Tested: Richa Infinity 2 & Colorado motorcycle textiles review

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Date reviewed: May 2019 | Tested by: Graham Mudd | Price: £269.99 Jacket, £134.99 Trousers  | www.nevis.uk.com

 

I have a 50 mile commute with no option to use a car, so I ride all year round no matter what the weather is doing. It’s really important that the kit I wear is comfortable, protects me from the weather, and from injury should the worst happen.

My daily ride takes in the full spectrum, from twisty country roads, through traffic-jammed trunk roads, dual carriageways, urban areas and then maybe a longer ride into the Peak District or Wales at the weekend. My trusty steeds are ‘Kaley’, a battered 2012 Kawasaki Versys 650 I occasionally use for greenlaning and ‘Bertha”’, a 2009 Suzuki Burgman 650 (I’ve also temporarily got the use of a Honda CB500X while Bertha is being repaired after being T-Boned in Lichfield).

So far I’ve covered about 2,000 miles in the Richa Infinity 2 jacket and Colorado trousers on review here, in everything the UK weather could throw at me. Richa has a solid reputation for quality kit (I’ve had my Richa 2330 ‘Lobster Claw’ winter gloves for years and swear they’re the best cold-weather gloves after heated ones). This kit faces some stiff competition in this price bracket, not least my regular Merlin Peake suit. Let’s see how they shape up on the road…

 

 

Fit

I’ll start with the Infinity Jacket; unusually for a four-season suit, the Infinity is cut more like a sports jacket than a touring one; slightly shorter, it sits on your hips rather than mid-thigh and has a closer fit than you’d expect. It is very comfortable though, and has a reassuringly solid, quality feel.

The Infinity has a modular design, with separate zip-in thermal and waterproof liners, which I’ll come onto later, but with it all fitted in the jacket in my regular size was a touch on the snug side, so maybe look to go a size up if you intend to ride in the colder months.

The lower arms, upper arms, waist and tail are all adjustable with Velcro straps to tailor the jacket to your shape and once it’s all set up I have to say it’s possibly one of the comfiest jackets I’ve worn; everything fits just so with no pinch points. The armour pockets are well positioned in the usual places and you’re barely aware the D3O armour is there when riding. The same goes for when the liners are inserted – although snug, my movement was not restricted.

 

 

Moving onto the Colorado trousers, they don’t fit quite as well as the jacket. Trying on is a must as my usual L/XL sizing needed to be upscaled to a 2XL, and I’m a fairly typical rider size. Similar to the Infinity jacket, the Colorado trousers don’t sit as high as other touring trousers I’ve worn, fitting more like jeans. In contrast, my Merlin Peake trousers sit above my belly button, giving a fair overlap with the jacket – with the Infinity and Colorado being so short, there’s almost no overlap between the two, which lets in a mighty draught even when they’re zipped together.

The Cordura used in the construction of the Colorado is quite stiff, even after several weeks of use. This is unfortunate as the legs (even in 2XL size) are quite narrow for my chunky thighs, meaning swinging a leg over the seat can be awkward, and sometimes when sitting on the bike I have to stand on the pegs or shuffle a bit to get the trousers to sit right. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not uncomfortable, you just need to find that sweet spot before you set off.

Oddly, even though the legs are on the snug size, zipping in the thermal liner doesn’t seem to make them tight. As with the Infinity jacket, the knee and hip armour pockets are well placed and the D3O pads are very comfortable.

I’m a big fan of the Colorado’s long, well-placed ankle zips that mean I can get the trousers over my boots without having to become a contortionist. There’s waist adjustment in the form of Velcro fasteners.

 

 

Protection and certification

A part of protection is being seen by other road users. In this respect, the Infinity jacket has some of the best subtle high-visibility technology I’ve seen yet. Panels in the arms, chest and almost the entire back are coated in the latest 3M reflective material. Which means most of the time it looks a matt grey, but if any light hits it at an angle, it lights up like a torch!

It’s quite hypnotic to watch, and no car driver will be able to claim they didn’t see you at night. There are also high-vis yellow highlights along the seams, to reinforce the 3M grey magic.

The Colorado trousers also incorporate the new 3M tech, but in strips down the thighs as opposed to whole panels as on the jacket.

