What qualities make for a good motorcycle jacket?
Is it the abrasion resistance? Protective armor? Waterproofness? Cooling ventilation? Durable long-lasting build quality? Premium styling?
What if I told you that there’s a single jacket that offers it all? Would you believe it?
Well, the RSD Jagger is that jacket, and handily delivers on all those qualities.
It’s so possible, in fact, that I’ve actually purchased this jacket on two separate occasions. Once in black, and a second time a bit over a year later, in the limited edition gunmetal colorway that I currently own, after I lost some weight and needed to go down a size.
If I had to change sizes again, lost the jacket in a wreck, or it somehow worn out, I’d do it again, too. Hopefully RSD keeps making this jacket for a long time, and if they ever retire it, replace it in their product line with a jacket that is at least as good.
Let’s break down what makes the RSD Jagger so awesome.
The Jagger is made of pure, premium, full grain matte oiled buffalo leather. Every seam is double stitched (and a few are triple stitched). The zippers are all YKK.
It’s a quality jacket that is built to last. This is an heirloom piece that, with just a little bit of care (just a bit of cleaning and conditioning once or twice a year), will easily last a lifetime.
It may be a jacket that runs north of $500, but after five or ten years, it works out to be more affordable than buying a “cheap” $150-200 jacket every year or two.
Due to the nuances of how buffalo leather is produced compared to cow leather, buffalo leather tends to be a bit thicker, stronger, and more abrasion resistant than cow leather. The Jagger is made of heavy 1.0mm – 1.3mm thick buffalo leather, and has the abrasion resistance game on lock.
You hit the asphalt in this, and it’s going to save your skin. No questions asked.
It’s also equipped with Knox Microlock elbow and shoulder armor. Knox is one of the top brands in motorcycle protection, and Microlock is some of their most advanced stuff. Unlike many of its competitors, it remains flexible, stable, and retains all of it’s protective functionality across a wide range of temperatures. It functions identically from -20ºc (-4ºf) to 40ºc (104ºf), as well as in wet weather.
The Jagger does not include back armor, however. The back protector must be purchased separately for about $40. This unfortunately pushes the price up a bit more if you want back protection, which seems like a bit of a cynical money grab on an already somewhat expensive, premium jacket. The back protector should be included.
This is where the Jagger truly shines.
Depending on where you live, the conditions you choose to ride in, and your personal temperature tolerance, the Jagger can easily be a true four-season jacket.
It includes a waterproof softshell hooded liner to handle cold and/or wet days. It’s superbly effective at keeping the nastier elements at bay, and extends the seasonality of the Jagger. The softshell hooded liner securely attaches to the outer jacket via several snaps and zippers. Once it’s in, it’s not going anywhere, and doesn’t move around or bunch up like many other liners do. It’s also stylish enough (complete with some subtle RSD branding) to wear on its own as just a basic weatherproof jacket.
With the weatherproof liner in, the Jagger is good down to the low to mid 40’s, often with little more than a t-shirt. Add a decent flannel, or better yet, a warm base layer like a Freeze-Out Warm’r Long Sleeve Shirt as I recommend in Winter Gear Essentials, a pair of gauntlet gloves to seal up and prevent cold air from flowing up the sleeves, and you might find yourself comfortably riding in otherwise inappropriately cold and wet conditions.
The outer leather jacket itself is great on its own for mild to warm weather. It sports a mesh liner made of CoolCore thermoregulation fabric that works to control moisture and temperature. For those really hot days where you need some extra airflow, it has a pair of zippered vents at the shoulders to pull in more air, and another pair of zippered vents on the back to expel warm moist air.
Combined with the CoolCore liner, it does a great job at keeping you cool and dry up to about 80-90º. Once the temperature rises above 90º (and especially when it hits triple digits, like it does here in Texas), you’re going to want something lighter and with a bit more airflow. Add a cooling base layer, like a HEAT-OUT Cool’R Short Sleeve Shirt, and you can push it a bit further, though.
All in all, with the exception of the most frigid and icy winter days and the most sweltering summer days, the Jagger is primed and ready to be your go-to jacket for almost all conditions. It’s particularly great on longer trips or eccentric days when you can’t predict the weather, and need something adaptable.
It’s an RSD jacket, so it looks great. It has slick neo-retro café racer styling. It sports quilted accents on the shoulders and the drop tail, and leather reinforcements on the elbows that extend down to the forearms, giving it a tough, streetwise look.
As always with RSD gear, branding is subtle and refined. This is the jacket for to wear if you don’t want to be a walking billboard. There are logos stamped onto the snaps and rivets, and a small “Roland Sands Design” wordmark debossed along the left forearm. That’s it. That’s the extent of the branding. It’s clean and simple, and uses the styling and design of the jacket itself to signify that it’s an RSD piece, rather than relying on overt branding.
The rivets, snaps, and YKK zippers are all fashioned from a rugged dark gray metal that takes on the patina of use and age exquisitely.
The gray Gunmetal buffalo leather is unbelievable. It looks like nothing else out there, but not in a flashy way. It morphs between various shades of gray depending on the lighting, often picking up subtle hints of blue, or shifting to a nearly black deep charcoal.
It’s a great looking jacket that’ll look great for years to come.
Fit and Function
RSD gear tends to have a more aggressive, slim, athletic fit. In the past, you’d often have to size up from what the size chart would indicate. Luckily, RSD has gotten their sizing down perfect with the majority of the jackets in their current product line. I’m 6′ tall and generally weigh around 250lbs (depending on how dialed in my fitness and nutrition are), have a 50-52″ chest measurement, and the Jagger fits exactly according to their size chart.
It fits great both with and without the liner, too. That’s quite a feat. It’s a bit roomier without the hoodie, but you also get a bit more airflow and comfort for those warmer days, so that’s a win.
It also has a ton of pockets for carrying your stuff. The outer leather jacket has a slash cut chest pocket, zippered hand warmer pockets, classic RSD mesh pockets on the inside of the jacket, a zippered stash pocket on the right sleeve, and a zippered waterproof Napoleon pocket.
The waterproof Napoleon pocket does get covered when the hoodie is zipped in, but the hoodie also has mesh pockets, and since it’s waterproof, you can put anything you need to keep dry into those. If you really need to use the Napoleon pocket when the hoodie is zipped in, fortunately, the zipper for the hoodie doesn’t run the entire circumference of the jacket and it doesn’t need to be removed to access the Napoleon pocket, so it’s easy to just unzip it enough to access the pocket on the fly. It’s barely an inconvenience at worst.
None. There’s nothing about the RSD Jagger that has left me disappointed.
At worst, one end of the shock cord for the hood came loose recently, after having the jacket for almost two years now. I just have to tuck it back into the retainer hole every now and again. A little dab of fabric glue or some other adhesive would hold it in place, but it’s a pretty minor thing. Honestly, I’ve never even used the shock cord, and could get away with removing it completely.
You get an incredible, premium RSD buffalo leather jacket that would be worth the price of emission by itself. That it includes a fantastic weatherproof hoodie liner makes the Jagger one of the best values around. If you were to own only one motorcycle jacket, you should make it the RSD Jagger. It’s about as good as a single motorcycle jacket can get.