. I find my neck much more comfy and warm with the hoody zipped in place, but off the bike it won’t fit over my head because my dreads get in the way. I expect this will not be a problem for the majority of readers though.
The jacket itself is CE certified to prEN17092-3:2018 for Level AA protection (the lower being A, the upper being AAA). Shoulder and elbow armour consist of Level 1 D3O Evo X Limb protectors and the back is covered by a rectangular Level 1 D3O Protector that’s upgradeable to a wider Level 2 (the higher impact rating) D3O Viper Back Protector.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the law, click here.
There are two outer pockets – both with sturdy YKK zippers – that are roomy enough for a thin wallet and a phone. One inner pocket is situated on the left side in the lining at rib height and is closed with a Velcro tab; its look has been enhanced by a small strip of leather at the closure, which also makes it easier to separate with your fingers. The pocket is just about deep enough for an iPhone 6.
The second inner pocket is in the leather at chest height next to the main zipper, and is also deep enough for a phone or wallet and has a sturdy zipper.
Considering the form-fitting style of the jacket it’s good to keep in mind that anything bulky in the inner pockets could be a bit uncomfortable depending on the object.
The outer pockets are best suited for bulkier possessions although neither are very roomy. The fact that the zippers are vertical on these pockets might also increase the chance of stuff falling out if the zipper is not closed.
I cannot fault the fastenings on the zippers and poppers, although for the main closure down the front, I expected a more heavy-duty zipper; I guess the aim was to hide it away behind the small leather flap as much as possible, both for looks and to keep the elements from penetrating to readily. While it hasn’t marked my bike’s tank, keep in mind that the metal main zip could be a scratch risk.
All zippers are YKK and have metal toggles, the one down the front also has a leather tab attached, which is reinforced with a metal rivet. It definitely makes handling with gloves easier.
The sleeves also sport zippers and the inclusion of leather tabs on the toggles would have been helpful as finding the toggles with gloved hands is a bit of a chore.
The poppers are industrial grade and strength, but not obstinate. They are easy to open and close and don’t pop open unexpectedly. You can find them on the throat latch, on the straps closing the sleeves at the wrist and on the adjustment straps at the waist. They have a burnished dark metal look with a big R on the closure tab and fit in well with the overall look of the jacket.
There’s not much in terms of adjustment; the jacket mostly relies on the stretch panels and the natural give of the leather to conform to different movements and positions. There’s also no adjustment at the neck, which, with the hoodie zipped in, is too tight for me to do up. Here an extra popper or Velcro strip would have been very welcome.
There’s an extra set of poppers at the waistband so the jacket can be tightened by about 5cm on each side. However, you will be left with a small thick leather loop sticking into your sides if you tighten up the waist.
The sleeves have a stretch panel that runs from the middle of the lower arm to the wrist and can be closed up by a zipper. The poppered strap that then closes across the zipper at the wrist is not adjustable. Thankfully, the fit is perfect for me and still allows me to tuck my short-cuffed two-season gloves into the sleeves. There’s no chance to tuck in my winter gloves with the sleeves fully done up.
The only ventilation on this jacket is the stretch panels. That’s it. The liner is a thin cotton so will let air through easily but essentially, this is a sturdy leather jacket and if the temperature climbs above 28 to 30°C, it is just too warm. That’s pretty rare in the UK though!
The stretch panels help, especially as they are situated under the armpits and down the inside of the arms. The other saving grace is the fact that the leather is thinner than the traditional unwieldy thick jackets from the days of Marlon Brando. I guess some zippered vent pockets would have been helpful but would definitely have cluttered up the looks of the jacket.
I am very susceptible to cold and having got the jacket late in the summer season, I was dubious as to how long I would be able to wear it and how many layers I could comfortably have on underneath, while still being able to stuff my arms into the sleeves and continue to have an adequate blood circulation.
I need not have worried.
I have tested this jacket down to 7°C so far, albeit with a thermal base layer and thin sweater on, and even in the dead of night and at that particularly chilly time of day – just before sunrise and in the damp – I did not feel cold. I could feel that it was chilly, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable or frozen stiff.
If I just wear a base layer and my heated inner jacket, which is very thin, I could easily wear this jacket on even colder winter days. The only caveat to this is that the cuffs of my winter gloves would have to stay on the outside of the sleeves.
On the other hand, I would not wear this jacket in heavy rain. I have worn it in light drizzle and some more persistent light rain and have stayed lovely and dry on the inside on commutes lasting an hour and a half. There were no lasting rain spots on the leather and it dried out fairly quickly.
Bird droppings and other muck are easily wiped away with a bit of water on a sponge, by the way.
For all those thinking the zipped-in hoodie is a bit of a gimmick, just there for looks, it does actually keep the neck very warm. I usually have to wear a ski tube to keep my neck warm in colder temperatures; the hoodie makes a very big difference to comfort and warmth around my neck so I really only need something for the front of my throat now. It also cuts out the cold drafts coming into the helmet around the back of the ears and base of the neck.
As mentioned before though, that thickness also means I cannot do up the throat strap at the front. In the rain, the hoodie does soak up any and all water, but it takes a while and, as said, I would no more wear this jacket in constant heavy rain than when sunbathing in Death Valley.
A very welcome part of this jacket is the kidney padding. Back in the stone ages (early eighties), I bought a leather riding jacket and the one thing everyone hammered into me was that any good motorcycle jacket should have a “kidney belt”. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised when I saw the extra padding at the base of the back of this jacket; it definitely helps keep my lower back warm.
The jacket also has a stretch-panelled short zipper sewn into the liner that attaches to the built-in short zipper of my Richa textile trousers. As the Toulon 2 is not as long as most textile jackets – although it’s not as short as many ladies’ jackets I have tried – having the jacket and trousers zipped together keeps the jacket in place while riding and keeps more warmth in and drafts out.
The neck piece on this jacket is topped off with a small, rounded strip of neoprene. This is a comfortable way to close off the neck a bit from the elements and keeps water from dribbling down the inside; a very considerate and almost invisible piece of design that I very much appreciate. It’s all those little touches that make me like Richa Toulon 2 so much.
The liner is a thin, smooth cotton in a retro-style pattern that, colourwise, matches the style of the jacket. The pattern is not to everyone’s taste – not to mine anyway – but that’s also rather trivial in my opinion.
Apparently, it’s washable. It’s simple cloth and has an inner pocket sewn in. The pockets for the shoulder and elbow armour are closed at the top with cloth-covered Velcro strips, and don’t catch or snag on clothing when putting on the jacket. The armour can be easily removed if necessary.
The material has been reinforced with leather patches at the underarm seams. Don’t expect any special warming qualities or breathability like mesh.
I had my stiff leather jacket and drooping cigarette in corner of mouth phase back in the ’80s, but have matured and moved on. Well, I’ve left the cigarettes behind, but it seems that this leather jacket has convinced me that leather is not just for racing, but also for everyday riding.
It looks good and, apparently, I look good in it; more than one person has said it so I may have to believe it.
The Richa Toulon Lady 2 is very comfortable, warm, stretchy and feels safe for my kind of riding (don’t let the word commute fool you). The hoodie is more than just window dressing and the jacket has passed my stress tests for rain and cold. It’s not just rider wear, but also casual wear although, sadly, places to show it off in seem to be rather limited this year. I have a feeling though that, barring any major catastrophes, this jacket won’t deteriorate any time soon.
The one question I do have for Richa is: what’s with the excessive staining on the white sleeve strips? They have been made to give it a somewhat worn-in look but when I got the jacket, even the white drawstrings for the hoodie were stained. A little less of that would still have been sufficient. The sleeve strips are white leather and won’t take long to stain naturally if my racing leathers are anything to go by.
Apart from the niggle with the tight throat closure and lack of adjustment for neck and sleeves, I’m happy to recommend this jacket as a stylish, comfortable, proper piece of biking gear. If it fits you as well as it fits me, it will become your go-to jacket for all but the worst of riding conditions. You’ll also be welcomed in any restaurant, café or other dress-conscious establishment without a raised eyebrow in sight.
There has always been a special air about leather jackets. It expresses something rather unique about the wearer and this one is no exception. Wear it as a biker chick or wear it as retro chic.
Do you have one of these jackets? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell everyone what you think of them…