It’s good to see that both the Infinity jacket and Colorado trousers have been tested to meet the new CE motorcycle PPE legislation at Level A (AAA is the top rating). Both items contain excellent D3O armour. The jacket contains back, shoulder and elbow protectors, the trousers only knees – all rated to the new level 1 protection, though you can upgrade to level 2 armour.

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 new laws, click here.

 

 

Pockets

The Infinity jacket is somewhat lacking in the pocket department; externally it has two pockets on the front with popper and Velcro fastening, but they’re rather small and I can’t fit my wallet into either – fishing out a bank card with gloves on is nigh-on impossible. In moderate rain both pockets leaked.

On the back is a ‘pillion pocket’ but is too small to be of any real use as it is deep but inexplicably narrow meaning I can’t get my (fairly small) hands into it!

Inside is a better story: on both sides is a mesh pouch that can contain a fair sized phone, but is only closed by a Velcro tab. These pockets are replicated on the waterproof and thermal liners if you have them zipped in. There’s also a zipped pocket inside the storm flap of the main zip, which can fit a wallet. Given the jacket leaks like a sieve in moderate rain, none of the pockets are waterproof.

The Colorado trousers have two zip pockets in the front hip area. This seems an odd place to put pockets on trousers as anything you have in there while riding digs into your groin! Like the back pocket on the Infinity jacket, while the pockets are deep they’re also narrow, meaning it’s difficult to get your hand in to fish the contents out. In moderate rain, both pockets leaked.

I have to be honest and say I’m disappointed in Richa’s attention to detail here. Pockets are an important factor in kit design as we have to carry phones, wallets et al.

 

 

Fastening

The zips on the Infinity jacket are really high quality. Not once in all the time testing have I had trouble getting the main zip to sit properly, and even standing there for several minutes rapidly doing and undoing the zips (sad I know, but it’s part of being thorough) I didn’t catch the fabric or liner of the jacket. It’s one of the things that really annoy me about any jacket (bike or otherwise) when you either can’t get a zip to start or get the lining jammed in it. Likewise the storm flap is held in place by Velcro but is never a pain to get done up or undo to get to the zip.

A nice touch is that the collar can be held open by a small loop that is attached to a hook further round the collar, meaning you can have the neck open and let more air into the suit in warm weather. A simple but very effective idea.

Another neat design is that the waterproof liner not only zips into the jacket, but also zips closed under the storm flap and main zip. A design flaw of many zip-in waterproof liners is that the waterproofing stops either side of the main zip – one of the biggest points of water entry (especially on naked bikes), often leaving you with a vertical wet stripe when you get to work. The only slight downside I can pick up on is that the tabs on the zips are very small, but I’ve not had a problem with using them so this is a very minor niggle.

The Colorado trousers have a similar standard of zip to the jacket. The waist has a hook and popper design which is easy to do/undo even with gloves on. The groin zip has a good action and never gets caught on the lining; something that is frustrating in other trousers I’ve owned as you can’t see what’s causing the jam with your jacket in the way (usually in service station toilets). As mentioned above I’m a big fan of the long, well-positioned ankle zips. I suffer with chronic back pain, so not having to contort myself to fasten the trousers over my boots is a welcome feature.

All in all, full marks for the fasteners.

 

 

Adjustment

The Infinity jacket has a good level of adjustment. Velcro straps on the lower arms, upper arms, waist and bum mean you can tailor the jacket to your shape. It makes an already comfy jacket even more comfortable. It has to be said though that even let all the way out – with the thermal and waterproof liners in – the suit did feel overly snug but I suspect if I went a size up the outer would flap if I didn’t have the liners in. Again, trying on and having a play is key to making a good choice.

The Colorado trousers are only adjustable on the waist via a Velcro strap, which if I’m honest is all they need.

 

 

Ventilation

The vents on the Infinity jacket are nothing short of brilliant. The meshed front vents are six inches long, with seven-inch vents on the back and sleeves. With the collar held apart and all the vents open it’s akin to having a fan in the suit.

It’s nice that Richa have put some genuine thought into the vent design, and very effective they all are too. On too many jackets the vents seem an afterthought and are stuffy or uncomfortable in warm weather.

On the warm days we have had so far the vents on the jacket have been a revelation, keeping me cool and comfortable while remaining easy to close on the move when the temperature dropped.

