Richa Touareg 2 bike jacket and trousers review – are textiles finally sexy?
You've probably heard the jibes a million times from your non-biking mates – you know, the ones about your leathers being used for slightly more adult purposes in the bedroom when you're not out tearing up the back roads.
But there is some truth in bondage jokes. 'Cos whether they're one-piece or two-piece, leather suits are a bit of a bind. Sure, they connect you to the bike well, but they're not usually comfy when you're smashing out big miles. Some are better than others, but more often than not you'll end up with bits of armour digging into your bonier bits, or you'll just get too hot, too cold and too sweaty.
At which point you tend to sigh and reluctantly buy a set of deeply unsexy textile gear. Suddenly you're warm, waterproof and more comfortable in the loose-fitting kit, and your biking season suddenly gets a few months longer at each end.
Of course there are downsides to textiles – they can flap around at speed and annoy you, and you usually end up sliding around a bit more on the bike. But a decent set of textiles is something everyone should invest in – which is why I decided to test out Richa's mid-range Touareg 2 jacket and trousers for a few months in all weathers to see if they're a good go-to set and a good place for £520 of your hard-earned.
Your mates will be seeing green
Don't you hate it when your mate stops a Sunday ride and asks you to take 'candid' photos of them? Me too.
In the four months I've been wearing them, the Touareg 2 jacket and trousers have had a surprising amount of compliments from friends and colleagues. I've never had a single compliment on my textile gear before, but the Touareg 2's relatively slim, tailored cut means you don't look like a giant black blob. They almost look fashionable. The jacket's available in black, blue or this khaki green – and it's wonderful to have that sort of choice. It's a classy, muted green that goes pretty well with most bikes.
That tailored fit does have a bit of a downside – both the jacket and trousers have a waterproof lining, which means you can't pack loads of extra layers on underneath. The trousers certainly can't accommodate a pair of jeans beneath them, so you'll have to just wear base layers and your undies, which is a bit of a negative if you're looking for gear you can just throw on over your normal clothes.
Look carefully and you can see the second zip – the one for the waterproof lining
The jacket's a bit less restrictive, and you can easily fit a jumper or hoody on underneath – but you'll probably get too warm, so good is the insulation from the linings.
About those linings
Because this isn't a high-end set of textiles with bonded Gore-Tex, some of the Touareg 2's waterproofing comes courtesy of slightly rubbery linings which popper and zip into the jacket and trousers. There are a couple of downsides to this.
For a start the trouser lining makes it fiddle to get your feet in and out until you've had a bit of practice. In fact, my foot snagged in the lining when pulling the trousers on and I actually ripped one of the poppers off the lining near the foot. It's made zero difference to the fit of the trousers and the lining is held in by enough poppers that it doesn't flap around, but it's not ideal.
No builder's bum!
The jacket's lining has a separate front zip to the jacket's outer shell, so when you put the jacket on you'll need to do two zips up. It's not as annoying as you'd think, and the lining hugs you nice and tightly, so you feel securely locked in.
A short six-inch zip at the back of the jacket attaches to the trousers – I'd have preferred a zip that goes all the way around, but it's good enough that I don't get builder's bum on my old 1198.
Let it rain. Actually, don't…
The waterproof lining of the jacket doesn't really come low enough to do a thorough job of keeping your lower midriff dry. A 20 minute torrential downpour on my way to the NEC for Motorcycle Live was enough to soak my t-shirt in that embarrassing area that looks like you've lost control of your bladder. The rest of me stayed dry, and the trousers didn't let in a drop, even in a solid two-hour bout of rain on the way home again. Likewise, the waist-level jacket pockets kept my phone and wallet bone dry, despite not having any closure other than a heavy, magnetised flap
But given how quickly my lower stomach got wet, I'd say this jacket and trouser combo are best saved for warding off showers on your summer adventures rather than getting you through consistently wet winter commutes. For that you're best off stumping up for some full Gore-Tex gear.
But at £299.99 for the jacket and £219.99 for the trousers the Richa Touareg ensemble is a decent value set of textiles that won't leave you feeling like the Michelin man. And who knows, you might even get complimented on your figure. Not many £520 textile suits will get you that.
Look like this absolute hero
You can grab the green Richa Touareg 2 jacket and trousers here. Just don't expect them to come with such a heroic beard as the guy below. Ahem.
What a handsome tw*t
All photos by Thomas "A 950 Multistrada is plenty thanks" Lynch.