Now that the temperatures are dropping, it’s about time we break into the back cupboard and fish out some warmer gear to use on bike tests. My first pick was the Merlin Rowan Waxed Cotton jacket, with its zipped-in thermal liner, before anyone else decided to snatch it for their own nefarious purposes. I tend to like to ride all year round, and having good gear makes it all the better!

The classic military styling of the Merlin Rowan jacket belies a very well put together piece of kit. The outer layer is made from Halley Stevensons 8oz Thorn Proof waxed cotton and has some weight to it, with a Reissa waterproof membrane to keep you dry if the clouds let loose. I’ve yet to test the ‘waterproof’ functionality of the jacket, but it’s definitely up to the task in the colder foggy Waikato mornings we’ve been experiencing lately! The removable thermal liner has stayed in place, but it’s good to know that it can be quickly pulled out when the sun comes out mid-afternoon. The jacket also features zipped ventilation just in front of both shoulders, allowing a decent supply of fresh air into the well-insulated chest area.

On the safety front, it has removable Italian Safetech CE Armour in the elbows and shoulders, as well as a slot for back armour, with a foam pad fitted from Merlin. On the outside, all the zippers are YKK standard stuff, and it even has a YKK short connecting zip to adjoin to a set of pants if you so choose. The longer length of the jacket means it’s not going to ride up and expose your back while you ride, but the extra little feature is noted and appreciated. The main front zipper is covered by a weather-flap, with Velcro and cool classic styled dome buttons to secure it over the zip, further enhancing the military look of the jacket. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a motorcycle jacket at all; I’ve happily worn it to a family outing without any of the sideways looks I get when I wear my leathers…

Out on the road and it’s exceptionally comfortable, once you’ve adjusted the fit with the domes at the bottom hem, as well as the wrists and forearms, and finally the attached waist belt. It has more pockets than I can even count, including a hidden pocket in the seam of the main front zipper (thanks for the fancy pen Paul), with even more pockets behind the thermal liner if you do want to remove it. The micro-fleece on the inside of the collar stops chafing and also helps the insulative nature of the jacket, which I really like. The external pockets, fastened with more classic styled domes, fold over on themselves when closed, offering some water resistance, but the inner pockets are the ones you’ll be wanting to store your phone and wallet in for proper protection from the rain. For the colder months, this will be my jacket of preference, given its flexibility and comfort factor, not to mention that it does look the part as well!

Tester: Scott | Distributed by: Eurobike Wholesale | Price: $599 | Check it: