If you’re planning an epic motorcycle road trip across India you’ve got to have the right gear, especially if you plan to cover the diverse terrain and often quickly changing climates that the country has to offer. From intense desert heat and monsoons to the cold higher elevations of the Himalayas, these elements will definitely play an important factor in your ride and surely define your overall comfort level. However, a smooth ride through India is not just limited to the external forces of nature but the sheer variety of unpredictable and sudden situations you’ll inevitably encounter on the road. These come in a variety of surprises such as hidden potholes, cows, sheep, trucks and buses passing in the oncoming lane, rickshaws making sudden U-turns, camel carts, random debris and so on. So how can you protect yourself from all these unforeseen obstacles and ensure yourself a safe and comfortable adventure of a lifetime? For starters a good jacket is a no brainer but with so many brands to choose from how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?
Well a couple of months back the boys from Motonomous, Mumbai fitted me with the Rynox Air GT mesh riding jacket to put to the test on my six month road trip through India and in return give an honest opinion of the features and overall feel of the jacket. So, after two-wheeling through six states from the arid deserts of Rajasthan to the hectic city streets of Mumbai and the mountain ranges of the Parvati Valley in Himichal Pradesh I feel as though I’ve given this jacket a decent run for it’s modestly priced 5550 rupees. So without further adeau let’s share a few thoughts about the Rynox Air GT.
First of all I have to be honest, I don’t often wear a riding jacket back home or especially in summer temperatures so at first I was a little hesitant to try it on. It was roughly 35 degrees under the sun in Mumbai and I was pretty worried I would sooner die from overheating than a sudden crash. However, after sliding into the arm sleeves and zipping it up I found it to be surprisingly comfortable and cool. The inner layer (a detachable quilted liner) felt smooth on the skin and bending and moving in the jacket seemed easy and with little to no resistance. The overall design felt sturdy and durable, the zippers appear strong and the combined weight including liners to be extremely light on the body. At first the jacket appeared slightly bulky on my slim figure however after a few simple adjustments of the arm snaps and a quick tighten on both waist straps the jacket became much more streamline and form fitting which is especially important to combat wind resistance. Furthermore, the vibrant orange colored detailing throughout the jacket is not only attractive to the eye but makes the wearer far more visible in normal riding conditions while the reflective seams on the front and back are subtle yet effective in dark and reduced visibility. And lets be honest, the two symmetrical rhino patches on both shoulders are just plain awesome! I was pleased with the placement of all five inner and outer pockets and excited about the integration of the headphone inlet which is handy for GPS voice navigation. Lastly, the rear connection zipper is a nice addition should one decide to add a pair of riding pants to the equation. As far as first impressions go I would have to say I felt quite confident that this jacket would be more than suitable for a road trip through just about any country however, there’s only so much analysis one can perform from a static standing position in the storefront. The real test would have to come from the field. Now lets have a forensic look at a few of the unique features of the Rynox Air GT and see how it stands apart from its competitors.
Dual Detachable Multi Climate Liner:
The ability to add and remove layers of the Rynox Air GT is one of its best features in my opinion. No matter what the conditions are outside you can continuously adjust to your own comfort level. Too hot? Remove the insulator. Starts to rain? Add the water proof liner. Mixing and matching different combinations is ideal for all seasons and for a road trip through India I can’t think of a more perfect solution than this!
Detachable Liner 1 – 100% Water Proof:
Not a drop is getting into these waterproof seams. I must admit that in two months of riding (April/May) I haven’t experienced a whole lot of rain so instead I decided to take the liner into the shower to test it out. After 5 minutes under a continuous stream only a fine spray seemed to creep around the edges of the jacket while the main portion and seams remained dry. But I’ll try and revisit this feature after I ride through my first torrential downpour
Detachable Liner 2 – Warm Insulation Liner:
I’m currently in the Parvati Valley at an altitude of 2600m with an outside air temperature of 10 degrees. Wearing only a sweater and the Insulation Liner I’m pretty comfortable. While riding I usually subtract another 10 degrees due to wind factor but when paired with both other layers I feel it’s more than enough to keep any rider suitably warm. I’ll be testing this further as I reach the higher altitudes of Leh/Ladakh so expect an update then. However, the integration of an independent zipper would have been nice so you could wear the liners stand alone.
