RUKKA AIRWAY JACKET/AIRVISION PANT COMBO Lets get it out of the way right here and now. This is an expensive riding suit. Yeah, it probably “cost as much as your first bike”. We’ve heard it. Keep it to yourself. Really, there isn’t any point. For the rest of us, Rukka represents the pinnacle in motorcycle riding apparel. Once you go there, any other manufacturer is difficult to take too seriously. Really. It’s that good. Why is it so good? Mostly, its the fit. It’s just cut correctly to fit a human body, rather than Spongebob. You put on a Rukka suit and it just feels so right in so many ways. RUKKA AIRWAY JACKET MSRP US$899.00 I’ve been wearing the Rukka Armas for the last couple of years. It is an awesome suit, but it’s most definitely not a warm weather suit by any means. That is where the Airway/Airvision combo fits in. This suit is made from a fabric called AFT Cordura which stands for Air Flow Technology. It is a knitted fabric that is said to be equal to 500d Cordura for abrasion resistance. This is Rukka’s answer to a warm weather fabric as opposed to an open mesh. It flows air incredibly well. Like, almost better than incredibly well! The weather hasn’t warmed up much around here in the Northeast, but I wore the jacket on a 65F day and almost froze. It’s impressive! Overall Fit and Thoughts Rukka just nails fit and attention to detail in their riding suits. This suit is no different. The combination of high tech materials and superb craftsmanship really puts them in a different league. It is not for everyone, but for those of us that want the best, or are just kinda geeky about this stuff, it doesn’t get too much better. The thing Rukka really does well is fit. This stuff just fits. Everything is in the right place. Cuff length is long enough, but not too long. Collar is comfortable and simple. Joints are articulated. It hangs nicely on the body, and just falls into the riding position. Excellent! Rukka has some manufacturing similarities with all of its suits. The interior of the Airway is virtually identical to my Armas. A pocket on each side. Crotch strap. 360degree connecting zip for pants. Exterior waist expansion gusset and velcro closure. Like my Armas, this suit is a Euro 54. I would say they fit about the same. Curiously, the biggest difference in fit I find is in the arms. It’s almost like the Airway has slightly larger arms all the way around from the shoulders to the cuffs (esp. the cuffs). The arms on the Armas are quite snug, where the Airway is a little looser. Torso on the Airway may be slightly snugger than the Armas. Where I feel like I could probably get away with a 52 in the Armas, this 54 seems about right in the Airway, except the arms, where I’d like a 52.. On the Airway, I have the armor cinches as tight as they go; on the Armas, I’m on the middle adjuster. I’m 6’1”, 43” chest, 38” beer belly, 200#. A really athletic Finnish gent that drinks hot tea rather than beer might be in a 52 with my overall spec:) Protection I’ve searched and I’ve searched, and I just can’t seem to find very much information on Cordura AFT. I don’t know why that is. I’d like to know more, and frankly, Rukka isn’t very forthcoming about it. It is said to offer “7 times more abrasion resistant than cotton”. I mean, come on. Cotton? As in my t-shirt? Not too inspiring. That said, I’ve seen a few crash reports and the wearers come out on the other side in pretty good shape. The suits are destroyed, but the rider walked away unscathed. It’s up to the rider to decide if that is good enough. I did get a little information from Cordura. I’ll quote it as sent to me in an email, “...we’ve looked into your inquiry and found that Rukka appear to be using 180 / 370 decitex CORDURA® AFT fabric. These fibers are both based on nylon 6,6 high tenacity yarn technologies and designed for high tear, tensile, and abrasion resistance. These fabrics are knitted construction versus a denser and heavier 500 or 1000 denier woven fabric. CORDURA® AFT fabrics are designed for enhanced air flow and breathability and are inherently lighter weight vs 500/1000 denier woven fabrics. Relative abrasion resistance follows weight and construction. We hope this information helps!” Rukka says this about AFT: Cordura AFT, developed by Rukka in collaboration with DuPont, has absolutely convinced experienced touring riders on their travels all over the globe in recent years. Just as with tried-and-tested regular Cordura, high-performance polyamide fibres form the basis of a lightweight design that has an extremely high resistance against wear and tear as well as abrasion. However, the AFT short for ‘air flow technology’ points out the enhanced riding comfort that is experienced especially in hot climates. In contrast to woven Cordura, Cordura AFT is knitted to form a mesh structure, resulting in a fabric whose air permeability is 1.8 times higher than that of regular Cordura. Both materials offer comparable levels of wear resistance. In comparison, the abrasion resistance of Cordura AFT is twice as high as that of conventional Nylon, four times that of polyester fabric and seven times higher than that of cotton. Cordura AFT is employed for all products of the Rukka AirPower Technology collection, comprising the APR3 and Amazon APR3 