Is the Richa Spirit riding suit the best available? We find out.
Richa is a Belgian motorcycle apparel manufacturer that packs a ton of features into their moto gear. The Richa Spirit jacket and pants are one of the most unique riding suits on the market.
What if I told you that a riding suit that has no vents is one of the most comfortable sets of clothing in any temperature and that it uses nano-technology, phase change material, and solid construction to be one of the most adaptable riding suits on the market. Would you believe me?
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The Richa Spirit gear is the closest to a true 4 season riding suit I have used. It does come with a removable thermal liner that doubles as a jacket. Unlike some other suits that do this - the Richa liner looks like a very nice fall and spring jacket you might find at REI or Eddie Bauer.
I have put more miles and time into testing this suit than any other apparel I have ever reviewed. That's mostly due to the very unique nature of the design. In cold weather you start with a little chill and as you ride you eventually realize you are comfortable. You don't get warmer you just get more comfortable. The same goes true for hot temperatures, it's not like turning on the AC but you just get to a point of comfort. It takes your focus from being hot or cold and let's you worry about road conditions, traffic, and riding.
The Richa Spirit outfit incorporates Schoeller "c_change" membrane. C-Change is can be described as a cross between the Gore-Tex (waterproof-yet-breathable membrane) and the Outlast brand of "phase change" material.
C-Change is a "bionic climate membrane" that, according to Schoeller, mimics the opening and closing of a pine cone as it adapts to weather conditions. The C-Change membrane is windproof and waterproof - but it also allows the pores to open or close, depending on the temperature and/or the activity level of the rider.
For example, when the weather is hot or the rider is active in off-road riding, the pores of the C-Change material will open to allow body moisture to escape. Just the opposite happens in cold weather, when the structure compresses to help retain heat. The real beauty if the C-Change material is that in cold weather if you are riding hard off road and heating up the material will open to let that heat build up out without letting all the cold air rush in that traditional vents would.
The C-Change membrane is bonded to the inside of the Schoeller Dynatec exterior shell providing a very tailored fit, superb quality, and a very durable setup.
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NanoSphere is another Schoeller technology that seems as much science fiction as science fact. It is a nanotechnology finish applied to the outer shell of motorcycle clothing or gloves which gives them water and dirt repellant properties. It works. You can see in the pictures the gear I have worn over and over again and it looks as clean as the day I received it. I have a very expensive suit from another company that looks like I rolled in mud, dirt, and worked on a diesel semi that has half the time and miles on it.
Schoeller says that NanoSphere "mimics the natural self-cleaning effect of certain plants whose leaves always remain clean, because dirt simply cannot adhere to the finely structured surface, and is easily washed off when it rains".
Dynatec and Reflex.
The Richa Spirit jacket and pants incorporate another Schoeller technology their Dynatec fabric, a "hard wearing fabric with good protective properties and a high level of stability".
The exterior of both he pants and jacket are made from Dynatec that is combined with their Reflex fiber.
Reflex is a "special reflective thread combined with a complex weave that provides extensive protection in poor visibility conditions." "When light shines onto this fabric millions of tiny glass beads reflect the light back (retro reflection)", according to the company.
Adjustments, Sizing, and More.
Two arm size adjusters, two waist adjusters, and Velcro cuff adjusters round out the sizing on the jacket. This is plenty of options to either give more room for layers or tighten things up when they are removed. The cuff adjusters are a bit finicky and the only area that shows wear. They just aren't that easy to adjust and the material isn't as sturdy as the rest of the jacket.
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The pants have a two waist adjusters and the pant leg opening can be adjusted as well. The opening in the bottom of the pants is on the smaller size and fitting large off road style boots is a no go. More moderate ADV or dual sport boots work and just about any touring boot fits with no issues.
The jacket runs a little smaller than most US brands, somewhere around a half size. I normally wear a large but the XL was a better fit. The pants run ludicrously small. I also usually wear a large in pants but these are a 2XL and still are a little snug. No room for any kind of thick layers underneath.
CE approved armor in the back, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips as expected in clothing of this caliber.
Is it waterproof?
Yes. If you get a down pour through the collar or up the sleeves you might get some water in but otherwise it's as close to the perfect seal as you will find. Check the video to see some very unscientific testing.
Only one issue to speak of. The cuff material gets fuzzed and worn looking. It isn't tearing apart, or pulling off, just got fuzzy. If that's the worst that happens in a year it's really hard to be even a little upset.
Cost versus Benefit.
Imagine riding along on a hot summer day headed into the mountains.It's around 87degrees as you head up the road, somewhere the temperature starts dropping and a mist forms. Somewhere near the top it's a down pour and 50 degrees. As you crest the mountain the sun shines, the weather clears up and the temperature steadily rises to a balmy 77 degrees. You didn't stop once to fiddle with a rain suit, close and open vents, and you were comfortable and dry the entire time. What's that worth to you?