Commuting in the winter makes for a miserable time on the bike if your gear is not up to scratch. Rain, coupled with frost and the odd bit of snow means that good warm and waterproof motorcycle gear is essential for winter commuting. As I work shifts, my commute is conducted early in the morning and late at night when it can be very cold.
A textile jacket and trousers can be the ideal purchase for the winter commute and those with removable thermal liners are more flexible for daily use. For cold wet days, liners and waterproof material protect the rider from the worst of the elements. During warmer weather, thermal liners can be removed to make jackets and trousers a bit cooler. In addition, some jackets come with ventilation zips that can be opened to make them cooler.
As women riders, we can sometimes struggle to find motorcycle gear that fits our shape. Things have improved massively since I started riding in the mid-1990s when I used to wear a cut down man’s leather jacket and denim jeans. But as a short plus-sized woman, today I struggle a bit to find good fitting plus size women’s motorcycle gear. In the end, I opted for the Modeka Manda jacket and JTS waterproof trousers (see here for a review of the JTS trousers). The matching Manda trousers were far too long for my 27.5 inch inside leg (yep you read that correctly!)
The Modeka Manda women’s motorcycle jacket is unlined- I would have preferred a lined jacket, but I found my size did limit my choice of jackets. As such, I purchased a Held Prime Coat (see review here) to fit underneath. This in hindsight worked better because the Held jacket could be worn both with my jacket and on its own as a coat. Perhaps Modeka decided that a plus-size jacket with a liner would look too bulky- if this is the case then this is a bad idea. I doubt many people buy motorcycle textile gear thinking that they will look sleek and sexy- a functional and practical garment is far more important.
OK, so I have mentioned the main thing the Manda jacket lacks- a thermal liner, let me talk about the features that to me make it a very reasonably priced and functional piece of kit. The jacket comes with a detachable Hitex membrane liner- which claims to be 100% waterproof and windproof and breathable. This zips into the jacket like a liner and provides a second defence against inclement riding weather. The front zip of this liner overlaps underneath the main zip of the jacket and is effective in keeping dry in heavy rain. In warmer weather, the rainproof layer can be removed. In the body of the jacket itself on the sleeves and shoulders, there are 8 AirVent ventilation zips that can be opened to allow cooler air to circulate. Whilst it isn’t going to be as cool as a mesh jacket in the hottest weather, it makes the Manda a more flexible purchase for touring or riding in changeable weather conditions.
The fit of the jacket is adjustable too with stretch side panels and a velcro belt to nip it in around the waist. The arms can also be shortened a bit with the popper adjusters on the bicep area which is important as many women can find the sleeves too long on some jackets. Reflective panels on the back and side of the jacket aid visibility in dark riding conditions, without being obviously ‘hi-vis’.
The jacket has detachable crash foam at the back which isn’t rated, but this can be replaced with an EN rated back protector. The armour in the shoulders and elbows is EN rated. The jacket itself is a little longer line than some jackets and comes with a connector zip that attaches to the matching Manda trousers. It also has two large front pockets and two smaller inner pockets which are big enough, but I do think the zips on the external pockets would benefit from bigger pulls to make them easier to zip and unzip with motorbike gloves on.
Modeka Textile Jacket Conclusion
All in all, at a very reasonable £150 the Manda is a good value option for women who need a comfortable jacket in a plus size. Whilst it does not have a liner, one can be purchased separately and fitted underneath. It is comfortable and very adjustable so should suit a variety of heights and arm lengths.