Tried and tested: RST Pro Series Commander jacket review

7

The RST Pro Series Commander jacket is the firm’s flagship textile motorcycle jacket. It’s a completely waterproof laminate jacket thanks to its SinAqua Pro technology – meaning you don’t have to mess around with waterproof linings – and is packed with vents for when the weather is good, too.

Tested by Ben Clarke for 2 months and 1000 miles

Pros

  • Warm
  • Dry
  • Comfy
  • Practical
  • Loads of pockets
  • Lots of venting

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • Not the best-looking
  • Comfort
    4.0
  • Practicality
    5.0
  • Looks
    3.0
  • Quality
    5.0
  • Protection
    4.0
  • Value
    5.0
  • Overall
    5.0
Construction Waterproof laminate textile
Type Touring, commuting
CE rating garment AA
Armour CE level 2 at elbows, shoulders and back
  • Attachment zip
  • Thermal
  • Waterproof
  • Vented
  • Adjustable at arms, wrists and waist
  • Five outer and five inner pockets

The Commander is a jacket built for touring and so it’s crammed with practical touches like its five inner and five outer pockets, soft touch collar and removable thermal liner – plus a AA CE rating and CE level 2 armour for your back, shoulders and elbows.

For riding large distances through all weathers or simply commuting through the winter, the Commander is a solid option and, at £300, it won’t break the bank either.

Is the RST Pro Series Commander jacket comfortable?

In its full winter mode with the thermal lining fitted the jacket feels a bit heavy and bulky and – while that’s sort of par for the course for this kind of garment – 3.3kg does seem a little excessive.

RST Pro Series Commander Jacket Collar

The thermal lining is really thick (the thickest I’ve had in a jacket so far) and  it’s smooth and cosy, too. I had no issues with staying warm wearing just a T-shirt underneath at close to freezing temperatures.

Once you take the liner out, the armour feels a little abrasive against your elbows. A baselayer solves the issue but it’s not so bad that you can’t put up with it.

Conversely, where the collar and cuffs come into contact with your skin they are incredibly soft and comfortable thanks to soft touch fabric in the ideal spots.

RST Pro Series Commander Jacket Logo

There’s plenty of adjustment on the waist and arms so you can get the Commander to fit like a glove, which also helps to prevent too much flapping about at speed on the road.

The venting is very impressive when the weather is hot with two large inlet slits on the chest and two exhaust ones on the rear to keep the cool air flowing. It’s not as good as a mesh jacket but far more practical.

Is the RST Pro Series Commander jacket practical?

All the zips, pockets, adjusters and press studs are chunky and strong-feeling and really easy to use. There are magnets on each side of the chest to hold the vent flap open and a hook to hold the collar when it’s hot – it’s all really well thought-out.

RST Pro Series Commander Jacket Pocket

There are pockets seemingly everywhere and it can be a job to keep track of where you’ve stashed things until you’ve come up with a system.

I much prefer laminated textiles to modular systems with a separate waterproof layer as it takes the guess work out of getting dressed. Knowing you can just stick it on and head out, ready for whatever the day throws at you is far more attractive to me than consulting five different weather apps every day before I leave the house.

Does the RST Pro Series Commander jacket look good?

The Commander has a certain ‘unmarked police biker’ look to it but I quite like it. The black is unassuming and subtle with just a strip of reflective detailing straight across the front for safety.

Full View RST Pro Series Commander Jacket

As far as touring/winter textiles go, I’d much rather go for something like this than the kind of beige adventure touring suit you often see – especially when I’m riding a road bike in winter, not a GS through the desert.

Is the RST Pro Series Commander jacket good quality?

I’ve worn this jacket through several serious deluges and stayed bone dry (although the same can’t be said for the matching RST Pro Series Commander trousers, which leaked through the crotch). The waterproofing is excellent, and so is the general build quality.

All the seams and zips feel very solid and like they will stand up to many seasons of use. The 3.3kg weight, although seemingly excessive, does lend a certain reassuring heft to the Commander that makes it feel very sturdy, too.

Does the RST Pro Series Commander jacket offer good protection?

RST Pro Series Commander Jacket Pocket

You get CE Level 2 armour at the elbows, shoulders and back and the garment overall is rated AA for use on the road – as is all of RST’s textile range for 2023 (excluding mesh).

Some textile gear I’ve tested has felt a bit flimsy, but I’d have no reservations sliding down the road in this.

Is the RST Pro Series Commander jacket good value?

The price is pretty much the best bit: £299 for a reliable, laminated, AA-rated textile jacket is a bit of a bargain.

An Oxford Hinterland will set you back £329.99, a Klim Latitude has a hefty RRP of £750 and a Rukka Kingsley costs £1549.99. Suddenly, the RST seems very well-spec’d indeed for the price!

RST Pro Series Commander Jacket Pocket

The verdict

Textiles aren’t really my cup of tea but they are also an inevitable part of riding in the UK’s climate. If you commute year round or even plan a leisure trip outside of the hottest two weeks in August, waterproof textiles can be a life-saver.

I like the stealthy look of the RSTs and they are also comfy, warm and keep you dry in the rain. What’s more, the venting is excellent once the temperature does rise.

All of the practicality and reliability of the RST coupled with the low price mean I would consider the Commander for winter commuting.

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