Finding a good leather jacket is a feat in and of itself, but finding something that feels like it’s been manufactured just for you is pretty rare. Roland Sands Design’s (RSD) Ronin Tobacco jacket ($590) is just one very fine example from its new über-premium leather apparel line, which also includes gloves, wallets, and more, worthy of the catwalk during New York’s Fashion Week.
I’m not the coolest guy on the planet (my wife will attest to that), but after sliding my arms through the Ronin’s sleeves and taking a peep in the mirror, it’s as if I’ve been transformed into Stefan from Family Matters. The satin-poly-lined interior is extremely comfortable and when sporting the Ronin, you definitely gain a little more swagger in your step. In fact, you’ll not only want to wear it while riding, but it may even help you get lucky at the local watering hole (but probably not).
Sure, plenty of jackets are loaded to the gills with armor, elbow pads, etc, but a lot of them lack luster. The Ronin is the perfect marriage of style, function, and protection due to its 1.2mm top-grain cowhide thickness and armor-ready capabilities for optional RSD armor to fit in the elbows, shoulders, and back. The café-style racing jacket features rotated, pre-curved sleeves that are still pliable enough so you don’t operate like a robot, and its relaxed collar isn’t constricting when fully zipped. Six pockets situated throughout allow plenty of storage. Two pretty deep and soft-lined zippered pockets are housed on the outside torso level that can easily carry larger belongings. Another top-left breast pocket can easily house a phone, aviators, or a smaller wallet/business card holder. Two other pockets—one inside-left zippered vertical pocket, and one snap-enclosure pocket on the inside right—make carrying items (phone, iPod, pack of smokes, lighter, or other knickknacks) very easy without looking too bulky like a pair of cargo shorts. And finally, a zippered stash pocket can be found on the right sleeve near the cuff, which I’ve found perfect for stashing a bike key, or contraband if that’s your thing.
The Ronin also features a proper vertical length. One of my biggest gripes with jackets is that they’re often too short. The Ronin is just long enough so that it covers your torso when on your feet, and it doesn’t bunch up when sitting on your bike to parachute out. Granted the price tag is a bit steep, but since this is a touring motorcycle magazine, I imagine y’all are doing quite a bit of riding, and if that’s the case, a good leather jacket is in fact an investment. You’re not only investing in your protection, but you’re also investing in a jacket that will last, keep you protected, and earn you more brownie points with the fairer sex.
Like I said earlier RSD’s apparel line also includes high-quality gloves. To complement the Ronin jacket, I opted for a pair of the Diesel Tobacco gloves ($90). The Diesel gloves (M-2XL) feature a very tightly formed, pre-curved ergonomic fit with reinforced padding on the palms for added security. To aid in getting these gloves to well…fit like a glove…is a zip/strap enclosure. I have short, fat fingers, but the finger sleeves aren’t overly lengthy leaving more material than needed. The knuckles are also padded so should you go down, your digits will hopefully remain more intact. The industrial chic design is eye-catching right off the bat. The back of the hand features a ribbed design with plenty of holes on the fingers for ventilation so the inside of the gloves aren’t dripping with sweat. Overall, the quality in the Diesel Gloves’ construction is as good as it gets. The glove opening could be a little more girthy for those with bigger wrists since getting the snap enclosure all the way fastened requires a little bit of finesse. Again, you get what you pay for, and when it comes to riding gear, you don’t really want to skimp on safety.