There is a downside though. As awesome as the vents may be, even with them all fully closed, the jacket is really draughty. Some cold air gets in via the closed zips, but most gets in via the jacket being short and not sealing with the trousers. On a jacket that claims to be four season, this is a major downfall. In winter, cold air ingress can reduce you from being cool to a shivering wreck in minutes, so draughts have to minimised.

The Colorado trousers have something of a token gesture towards ventilation; There are small two-inch vents on the outer mid thigh, however their effectiveness is negligible; even standing up on the pegs fails to stimulate any airflow to the legs. Only undoing the ankle zips and resting my feet on the Versys’ crash bars gave any hint of ventilation!

 

Warmth

The Infinity jacket is not warm or waterproof in its own right. A modular design means the outer shell is designed for protection and summer performance, relying on the liners for waterproofing and thermal ability. So check the weather forecast before you set out and don’t wear the outer shell on its own in winter.

The Colorado trousers perform better than the jacket in their own right, and are more suitable for all-year use. Without the liner, I can’t say my legs were cold, even in chilly mornings, which is a nice place to start from.

 

 

Liner

The Infinity’s thermal liner, to be blunt, is not up to the job. It is thin and most of the back is inexplicably mesh. As a result, any heat you generate is almost instantly lost. This is compounded by the wind howling through the jacket via a poor seal with the trousers and leaky vents. On chilly early May mornings  – not even the sub-zero wet and ice of November – I was cold to the point of having to pull over and put on a fleece undershirt. On a four-season jacket this is unforgivable, especially when compared to my Merlin Peake suit with its Outlast liner; riding in -5°C, all I had on underneath was a T-shirt. I’m not a fan of the modular liner concept, although I understand reasons for its use. Having two liners to provide warmth and waterproofing makes a jacket unnecessarily bulky and heavy – it’s much more effective to have a waterproof/windproof (and protective) outer layer with an optional thermal inner. Hiking gear stopped the modular system 15 years ago for this reason and the motorcycle clothing market seems to have been slow to catch up. Also, if you’re riding in summer and it suddenly rains heavily or gets cold, you have to take your jacket off and faff about fitting and zipping in a liner while you get even more cold and/or wet. It’s much easier to throw on a waterproof jacket or jumper.

The Colorado trousers fare much better. Although not well vented, they’re never stuffy – even in warm weather – and in cold weather are comfortable enough. Snug and a little restrictive with the thermal lining in, the liner performs well and keeps your legs warm without making them sweaty.

 

Waterproofing

Time to be blunt again. The outer shell of the Infinity jacket is about as waterproof as a Rich Tea biscuit. In moderate rain – not heavy rain – it breached in seconds, not minutes. Within five minutes – having not fitted the zip-in waterproof liner – I was soaked. This is not a jacket to wear out on its own with threatening dark clouds above you.

The waterproof zip-in liner is unlike others I’ve had in the past (which have been like wearing bin bags) – it’s comfy and doesn’t make you sweat. Unfortunately it does nothing to stop draughts, and merely delays the leak from the outer shell. In one bout of sustained moderate rain I was soggy within 15 minutes. To compare with my Merlin Peake jacket (with no separate waterproof liner) I’ve ridden over an hour in torrential rain and only had a slight leak at the right shoulder and chest.

The Colorado trousers fared better. The waterproof liner is fixed to the Cordura outer and I only felt dampness creeping into the crotch area after about 40 minutes. Still not Pampers all-day dry, but if I was looking at riding into day long rain, I’d have a waterproof oversuit on.  

 

 

Conclusion

The Infinity 2 is not a bad jacket. It has some really nice features not seen in other similar bracket kit, and the D3O armour is really high quality; comfortable and confidence inspiring. For most of us who ride for leisure, or commute in the main season when it’s relatively warm and dry, the Infinity makes a lot of sense. It’s too draughty and poorly insulated to be of much use in winter, but these negatives become positives in the warmth of summer; the ventilation on warm days is awesome and insulation is not an issue.

Keep the liners in a back-pack or pannier in case of inclement weather and get on with enjoying your ride. To review this as an all-season, all-weather jacket I’d be giving it 3/10. But if you want me to review it as a May to September jacket, it gets a solid 8/10.

The Colorado trousers are a bit more of an all-rounder; from a lower price bracket they still perform well and come firmly recommended. A good level of comfort once you’re settled, a quality protection and decently resistant to water, you can’t go far wrong in giving them a try. Best to buy from a shop to check sizes though.

 

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