IF I'VE GOT one piece of kit thank for having my back (and chest and arm) for last couple of months, it’s the Richa Atlantic jacket.
With unwavering resilience, it’s stood up to the most miserable of rides, be that a gloomy and wet early morning trudge to work, or a day-long drenching from south of London to far flung and exotic places like Leicester and Corby, and back.
It costs what I think is a staggering £599.99 but after wearing this well-specced all-seasons touring jacket since the start of the year, I think it justifies its price well, and unless you’re a sucker for Rukka, is worth your consideration over the pricey Scandinavian brand.
The Atlantic is one of Richa’s most hardy and versatile jackets and its highlights are the laminated and tough-feeling Gore-Tex gecko and armacor exterior, effective vents, plenty of pockets, plus a removable thermal liner.
The Gore-Tex exterior means that over the past few months, it’s belly laughed in the face of sleet and rain so hard, I’d wished I was at home under a duvet. No water has made it past that Gore-Tex outer layer, although when it’s really been chucking it down, not even the tight closure on the comfy collar has been enough to stop moisture seeping in down the neck.
It’s kept me warm enough, most of the time. I haven’t got a fancy heated vest so on the coldest days, I’ve layered up, made sure the removable lining was in, and just got on with things. The thermal lining definitely helps with retaining heat but as with every winter jacket I’ve ever used, with my core exposed to the wind for long enough, the chill eventually starts to set it.
On warmer days, the lining can be quickly whipped out and it functions as a nice-looking down jacket in its own right. Ventilation and airflow is good, with large vents on the chest area doing the lion’s share of the cooling, although it can start to feel warm when the sun’s out. Opening the vents is as easy as pulling on a zip and then opening the vent flap, which stays in place with a strong magnet, and is easily done with gloves on.
There’s loads of storage, with inside pockets and waterproof front exterior pockets. Although the front pockets do keep the rain out, ambient moisture still finds a way in and after a wet ride, I’ve taken my wallet and phone out to find them slightly damp and clammy.
Fit is excellent – it’s not bulky, doesn’t hinder movement and has a cut that slightly hugs my figure so that there’s no excess material flapping about. Zips on the sides adjust the width of the hem and there are adjusters on the arms which give it a secure fit. The zip closure at the wrists is good whether you want the cuff to go over or under the gauntlet of your gloves.
Protection comes from the D3O shoulder and elbow armour, plus back protector. D3O is that stuff that hardens when it takes an impact and although I don’t plan on trying it out, it’s reassuring to have it, and nice to know that it doesn’t make the Atlantic a bulky, baggy sack of a jacket.
Quality is evident everywhere – all the stitching is precise and tight to the material, the zips are well made and operate smoothly, without ever snagging and all the buttons, magnets and closures are well made.
I think the Atlantic is excellent – certainly the best jacket I’ve used through the worst of winter, and definitely my number one choice for when it inevitably rains all spring and summer.
But it’s expensive. However, it’s cheaper than similar jackets from Rukka and just as capable of keeping you protected from the elements. Its performance is unfaltering – it deals with a warm and sunny day as well as it handles a soaking wet slog up the M1 and I can’t fault the superb quality. For those reasons, if you’re the kind of rider that religiously wears Rukka because you think there’s no alternative when it comes to performance and quality, you’d do well to try this out.
Tested: Richa Atlantic jacket