Product review: Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha jacket
Royal Enfield has steadily been expanding their gear and accessory lines and the Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha jacket and pants are currently the top motorcycle jacket you can buy from the manufacturer. The company has tied up with the famed Netherlands-based motorcycle gear maker Rev'It and the Darcha, we expect is their first collaboration product with more to follow.
The Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha jacket is a four-season jacket with a 3/4 length, touring-oriented cut. It comes with a water repellant coating on a vented outer shell with two removable liners, a waterproof one and a warm one.
What is it
The Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha is a four-season jacket which consists of three layers. The outer layer is the protective jacket. It is made from polyester with a water repellent coating and includes a mesh polyester liner for comfort inside. The jacket comes with forearm and shoulder armour from Knox while Seesoft makes the bright yellow back protector insert.
The outer shell includes a number of bells and whistles. To start from the top, there is a fleece-lined collar with Rev'It's excellent adjustable neck snap closure. Removing Velcro from this area - a common alternative - means your buff and the cheek pad bottoms of your helmet will not get chewed up when you leave the collar open for a little extra ventilation.
See that zipper pull sticking out of the right side pocket? That's one of the chest vent - both pockets have one hidden there. The pockets themselves have fold-over closures with snaps and velcro. A very useful pocket hides below the right side pocket as well - the zipper is just visible bottom right. The white strip is retro-reflective and super-bright under the headlights
The main zipper is housed in a flap-equipped enclosure to ward off rain and wind and Rev'It adds their usual webbing-based width adjusters at the waist. Four pockets make up the front of the jacket. The top pockets close with two snaps and Velcro, as do the bottom two pockets. Despite fold over closures, the Darcha maintains that these pockets are water resistant and not proof. Behind the two lower pockets are hand warmer pockets secured with Velcro. There is an inner pocket (also not waterproof) and a large adv-touring style pocket across the back, which also has snap and Velcro closures. Unlike most of these across-the-back pockets which are side-loaders, the Darcha uses a top opening design. That just makes it harder to access yourself.
All the white patches are retro-reflective and they're bright. The red strip at the collar and middle of the upper back carry the RE logos. Note the two exhaust vents. Below that is a top-opening large pocket with snap and velcro closure. Also note shiny harder-wearing material down the forearm
The jacket is rounded out by generous helpings of reflectives. The sleeves have snap-fit volume adjusters and the hem has a shock cord with a cord lock to cinch up the bottom so cold draughts cannot come up from there.
Into this shell mounts the waterproof liner. This liner includes a waterproof inner pocket and little else. Rev'It's liner cannot be used on its own as a mini-jacket of sorts. And into this second layer mounts the third one, a thermal layer with padded insulation.
What we liked about it
Like all European-cut Rev'It gear, the Darcha fits really well and cuts a flattering silhouette. Even with the liners removed, the jacket never feels too bulky or loose which is good for riding motorcycles. With all the liners in, the jacket is both waterproof and extremely warm. We rode in trying conditions, including sub-10°C temperatures, rain and snow for the length of a whole day and we were only the slightest bit damp at the end - and most of that blame goes to the pair of gloves we had on.
The Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha Jacket is well made with exquisite stitching and materials every where you look. The finish levels make it easy to justify the price
We also like the price. We have seen comparable jackets at Rs 17,000-odd. Unlike the Rev'It though, these are usually two-layer jackets with the waterproofing appearing either as a laminate or as a stiched in liner. Our experience is that they work for one season and then their waterproof qualities fade fast. The Rev'It still has to prove itself in this department but it's three-layer construction and general quality of construction suggests that it should last.
What we didn't like
The Darcha has four intake and two exit vents. The biggest vents are on the forearm where a double zipper over the cuff closure allows you to expose a big vent on each arm. These work well enough but the sight of skin under just a layer of light mesh isn't a comforting sight for me. Especially given the size of the vent.
The Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha Jacket with the chest vent open. There's no way to hold the vent open to air and that makes ventilation very poor, even on the move. Motorcycles with windshields, ironically like the Himalayan, will aggravate the lack of ventilation
The other two intake vents are in the inside vertical edges of the upper two pockets, closed by a zipper. These proved to be entirely useless in terms of ventilation. Whether the exhaust vents at the back were open or closed, the construction of the jacket prevents the openings from receiving any wind. A way to hold the vents open might help but as is, this is a super-hot, sweaty jacket in the summer.
Rev'It often uses webbing with a slider to offer volume adjustment - on this jacket, it is the waist adjustment. I find this arrangement very iffy. I've been struggling with these on my Rev'It Tornado pants as well - and on the Darcha pants now. They do not retain their adjustment and cinching them up once the garment is worn is needlessly fiddly and tiresome. A basic Velcro-based mechanism would be vastly simpler to use.
The Royal Enfield Rev'It Darcha jacket is excellent in cold and wet conditions. I cannot think of another jacket that offers its capability, fit and performance in that price - Rs 21,999 at store.royalenfield.com. But it isn't a true four-season jacket, proving too warm for summer conditions. I would say that it makes an excellent second jacket - assuming your first jacket is a nice mesh number. If Royal Enfield and Rev'It were more generous with the vents - given the zip in waterproof liner this should not make any difference to overall performance - there is a great four-season jacket lying dormant in the Darcha. However, if you were looking to buy a terrific jacket for cold and wet conditions, look no further, this is it.