Short review of the Rukka Kalahari suit

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by sushi7474, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Hi all,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I thought about posting a review about a recently bought Kalahari set (jacket + trousers) from Rukka. <o:p></o:p>
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    Reasons to buy:<o:p></o:p>
    I must confess that I own a perfectly functional Vanucci suit, winner of several “Motorrad” equipment tests. However, since I did not like it anymore, I wanted something more “fancy” – i.e. a shorter (more sporty) jacket and Gore-tex liner. And I liked the “archetypal” shape of the jacket best J<o:p></o:p>
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    I was aware of the higher price-tag, but was ready to shell out the money, since quality usually costs – more in that later…<o:p></o:p>
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    The fit and initial thoughts:<o:p></o:p>
    I bought size 48 (EU) – probably “M”-size in US terms. I payed 520 EUR (jacket )and 420 EUR for the pants.<o:p></o:p>
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    The jacket:<o:p></o:p>
    Fit is perfect, slightly tight with the silverfish gore-text liner zipped-in, but I still like it a lot. There are those Rukka “mesh” protectors (back-, arm- and forearm-protectors), which (at the back) push a little bit on the body, but you get used to it quickly and after a while do not register it anymore.<o:p></o:p>
    There are air-vents on the forearms, under the armpits and in the back. Zippers quality seems to be good. <o:p></o:p>
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    Four zippered exterior pockets (one of them including a waterproof internal pocket) and two internal ones make a lot of room for accessories to carry.<o:p></o:p>
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    The trousers:<o:p></o:p>
    The fit is perfect, the trousers little longer (wear jeans 30/32), which helps a lot, if you have your knees bent during riding. There is a “rubbery” seat-pad on the exterior, with a patented seat padding below it. There are 6 pockets on the trousers (2 side pockets, 2 seat pockets, 2 thigh pockets), all of them well available and useful (none of them waterproof).<o:p></o:p>
    There are 4 protectors in the trousers (the regular Rukka mesh-style) – 2 extended knee protectors and 2 hip protectors. I did not like the hip protectors and removed them right after buying the trousers.<o:p></o:p>
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    The inner parts of trousers (those areas in touch with the bike) are bolstered with heavy leather inserts (good idea) <o:p></o:p>
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    Overall feeling is very good, all fabrics seem to be high quality.<o:p></o:p>
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    Experience after a 9-days trip:<o:p></o:p>
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    I used the suit during a recent trip to Balkans, with approximately 300 km of off-road use (if that makes any difference). No heavy duty use occurred, I wore the suit daily. The suit performed perfectly during high temperatures (30 C, but of course without the Gore-tex liners) and also during fairly heavy rains.

    However, other issues occurred - After 2 days, the black fabric came loose below the fly front (all the seams in perfect conditions). <o:p></o:p>
    After 4 days, the black fabric next to the seat pad became loose and started to came apart at the stitched rear butt-pocket.<o:p></o:p>
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    Also, I noticed a smaller crack in fabric on the inner side of the jacket (nothing serious), just annoying… <o:p></o:p>
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    Final thoughts:<o:p></o:p>
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    To be honest I expected a completely different level of quality from Rukka. One can buy better quality garments, for half (or even third) the price.<o:p></o:p>
    Apparently, the black fabric suffers serious defects, but this must not occur, when one buys 1000 EUR suits… <o:p></o:p>
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    The garments will now be sent to the dealers (and later to Rukka) for repair. Since all the issues are caused by low-quality fabric, I doubt any “repairs” will help it.<o:p></o:p>
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    I strongly consider requiring full “money-back” and source a bike suit elsewhere. I will keep you informed on the progress and dealings with Rukka…

    Regards
    Roman<o:p></o:p>
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    #1
  2. Norhasken

    Norhasken Tryin' to find my way

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    Wow! I never would have expected the fabric to separate in that fashion.

    Good luck on getting this resolved.
    #2
  3. Shakeyhands

    Shakeyhands Goober

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    thanks for posting this. I've been mulling getting the Armas suit, this is making me more mully!
    #3
  4. decka

    decka Adventurer

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    Sucks about those stitching issues. My experience has been superb with the Rukka Armas for what it's worth. Totally water proof, tough as nails, 10,000 ADV miles and good as new. I'll add that I use the suit both on and off road pretty aggressively and have found it to be fantastic in every way—especially having the gore tex built right into the fabric.

    I had a small issue with the zip-lock "lockout" main zip on my suit (no one told me to put silicone on the runner when you get it). I broke the zipper tab like a dumb gorilla and they fedexed me a complete replacement kit (more pieces than I even needed). So they are pretty responsive in my experience. I've heard they are a pretty cool company so my guess is you'll get a new suit.

