RSD "BRISTOL" JACKET

Given the fact that I spend the majority of my time ri­ding in the South, I’ve been relentlessly on the hunt for a leather jacket that offered a trifecta of style, safety, and comfort. I have some awesome leather jackets, some of which are even touted as “lightweight” or “summer”, but the reality is that I haven’t been able to find anything that didn’t leave me sweating bullets at every stop light I hit. It also started to make things difficult with Leticia, because whenever I took a ride, I was sweating profusely, looking like I’d done something wrong. “I swear! I was just out for a ride. Nothing happened!”

Having a vested interest in my relationship, seeing he both introduced and married us, my pal, Roland Sands, sent me one of his new Bristol jackets to try. In the box was a note that said:

“You stink bro. Wear this.”

I kid, but Roland and his team did design the jacket with warmer climates in mind. And damn if I’m not glad they did!

The jacket is produced from top grain cowhide, rated at .8mm – .9mm thick. It’s thick enough that if I went down, it would have some abrasion resistance, but it’s not too thick to cook me inside of it. What’s also nice is that the jacket is lightweight enough that I can wear it, even when I’m not riding, and I don’t feel like a stiff.

Around town, riding in the Florida sun, I can honestly say it’s the coolest jacket I have. And not because it has quilted accents, shoulders, and elbows, but because it really does keep me cooler than any other jacket I own. It has a moisture wicking stretch mesh body lining (making it easier to wear as normal jacket, too) and RSD’s “Power stretch” material, which is a strong, yet breathable, cotton poly blend that allows for both flex and air-flow. And given the arms are lined with it, you feel every bit of wind that comes your way.

In addition, I can say that I recently wore the jacket on the west coast in approximately 50-degree weather at night with the sun down and was pleasantly surprised that with nothing more than a hoody underneath, I didn’t feel too chilly. I was just about right. If I would have had one thin layer beneath my t-shirt, I would have been damn near perfect.

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In addition, it also has armor ready shoulder, elbow, and back protector slots, which is awesome, given we live in the land of the newlyweds and nearly deads, Leticia says, and no one seems to pay attention when driving their behemoth Cadillacs and Lincolns, and hitting the pavement isn’t a matter of when; it’s how often.

Touching again on the wearability of the jacket, when you’re not on a bike, I can say that of all my jackets, this is one I would most definitely grab if I were heading out to dinner or a movie. You know when you wear a moto jacket for a long period of time when you’re not riding and your neck or shoulders get stiff? Well, you won’t find that with this one. In addition to everything else I’ve mentioned, Roland and his boys paid close attention in the fashion category when producing this one. The rotated and pre-curved sleeves help with naturally shaping your posture to a more natural state, as opposed to other jackets with straight sleeves and shoulders. You wouldn’t think it, but coming from someone who’s worn a ton of jackets, I can attest that after a while, the fatigue can and does set in, and moreover, can end up resulting in a pain in the ass. Literally.

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Switching back to moto world, the other two things I really like about it is the dropped back section. Not only does it look good, in my opinion, but it helps keep the draft out of your back in the area where your jeans meet your jacket. It’s also got a relaxed collar opening, so you can zip it up with a hoody under it or wear a button-down shirt under it without feeling constricted. Oh, and they also come in both black and brown, which is nice for those of you, who like to color coordinate your wardrobe with your bike choice.

s far as a negatives go, there really aren’t any. The only inconvenience I noticed was the zipper pull on the interior pocket is a little small for when you’re wearing gloves. Other than that, I think I’ve found my new favorite hot weather riding jacket. Go try one on for yourself and let me know what you think.