May 25, 2015

Icon Raiden DKR Womens Jacket Review

Visiting the Icon offices in Portland sporting my new Raiden DKR
Riding over 1,000 miles in a month in the Icon Raiden DKR Jacket, especially designed for women, has been a pleasure. I had been wearing leather for the time I've been riding, except for a lightweight, textile, summer jacket that certainly isn't practical for touring. Leather has it's benefits, but in this case, it doesn't begin to compare with the benefits of the Raiden DKR.

I picked up this jacket in Portland, OR. When I first tried it on, it seemed really long and oddly sized for me, but once I zipped it completely and the magnetic flaps slapped shut on their own over the zipper, I realized it fits perfectly. The sleeves are a bit long for me, but keep in mind I'm rather short with short arms, so it should fit an average sized woman beautifully. One or two rolls of the sleeve and a set of gloves and the sleeves are just fine. I actually realized in the rain that once I put my gloves on and unroll the sleeves once, my arms are completely insulated from the cold and wet. What a fantastic surprise! After leather jackets that leaked, soaked up rain, and had gaps here and there, this was such a relief.

Sunny day on the road with all of my vents open, cool and comfy
Right after we visited Portland, we headed to Seattle, WA for a few days. Rain and cold followed for the next few cities, Kennewick in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, into Boise, ID for a week, into Pocatello, ID for two nights, and finally over the Grand Tetons through a snowy pass into Jackson Hole, WY. Exactly 1,044 miles later and I've had a marvelous experience with the Raiden DKR.

I wore the jacket with the vents open while riding in Seattle traffic on a warm afternoon, with temps rising into the low 80's F, and found I was quite comfortable. To the other extreme, riding over the Grand Tetons we passed snow on the roadside with temperatures dropping to 42 degrees F. That day I opted to wear a thin, long-sleeved Columbia Women's OUTERSPACED™ Half Zip top along with leggings underneath my riding pants (by another maker) and my new jacket. I inserted the quilted liners in both my pants and jacket and made certain to close all of my vents for the ride.

Riding into a storm in Idaho, but staying completely dry inside my cocoon! 
I was so surprised when we arrived in Jackson Hole and I asked my husband Steve how it could be so warm on the summit and still have snow.

"It was 42 degrees. . . " he replied.

"What? I was so warm! Wow!"

Seriously, the jacket kept me so cozy, warm and dry through all of these conditions. I'm ready to tackle 10,000 miles wearing this, as I see it as meeting all of my needs.

The Raiden DKR has the following features:

FIT: Raiden Relaxed Fit
MATERIAL: Honeycomb Ripstop Chassis with Laminated HycorTM Membrane
PROTECTORS: D3O® Impact Protectors - Shoulders, Elbows, Back
LINER: Insulated Thermolite PlusTM Full Liner - Removable
DETAILS: 2 Chest Vents, 2 Pit Vents, 1 Exhaust Vent, Sublimated Chassis, Get Blocktm Waterproof Chest Pocket Zipper, YKK® Waterproof Zippers, Double Storm Flap with Rare Earth Magnet Closure, Waterbladder Hose Routing, 3M® Reflective Accents, Rear Storage, Ballistic Nylon Paneling, Three Position Elbow Protector Pockets, Fully Taped Seams

(This information provided by the manufacturer's website.)

Beyond comfort, I'm really pleased with the pockets and their placement. I'm really an organized person so I like to have everything I need accessible and in the same place every time. I have a place for everything I need on the road; my credit cards for gas stops, my camera for in-the-saddle shots, my lip balm (OK, who am I kidding? My lipstick!) and my keys when I'm stopped. I utilize the inner pocket for my MP3 player with the holes to thread my speaker cord too.

My hubs Steve and I stopped at the Snake River at the base of the Grand Tetons
Lastly, I love the peace of mind I receive wearing armor. I've been rather cavalier about protection in the past, but after thinking about it long and hard, I realize I travel quite a few miles, thus increasing my chances of an accident. Recently I had lunch with my friend Brittany Morrow, who has dedicated her life to encouraging ATTGATT for all riders. After a tragic accident which scarred her severely and involved unbelievable pain, she started Rock The Gear and now works for Icon as a Brand Manager.

"I really care about you as a friend, and I know what could happen. Even if you don't wear Icon, wear gear that protects you! Please Sash!"

She really woke me up to the possibilities. I thought about my new grandson and how much I wanted to be in his life for a good, long time. So armored gear was all I could think about. Then my zipper broke on my leather jacket, almost like a sign to change up my gear. Since Brittany had made such an impact, I reached out to her for a place to score my next jacket and now, I couldn't be happier that I did.

My only complaint about the Raiden DKR is the way I look in it. While riding it fills up with excess air, even with the vents closed and I look really puffy. Now this is a matter of aesthetics, but as a woman, it's a hard adjustment for me to look seriously unattractive. The truth is, at 4'11 inches tall and a size 16, I'm puffy enough naked, so add a few layers of clothing and an armored jacket that fills up with air, and I look like a blue and gray marshmallow going down the road.

It's a small concession for protection, warmth and a dry ride that I'm willing to make. I'm sure this jacket would look far more attractive on a taller, thinner woman.

In Blackfoot, ID so pleased with the cozy ride!
Lastly, since I'm touring around the country on my motorcycle, I find it somewhat inconvenient that this jacket isn't really something I would wear at any time other than riding. When I rode in a leather jacket, I would wear it out at night once we arrived at a destination. The Raiden, not so much. But again, it is such a slight inconvenience.

I have to accept that these motorcycle jackets are made for ultimate motorcycling, not fashion statements for women. As I already pointed out, such a small price to pay.

Overall, from a motorcycling standpoint, I love this jacket!

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. For aesthetic purposes I tend to prefer leather jackets -- to my eye, at least, they look better after several years of wear. But there's no denying that textile is the way to go if you actually want to be comfortable over a long distance. Lighter, better protection against wind and rain, and more adjustable for varying temperatures.

    Icon make some pretty cool stuff. I'm envious.


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