Date reviewed: April 2020 | Tested by: Jon Mansfield | Price: £219.99 (jacket), £179.99 (jeans) | www.rst-moto.com
The RST Axis leather jacket and jeans make for a great value two-piece set of leathers – I’ve been planning to wear them while riding for pleasure, but also in my job as a motorcycle instructor. Of course, with the lockdown due to Coronavirus, work has become extremely limited, though we are still carrying out some CBTs where I work – 1on1 Rider Training. Once we’re back up to speed I’ll be able to properly test the Axis kit and will update this review, but as my friend Dean Renwick, owner of DAR motorcycle service and repair borrowed these just before lockdown for a track day – and crashed in them – it’s worth giving you some insight into this relatively low-priced kit.
So Dean, over to you…
I used these leathers on my Honda 600 Hornet, both on the road and on track. I should point out that – as you can see in the pictures – these aren’t really my size. Jon’s a bigger bloke than me, and while it is really important that you have leathers that fit you (if they ruck up in a crash, they can tear more easily), he was kind enough to lend them to me, so I wasn’t about to complain.
Made of cowhide leather with accordion stretch panels above the knees, on the lower back, side of the waist, above the elbows and behind the shoulders, there’s also stretch material under the arms, between the legs and behind the lower legs, so it’s easy to see how they give an excellent range of motion when they’re properly and snuggly fitted.
The leather is extremely supple, and doesn’t need any real breaking in, making this kit comfortable to wear all day.
The RST Axis leather jacket comes with chunky CE level 1 armour at the elbows and shoulders, while the trousers have it just at the knees. There are pockets for hip armour and equally, while there isn’t a back-protector supplied, there is a pocket for one – the RST Contour Plus back protector is £17.99 for CE Level 1, or £19.99 for CE Level 2. If you would like the hip armour, it costs £14.99.
The jeans have no knee sliders patches, so there’s no option to add them unless you get some fitted later, but it does mean these aren’t ideal for track addicts. Still, RST sells a lot of leather jeans that do have sliders on, and all RST clothing – both leather and textile – has compatible connection zips.
The jacket is CE approved to Level AA as Personal Protective Equipment (AAA is highest, A is lowest), while the jeans are certified to Level A. Interestingly, the £169.99 R-Sport leather jeans do come with knee sliders and are approved to Level AA, while the £209.99 GT leather jeans also have sliders and are approved to Level AAA (the GT leather jacket costs £249.99 and is also AAA-certified). Of course, as I personally found out, this kit has proven itself capable of protecting my equipment…
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.
The RST Axis jeans have no pockets, but the Axis jacket has two outer pockets on the front and two more inside, with an extra two on the inside of the removable thermal lining. I didn’t use these while I borrowed the jacket, so Jon will update on how practical they are when he’s had a chance to use it more, though I did notice that the outer pockets on the jacket have fairly small zips that you might need to take your gloves off to use.
The Axis jacket and jeans can be joined using the three-quarter length connection zip, which is very chunky and easy to use. On the jacket, the zip is attached to the fixed ‘comfort mesh lining,’ allowing easy movement when zipping the jacket and jeans together.
The jacket has a large main zip with a big rubber-coated tag so it's easy to use even with gloves on. It’s also got hook-and-loop tabs that cover the bottom and top of the zip, which helps prevent your bike’s tank getting scratched.
There’s not much adjustment on the jacket – only a pair of hip straps – while on the trousers you can draw the waist in a bit with the hook-and-loop belt, though this is as you’d expect on leathers.
The jacket has perforated areas on the front sides, chest, back and upper arms, while the jeans have them on the front of the thighs. These perforated areas are smalls holes punched out only where needed, rather than using entirely perforated panels of leather sewn into the garment, which can cause weak points at the stitching. RST uses this method for perforated ventilation in most of its leather clothing range, which is good to see as it’s slightly harder to produce, but potentially safer. The jacket also has small vents on the shoulders. Overall, you get a pretty good flow of air through the kit while riding.
Of course, in a British winter these holes might not be appreciated, but you’ll likely have a waterproof over-suit on, which means if anything they can hold a little bit more warm air between layers!
The jacket has a removable thermal lining that covers your body only, not your arms, while the jeans don't have any removable thermal lining at all.
Good under-garments will help, but this isn’t really the best kit for cold-weather riding. Having said that, if it’s all you can afford, pair it with some budget base-layers and a water-proof over-suit and you won’t go far wrong.
The jacket and jeans have a fixed ‘comfort mesh lining’ that’s comfortable against the skin, and that helps reduce sweating, while trapping a little air during colder weather.
It’s also good to see long hanging loops on the jeans, which makes it easier to store the kit on a single coat-hanger.
Consider this more of a ‘first impressions’ review for now – while borrowing these from Jon, I haven’t put the miles and months in that are necessary for a full Bennetts BikeSocial test, but having crashed in them, I can say that I’m impressed.
It was on track, but I was only doing around 45mph when I low-sided. Despite the poor fit due to them not being my size, the damage to the RST Axis jacket and jeans was limited to some scuffs below the left knee, on the upper left arm and the right shoulder. The damage to me was just that I felt a bit sore on my left side; I really would recommend spending the extra and fitting some hip armour.
Overall, I thoroughly recommend them – they’re good value and they literally saved my skin. Thanks for the loan Jon, and sorry I scuffed them!