Used review: Knox Leonard wax jacket, quilted layer and armoured shirt (£389.97)

Three jackets in one. Literally.

THERE’S a lot of motorcycle clothing that’s designed not to look like motorcycle clothing, but it usually still does because of the body armour.

Of course you can usually remove the armour. But that invariably means taking several pieces out of several different internal pockets, so instead we just go about looking like we’ve forgotten to remove the coat hanger.

Knox (best known for body armour) has tackled the problem with a new range of clothing including this jacket. There are three parts: a waterproof wax outer; a thermal quilted jacket; and a thin stretchy zip-up layer containing shoulder and elbow armour plus a back protector.

None of the layers attaches to another. You just put one on after the other (in reverse order to that listed, naturally). The layers are sold separately, and intended to be used independently if you wish. For example, you can wear the armoured layer inside another jacket, or leathers, in place of any integral armour. You can wear the thermal quilted layer inside something else, or on its own. And you can wear the outer over other things. Knox does alternative armoured and thermal layers. I could go on but you probably get the idea by now.  

Without the armoured layer, it’s the first motorcycle jacket I’ve had that non-riders genuinely don’t realise is a motorcycle jacket. As someone who makes one jacket do for motorcycling and the rest of life, that’s useful. ‘That’s quite nice, for you,’ someone said.

The outer expands a bit when you undo zips which run up the sleeves, under your arms and down the sides to your waist. The idea of that is to create enough space for the other layers while ensuring the outer doesn’t have to be baggy all the time. Personally I’ve found I never need to expand it, even with the three layers on. I’m wearing a size large where normally I take a medium but I don’t think I’d want to go smaller – it seems a good fit.

I’ve been using it for a couple of months. By chance it hasn’t been subjected to a single persistent downpour in that time, so I can’t vouch for its water resistance. I'll update you when I know.

Separate layers definitely come with benefits. I can put the armoured layer in my top box when I get off the bike, and I’m suddenly back in my normal jacket.  

But it also has disadvantages. I now have three separate garments to hang up when I get in (and only the outer has a loop to go over a peg). Also, being a corner-cutting type, I’ve sometimes tended to ride without the armour, which defeats the whole point.

It’s got four outer pockets with waterproof zips, which are a bit stiff to undo. The cuffs are a bit bulky. The gauntlets of my summer gloves just about go over them. The cuffs are more suited to going over the tops of gauntlets, thanks to that zip I mentioned earlier, a better arrangement for keeping the rain out anyway. There’s also a useful stretchy fastener on the cuff. The leather part you can see is attached to an elasticated bit hidden inside the fabric of the cuff.

I’m not sure the thermal jacket is warm enough for deep winter. You could add a Knox ‘Cold Killer’ base layer but that’s more expense and more to put on.

Overall I’m impressed though. The ensemble has become my preferred every-day bike jacket, usurping a very heavily-used Tucan Urbano one. It’s an innovative idea. It's part of Knox's 'Studio Collection' which also includes leather jackets and a decent-looking women’s range, without the usual patronising splashes of pink. 

It’s not cheap though, at nearly £400 for the three layers. I could have replaced my Tucano Urbano (called the ‘Touring Jacket Trip AB’) for £189.99.

But the Tucano isn't a wax jacket and wax jacket's typically aren't cheap. A Spidi 'Worker Wax H2OUT Textile Jacket', for example, is £520. 

Tested: Knox Leonard Men's Wax Jacket (£249.99); armoured shirt (£99.99) and quilted jacket (£39.99)

Total price: £389.97

Colours: brown, black


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