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Firstly, apologies to anyone who thought this review would be a fascinating insight into my strange taste in pets…. But it’s actually about my scooter jacket from the brand Armadillo.
I’m not one of those scooter riders who breezes along the UK streets in flip flops and shorts. I firmly believe that that sort of thing should be left to those stylish Italians. It doesn’t matter that my scooter has a top speed of 45mph (and that’s only when I’m going down a very long and very steep hill!), I still religiously don my armour from top to toe, repeating the mantra ‘protection over style’. Having said all that, two years ago when I invested in my two wheels I really struggled to find a suitable jacket, that would be protective enough for when I upgraded to a proper motorbike, but also looked good. Unfortunately it seems most motorcycle clothing designers believe adding a splash of white and baby pink to their bulky, mens-cut jackets will instantly make them feminine.
So, after hunting high and low I came across Armadillo; a British based company designing scooter wear for the urban rider. They immediately appealed, with their range of clothing that wouldn’t look out of place on the catwalk, but offered the most up to date hidden armour – d30 (more on that later). They have a very cool website with amusing, artsy promotional videos of their clothing (created no less by the Director of Photography who did Lost and Cloverfield).
Although their range of clothing and accessories are very limited, they are remarkably diverse and there seems to be something for everyone. Their jackets are designed to look great both on and off your bike, with very discrete armour in all their creations from the duffle jacket, to the hoodie or the mac. I settled on their most sporty (and plain and practical) looking offering – the Funnel Neck Women’s Jacket. This is a lightweight, unlined, double zipped women’s jacket, with armour in the arms and shoulders.
The jacket is available in only one colour option – red. It comes in five sizes from XS (UK size 8) up to XL (UK size 16). I’ve got the S (small) size and it fits perfectly which is about right as I’m usually a size 10 top. It’s snug but there is enough room to comfortably fit a thick jumper or two underneath in the winter. The Funnel Jacket retails for £75-85, which for a lightweight technical jacket I think is a fairly good deal. It’s only on sale at a few online retailers (including Armadillo, Central Scooters and BikerMart) and I’ve
seen it in a couple of scooter shops in London (Scootech).
Armadillo use d30 armour, and two years ago this was a fairly new innovation to the motorcycle clothing market. These days though, d30 armour has been road-tested by plenty of critics, and if you have a hunt around online you’ll find a fair few (positive) reviews on the stuff. My personal favourite is a video involving a smiling, willing tester being bashed on the [d30 armoured] kneecaps by a bloke wielding a large spade.
The four removable, shaped, armoured pieces are located extended over each of the elbows and shoulders in the Funnel Jacket. They are bright orange, flexible, honeycomb grid patterned plates, about 25cm long by 15cm wide. When my jacket arrived I was intrigued to find a little pot of orange squishy stuff with it. This turned out to be a sample of the d30 material used to make the armour. For anyone of my generation I‘d describe it as a pot of SillyPutty – remember that bouncy, malleable craze with the kids? So apparently this CE certified material maintains its softness and flexibility under normal pressures, but upon high impact the ‘Intelligent Molecules’ inside lock together, exerting the pressure across the whole pad. The armour plates are easily removed and replaced from their pockets when necessary, simply by undoing a couple of strips of Velcro.
Unfortunately I had two accidents on slippery roads at the end of last year, and so I’ve been able to test the effectiveness of the armour out. One particularly dramatic incident left me with extensive bruising all over my legs and hands, and a very sorry looking broken scooter and helmet. However, my arm (which I landed on) remained fully intact and with only a tiny bruise. The armour had undoubtedly very effectively protected my shoulder and arm. My only complaint was a graze on the arm which had been caused, I believe, by the edge of the d30 forearm plate moving within the jacket as I landed, scraping the skin away.
This particular incident also demonstrated how effective the outer rip stop material of this jacket is. Although the material seems really thin, it is all made of tough 100% nylon, rip-stop, polyurethane coated fabric. During my spill I skidded along the road on my tummy and emerged with a distinct lack of over-trousers where the friction had literally torn them to shreds! However, amazingly this jacket didn’t have a single hole, scrape or tear in it.
For motorcyclists I don’t think this jacket really offers adequate protection, and wouldn’t particularly recommend it for that use. For these purposes it could do with some armour in the back area. It is also a little too short, and there is no way of zipping it to over-trousers. This jacket is designed for scootering around the town and to be honest I’d only be happy wearing it in these circumstances, and not at great speeds.
