When it comes to weather protection there’s no better way to keep the wet stuff at bay than to throw a waterproof over your riding kit. Mike Beddows tests eight of the best over jackets.
When it comes to keeping yourself dry on a motorcycle there’s no more effective way of doing so than pulling on a set of waterproofs to go over your ‘normal’ biking kit. While your motorcycle jacket will still provide the impact and abrasion resistance, your mid-layer the warmth and your base layer the comfort, your outer waterproof is going to make sure you stay dry when the heavens open. A wet biker is not a happy biker.
Of course, your three-in-one bike jacket comes with a waterproof lining, and your laminated jacket has a membrane bonded to its inner, but neither of these methods of waterproofing come close in terms of effectiveness to an overcoat that you can throw on when it starts raining, and take off when it stops. By placing the waterproof protection on the outer layer you prevent your bike jacket from becoming uncomfortably saturated with water.
When it comes to buying a waterproof overjacket there are a few things you need to bear in mind to ensure that you buy the best product for your needs. When riding you’re not just subject to rain falling from above, but also spray coming from in front, behind and to the sides. It is essential that your jacket is able to deal with a water assault from all angles, while also being able to cope with high wind speeds while motorway riding.
A number of features will ensure that a waterproof can do this, and the most important ones to look out for are: a high profile neck to prevent water from seeping in, reflective strips or patches to ensure that you’re more visible to other road users in the typically dark and gloomy conditions that accompany rain, storm flaps to protect zips and elasticated cuffs and waists to keep the jacket in place, to trap warm air and to prevent water from entering.
Ideally, you’ll want your overjacket to be lightweight with a small packsize, while also being durable and easy to pull on over your standard jacket.
With these points in mind we’ve tested eight different waterproof overjackets from across the price range. It’s interesting to note that the age-old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ isn’t necessarily true when it comes to this kit!
Oxford Products Ltd, established in 1973, is a global leader in the manufacturing of motorcycle products. As the name would suggest, the company is based in Oxfordshire, but it distributes to over 60 partners worldwide and has its own subsidiary in Jacksonville, Florida. Its huge range of products covers everything that helps make life on two wheels great: from clothing and helmets to accessories, hard parts, locks and luggage and more.
The Rain Seal jacket is fully lined which may seem like a waste, especially when it’s going to be placed over your normal biking jacket, but this also means it is very easy to put on. It has thin reflective strips down each arm and across the breast and back and while these are welcome the jacket could do with a bit more reflective material to make you stand out in bad weather (there is a fluorescent yellow version to combat this issue). It has adjustable cuffs and an adjustable Velcro waist to help keep draſt s and water out. While there are no external pockets you get an internal breast pocket that can be accessed by opening the storm flap which covers the main zip. An elastic drawstring hem around the waist will help keep warm air in and the high neck is comfortable thanks to the included neck lining.
This is a very nicely priced jacket. For those with safety in mind, you should consider the fluorescent version which will really make you stand out. The only improvement that could be made is the addition of external pockets, but if you can look past this small omission then this is the jacket for you.
In a line: This is a brilliantly priced jacket, best in test.
Richa is based in Belgium and since 1956 has been manufacturing motorcycle kit aimed at the European rider. The company’s gear can be found in more than 25 countries across five continents and the brand specialises in leather and textile clothing, waterproof gear, helmets, boots and gloves.
The Rain Warrior jacket has large yellow reflective areas across the front, arms and back and it has a well-fitted liner so it’s easy to pull on over a bike jacket. The Rain Warrior is advertised as having an adjustable elastic waist although I could not see any way of adjusting it in use. The sample we had in for this test was a 5XL and the elastic waist seemed to dig into me when on the bike and felt slightly uncomfortable. This resulted in a skirt-like appearance from the waist down which did not appeal. It has a comfortable neck material though it doesn’t rise as high as the others in this test. The jacket also comes with a useful stuff sack, it feels extremely tough and durable and it has two breast pockets which, along with the zip, are protected by storm flaps.
Large reflective areas are a fantastic addition especially for those that want to stand out, and in bad weather who doesn’t? Unfortunately, this is not a product for me due to the poor fit. But as with most kit, make sure you try it on before you buy, if the fit suits you then it’s a good jacket.
In a line: Large reflective areas are a fantastic addition.
RST provides protective motorbike clothing for both road users and professional racers. They manufacture pretty much every kind of motorcycle clothing and for this review we’ve been testing the Rain 1815, a waterproof overjacket that retails at £29.99.
The RST Rain 1815 jacket has four front pockets with storm flaps, but there is only a single, small piece of Velcro to hold the flap down, allowing it to slightly blow open in use. The only reflective material is two small strips over the breast pockets and a waterproof over jacket, where visibility in bad weather is a must, really should have more. The neck is not very high but is made from a comfortable material. It comes with a loose mesh liner and is easy to put over your existing bike jacket. The jacket has an elastic waist to stop it from riding up but this does feel a bit tight when worn, although not too tight to make it uncomfortable. It is available in black only.
The RST Rain 1815 has an attractive price tag but too many downsides to make it a serious contender when compared to the others in this review. With that said, I have seen this jacket worn by a friend many times in bad weather and when asked about it he said: “it has never let me down or leaked”. And I guess when it comes down to it, this is all that really matters in a waterproof overcoat!