suits, the APR Strong and APR Indy jackets as well as the APR Force trousers. Apart from these products, Rukka uses Cordura AFT for the AirPower Outlast back protector. I’m sure there is someone out there much smarter than me that can tell us all exactly what that means, and how protective it is. I exchanged PM’s with an inmate that I respect from various posts he’s made on ADVrider.com who goes by the handle Keiji. He had this to say about Cordura’s response: Unfortunately, I'm not aware of the exact correlation between 500d (woven) cordura and the 180-370 decitex (knitted) aft. Invista hasn't given you much information, as the difference between denier and decitex is basically the convention for units for each region (like feet in the US and Meters everywhere else). Denier=gram/9000 meters of yarn, decitex=gram/10000 meters. 370decitex ~ 330d After remembering Invista only has specific qualified yarns, this seems to be the case http://www.cordura.com/en/fabric-tec...ic-fabric.html So the marketing guy has basically told you the yarn is a little more than half the weight of the same base nylon formulation. You can get some different properties between knitted/woven fabrics(extreme example would be the polyester in halvarson's HIART), but there's no way for us to know without testing it somehow. While it likely provides useful protection for most crashes, as you can cheat a little by abrading the pads, it would not be on my short list of gear to wear - I tend to ride faster in hot weather, not slower! Note this rider is not a professional in the textile industry, just another rider interested in protecting himself in the event of a crash. Take his words as you like. They are not meant to be truth nor presented as such. Unfortunately, it is the riders who need to do our best to wade through the marketing hyperbole for the truth on certain fabrics. Enough on the fabric. If anyone has any more specific information on AFT to share, please post up! The Airway jacket comes with Rukkas patented RVP air armor. Coverage is excellent, especially the shoulders. I’ve never seen shoulder armor as all-encompassing as that used by Rukka. Crash reports show that the armor does quite well, and due to its waffle design it is extremely breathable. Back armor is level 1. I replaced it with something beefier in my Armas, but that’s just me. It is very comfortable to wear and hardly noticeable. It’s worth mentioning that Rukka puts a thin layer of microfleece on the inside of the jacket where the elbow and shoulder armor is for more comfort. If you look closely in this picture, you'll see a mesh on most of the jacket. The solid fabric is the fleece. Another one of those small touches that really adds up. Rukkas armor system is extensive, unlike the latest trend of pieces getting smaller and smaller. Coverage is excellent, and exceeds that of most manufacturers. Like the shoulders, elbow armor covers elbow and extends down the forearm. Overall coverage is better than any other manufacturer that I have seen with the exception of BMW’s NP and Motoport, which wins the coverage battle hands down. The Airway has a double layer of material on the elbows. It is clearly a more heavy duty fabric. I would’ve liked to see it on the shoulders and on the back. Indeed, the Rukka APR2 jacket from a decade or so ago, had just that... Seams are minimal which is always nice to see from a protection point of view. The entire front and almost entire back is solid fabric, with seams along the sides of the body only. Minimizing seams should help tremendously with burst strength. Rukka includes a crotch strap on all of their jackets. It is a simple, elastic strap that stows in the back of the jacket. It runs under the crotch and attaches via a D-ring with Velcro. A simple solution to holding your jacket down in the event of a crash. I use it infrequently, but its there if needed. I find it a little short on the Airway. Where my Armas wraps fully up and under and is quite comfortable to wear, the crotch strap on the Airway is shorter, which means it is much tighter. Also, it doesn’t fit all that well with the liner in place, forcing the liner to bunch up. Pockets There are 4 pockets on the jacket, 2 on the inside and 2 on the outside. There are no waterproof pockets on the suit anywhere, but Rukka does include a goretex pouch on a removable lanyard in the left pocket. Pocket is shown here dangling from the lanyard And, stuffed in the pocket Cuffs Shown with Goretex liner Simple zipper cuff with a velcro cinch. There is quite a bit of room to adjust for bulky gloves under the cuff. If you are an over the cuff rider, you may be disappointed with all the bulk. I have to scratch my head a little about this one though. The Armas has a very thin cuff and a short zipper to close. It seems like leaving a ton of space for bulky gloves would be something one would want on a winter jacket, rather than a summer one? Maybe, it’s so that you can access the inner liner to stuff your gloves under it? Don’t know. It's hard to tell in the photo below, but when you zip down the cuff and cinch the velcro, it creates a funny bulge of fabric. I find it an annoying detail. Part of the purpose for the velcro is that it does help hold the elbow armor in place a