When a bike trip takes you to the end of the world you need to choose your kit carefully.
My most recent bike trip was in Patagonia, which meant a ride through Argentina and Chile to the city of Ushuaia, the most southerly city on the planet.
This part of Argentina is most often referred to as Fin del Mundo, or end of the world, and locals say you can get the weather from all four seasons in one day. Then there is the infamous Patagonian wind to deal with, which can be terrifying and make it feel much colder.
This seemed like the right environment to put the Richa Infinity 2 Adventure textile jacket to the test, to see whether it could keep me comfortable in temperatures that ranged from 1°C to almost 30°C.
I selected the black and grey jacket with orange panels on the front and rear, which I figured would save me packing the hi-viz vest I usually wear.
Back, elbow and shoulder armour to the basic Level 1 within CE are supplied with the jacket and I opted to add the two-part Level 1 chest armour. The armour is very comfortable and unobtrusive and I was particularly impressed by the chest armour, which fits into two pockets and is hardly noticeable.
The overall CE rating for the jacket is the lowest, single A, which surprised and disappointed me as most jackets I have reviewed recently are rated at AA.
The front of the jacket is fastened by three zips, one in the waterproof liner and two in the jacket. This gives a good measure of protection from the weather, though I’d like Richa to make all these zips different colours as I lost count of the number of times I tried to connect the wrong zips to each other.
The jacket comes with a removable waterproof liner, which Richa say can also be used as a waterproof over-jacket.
At first I didn’t think the liner felt robust enough to be worn as an outer, although this proved to be wrong as I rode for 1500 miles using the liner as an outer with no issues.
On the day I rode to catch a ferry across the Magellan Straits the rain was torrential and the Patagonian wind was making it horizontal. I was completely dry at the end of this difficult day, which is a good result as it’s hard to imagine worse weather conditions to face while riding a bike.
A waterproof liner that can be removed and used as an over-jacket is a feature I look for now as it keeps the jacket dry, which stops it getting heavy, feeling cold and taking forever to dry.
The other advantage I find is that the waterproof liner is more windproof than the main jacket and wearing it on top makes the jacket feel warmer on cool days.
My one issue with the liner is its colour - black. I chose the jacket with orange panels on the outside because they make me more visible. When it rained and visibility reduced, I then had to obscure the orange panels with a black liner. This is easy to solve, Richa… make the liner a more visible colour.
There’s no thermal liner provided with the jacket, which may not be to everyone’s liking. However, it’s a good approach as far as I am concerned as I have much better thermal equipment to layer up with than the liners in most motorcycle clothing. Richa offer the Houdini, a Primaloft thermal jacket that can be purchased separately to wear underneath.
On cold days the Infinity 2 Adventure is not the warmest jacket and I needed to layer up to keep warm. Using thermal layers, windproof layers and on occasions my heated jacket I was able to cope with temperatures is low as 1°C.
The jacket has five external pockets, and according to Richa two of them are waterproof. Bellows pockets on either side of the jacket are kept closed by press studs, with pockets behind them that are fastened by a zip.
I believe the zipped pockets are the waterproof ones as the bellows pockets have drain holes at the bottom to let water run clear. Despite this, my wallet and camera remained dry when I stored them in these pockets during some heavy rain.
The two inner pockets were less useful as I feel they would benefit from being a little larger.
Inside the jacket there are two pockets in the waterproof liner and two pockets in the jacket that mirror these.
I liked this mirroring idea as once I found a home for an item in the liner pocket I didn’t have to rethink things once I removed the liner; I just switched things from the liner to the matching one in the main jacket.
The fly in the ointment is that the jacket pockets are slightly smaller than those in the waterproof liner, which meant my passport wallet didn’t sit as securely in the jacket pocket as it did in the waterproof liner’s pocket.
Ventilation is provided by foldable panels on the chest, back, and a long zip on each arm. The front and back panels are held in the closed position by Velcro at the top and a zip down each side.
Once open, the panels fold into a pocket and are held in place with two press studs. The arm vents open with a two-way zip that starts at the wrist and runs nearly to the top of the arm, which gives lots of opportunity to vary the amount of ventilation you want.
The jacket has two connection zips to attach to trousers, one short and one long. The matching trousers I used for my trip also have one long and one short zip. I only used the long zip, which I found a bit coarse and difficult to use. The short zip would be easier and may be useful on warm days to get more ventilation around the waist.
I found the jacket comfortable for long days riding in some challenging Patagonian terrain. The fit of the jacket and the stretch panels allowed me to move comfortably around on the bike and stand on the footpegs for hours at a time on the many gravel roads I rode.
Having taken this jacket to the end of the world and remained dry when it rained, comfortable in the heat and while riding some difficult terrain I feel the Richa Infinity 2 Adventure jacket turned out to be a good choice for my adventure in South America.