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Knox Zephyr Summer Riding Jacket Review

Product: Zephyr Summer Riding Jacket
Manufacturer: Knox
Made In: United Kingdom
Sizes: Small to 5XL
Color(s): Black, White and Black
Price: £229.99 (GBP) from Knox / $330.00 (USD) from Revzilla

Introduction

Summer riding gear is always a compromise. Protective riding gear typically requires lots of ventilation for hot weather riding which means mesh materials and/or vents be incorporated into the design. This amounts to a lot of holes which, let’s face it, are going to reduce the integrity of the garment as “air” is not a very good barrier to abrasion.

Full mesh jackets will typically offer the best ventilation for street riding but there are some downsides to the typical mesh jacket. One, most mesh will tear up much faster than a solid textile or perforated leather. Two, all mesh jackets I’ve encountered tend to be a bit loose fitting and the shell is very pliable. This can allow shoulder and elbow armor to move in the event of a crash so it may not be in the ideal position to protect from impact.

Adding solid textile and/or leather to impact zones can help improve abrasion resistance performance at the expense of ventilation. This compromise does improve abrasion resistance but it may not address the often “loose” fit of these type of jackets.

To get around this some riders will go “off label” and use gear that may not be designed for the street or that is not designed to be used as standalone protection. The former often consists of armored off road jackets or shirts where hard armor is attached to a thin mesh shell to provide impact protection. These are typically designed to be worn under a jersey and are not necessarily designed for protecting riders from the types of crashes that can occur on the street.

The latter “off label” item is the armored shirt. These shirts comprise a thin textile shirt with impact protection armor like one would find in a street riding jacket. The protectors are usually softer and designed for the higher speed impacts that can occur in a crash on the street. The problem here is that there is little to no abrasion resistance as these shirts are designed to sit under a proper street riding jacket.

The drawbacks mentioned above are not always enough to deter some riders from going those routes in order to beat the heat. Those willing to accept the risk will wear these items and hope for the best. If there was only a happy medium….

Well, maybe there is.

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Knox Orsa Leather MKII Gloves Review

Product: Orsa Leather MkII Glove
Manufacturer: Knox
Sizes: Small to XXL
Color(s): Black, White and Black
Price: £89.99 (GBP) from Knox / $130.00 (USD) @ Revzilla

Introduction

I want to start off by saying that I haven’t been fan of short cuff gloves for the past several years. Concerns over the lack of wrist protection combined with some “less than strong”  wrist securing methods had me looking towards full gauntleted options.

So how did I end up looking at (and then buying) these short cuff gloves?

Last year when I started looking for a new Summer glove I took a look at Knox as I appreciate their focus on safety and protection. Among the various glove options offered by Knox were the ORSA Leather MKII gloves. These are short cuff gloves with some perforations to combat Summer heat and protective features to combat everything else. They appeared so focused on protective features I had to give them a a go.

As one would expect from the name, this is the second iteration of Knox’s Orsa Leather glove. The MKII version is certainly more of an evolutionary than revolutionary update and that’s a good thing. The original ORSA Leather glove was well received and you can read a detailed review over at webBikeWorld where Alice Dryden tried them out in 2016.

(In full disclosure, I somehow missed Alice’s review when looking for new Summer gloves. Maybe I wasn’t ready to look at short cuff gloves again at that time?)

The MKII came out last year (2017) and brought with it some subtle, but welcome changes. The overall styling has been updated and I think the white version in particular looks better on the MKII. Other changes include additional elasticated area and the fit has been “changed” as well. I can’t speak to the fit of the previous version but Knox says they changed it, so, umm, there.

With the look back finished, let’s roll forward…

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