Melbourne company RSTG have pumped their Valdarez jackets full of safety to become one of the safest options on the market. Check out what we thought of their textile range...
We are fans of Aussie innovation. For a small population we seem to be a leading force in plenty of different industries. Greg Anderson’s Melbourne company, RSTG, promises to offer one of the safest textile jackets on the market with their Valdarez range…
It’s quite obvious the angle they’re going for before you even put the jacket on, the entire range is dressed in fluorescent and reflective colours. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly the way to be visible on the road considering so much of the riding gear on the market is black.
Having dark riding gear is never the safest option to take but it does look good. Australian drivers struggle at the best of times to spot riders in their mirrors (when they use them) so having a bright yellow blotch heading towards you is something I don’t doubt will save you at some point.
The first thing you notice with the Valdarez range is the fact that they’re not designed like summer jackets. The lack of perforated material at the front could cause you to overheat in the spring/summer Australian heat. That being said, during winter these jackets have been great considering the perforated material on most others does let in the cold even with the liners in.
All Valdarez textile jackets exceed the CE standard EN 17092 at Class AAA and have an average thickness of 1000D. The weight is very noticeable when you first put it on compared to something like an IXON or RJAYS jacket. It’s not unbearable, just similar in feeling to a full leather jacket.
That added thickness translates into more material to get through while you’re sliding along the road. Speaking of sliding, the jacket comes with exterior armour on the elbows and shoulders, which translates into more of a slide along the tarmac rather than the material gripping the road. Something like this is very important to ensure you’re not flailing around after you come off and have a controlled slide along the road… It also offers extra protection on those friction points that stick out.
The arm movement is a little restricted, this is strange for a textile jacket as they don’t often need a “break-in”. The Valdarez did free up in the end and allowed for more arm movement but the weight combined with the restricted bending of the elbow does add more stiffness than most jackets. I would say maybe size up but this was my true size and it fit well in other areas. Removing the liner free’s up more movement, I’d say the fit is comparable to a MotoDry jacket.
Torso and arm length run bang on the same as most other brands. The accordion paneling around the armpit area frees up some arm movement and allows for a wide range of fitting, while the neck strap has a lot more space than competitors that press on your Adam’s apple. Combine the tailored fit with the waist straps and the Valdarez jacket accommodate a wide range of body shapes. There are easy access external pockets (two) and an internal pocket for the phone or wallet and fob.
Overall, they’re not my style looks-wise but that is an individual thing, I know Jeff and Heather really liked the look of them. But RSTG are on the right track when it comes to offering an uber-safe jacket for those who value a proper tough winter jacket. RSTG have set the price to an RRP of $285 across their textile range, a bargain. I think it’s a good option for those with early morning starts/late night finishes in winter with excellent waterproofing for those rainy commutes.
Over the past few months I’ve been wearing this Valdarez Black Hawk series 102 jacket supplied by RSTG, as mentioned an Aussie company from Melbourne that manufacture and distribute a range of high visibility motorcycle jackets and other bike products. Check out my thoughts…
Firstly, the fit/cut of the jacket is good. The sleeves are long, so there is no annoying air gap between wrists and gloves. Something that is a bit of a pet hate of mine are jackets that are too short at the waist. It’s so annoying when a jacket doesn’t quite cover the waist of your riding jeans or pants! The Black Hawk has plenty of waist length and that also means no cold drafts up the back.
The material is very thick, so the Black Hawk is heavier than most textile jackets, but not quite as heavy as an average leather jacket. Due to the thickness of the material, the wrist cuffs are quite bulky and I did have trouble getting my sports and touring gloves over the cuff. Winter gloves fit over them, no issue. The neck is also quite high, and the material stiff, so that took some breaking in and a bit of beard rash! I would much prefer thinner material around the wrists and neck…
The zip is sturdy and glides easily, while the waist adjustment is also secure and easy. The jacket is fairly heavily armoured but the placement of the internal soft armour is spot on for me, with the elbows and shoulders fitting well, and there is room in the cut/fit for you to wear your back protector…
I was lucky not to get caught in any rain in the Black Hawk so can’t actually comment there but it is waterproof. The winter liner is great, zips in easily and is as warm as toast but of course does bulk the Valdarez out a bit and that can make the jacket a bit stiff to wear. It. would loosen up a lot over time.
The pockets are generous and easy enough to access, and the jacket is fully washable, and in my opinion I think it is stylish in the Black Hawk design. I really appreciated the solid feel of the jacket, it gave me the same riding confidence that a leather jacket does, while keeping me warm for a few months of winter. I reckon at $285 RRP, everyone should have one of these for the cooler days.
Click here if you want to order yours now! RSTG say they have women’s sizing on the way. Keep an eye out for Jeff’s review on the Valdarez Black Hawk jacket shortly…
Valdarez Jackets Tech Highlights
- Designed to exceed CE safety standard EN 17092 at Class AAA
- Average fabric thickness 1000D
- Standardised internal CE armor on elbows, back & shoulders – including hard exterior moldings.
- High-viz fluro areas target the most visible regions of the rider’s body from front, sides & back.
- Removable inner thermal lining with vest & arms
- Inside storage pockets
- Heavy duty YKK zips
QUICK CHAT – Greg Anderson, RSTG…
Why Valdarez and why do we need another jacket brand?
“It’s a completely new brand from the ground up. We’re on a mission to save lives by reducing the root cause of many road accidents involving motorcycles – which is usually always the riders not being seen by drivers”.
“Our primary go to market strategy is all about lessening the frequency and severity of accidents by first level mitigation – be highly visible and you stand a greater chance of avoiding accidents in the first instance. If however you unfortunately hit the road and slide a bit – we have that covered as well.
“You need to stand out and alert drivers to your presence and fluorescent safety colours are the only thing that is ubiquitous in producing a conditioned cognitive response associated with caution and danger. Reaction times of car drivers vary considerably and negatively exacerbated by distractions and impatience. For a rider wearing all black it is incredibly hard to distinguish them against a dark road or dark façade which might be a building, truck or bus. In a critical situation the driver process and reaction time is near zero. Wearing high-viz of some sort however there is 100 per cent better chances of longer reaction times and even short-term awareness. If you are travelling within traffic in the same direction drivers know you are near them and you become part of their situational awareness and short-term memory. The science behind it is very clear.
“I got back into riding some years ago after a long hiatus and in the early stages I felt extremely vulnerable and unsafe on the roads. Drivers would cut in front of me and generally be careless with their road manners. There were more than a few butt-clenching situations and I could see where all the accident stats were coming from.
“I researched everywhere to find a decent jacket with high-viz but there is really nothing available other than looking like a postie. Aside from that, many of the current brand name jackets have really thin flimsy fabric and not much in the way of impact protection. You had to pay a huge premium to feel safe and I felt there was something seriously wrong with that scenario.
“So I started messing around with some prototype high-viz designs that were really just intended for me to feel safer but the difference and change in driver attitudes was astonishing. I could tell it was working as you would see cars double-tap the brakes and then wait for you to pass a junction or change lanes with more space. They see you more easily and give way just the same as if you’re another four-wheel vehicle. I started feeling much more confident when entering a roundabout, side street, or at speed on a main road. During nearly every ride when I stopped for a break other riders would come up to me and ask where I got the jacket from. It felt like there was something bigger in motion and I knew I couldn’t be the only one so I decided to make a bunch more and see how the market would respond but the saving lives bit interested me more”.
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The Verdict | Gear Review: RSTG Valdarez Textile Safety Jackets
Melbourne company RSTG have pumped their Valdarez jackets full of safety to become one of the safest options on the market. Check out what we thought of their textile range…