Date reviewed: June 2020 | Tested by: Bennetts BikeSocial Test Team | Price: £199.99 | www.rst-moto.com
Helen Milbank is a member of the Bennetts BikeSocial Test Team and has been wearing the RST Ripley ladies leather jacket on review here for the past few months on a variety of bikes, including the BMW S1000XR, Royal Enfield Interceptor and Triumph Rocket III…
Needless to say, we’re all different sizes, so trying kit on for yourself is vital. I’m 5’3”, and this is a S/10 jacket, which fits perfectly; RST seems to have done a good job of nailing the cut of both its women’s and men’s kit over the past few years.
The length is a good balance for walking around off the bike and when riding, though I would say that this isn’t ideal for sportsbikes – if you’re hunched over the tank, the jacket does lift up a bit, leaving the base of your back exposed.
CE Level 1 armour is fitted at the elbows and the shoulders – while not as soft and pliable as D3O, it’s very unobtrusive; to be honest, I wasn’t even aware of it when I first tried this on.
There’s no back protector supplied, but I would always recommend riding in one; you can pick up the Contour Plus Ladies CE Level 1 back protector from RST for £17.99 (Level 2 is £19.99), but I’ve gone for a D3O BP4 Level 1, which feels comfortable and doesn’t get too hot.
I’ve fitted the D3O BP4 Level 1 back protector as I had it from another jacket
It’s surprising to see a leather jacket only rated to Level A as personal protective equipment – I’d have expected this to be at least an AA, though other factors like lack of crotch strap (which I wouldn’t use) and wrist closure no doubt contributed to the Ripley only being certified to the lowest standard.
The milled cowhide (it’s tumbled to give it a soft finish) isn’t the thickest, but it never feels too thin. It’s also triple-stitched, so while clearly not part of a race two-piece, this Ripley is striking a balance between style, comfort and protection. For the less frantic pace on road that I tend to wear this for – and the fact that I keep it on when I’m walking around – I’m happy with the Ripley.
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.
There are two pockets on the outside at the waist, along with another over the left breast. I can tuck my hands in at the waist when I want, and while the slim fit means I can’t cram a lot in there, there’s enough space for my phone and a small purse. My only slight criticism of the pockets is that the metal Max-branded zips can be a little awkward to do up, snagging on themselves a little; I sometimes need to use my other hand to keep the bottom of the zip pulled straight.
Inside is a zipped chest pocket that will take my iPhone 7, though not my husband’s Galaxy S10. There’s also a large zipped pocket on the inside left, and an open one on the inside right.
The main zip is a large metal Max that does up more easily than the pockets – it looks great with this style though be aware that it could damage your bike’s tank if you lay across it.
The cuffs are also fastened with metal Max zips, but there’s a lot of leather that bunches up behind them; I found the only way that I can do these up fully is to wear no watch; even the most slim of bracelets (and I don’t have large wrists) stops me fastening the zips completely. Unfortunately there’s just too much bulk in the ends of the cuffs, especially where the zip’s leather backing gusset is sewn into the sleeve. I tend not to zip the cuffs fully closed as my gloves do cover the sleeves and the arms won’t ride up; with the leather behind the zip opening I don’t feel unsafe.
There’s no connecting zip, which is a shame as it means you don’t have to option to pair this with a pair of RST trousers, though as I wear it with a pair of Hood jeans I haven’t missed it; long with the TCX Street Ace Lady boots, this makes for a really comfortable package.
As is common with most leather jackets, there’s no real adjustment besides a zip at either side to give a little more space at the hip.
There are no vents on the RST Ripley, so keep that in mind if you’re riding in hot climates. Given the style though, it doesn’t look odd to open the main zip a little and let air in, and it’s not a bulky jacket so is comfortable in most of what the British summer can throw at us.
There’s np thermal liner so this isn’t a jacket for the colder seasons. Still, given its design I’m not disappointed – this isn’t winter kit and I’ve no problem layer up a little. Surprisingly, despite the slim fit I’ve had no trouble getting a warm jumper underneath.
The hem is a little rough on the inside, but you have to look closely to spot it
It’d be nice to see a mesh liner for improved air flow, but the soft, almost satin-like fabric that’s fitted is comfortable, sliding on and off easily unless you’re really sweaty. I tend to run cool, so I’ve had no problems with this design.
Despite the chunky cuffs and the lower CE rating, I do really like this jacket. Most of my time on the bike is spent going places where I then want to be able to walk around comfortably, and this is great for that.
The hem is a little untidy thanks to a cut edge of the lining leather that sits behind the nicely rolled-over outer, but you do need to look closely to see it. I’m knit-picking; the design and fit of the RST Ripley mean I’d happily wear it to go out any time, and given the relatively low price I’m very happy with it. Overall, a great jacket for casual riding.