Spada is a relatively new brand (when compared to others in this test) and has been making motorbike clothing since 1994. Based in Halesowen in the West Midlands, Spada produces a range of products from helmets, clothing and boots to luggage and accessories.
The 912 jacket is mesh lined and is easy to put on over your normal biking jacket. It has four large front pockets, and these all have a full length of Velcro to seal the protective storm flap, something others on this test do not have. There are two inside pockets, and one of them is designed specifically to house a phone, while the other is larger. For safety, there are two thin reflective strips over the breast pockets and one thin reflective strip along the back. The jacket has an elasticated toggle drawstring to form a snug fit around the base, and comes with an elasticated waist and cuffs. The neckline is high and is comfortable to wear.
In all the Spada 912 Mesh-lined jacket is good quality and reasonably priced, however I consider there to be better options in the test which are cheaper. I would have preferred more reflective strips but if you can overlook this minor detail you will not be disappointed with the jacket.
Bering is a French motorcycle clothing brand that was founded in 1951 and is an offshoot of a company that specializes in making clothing for sailors and fishermen, so they have vast knowledge and experience in what makes good waterproof clothing. This company has built a reputation on making highly waterproof and durable clothing and if their brand name is anything to go by the Maniwata will be good.
The Maniwata jacket is very durable and feels tough to the touch. It has Scotchlite reflective material (yellow) across the arms and shoulders enabling the rider to be seen easily from all angles. There are two pockets on the front and both, and along with the zip, are protected by a decent-sized storm flap. The jacket has elastic cuffs and elastic around the rear to aid with a comfy fit. It has the highest neckline of the products in the test and it is comfortable against the skin. It is disappointing that there is not a liner as this would help it go over a biking jacket easier.
This is a good over jacket and has many benefits. It’s an extremely durable product and something I could definitely see myself wearing on future trips. It is suited for the rider who wants to stand out when the conditions take a turn for the worse due to the large yellow strips while the only thing I would have liked to have added is a mesh liner.
In a line: A good over jacket and has many benefits.
Tucano Urbano is an Italian company that was formed in Milan in 1999. The reason behind the brand’s creation was to provide Italy’s large population of scooter riders with good quality clothing and so Tucano Urbano specialises in urban motorcycle apparel.
This jacket is completely different to the rest in the test. It doesn’t look like a motorbike over jacket, and doesn’t feel like one. But I like it. It looks and feels more like a casual jacket, and is something that you wouldn’t mind wearing out and about when in town. It is fully waterproof and has an inner mesh liner. It comes with a fold-away hood (great feature for off the bike) and comes in a very neat stuff sack. It has two front pockets and all storm flaps are secured with press studs. You also get a single reflective strip on the back, running from the base of the arm right to the top, along the back and down the other arm. Out of all on test, this is what I chose for a recent Euro trip.
If you want a jacket that functions as well off the bike as it does on it and can look past the steep price tag, then this is the one for you. The reason I chose it for a Euro trip was the off-bike functionality during the evenings.
In a line: If you want a jacket that functions well off the bike as on it, this is the one for you.
This is the second product by Tucano Urbano that is included in this test. This product comes as part of a waterproof jacket and trouser set that comes in a handy fold-up case.
This jacket is different from the other Tucano on test, as while it still looks stylish, the feel is definitely more rugged and functional, more similar to the rest of the jackets on test. It comes with an integrated mesh liner and is very easy to put over your normal biking jacket. Safety is covered by a single reflective strip on the rear and I would have preferred to see some reflective material around the front. There is a fold-up hood in the neck, and this can be completely detached if you do not think it is of use.
Personally, I would wear this jacket when off the bike so I think it is a good benefit to have. The neckline is high and comfy. There are Velcro adjustable cuffs but only press studs holding the main zip storm flap in place. Velcro would work better here to help keep water out. There is a single internal pocket and two external lower pockets.
This is another jacket that functions well on and off the bike, something Tucano Urbano seem to have excelled in. If you can look past the limited reflective issues then this is an excellent jacket to consider. Although the Oxford Rain Seal is what I’d recommend overall, this is an excellent jacket that should also be considered.
In a line: This is another jacket that functions well on and off the bike. Highly recommended.
Alpinestars is an Italian company that was founded in 1963. It has its roots firmly placed in developing quality protective products for the motocross market, though the company also produces some fantastic kit for those who would rather stay on the tarmac.
The Quick Seal Out comes as a jacket and trousers combined. Both are presented in a nice compact stuff sack and are the lightest and most compact in the test. Infact, the jacket alone can be folded up really small and could easily be stuffed into your normal biking jacket pocket or under a seat with ease, this is a great benefit. The combo comes in bright yellow, orange or black and they are advertised as waterproof and breathable. There are no pockets and the jacket has a fairly low neck, but it is very easy to put over your existing bike jacket. The jacket does not feel particularly durable when compared to the others in test, and at such a high price you’d expect it to have more of a quality feel to it.
If you want a jacket and trousers combo that you can roll up and forget about then look no further. This is a product that is really suited to the rider where space is a premium. Despite my initial concerns about the flimsy feel of the jacket, after an extended test in motorway speeds and torrential rain the Quick Seal Out showed no signs of damage and worked well.
In a line: If you want the most compact jacket and trousers look no further.