Tested: Richa Nimbus laminated motorcycle jacket review

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By Test Team
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Date reviewed: July 2019 | Tested by: Jon Mansfield, BikeSocial Test Team | Price: £349.99 | www.nevis.uk.com

 

As a motorcycle instructor at 1on1 Rider Training in Bedfordshire, I wear my bike kit all day, every day – if I’m not riding, I’m walking around in it. I’ve been using the Richa Nimbus laminated bike jacket in all weathers for 3,000 miles on my own Kawasaki ZZR1100, as well as our company’s ER6, Honda Hornet, Yamaha MT-07 and XJ6.

 

 

Fit

I usually take a size XL, and the Nimbus fits as I’d expect; it’s as good with the removable thermal liner in as it is with it out, the armour not flapping around loosely when there are fewer layers underneath.

A D3O back protector is supplied, and while I find it presses into my back, this is the same for me on all jackets – I tell my students that a back protector’s important, but then end up taking them out myself! It’s great to see Richa supplying one, and there’s no reason for most riders to remove it, especially as it’s deeply ribbed, allowing it to flex, and air to move around it better than some.

The arms are a good length, and even with a big woolly jumper underneath, I don’t feel restricted.

The Richa was a little stiff at first (to be expected of a laminated jacket), but it has softened up well. The collar’s comfortable too. Overall, I like wearing this, which is a good thing as I have it on every day.

 

 

Protection and certification

Approved to prEN17092 as Personal Protective Equipment, the Richa Nimbus is rated at level ‘A’. Above this are ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ – most textile kit falls within the first two ratings, and it’s good to see Richa certifying this jacket.

Soft, flexible D3O elbow, shoulder and back protectors are all included, rated to Level 1 (Level 2 is the more protective, but thicker option), while small reflective panels on the arms, front and back aid visibility.

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.

 

 

Pockets

Richa hasn’t been very generous here – on the front are two Velcro-fastened pockets that do keep your kit dry, but they’re set rather high – a problem for me as it’s hard to get into them with my hi-vis instructor’s vest on.

There’s no lapel pocket in front of the main zip, though there is one tucked just behind it, along with another lower down. They’re both a bit awkward to get to, so don’t add much for me at least. The removable liner has two outer pockets (though you can’t really get to these with the jacket on of course), and one on the inside.

There’s also a map pocket on the rear of the jacket.

 

 

Fastening

The main zip’s good and chunky with an easy-to-grab-with-cold-hands puller. It’s smooth and hasn’t given me any snagging problems.

The cuffs fasten with Velcro tabs over zips. I wear my gloves over the top of my cuffs, and they fit well, but if you prefer to put your gloves under your cuffs, know that there’s no space to get anything other than the thinnest pair underneath, and there’s no useful adjustment in the Velcro tabs – the hook and loop doesn’t even meet unless you pull it tight.

I’ve been wearing the Nimbus jacket with the Richa Softshell trousers – the Nimbus attaches to these with a short zip at the back. There’s also a zip running all the way around the waist, though the trousers – from a different product line – don’t have one to match it.

 

 

Adjustment

I set the straps at the sides, bicep and forearm when I got the jacket and haven’t felt the need to fiddle with them since. Fit is of course very subjective, but as this jacket was the sizing I expected of an XL, I haven’t been disappointed.

 

 

Ventilation

There are two long chest vents, as well as one the length of each bicep. Combined with the rear exhaust vents the jacket can feel quite airy in higher temperatures – it’s not really breezy like a mesh jacket, but it works well.

 

 

Warmth

The removable thermal liner is warm, but overall this isn’t the very best kit I’ve used for the winter; with the same jumper and T-shirt on underneath, my old Hein Gericke is warmer, though that has a drop-liner for waterproofing, rather than the laminate used here, which gives another layer to trap air.

I’d describe this as good for three-and-a-bit seasons – in the very depths of winter, you’ll probably want a heated vest. Considering though that the Richa is comfortable in the warmer UK weather too, it’s a good compromise.

 

 

Liner

The removable liner works well and also makes a great jacket in its own right – it’s one of those very rare pieces of kit that my sister reckons actually makes me look smart.

I don’t bother to fasten it into the jacket, though it’s pretty easy to do; the main zip doubles up as the zip that fastens it to the outer jacket – a neat design touch, but it’s warmest if you just have it done up.

My only criticism of the removable liner is that it can feel sticky and clammy when it’s pressed against your skin by the outer jacket. The main jacket has a very comfortable mesh lining, which doesn’t stick to the skin.

 

 

Waterproofing

Laminated bike kit has the waterproof membrane bonded to the back of the outer shell, the seams all taped in place. It’s a more expensive production process than fitting a drop-liner like on most jackets (where the waterproof membrane hangs separately, though is still fixed to the jacket), but it potentially makes for faster-drying kit that can be shaken dry more easily after a ride. Over the past year or two there have been more brands releasing less costly alternatives to the Rukka laminated Gore-Tex options of around £800 and up.

In ‘normal’ rainy conditions, the Richa Nimbus has kept me dry, though the lack of a storm collar means water finds its way down my neck.

In really driving rain over a 90 minute ride, I’ve noticed a wet line down my front along with the damp neck area, though the rest of my body was fine.

I have found that the jacket does ‘wet out’ after a real soaking – this is when the outer DWR (durable water repellent) coating stops the rain from beading up. The very best laminated jackets can be shaken dry, but on this I’ve found that a real drenching leaves it struggling to be fully dry for the next morning.

 

Conclusion

I’m on a very tight budget – while this isn’t what I’d call a cheap jacket, I’m conscious that it’s reasonably priced for laminated kit. However, when spending this much I’d rather have more useful pockets and better deep-winter warmth.

You can’t expect the Richa Nimbus to perform as well – or carry the features of – some of the high-end gear costing two or three times as much. But that’s not to say that it’s bad – The Nimbus is well worth a look if the limitations that I find as an all day, every day rider aren’t such an issue for you, and it does a good job of working well in the majority of weather conditions the UK will throw at you.

 

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