Rukka is famous for being THE top end biking brand; expensive but high tech and incredibly tough – so tough that police forces around the world kit their riders out in the stuff. It’s also known as the lottery-winners suit of choice on account of the wallet-stinging prices; a top-of-the-range Armas suit retails for nigh on two grand in the UK.
There’s always a strong debate on motorcycle forums as to whether the quality of the Rukka product justifies the price. Certainly the quality itself is rarely in doubt. This is especially true of the technology employed, and most particularly Pro-Shell. That’s the stuff where the outer abrasion resistant layer and the waterproof membrane are bonded together. Result; rhino-hide toughness with 100% waterproofing and superb breathability. In fact, only the top three Rukka ranges feature pro-shell. In descending order of price these are; the Armas, the Cosmic and the Argonaut. Here Mayfield 07, a regular Bigbikemad contributor from the CBR1100XX forum, appraises a pair of the Argonaut pants.
The Right trousers?
Having bought the Rukka Cosmic Jacket I intended to buy the matching Cosmic trousers, but they felt too bulky and stiff when I tried them on. The Cosmic gear is aimed at adventure riding – so no the best for my K1300S. But I wanted Pro-shell, so went for the Argonaut – with the added bonus of these being cheaper, although at £600 in the UK ‘cheap’ is a relative term (You can get them cheaper – see below).
Pro-Shell A technical miracle
In pro-shell clothing the protective outer layer is bonded directly to the waterproofing membrane – no separate waterproof liner. This stops water at the surface – no more heavy, cold, dripping clothing when you get in.
Pro-Shell feels quite unforgiving initially – but it wears in quickly. I wore the pants around the house for an evening to break them in before trying to ride in them and they became noticeably more comfortable within hours.
Armour and thermal lining
The Argonauts use the older technology RVP Air armour, rather than the D3O stuff in the Cosmics – breathable, but less flexible. The hip protectors are fine, but I find the knee armour isn’t . It’s shaped to fit in the trouser leg, which creates a looser fit than the road leathers I’m used to. The result is that when sitting in a sport touring position, the armour puts too much pressure on the front of the knees. Uncomfortable; but they’d be just fine on a more upright bike.
The RVP Air armour can also be replaced by the D3O system, which is more forgiving, but I suspect that the result won’t be much better. I decided to remove the knee armour altogether and I’ve ordered Alpinestars Vapor knee protectors (at around £30) to wear under them, so we’ll see how that goes.
The light but effective thermal liner zips in at the ankles and the waist. It’s not the Outlast phase-change stuff in the Cosmic gear, but it seems to suit our UK winter weather.
The Rukka Argonaut trousers use Armacor technology:
- 100% Waterproof – Even under high pressures the waterdrops cannot penetrate the membrane.
- 100% Windproof – You stay warm.
- Breathable – Body moisture escapes through the membrane.
- 3-layer construction: GORE-TEX® membrane bonded to Armacor outer with Kevlar® core technology.
Armacor is the stuff used in bullet-proof vests and is gramme for gramme tougher than steel.
Safety: 3M Reflectors
Latex ink combined with retro reflective lenses to provide a high-visibility presence when lit in low light conditions.
Rukka only use Cordura with a minimum fibre strength of at least 500 denier, raising safety standards to a very high level. Cordura AFT is an advanced version of the standard material, offering an even higher level of breathability.
- Gore-Tex Pro Shell 3-layer laminate with Kevlar /Cordura Armacor technology
- CE approved RVP Air protectors.
- Detachable thermal lining (60g)
- Rukka AirCushion and Rukka Anti glide
- Keprotec in seating area.
- Adjustable waist closure.
- Two outside pockets.
- Two Lengths available.
On the bike
Once broken in, the trousers feel good on the K13S. They also go well with the Cosmic Jacket. The pants zip easily to the jacket and the combination provided excellent full wind protection at motorway speeds in the 6-8°C weather we’re experiencing at the moment. Zipping together is essential to avoid a draught.
I was wearing just a base layer of Marks and Spencer Merino wool blend thermals and I was comfortably warm. I haven’t had a chance to wear the outfit in the rain, but they should be excellent. I’ll report back if not!
I wear Alpinestars S-MX waterproof boots in the winter and they fit just fine under the trousers, which have a Cordura inner lining at the bottom to prevent wear. .
Armour gripe aside (and that should be simple to solve), these are a really fine addition to the winter riding wardrobe. They are pretty much the top of the food chain under these circumstances, but it will be interesting to see how they fare in warmer weather, when the thermal liner gets taken out. I’m hoping that they will be comfortable weather despite them not having any vents at all. They cost me just above £300 from a German website, about half the price at which they are available here, but they are by no means inexpensive even at that price. So being able to wear them for most of the year is important.
Build-quality of the argonaut seems first class, and you certainly feel protected in them. They are warm and look good. So far – so good, and I’d recommend them. But I’ll keep you posted….