Is this top-of-the-line suit from Rukka the best all-weather biker kit money can buy?
RRP: £2499 / www.bikerheadz.co.uk
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Rukka kit is expensive… there’s no way we can start a review about the infamous Finnish textile specialist and not mention it. But it turns out that it’s for a very good reason – because it’s really bloody good. I’ve covered several thousand miles in the year since I first laid my hands on the Kingsley jacket and trousers and I’ve been blown away by it.
Despite being founded back in the ‘50s, Rukka didn’t start making kit for bikers until the late ‘80s – but since then it’s built up an envied reputation for making some of the very best kit available on the market. The Kingsley is the new top of the range suit from the Finnish brand that was created primarily to meet the needs of the British police force. They needed some riding kit that was accredited to meet the new CE AA standard – and rather than Rukka resubmitting its Nivala suit for approval (which they are confident it would meet), they decided to create a new one for 2021.
I’ve worn my fair share of textile jackets and trousers over the past few years. I’ve had some expensive kit from some of the biggest names in the game. They’ve done the job, keeping me warm and dry (most of the time) – but the Rukka Kingsley suit is a serious step up. Made from a three-layer laminated Gore-Tex shell with stretch panels on the chest, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees (to mitigate some of stiffness of laminate construction), the Kingsley is the most waterproof kit I’ve ever worn. No leaks. Not one. And I’ve ridden in some truly terrible weather this past year. The Neoprene lining on the neck helps, as do the GTX cuffs, creating a double seal around the ends of the sleeves to successfully stopping any water from sneaking in where it shouldn’t. It also comes with some waterproof pockets, which are marked with a little logo so you know which one is and which one isn’t.
There’s bags of protection too should the worst happen and you end up trading blows with the Tarmac. Thankfully I haven’t had to put it to the test yet, but I have every confidence that the tear and abrasion resistant Keprotec panels on the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees (which are laid over an area of Armacor) would hold up and look after me. There’s Level 2 D3O Air XTR protectors in those same spots, a back protector and a Level 1 chest protector too. It’s all there.
For warmth, the Kingsley comes with thick, padded Down-X thermal jacket and trouser liners which can be removed and worn separately. They’re very comfortable and very warm – and kept me as toasty as I’ve ever been on a bike. The textile’s are warmer than most without them, but for when it’s really grim outside, I’ve been really thankfully for the added layer of insulation. For when the weather’s a bit warmer, there’s a load of vents you can make use of. There are vents on the sleeves, on the side of the body, on the chest, across the back and on the front and back of the thighs. It’s a great system and you can get a nice bit of air flowing through to help keep things cool.
There are bags of pockets to stash your stuff too (including three on the outside and one on the inside of the jacket), loads of adjustments to make it easy to get the perfect fit and a set of braces on the trousers too. There’s also an AirCushion system to make them more comfortable and some leather patches which run up the inside of the legs to stop riders sliding around on the bike. One particularly nice touch are the long zips from the bottom of the trouser legs running up, which make it comparatively easy to get pretty much any size boot on underneath. That’s not always the case and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fought with a pair of trousers trying to get a big pair of boots tucked away.
While the impressive quality of the materials and level of finish on the jacket and trousers shines through, it’s all the little details that help make the Kingsley suit from Rukka the best biking kit I’ve ever worn. And it gets better. You’ll also get a six-year warranty included as part of the price (which is activated once you register your kit with Bikerheadz). Plus, if you’re kit needs to go in for a service or a repair, Rukka will loan you a jacket so you don’t have to go without. That’s how you look after customers.