Tried and tested: Vanucci VAJ-4 textile jacket review

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket
Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket

The unfortunately named Vanucci VAJ-4 textile jacket forms part of the brand’s modular bike kit range called Vanucci+ that lets the rider pick and choose which layers they want to buy and wear.

So, if you only ever intend to ride in warm, dry conditions (you lucky sod) you can just buy the VAJ-4. But if you want to be waterproof instead of water resistant, you add a VXR-1 membrane jacket (£113.78).

Price: 309.43 (including VAT, customs duty and UK shipping)


  • Water repellent
  • Plenty of pockets (including waterproof ones)
  • Adjustable fit


  • You need to add more jackets to stay warm/waterproof
  • Expensive
  • Comfort
  • Practicality
  • Looks
  • Quality
  • Protection
  • Value
  • Overall
Construction Water repellent textile with Cordura, polyamide and elastine outer and polyester liner
Type Textile touring/adventure jacket
CE rating garment A
Armour CE-2 Shoulder and elbow
  • Water repellent
  • Vents on chest, shoulder, wrist and back
  • Adjustable fit
  • Waterproof pockets x 2
  • Matching trousers (VAT-2) with connecting zip
  • Elastine fabric for stretch fit

And if you want to be warm you add a VXU-3 thermal jacket (also £113.78). And if you’re riding in extremely cold and wet conditions (like I have been) then there’s a VXR-2 rain jacket (£122.53) you can wear over the top of the lot.

The idea is for the kit to be as practical and comfortable in as many different situations as possible – but it ends up taking quite a toll on your bank balance if you’re a winter rider. The cost of all four ‘modules’ comes to £656.43 – hardly small change.

How comfortable is the Vanucci VAJ-4?

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket Zip

The jacket itself is very comfortable with a mesh lining that sits against your skin (or underlayer) that keeps the armour and rough outer textile from making contact.

The jacket is incredibly stiff when new and holds a slightly unnatural position but it relaxes after a couple of hundred miles of use. There is plenty of adjustability so you can cinch the arms and waist to your exact shape. That said, I still find the jacket to be a little barrel-chested despite the size being correct everywhere else.

The vents on the cuffs, shoulders and chest are well places and suck in lots of air, which can then escape through the exhaust vents on the rear to save you blowing up like a hot air balloon. I’ve admittedly only tried them briefly to make sure they work as it’s been too cold to need them.

How practical is the Vanucci VAJ-4?

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket Waterproof Zip

This is where I start to have a problem with the system. I’ve had modular textiles before but they usually have an option to fix the layers in place if you wish – so you can use all the layers but put them on and take them off in one go.

Because the VAJ keeps the layers completely separate, you end up having to put on three or four jackets in a row. Commuting through winter, this has been an enormous faff and a process I dread as I get closer to clocking off time in the office (usually my favourite part of the day!).

I can see that using the Vanucci+ system would make perfect sense on long touring days where you may start in cold weather and then warm up through the day, or wake up to a storm one day and hot sunshine the next. But for slogging to and from work in single figure temperatures, I’m not convinced.

The pockets on the VAJ itself are well laid-out and the waterproofing on the two main outer zip pockets is genuinely storm proof.

Does the Vanucci VAJ-4 look good?

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket Front View

I’m not a big fan of ‘50 shades of beige’ style adventure kit and so I’m pleased the VAJ-4 comes with a splash of colour. If you’re heading out on an adventure, it really looks the part and details like the red sealing on the chest vents are a nice touch.

The cut is a bit strange as I mentioned before and the voluminous chest spoils the silhouette a little.

Riding through winter grime, the pale grey textile sections have got absolutely filthy very quickly and so you’ll need to run it through the wash fairly regularly to keep it looking pristine.

Is the Vanucci VAJ-4 good quality?

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket Quality

The seams and zips all feel very sturdy and the zip pulls are solid too. The parts that Vanucci claim are waterproof haven’t let me down in even the heaviest downpours either.

The fabric on the textile outer feels a little flimsy – perhaps in part because it has a stretchy property to improve comfort – and I’m not sure it would last more than a few seasons of heavy use.

Overall, it feels solid enough but you’d expect a little more from a garment that costs over £300 – especially since it can only be warm and watertight if you spend a load more.

What protection does the Vanucci VAJ-4 offer?

Vanucci VAJ-4 Textile Jacket Front View

The VAJ-4 scores an overall CE rating of A and – to be honest – the fabric feels a little on the flimsy side compared to other garments I’ve worn. The more in-depth tests reveal that the fabric received AAA for tear strength and AA for seam strength but was let down by the abrasion score. I’m not sure I’d feel confident sliding down the motorway in it.

Single A rated kit shouldn’t feature at this price point in my opinion. From 2023 onwards, budget competitor RST have boosted all their textiles to AA, for example.

The armour at the shoulders and elbows is certified to CE level 2 and stays in place really well as you move around in the jacket. There’s a pocket for a back protector, too, but if you want Vanucci’s it’ll cost you an extra £35.05, piling yet more cash onto the purchase price.

Is the Vanucci VAJ-4 good value?

Price: 309.43 (including VAT, customs duty and UK shipping)



£306.34 is a fair price for a CE rated textile jacket. But £656.43 for a single A jacket without a back protector is not. Sportsbike Shop’s Pharao Cedar jacket comes in at just 129.99 and includes all you need to be water and windproof straight out of the box – and it’s AA rated.

An Oxford Mondial matches the VAJ-4’s single A rating but it’s a laminated jacket with a removable thermal liner included and costs £289.99. And an RST Paragon 6 with AA abrasion rating and all the bells and whistles comes in at £219.99.


For the type of riding I do in textiles (mostly commuting an hour each way in winter) the VAJ-4 and the Vanucci+ modular system in general isn’t for me. To have to buy all those supplementary layers in the first place is a drain on your finances and then you’re faced with the hassle of donning and shedding them at either end of your journey.

That said, it’s comfy kit and once you’ve layered up it keeps you warm and dry, too, and the flexibility of the system should allow you to get the perfect mix of functionality – whatever the weather.

On a multi-day trip where you have the time to stop for a drink and shed or add layers depending on the circumstances – I can see the attraction. But I can think of several laminated jackets with removeable thermal liners that would do just as good of a job with a higher abrasion rating, and because the Vanucci ends up costing so much those alternatives would be similarly priced or even cheaper.

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