CE (EN-1621-Level 1) Approved Armors:
Put it this way, I’m not about to crash my bike to evaluate the effectiveness of these pads. The Level 1 rating indicates the protectors have been approved for track use and tested up to 18 kN of force and have passed the European Norm. That’s good enough for me. The fact that they’re removable is an added bonus especially when you need to wash the jacket. They are however a bit difficult to remove and my advice would be to take extra care when stretching the fabric as those seams didn’t feel too strong
Reflective Front and Back:
I appreciate the subtle yet effective approach to these reflective strips. I feel like nothing ruins a jacket more than a giant reflective X plastered on the back. Sure I know it’s just aesthetics but that’s just my personal taste. Again a hard thing to test when generally I’m the one wearing the jacket however under a reasonably bright flashlight the thin white strips really pop. However the orange remains matte which is an improvement I would suggest to Rynox.
YYK Zippers – International Standard:
I didn’t know there was an international standard for zippers until I started writing this review but apparently so. In any case they feel pretty tough and zip smoothly throughout the jacket. And the Rynox dongle is a nice touch to find the zipper easily while wearing gloves. What more can I say, they’re pretty darn good zippers!
Heavy Duty F2 Mesh/Polyester Frame:
Without getting too technical about the specifications of the 600D Cordura rating, the shell fabric is essentially military grade and is engineered to withstand a heavy beating while staying light and easy to maneuver in. Although a 1000 Denier nylon fabric may be lighter the polyester is more abrasion resistant and has a higher melting point. After doing some research I would probably not use these materials for track use as I don’t think they would hold up to a long skid but for general riding I feel quite safe. The mesh is extremely breathable and I was able to comfortably wear the shell in 30 degrees without breaking a sweat.
Mobile Pocket and Headphone Inlet:
It’s always nice to have a dedicated pocket for mobile devices and this one was able to fit my Samsung Galaxy S5 with ease. However I would be more inclined to store the phone in the waterproof Mp3 pocket instead and feed through the headphones for voice navigation. The flap for the mobile pocket is also Velcro while the Mp3 pocket has a dedicated zipper and has a better chance of keeping your valuables secure.
I must admit I have yet to pick myself up a pair of riding pants but little details like this can make a big difference when it comes to choosing a jacket. Furthermore, it gives me the impression that far more thought and care have been put into designing a quality product that covers all the riders needs without cutting corners (no pun intended).
Micro Fiber Comfort Collar:
This one shouldn’t require a whole lot of explanation. It’s a very comfortable fit and the microfiber material feels soft on the neck as opposed to other fabrics that can feel scratchy and irritated over time. Thumbs up on the finish!
Adjustable Snaps and Straps:
Another one of my favorite features and finer details of the Air GT is the adjustable elastic arm waste and wrist straps. I find extra bulk in a jacket pretty annoying so it’s nice to see that Rynox has thought about this too and made an attempt to streamline their jacket to the specific rider. This also cuts down quite a bit on wind resistance which in turn will give you better mileage in the long run. It may be negatable but as a rider I think every ml of petrol counts!
This should always be the last thing when considering a jacket in my opinion but hey, we’re human and generally we like things to be aesthetically pleasing. In regards to the jacket style I think Rynox did an amazing job at keeping the Air GT sharp and simple in a touring style without the use of overbearing graphics and logos as on some race jackets. And lets face it, how cool are those rhino shoulder patches? 🙂
After considering all the features of the Rynox Air GT Mesh Jacket and riding in it over the last two months I must say I am extremely satisfied with the superior level of quality in relation to its budget conscious price tag. You’ll be hard pressed to find a good quality C Level protection jacket in the 5-6000 rupee range that offer the same advantages and high end features as this. The dynamic functionality of the Air GT that is suited for all season riding is probably my top reason to go for this jacket while the finer production details have been spared at no expense. For a mesh jacket as breathable as this the build quality is rugged and durable and having full back shoulder and elbow padding ensures that extra protection in the event of a spill. All-in-all I think the Air GT is a superior riding jacket that offers the rider exceptional value and would be happy to recommend it to any rider about to embark on a cross country tour or even for day to day street use. Well I think that should do it for this review. Happy riding folks and keep that shiny side up!