Date reviewed: June 2018 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £399.99 | www.tranam.co.uk
The Rukka Forsair uses knitted Cordura AFT (Air Flow Technology) to create a highly breathable jacket. While it’s clearly designed for summer use, it has reflective graphics and piping for improved visibility at night.
I’ve used it over the past year in very high temperatures on the continent, and in the peak of summer in the UK…
The Forsair’s cut is excellent, giving a snug fit that keeps the armour in the right places, while offering easy movement thanks to stretch panels in the pre-curved arms. While predominantly a mesh material, the Forsair still has a substantial feel to it – the Cordua AFT is much more dense than some other meshes, but is claimed to allow 1.8 times more air through than standard Cordura. At the lowest-risk areas (the sides and inside edges of sleeves) a far more open Cordura mesh allows even more air through.
The Forsair has two densities of mesh; combined they give great cooling
Protection and CE certification
The Forsair has a pocket for a back-protector, but doesn’t come with one. I sometimes wear the jacket with the excellent Kastor 2 chest and back protector vest, but in the hotter weather I take the back protector out of this and pop it in the Forsair. Naturally, my back gets more sweaty like this, but I wouldn’t ride without one.
Flexible CE Level 1 protectors from D3O are fitted to the elbows and shoulders, which as with other Rukka kit are designed specifically for the brand and larger than used by some other manufacturers, so giving even greater coverage.
The elbows are reinforced with double layers of knitted Cordura AFT, but the jacket itself has not yet been tested to comply with the new PPE legislation.
From April 21 2018, all motorcycle clothing sold 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 new laws, click here.
The water-resistant pouch is a nice touch, though the clip does tend to flick off the tab while in your pocket
To offer as much mesh area as possible, the Forsair isn’t bristling with pockets – there are two at the waist and two larger ones inside. They tend to overlap (to avoid covering the mesh too much, as they’re made of a normal pocket liner material), so don’t expect to cram them all completely full; I tend to use the pockets on my trousers more when wearing the Forsair.
The main zip is a YKK, with a Velcro neck fastener and a popper at the bottom. The cuffs are fastened with Velcro, with plenty of adjustment to go over or under gloves, though they do bulk up a little when tightened fully, and the neck Velcro has an irritating habit of sticking to the left shoulder lining when you put it on.
There’s a full-length zip that can be used to fasten the jacket to a pair of Rukka trousers – I use it with a pair of Navigatorrs. This zip is fitted to a tough elastic panel for easy movement, but it’s worth noting that if you’re not using the zip and you have a heavy rucksack on, the chunky teeth can dig into your spine at times.
There’s also a loop that can be used to tie the back of the jacket through your belt, which is a neat touch for wearing with biking jeans for instance.
There’s a full-length zip to attach to other Rukka kit, and a loop to pop your keys on when off the bike
The biceps have three-position popper adjustment, while the hem can be drawn in with Velcro adjusters.
There’s no removable liner in the Forsair, but it’s a well-made interior with a lightweight 3D mesh over the majority, and soft, almost velvety panels between your elbows/shoulders and the body armour. These help promote airflow around the skin where the D3O would block it, and are effective at keeping a fairly regular cool feel all around the body.
The lining is comfortable and helps keep you cool
Needless to say, the Forsair makes no claims of water resistance, though it does come with a ‘watertight’ pouch that has a lanyard (with a too-loose hook) to attach to a loop in the left pocket. It’s not going to be fully waterproof, but it should keep your gear dry if you’re caught out in a shower. I can fit my wallet and iPhone SE in, but it won’t take a larger phone, like the iPhone 7 Plus.
Textile kit is often a compromise between convenience and protection. If you want the best abrasion resistance, you generally need to look at quality leather. This doesn’t have the hi-tech abrasion resistant materials that go into some of the best textile kit, so it’s not going to be as protective, but the Forsair is one of the most confidence-inspiring mesh jackets I’ve worn. Like all Rukka kit, it has a six year warranty if bought in the UK and registered online, with loan garments available if you need them.
On the BMW C400X launch in a red-hot Italy, this Rukka was fantastic; equally, while riding on green lanes and byways in the UK, the Forsair is a very comfortable piece of kit.