touch better. Keeping the velcro loose would alleviate this annoying detail, but I think Rukka could tailor it better to fall "clean", rather than bunch up. The velcro is strong and holds well. Not much to say here. There’s a (bulky) cuff with a zipper and a velcro cinch! I would say that the cuffs are my least favorite part of the suit. Compared to my Armas they just seem clunky and not as well finished. The funny bulge of fabric is something I expect to see on lower quality suits, not Rukka. Surprising, considering the attention to detail everywhere else on the suit. Reflective With zipper unzipped showing Goretex liner Especially for a black jacket, Rukka has done a spectacular job with the placement and volume of reflective material covering the jacket. Well done Rukka! It lights up the sky at night, and gives 360degree visability at night. I really think Rukka did an awesome job on this. Well done! Adjustment Same as on my Armas suit, there is very little adjustment on the Airway. Therefore, it is imperative that one nails the fit. That said, the adjustment that there is is well placed, thoughtful and just works. I don’t know how they do it, but Rukka is literally, the only manufacturer that I’ve ever worn, that nails the elbow adjustment properly. It doesn’t look like they’ve done anything different, but when you pull the heavy duty snaps to adjust, somehow the armor pulls perfectly square on your elbow. Considering how many jackets I’ve tried on that the adjusters actually pull the armor sideways OFF your elbow, this is something I really appreciate! There are small gusset zippers at the waist and a velcro adjust on the side. Collar I’ll likely wear Rukka for the rest of my riding career simply for the collar. This is another thing manufacturers have a hard time with. Rukkas collar is simple, effective and comfortable. The Airway uses a magnet closure rather than velcro. There isn’t really an adjustment, it just closes. Simple. Around the neck is a 1” strip of very thin neoprene. Yeah, the same stuff they use on wetsuits. It wicks away sweat. Doesn’t allow water to penetrate. Is so soft you don’t even feel it. The collar is just there. We’ll see how it goes through the warmer months. I wonder if I’m going to wish that there was a way to hold it open?? If there is anything missing, it would be that. Time will tell.. The interior of the collar has very fine flannel that is soft and comfortable. Another one of those little details you get with Rukka. Zippers Honestly, they’re pretty wimpy. I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up over the long term, or in a serious tumble. I know that I’ll be hard on the cuff zippers. I worry about them failing over time. I have no patience for riding gear I need to be careful with. How is that going to protect you in a tumble? Just speculating here. I don’t know anything about zipper technology, but I figure its worth mentioning... They are no name zippers. GORETEX LINER Space being the premium that it is on a motorcycle, I’ve always wondered why manufacturers don’t give us a usable waterproof layer for off the bike use. I could see it costing a touch more, but it just makes the suit that much more versatile. Rukka has done just that, and it looks “normal” too. The fabric on the liner is interesting. I’m not sure what it is, but the outer fabric seems to be something relatively strong to hold up to off the bike use. Goretex Performance Shell is laminated and seam sealed to the outer fabric. This isn’t the typical thin, fragile goretex liner we’re used to seeing. Thanks Rukka! One of things Rukka has always done with their removable Goretex liners is a thin layer of Outlast. Curiously, this has been omitted on the Airway liner. I would’ve liked to see it since I’m a fan of the technology. The liner has 4 exterior pockets, but sadly no interior. None of the pockets are waterproof. The top two pockets are meant to stow the connection zipper for the main jacket and it works quite well. Slip them in and they’re gone. The pockets themselves are quite large, and usable for soft items. Rukka gave us more reflective on the liner that roughly matches that on the outer jacket. That should be nice for coming back from the pub after knocking back a few on an overnight ride:) Main zipper is the Gore Lockout Closure. I was an early critic of this technology, but have grown to love it on my Armas. It is very simple, works well, hasn’t failed, is definitely waterproof and just plain works. Integration to the outer jacket is very clever. The two connection zippers stowed in the upper pockets zip onto the outer. There are two small snaps on the bottom, snaps on the cuffs and a snap on the back of the neck. Simple, discreet and effective. Integration was done so well that the only indication that the liner belongs in a motorcycle jacket is the snaps. Well crafted, and finished so nicely. Rukka really did build this liner perfectly for its intended use. Ie: off the bike. On the bike, I feel integration into the suit as a whole could be better. I get the feeling the focus was on making a killer off the bike light weight jacket, and they succeeded. I just wish it worked a little better with the suit as a whole. I would wear this liner as a light jacket to the store, movies