    I try to keep a balanced 'tude when it comes to this high-end stuff. It's like the Space Shuttle: it has a lot of first-run gadgets on it, ya know?

    Good luck!
    #4
  5. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Oops. I expected glorious review, and instead I see this. Is it possible that the suit is a bit too tight on you? I just do not see how RUKKA would design something that comes apart after few hundred kilometers of use.
    #5
  6. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    Disappointing report on Rukka quality, but I would like a larger sample size than 1. Any more experiences out there? Please pipe up.


    I was thinking of a Rukka suit ordered from Germany mail order, delivered to US, but I am concerned with the logistics of possible return mail at huge expense of time and money if something requires repair/replacement/sizing/return, etc

    I may just wait a bit and see what develops before dropping US$ Large Amount.

    I also think I'll wait until I take a trip to Europe to try some pieces on and examine the material and construction quality in person.

    I bought a BMW Rallye Pro 2 suit this year, and while it works pretty good for me I feel like a dork in it and I am so vain/shallow. I did examine a fellow rider when buying my bike at Max (NY) and was impressed with the suit build and look, and the rider raved about how it performed in a recent crash that destroyed his bike in NY.
    #6
  7. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Well, for the ride I removed both the inner liner and hip-protectors. It was a pretty loose fit for my build, so no issues there. (Also I cannot imagine, how I could stretch the fabric on the collar in the jacket)

    One of my bike fellaz wears another Rukka suit (different model) for the last few years, but had "0" issues with it. I really suspect some nasty "fabric issues" in exactly my production series,but will wait for Rukka´s response...
    #7
  8. keiji

    keiji Long timer

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    It looks like the seam allowances were not big enough. If you take a woven fabric, cut it, and pull at the edges, it will fray as there is nothing on one side to keep it from coming out. Go X number of threads in and that thread is held on by the tension of all the threads in the weave in the direction of the pull.

    The seam allowance allows these X threads to exist. However, this is not enough. Over time, the threads on the outside edge will work their way free if not restricted. To stop this, they are typically overlocked, which essentially puts a fence around the outside thread that is anchored deeper in the fabric.

    Cheaper jackets can get around this by using a Polyurethane coated fabric, which resists unraveling because the threads are essentially glued together.

    Why would you want small seam allowances? Small seam allowances reduce bulk. It is hard to tell if they designed it in not knowing the fabric unraveled so easily, or the person cutting the fabric just messed up. Either way, that is pretty unacceptable on pants that cost that much.

    I suspect it might be a part of their design philosophy to increase comfort in their garments. It would also explain why the Armax had such terrible burst strength in the RiDE test.

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/upload/Ride%20Magazine/Product%20test%20pdfs/3.5%20SPR08%20Textile%20suits%20test.pdf
    #8
  9. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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    Agree with the Motodisiac of possibile undue tightness in the trousers. We have learned to size our clients primarily by hip measurement and feel even to the extent of allowing some looseness in the waist (reason for belt and suspender combination). And while we'd love to sell Kalaharis we choose not to since they are parity with alot of what's out there. If you're going to the trouble and expense of acquiring a Rukka the Armas is virtually another planet of quality and hence the ticket.
    #9
  10. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Thank you guys for the support/ input...

    I am somehow perplexed now - should I completely withdraw from the "repair"-complications and request a full money refund? Does it make more sense to you?

    Thanks
    Roman
    #10
  11. Trophy Mike

    Trophy Mike w/extreme prejudice

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    Rukka is warranteed for 4 years. Contact the dealer where you bought it. Most likely you'll have to send it to them for inspection.
    #11
  12. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Small update - I got a full money refund today for the jacket, let´s see, what the "pants-vendor" says to me...
    #12
  13. Gregg Wannabe

    Gregg Wannabe Just killing time

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    I just wanted to say that I have had the Air jacket and pants for about 5 years now of hard on and off road use. The stuff fits great, everything is right where it should be and it looks new. Completely waterproof with the liner and only one broken zipper pull after all the abuse. Even the knees look good and that's after changing many a tire in the Baja dirt/rocks. Expensive but I love the stuff. I think I'm going to buy this jacket and use it for my off road trips since the Air is really more of a street jacket.
    #13
  14. Gregg Wannabe

    Gregg Wannabe Just killing time

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    Those fabric tears look like a sewing error as if the seam was sewn too close to the edge of the fabric letting it unravel. That is clearly not right and unacceptable. The fabric is so tough I can't imagine it tearing otherwise.
    #14
  15. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    Wow is all I can say.

