Rukka jackets have a reputation for quality, protection and comfort that has been honed over many years and this two-layer laminated Gore-Tex jacket certainly seems to have all of these qualities.
The Rukka Kalix 2.0 is the most basic laminated jacket in Rukka’s range and has been built down to a price, so there are some cost cuts.
The most noticeable is that this jacket doesn’t have a back protector and it’s another £80 to add one.
I found the Kalix 2.0 jacket very stiff initially, but it soon loosened up and quickly had the feel of an old favourite.
The high neckroll, made from neoprene, gives me good coverage and seals up very nicely with my neckwarmer to give a draught-free ride. This is helped by a tab that closes the whole thing up nicely - and there is also a tab on the reverse to keep the neck closure out of the way when you want to open it up a little. This saves wear and tear on your helmet strap, which can easily rub on the hard Velcro.
I was a little concerned initially by the size of the storm flap that covers the waterproof main zip, as it is quite small, but my concern has proven unfounded as nothing has crept past the zip in 2500 miles of riding.
The big advantage of a laminated jacket is that instead of water working its way through the outer layer, making it damp and heavy, it’s repelled from the outer shell. So a quick shake when you arrive at your destination is all you need to dry it off.
With jackets that have a drop liner instead the water hits the membrane after working its way through the outer layer.
The drawback with a drop liner is that when you hang the jacket up to dry the water vapour can work its way through the membrane and end up in the inner warmth liner, making that damp. It’s an annoying process that’s known technically as reverse osmosis. In more everyday language it’s called a pain in the arse when you put the now-damp jacket back on.
The armour in the shoulders and elbows of the Kalix 2.0 are some of the largest chunks of D3O you’ll find in anything, and they cover a reassuring amount of your body, except for the lack of a standard back protector.
There are also stretch panels in the sleeves, which help make it a very comfortable jacket to ride in, and adjustable poppers on the sleeves mean you can hold the elbow armour in place a little better and also reduce the fabric volume in this area to avoid bingo wing flap at speed.
I managed to test the effectiveness of the elbow protector after taking a relatively gentle tumble into a ford whilst riding home one summer evening. It worked very effectively and kept my elbow unscathed. It’s just a shame D3O don’t make ego protectors.
You can add a Rukka D3O back protector to the jacket for an additional £80. That’s pricier than many back protector inserts, but it covers a wider area of the back and also meets the higher Level 2 within the CE standard for impact protection.
There are internal chest pockets on each side, which will just about accommodate my regular-size mobile phone. This is not the intended use of the pockets, which are provided to house a pair of chest protectors, a £41.99 option. I leave the D3O out and keep my phone dry instead, thanks.
Rukka don’t warrant the two external pockets as waterproof because, despite the zips being sealed and covered with flaps, water can still creep in. In fairness my house keys never got wet, but I’m always very wary of anything that will get damaged by water getting into the side pockets.
In my experience a laminated jacket will never be as warm as one with a drop liner as you’re eliminating two insulating chambers in the construction. I found riding at much below 15°C with just a t-shirt under this jacket to be a relatively chilly experience.
Photography: Helen Meeds
Another way Rukka have kept the cost down is to have no removable warmth liner. Obviously, you can layer up, and Rukka mention in their brochure that you’ll need to layer up in cooler conditions, so they’re under no illusions in this regard. If you’re looking at this as a four-season purchase, allow some room for extra layers when trying it on. I’ve found the Rukka Mark thermals to be an effective option and great value for money.
I’d suggest thinking of this as a three-season (ish) waterproof jacket. The thin laminate shell was designed to be waterproof, not warm, though in fairness the quality of the shell makes it very windproof.
Keeping you cool is aided by flap-covered weather-resistant zips, which open to direct ventilation channels on the front and back. In addition, there are long ones down the sides and together they ensure a substantial draught when opened to the full. I find they keep rain at bay very well when closed.
I think the sleeve cuffs are great as the designer has cut them in such a way so that you can tighten them close to your wrist with the Velcro flap, which allows gauntlets to go over the top. If you prefer your gloves to go under the cuffs there is enough room for that option as well. Personally, the seal you get from putting the jacket over the gloves works better for me as water tends to run down your sleeves and will get into the gloves if they’re worn over the top for an extended period.
There’s also a crotch strap, as there has been for years on Rukka jackets. I know a lot of people don’t use it/don’t know it’s there/don’t know what it is. I use it daily as I usually ride in a pair of protective denim jeans, and I like knowing my jacket is held down. If you’ve got a pair of Rukka textile trousers, the connecting zip on this new jacket will hook up just fine.
As ever with Rukka there is effective, but subtle, reflective detailing on the arms and back, and also on the sleeves there are poppers to reduce the fabric volume if you lack the arms of The Rock (or, for older readers, Charles Atlas). There are also stretch panels in the sleeves for added comfort. These help make it a very comfortable jacket to ride in.
I like the way Rukka cut their jackets with extra length at the rear so that it works well in the seated-on-a-motorbike position.
One of the big selling points with Rukka garments is their five-year warranty, which can be extended for another year if you register the garment with the UK importer.
This simple procedure proved rather useful for me recently when I had the main zip replaced on my own four-year-old jacket. Having to find an old email was a lot easier than locating a faded four-year-old paper receipt. If it meets the warranty conditions the importer will also loan you a jacket while yours is being repaired if you ask nicely.
This garment is not rated to EN-17092, which is the latest CE standard for protection. Rukka took a different route to getting legal approval for the Kalix 2.0 rather than having a rating from AAA down to A.
People are increasingly looking for this rating when choosing a jacket, so I’m surprised it apparently hasn’t been tested.
The washing procedure for the jacket is simple and Rukka say you should wash each Rukka product separately and inside out in a washing machine set to a temperature of 30°C or 40°C using a fine washing powder without a soft rinse agent.
They ask that you remove the armour before chucking it in the wash. Nikwax and Storm both make products designed specifically for use with Gore-Tex garments like this Kalix 2.0 jacket. Rukka recommend washing your jacket regularly as this helps the breathability because dirt can clog the microscopic pores that allow sweat vapour to escape.
There’s no doubt this a good jacket. It’s been on the market for a couple of years now and is well tried and tested. I found it very comfortable and totally waterproof. My only real caveat is if you’re a hardcore winter rider then make sure you try it on with a couple of base layers when sizing yourself up because I found the thermal retention to be limited to say the least.