or just as a lightweight kicking around jacket. Other than the logos, you’d never know its motorcycle specific. It sounds so great, there must be something wrong with it, right? One of the things I love about my Armas is how secure and comfortable the complete suit is with the jacket zipped to the pants. The Jacket does not zip to the pants WITH the liner in on the Airway, which is a major disappointment! Well, it does, but the liner bunches up and its just not comfortable. It also allows for easy ingress of water in that area. Major downer Rukka! In the past, Rukka has added an additional zipper on the inner waterproof liner of their suits. This has been omitted on the Airway/Airvision combo. My guess is that Rukka feels it is not necessary when using the suspenders AND the crotch strap. Neither of which i use often! Sooo, this is a major disappointment in my book. I expect more from Rukka. Maybe, they’ll add that zipper on the liner in the next iteration if they get enough complaints.. Hard to tell, but this is how the liner bunches up with the connecting zipper attached. The liner is as long in the back as the front. Bummer. Comfort This is just wear Rukka shines. It really is amazing just how comfortable this riding gear truly is. Fit, materials and tailoring combine in a way that no other manufacturer can touch. I appreciate the subtle design. There isn’t anything you don’t need getting in the way. This suit in particular feels like a pair of broken in pj’s. RUKKA AIRVISION PANT Unlike the Airway which is brand new for 2013, Rukka did not come out with a new pant in the APR or Airpower line. They kept the old standby, Airvision, which has been in the catalog for quite awhile. It is unclear to me whether they have made any changes to the pants over the years. Possibly, they have, but just kept the name? Airvision pant, trousers as they call them, is similar spec to the Airway. Fabric is the same AFT, with a removable Goretex liner. RVP armor in the knees/shin and hips. Overall build quality, fit, comfort and high quality is typical of every thing Rukka produces. Protection Airvision pants are made of the same AFT fabric described above. They have an additional layer of the same heavier duty material on the knees as found on the jacket elbows. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like it may have a third layer of this material right on the kneecap. There is no reinforcement in the hip or backside area. Armor is the same RVP-coverage is excellent. Nice large pieces of RVP armor covering the hips and knee/shin area. Other than the knee armor in my Motoport pants, and BMW NP I don’t know of another manufacturer using such large pieces of armor as Rukka uses. Knee armor extends to the shins coming just to the top of my boots when seated on the bike. There is a zipper on the outside of the pants for armor removal, and it is an excellent passport stash spot when stored in a ziploc:) The seat has a layer of what Rukka calls “Air Cushion” and “anti glide”. It does have a layer of kevlar, so could be considered helpful in the event of a crash. It works extremely well for its intended purpose, but it is rather small and “focused” in the crotch. I don’t know that it is intended for any protection purposes, but I could be wrong. I would’ve liked to see an extra layer of the heavier fabric used on the knees covering the backside and the hips. It helps with the dreaded Monkey Butt. Zippers Zippers on the Airvision pant are heavier duty no name zippers than those found on the Airway jacket. Curiously, the beefiest zippers on the pants are the ones on the knee armor pockets. I would’ve liked to see these larger scale zippers everywhere on the suit top and bottom. Pockets Unlike the Armas pants, there are 2 large pockets on the Airvision pants. I don’t find them all too useful since they aren’t waterproof and with the proper snug fit you wouldn’t really be able to use them for much. They’re nice size, and well done. Note that the AFT fabric collects dog hair like no other Goretex liner Like the Airway, the Airvision pants have a removable Goretex liner. Unlike the Airway liner, it is not meant to be worn off the bike, but it does retain Outlast like most Rukka gear has. Outlast is a temperature regulating material that is said to store heat and give it off as needed. It really does help you stay that little bit warmer or cooler. I find that it works best on the cooler end of the temperature range. Above 70F and its too warm, but that’s me. The liner zips in at the waist, then has two buttons at the cuffs to attach much like most manufacturers do. Being Goretex, it is warranted for life to be waterproof. With both liners in, this suit is watertight! Shown here with zipper open Buttons attach to liner Zips in at the waist. The black fabric on the liner is the Outlast. Fit The subject of fit is one that comes up alot with Rukka. This stuff just feels so right, and especially the AFT suits. Think about the most comfortable pair of soft kicking around the house, eating popcorn on the couch, watching a movie attire and that about nails it. Only, this is meant to be used on a motorcycle. The armor cradles the joints just right. Nothing is too snug, or binding. It falls perfectly in place on a