    I was at the Touratech store a few weeks ago and my wife and I saw the Rukka gear described here. I always thought the only true competitor to Cycleport gear. We even talked about her getting a Rukka suit as opposed to a Cycleport one for her new gear (so she could keep some modicum of coolness and look like a woman) but after reading this, I'm not so sure.

    I'm rather famous in these parts for my support of Cycleport stuff, but every time I read a review like this, I am SOOOOOOO happy I bought one. I've had mine 3 years and put it through the paces; a legit 23 F and 110 F, snow, hundreds of miles in driving rain (last time was coming back from the Swiss Alps a month ago), a couple thousand miles off road, etc etc etc.

    Um, the hi-viz has faded a bit. I was nice and have washed it twice in those 3 years, though. Cycleport is still the benchmark by which others are measured IMO.

    When we go back to the Touratech store, I'll look over the construction and look over the suits there and see if it looks like a poor design...

    msbianca is bummed as she thought she was going to get to look sexy for once in her riding gear. :cry

    EDIT: I just looked at their product line and see that they do still run a Kevlar line and this one is a lower cordura line. So I can't really compare my Cycleport suit to this Rukka one. I can say that my 4 year old BMW Rallye 2 Pro which has been abused worse than the Cycleport suit shows no signs of wear even after being down a few dozen times on a few bikes in the desert and mountains, it still looks new.
    #15
  16. Socrates

    Socrates Been here awhile

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    I've owned a Rukka AirVision for about 3 years. I've also owned an ArmaX which is the prior version of the Armas. The quality and construction are outstanding. My AirVision still looks brand new with zero frays, rips, stretches, etc.

    In fact I've even hit the asphalt in an AirVision and it saved my bacon. Granted it was a low speed spill at around 30 mph, but I tumbled and slid and had no bruises or scrapes on my body. The jacket and pants were a bit scuffed up, but what do you expect for a fully ventilated riding suit that flows air better than a t-shirt. I probably could have repaired that suit, but instead wound up replacing it with a brand new AirVision because I liked it so much.

    As some others have mentioned I'm guessing the trousers are too tight on you, hence the seams coming apart where they are. It may also be due to the fact that it's a lower end line of Rukka's gear. With the higher end gear such as the ArmaX or Armas I doubt you could rip the seams like that even if you tried.
    #16
  17. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    I am not inclined to be so forgiving of this apparent quality failure in the Rukka "low end" line, as $1,000 or so is NOT low anything in my book. It seems that there is still good quality available at Rukka, but as they are currently replacing many of their old standbys for "new improved" models I would be cautious that they are not falling prey to the tendency for manufacturers to lower quality and trying to cash in on their reputation.

    I for one will not buy any Rukka gear without the chance to hold it in my hands first, as I cannot afford to waste what would likely be a $1200-$1500 expenditure, so no German mail order for me for now.

    Thanks all for the information.
    #17
  18. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    As mentioned before - Is ent the trousers to the vendor.

    Just after few days, he replied that he does not consider the damages to be reparable and suggested either replacement trousers (new) or money refund (I accepted the money)...

    End of story :1drink
    #18
  19. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Rukka Schmukka.
    #19
  20. Boarder06

    Boarder06 Been here awhile

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    Have the same suit and used it for a 26k km so far. The price of this thing is ridiculous. However, compared to the cheaper offerings by Polo or Louis in Germany the fit was superb. So I went for it. The other suits I tried on seemed too big for me, I assume made for the middle aged beer gut crowd ;-) (not to worry, I'm moving into that target group fast).

    Anyway, the pants leaked from the beginning, the "back protector" broke in several places. I feel the protectors are a joke. Sort of like the rubber mats in a commercial kitchen. I don't want to start another "you can't tell protector quality from looking at it" discussion or a "they are certified and cycleport's are not" discussion, but to me personally they seem flimsy.

    I did have to mail it back to Germany and if I would have had my way I would have taken the money back but they insisted on repair. So, paying for mailing to the other side of the globe again.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why they make a suit called Kalahari, clearly intended for use in hot climates, in such a dark color combo. The vents however do work and I could wear it comfortably in the Iranian desert, as long as I kept moving.

    All in all extremely disappointed with Rukka, expected much better quality control from them, especially for the money they charge.

    Personally, I'm also done with the waterproof membrane under the pants concept. If you are caught in a shower you'll have to strip down to your undies. Always fun in a Muslim country with plenty of onlookers.
    #20