Comfort, Style and Durability
I find this jacket really comfy. The soft cuffs and neck mean it doesn’t rub where it contacts my skin. The fit is designed for women and so it has a tapered waist. Around the bottom of the jacket is a stretchy cord, adjustable with a couple of toggles on the side. I’ve found this means the jacket fits snugly however many layers I’m wearing, and doesn’t ever ride up at the back.
The Armadillo Funnel Neck is sold as summer jacket. Inside it has a thin mesh layer, which I have found to wick moisture away and keep me cool even on the hottest days. Armadillo claim it is 100% breathable and I’d confirm this as a fact. I never imagined this jacket would keep me toasty on a winter’s day, and to be honest it really doesn’t. But as the only bike jacket I own it has to do, whatever the weather. I frequently wear this for 1.5 hour long commutes on the coldest of days and find that with a couple of warm layers underneath it just about keeps me from getting too freezing. I would put this down to fact that it is 100% windproof and generally it is the wind-chill that makes riders chilly. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend anyone to wear this in the UK winter, but if you do then buy a size big enough to allow you to wear a fleece or thick jumper underneath and you should just about be OK.
The waterproofing on this jacket is fantastic. The fabric is all coated in PU so it won’t let a drop of water in. The outer zips are also protected by a thick rubber seal which meets in the middle like a dream and hasn’t leaked on any occasion. I would say the only let down in the wet weather are the ribbed nylon cuffs and funnel neck. Although both are protected somewhat by the covering of the outer jacket, there are always exposed bits of this soft material. They soak up any water like a sponge and take forever to dry out. I’ve overcome the wrist cuff problem by wearing my waterproof gloves firmly over the top. But there is really not much that can be done about the exposed neck cuff, without interfering with your helmet. If it is completely pelting down then I do get a soggy neck and this sometimes drips down my back – lovely! But then riding in the rain was never meant to be fun…
Pockets and Accessories
There are two generously sized zipped pockets on each side of the jacket. They have large toggles on the zipper which makes it easy enough to undo them with gloved hands. They both have a waterproof lip over the zipper to stop water getting into the pocket, and I’ve found this to be effective on the rare occasions when I remember to do up the zips! There is also a ‘comms pocket’ located on the outside upper, left hand side. It has a rubber seal which keeps water firmly out. Handily, the same pocket has an internal opening as well. This means you can put your phone/comms/GPS device in the pocket from the inside - feeding the earphones wire up through the neck – thus keeping the device and the wire safe and dry. But then you can access and press the buttons on your device by using the outside pocket opening – thus not having to undo your jacket. A nicely thought out detail. This is quite a tiny pocket but just about large enough to fit a standard mobile phone in.
Other Bits and Bobs
• There are no reflective or high visibility markings on the jacket. I imagine this is because they would detract from the stylish/urban look of the jacket. This is a shame as it would be a nice feature, but you can buy reflective iron-on dots from Armadillo should you wish. • The wrist cuffs have thumb loops built in so you can wear them as semi-gloves to keep off the wind-chill. Personally I have never tried them out whilst riding as I always wear gloves, but I don’t imagine they would interfere too much with your grip on the handlebars. • There is a stretchy loop located on the inside of the jacket for feeding your ‘comms’ earphone/microphone wire through so it doesn’t move around the inside of the jacket. • Inside the jacket is a secondary zipper extending up to the neck funnel. I’m not sure the purpose of these double zips but it is quite nice to zip up the inner zip on a summers day and leave the outer one partially open for extra ventilation. Also just to note I’ve never had problems with any of the zips sticking on this jacket. • This jacket is fully machine washable (remove the d30 armour first). My first accident saw me sliding along a diesel covered road – and although I looked like I’d been rolling around in an oil slick, my jacket emerged from the washing machine as clean and shiny as the day I bought it. • Finally, the jacket comes with a 2 year guarantee.
Overall I can’t think of any major complaints I’ve had about this jacket in the years I’ve owned it. I’d happily recommend it to any ladies with a moped or scooter, but don’t think it offers adequate protection for motorcyclists. I think this jacket lives up to its stylish yet protective promise and so I’m pleased to give it the full five stars.
This review appears on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my username sbeach000
I've never been brave enough you use any motorised form of transportation that wasn't a car, but this jacket sounds like it does offer a fair bit of protection for scooter riders in a not too hideous way!