bike, and you could sit around in it all day if needed. Adjustment on the pants is by two velcro adjusters on either side of the main zip fly. Suspenders, easily removed with velcro, complete the package. The suspenders are really great when touring, but I don’t wear them on a normal ride. The waist has a stretchy material for increased comfort and a snap to help close the fly. I wish my Armas pants had this snap! ON THE BIKE At the end of the day, this is what matters right? All the high tech this and that is pretty worthless if it doesn’t perform under the conditions the marketing department or your salesperson claims it will. In the case of the Airway/Airvision combo, it passes with flying colors! On the bike, this suit literally feels like you’re wearing a broken in pair of PJ’s. It is meant to be worn in warm conditions. I haven’t really had the opportunity to ride in HOT conditions yet, living in the Northeast US, but today it got to 76. It is actually an odd feeling. Air doesn’t flow through like an open mesh suit would. I would call this radically breathable rather than airy. You feel the cool air, but it isn’t a blast of cool air. Mesh suits tend to overheat me due to the warm air pulling moisture off my skin from evaporation. I feel like this is going to behave almost like Motoport Stretch kevlar does, by letting just that right amount of air through ALWAYS! If it is possible to flow too much air, this suit may be guilty of it. On this 76 degree day, the top of my body was in perfect equilibrium, not too hot, not too cool, but my legs were HOT on the right, thanks to the fact that my Tiger puts out a little bit of heat on the right side. I’ve found that bikes that put out a fair amount of heat require some insulation on the bottom or you can just feel every last bit of warmth from the bike, and road. Keep that in mind if this suit is on your short list. It is so comfortable, and just falls into place. All the armor is positioned correctly, the joints are articulated nicely. The jacket doesn’t ride up into your neck. It is just really comfortable, and that is what it comes down to with Rukka. We haven’t had much rain, but I rode through a little bit. Maybe, 30 min. Liners were in the top and bottom. I stayed comfy and dry. Temperature was around 65, and I was slightly warm on the bottom. I worry about how warm you can comfortably wear the liner in the pants with the Outlast. It is quite a bit thicker than most Goretex liners. I was very comfortable on top. That liner, even with my concerns about how it integrates into the suit as a whole, is excellent. Conclusion It really is the sum of all the parts that makes Rukka worth what it costs. Some of those parts aren’t worth it to some folks. To others they are. They really do put together an impressive garment. The attention to detail is stunning. Try as hard as I could, I couldn’t find a single crooked seam or loose thread. The fit is custom tailored, and they don’t give you more than you need. They do have some goofy styles in their current catalog, but a suit like the Airway has no bling whatsoever, unless you count what my wife called the “disco stripes” on the front of the jacket. One of the best things about this combo is the GoreTex liner in the jacket. Unfortunately, the integration of it into the suit as a whole is not up to the usual standard that Rukka is known for. Not being able to zip the jacket to the pants with the liner in is a bummer, and the crotch strap interrupts with it in the front. It’s unfortunate since they did such an incredible job making it a stand alone jacket, but how it integrates into the suit as a whole needs some work. If you never zip the jacket to the pants, or use the crotch strap, it becomes a non-issue though. I expect more from Rukka, afterall it is the detail that makes one seek the brand out. The little things on the older style, yet still current, Airvision pants make me wonder if Rukka is beginning to cut a few corners in their latest gear. The no name zippers are heavier. Outlast is retained. Snap on the fly. Add to that, the lack of a connection zipper on the jacket liner to the pants, which they used to include. I don’t know. Pure speculation, but just a thought. The more you wear a Rukka suit, the more you appreciate owning such a fine garment. From the soft fleece around the neck and micro fleece on the shoulders and elbows to the superb fit you really do get what you pay for. Try on another manufacturer and you instantly realize the difference. If what the rider is looking for is a lightweight, summer riding suit with perfect fit, craftsmanship and build quality look no further than the Airway/Airvision combo. This stuff is top notch, all weather riding gear. The 5 year manufacturers warranty and lifetime warranty on waterproofing from Gore is the icing on the cake. Rukka really is “as good as they say”. Rukka is now distributed in the US by Revzilla, which couldn’t be a better match. The combination of superior service, and an impeccable manufacturer like Rukka should make for a potent combination. I’d like to thank Revzilla for taking on the brand. The support in the US for Rukka has been long overdue! With pricing more in line with Europe, there really isn’t a reason to shop abroad anymore!