Date reviewed: September 2023 | Tested by: John Milbank| Price: £169.99 | spadaclothing.co.uk
The Spada Joe on review here is designed as a city and commuting jacket, with excellent armour, effective vents and a good level of waterproofing.
I’ve been using it in all weathers on a 2001 Honda VFR800 and a 2019 BMW R1250GS to find out if it’s worth buying…
The polyester outer shell of the Spada Joe has a soft, very flexible feel to it, making it extremely easy to move around in. It’s a really lightweight construction, though the armour (see below) does add weight to it.
The hood is great for walking around off the bike in the rain (or to keep the sun off), and it has an elasticated drawstring to cinch it up snugly. The plastic end cap did pull off the elastic on mine, but it poked back on easily enough and with an extra knot inside it’s now secure. Of course, if you’ve been wearing the jacket with the hood fitted while riding in rain, it’ll be wet inside.
The hood’s easy to remove and refit with just one zip, though it would have been nice to see a map pocket on the back to stow it in. Still, it will scrunch up into one of the outer side pockets if needs be.
The only – very minor – point is that the material around the shoulders squeeks ever so slightly when walking.
While fit is of course subjective, I find my usual size large fits well, if snugly on my slightly overweight frame. The padded collar is comfortable, and the overall feel is of an easy-to-wear jacket with a surprisingly high specification of armour…
The Spada Joe comes with Level 2 armour (the highest protection) at the elbows and shoulders, which while being the smaller ‘Type A’ size, cup your limbs well to provide a very good level of impact resistance that’s really important in towns and cities.
There’s also a Level 1 back protector included, which, while far from the longest I’ve used, is a ‘Full Back’ design, meaning it also reaches some way across the shoulder blades.
The Spada Joe is only certified to level A under EN17092, which means it meets the minimum requirements of abrasion resistance, seam strength and burst strength. This level is typically considered as being for urban use, so while it can’t make any promises of holding up in a crash at more open-road or touring speeds, the good suite of armour – which on my frame is held in place well – should provide a decent amount of impact protection for many inner-city commuters.
The Spada wording and logos, while small, is reflective, adding a little extra visibility at the front, back and sides.
All motorcycle clothing sold in the UK and Europe is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a good thing for riders as it can help them choose kit that has provable levels of safety because, to meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. To fully understand the labels found in all bike kit, click here.
The Joe has two horizontally-zipped pockets on the front that easily swallow a large Google Pixel 7 Pro phone and my wallet, while the water-resistant zips kept the contents dry during my testing.
Inside is a zipped Nelson pocket that’s also big enough for that phone, as well as two more Velcro-fastened pockets, one of which is designed specifically for a phone (and yes, the Pixel does fit in that too).
Besides a map pocket on the rear to hold the hood, you couldn’t really ask for more from this Spada.
The main zip is YKK-branded and water-resistant, with a storm flap on the rear, though this flap isn’t folded back on itself to create a channel that would direct away any water that made it through.
There’s no connecting zip for compatible trousers, but this is a jacket that’s really designed to be worn with jeans or similar, so the inclusion of a pair of popper-fastened loops allows you to secure the jacket to your trouser’s belt. This does help keep the back down, but if you were unlucky enough to slide on your rear, the relatively short back protector and very lightweight construction mean around four to five inches could still be exposed at the back in a worst-case scenario.
There’s no adjustment on the Spada Joe besides the cuffs, which can be cinched up tight around the wrists using Velcro to prevent any drafts and to allow your gloves to go over the top. There’s no real bulk when closed up, which is great, though there’s not room to get any gloves underneath as you’d want to on a more touring-focussed jacket.
While the armour is held in place well for me, the material around the upper arms can flap a bit at high speed, though again – this isn’t really a jacket designed for motorways and long distances.
Water-resistant zips cover chest and arm vents that open direct to the body for maximum cooling via the mesh liner, while another across the back allows the air to pass through.
How effective the vents are will depend very much on how much wind can reach you past your bike or scooter’s screen and fairing, but I’ve been impressed with the ventilation offered by the Spada Joe, and in the hot weather we’ve been having the lightweight construction and those open vents make slow-speed work in muggy cities more pleasant. For the best performance in hot weather though, you may still find something with no waterproofing more effective.
There’s no thermal liner supplied with the Spada Joe, so when things get cold you’ll need to layer up; make sure you have space for anything you want to wear underneath. One of the best thermal baselayers we’ve tried is the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate, reviewed here.
The Spada Joe’s fixed lining is a polyester mesh that does trap some air to help keep it warmer, and can also allow air to move around with the vents open. It’s not smooth and soft feeling against the skin, but it’s certainly not uncomfortable, and it doesn’t get sticky in the heat.
I was pleasantly surprised at just how effective the waterproofing is on the Spada Joe. It’s described as a ‘thermoplastic polyurethane liquid coating’ that’s applied to the back of the outer shell, which doesn’t appear to be as breathable as some (often more expensive) membranes, but combined with the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating on the outside, it provides a good amount of water resistance. In my 30 minute ride in heavy rain, I found the only water that appeared to get through was via one of the chest vents.
There’s plenty of commuting kit available, but the market that the Spada Joe’s aimed at is most likely to be looking first at the styling, rather than protective performance and waterproofing. Based on items we’ve tested, here are three other options…
There are plenty of reasons I wouldn’t recommend the Spada Joe as a touring jacket, but for city commuters and scooter riders who don’t plan to brave the harshest of conditions for hours on end, it’s a very attractive piece of kit.
With its reasonable price (especially the street prices at time of writing that are a fair bit lower than RRP) two-year warranty, light-weight construction and impressive armour, if you spend your time buzzing around the city the Spada Joe is well worth considering.
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