Macna ‘Jura’ riding jacket

Jura_823_VThe problem with not trying-on a jacket before committing yourself should be obvious, but do I learn? On initial trial, in the living room, the tight underarm fitment on the Macna Jura was pronounced, but I was wearing a jumper. I had that moment of panic that I’d chosen the wrong size with 3 days remaining before I set off for Nepal and I cursed manufacturers for not having an industry-wide sizing standard. But it was a fit of pique, as I had sorely under-estimated the quality of the thermal lining, and indeed all the layers, of this enduro-style jacket. To date, I’m yet to need a jumper.

Macna are a Dutch clothing company and have been going since the mid-nineties when they started making gloves. Their seven in-house designers now boast quite a remarkable collection of leather and textile clothing but precious little of it, unfortunately, is readily available through a dealer network in the UK. Let’s hope that network grows soon, because innovation has always been a company ideal, from the first bonded waterproof linings in their gloves to their incredibly abrasion resistant textile ‘Superfabric’ of 2006 for specific contact areas of jackets and trousers. Catchy, literal name I know – Superfabric – but the Netherlands is close to Germany after all…

So what of the jacket? Well it comes in what’s called Black, Grey, Orange and Red, but those are really just flashes – see pics – as the main body material is black, dark or light grey. The colourways are good, and although I thought the plainer would be best, the whole jacket works very well together, and now that the editorial steed is a KTM 1190, my orange flashes match it exceptionally well!

The jacket has a 3-layer system with detachable Raintex membrane and thermo liner, has Knox CE protectors at the shoulder & elbows and is CE backprotector ‘prepared’, but that is where the conventional seems to end.

Jura cuffStarting with the cuffs and collar, two areas of any jacket that get a huge amount of stick, innovation abounds. I can’t abide getting my watch caught up in elasticated cuffs, or my fingers tangled within the confluence of multiple sleeve layers. With the connection between the detachable membrane and the outer shell placed on the outside, accessing the connection zip is simplicity itself and there’s nothing to annoy the wrists. Simple! No Velcro, press-studs or elasticated hoops. It also means that the waterproofing goes beyond the cuff edge, removing the possibility of any moisture wicking up the sleeve via the other layers. Carrying on the Teutonic literalism, the system is called the ‘Easy Cuff’.

The final cuff magic, is that the sleeve end is in effect flared, fitting easily over thicker wet-weather gloves and stopping water running down the sleeves and filling otherwise waterproof gloves from the top. The pull-tight Velcro adjustment is easy to use with gloves then in place. Alternatively, when using light summer gloves, you can pre-set the cuffs to be as wide or narrow as you wish and still they don’t bunch up or have an annoying zip-pull to dig into your wrist.Jura collar close

The closing system for the neck is just a delight. Here there is no Velcro to adhere to your buff or neck-sock and again no press studs that don’t line up or that cause you to almost strangle yourself trying to secure them. Alas it’s a closure system that isn’t called ‘Simpleshut’, but rather ‘Comfix’. There’s a pre-curved blade of plastic sitting proud on one collar and a simple serrated groove on the other. They press together and you can then slide it for adjustment into any one of 25 positions. Simple and perfect adjustability. It’s only been two months, but I use the jacket daily and am yet to note any wear on the system.

The inner collar is made of a material for which I haven’t got a name, but both the shell jacket and the thermal liner are comfortable and pleasing against the skin of the neck. Whatever their respective materials are, they are blessed with the same robust quality the rest of the jacket seems to possess.

Jura ventThe zips are chunky and tough where they need to be with extended toggles on the zips that open the large chest vents. These are panels at the front that fold in on themselves to avoid ‘flapping’, revealing tough 3-D mesh material that permits good airflow (after the waterproof liner has been removed) but stops all but the tiniest airborne creatures. Jura vent materialFurther venting – finer mesh and zips – are placed in the aforementioned underarm area and there are rear torso exhaust vents. In the Terai region of Nepal I did have to ride with the front of the jacket partially open as well, but I feel sure sure that if the Netherlands regularly experienced over 40 degree heat, Macna would have addressed that too.

Leaving the jacket half open meant relying on the super-tough main front zip with its no nonsense big teeth, the single securing press stud at the bottom and at least one of the four large Velcro tabs that secure the outer storm flap. The main zip is actually plastic and I can attest that if you hang your jacket on the handlebars of your Enfield when casually parked in downtown Kathmandu, the lowermost section of the zip will melt on the hot exhaust. Thankfully, whittled with a penknife, all the teeth now re-engage.

If I was to criticise any of the closure systems on the Macna Jura it would only be the much finer choice of teeth that the inner front zip (used when the thermal liner is in place) possesses. Combined with an excess of inner flap material (to ensure warmth) I find the teeth regularly snag the material if I’m not particularly careful. Regardless of the number of times it has happened to date, not one bit of that inner lining has torn, or indeed frayed which again reiterates the quality of the components throughout this jacket.

There’s also a pull cord base adjuster and two strap adjusters on the waist for an excellent fit. The rear of the jacket is low cut, which is great in a touring jacket and ensures no rising up to expose and chill the kidneys.Jura_823_A

Just above that, is a large rear inbuilt pocket which is not the normal big stick on pouch and it has a very natty bottom vent incase it’s wet over-trousers you are carrying there.

Jura pocket flapThe rest of the jacket pockets have had an equal amount of design attention lavished upon them. The two front ones have fold-down flaps with Velcro closure and a plastic rigidity strip, all of which is well proportioned and superbly robust. The hand warmer pockets next to these are a delight – fitted with some kind of fleece for the backs of the hands that doesn’t go weird when it’s wet. There is a ‘wallet’ pocket at chest height just inside the outer main zip. This is a good easy-access size and appears to be waterproof so far. It closes with a fine-tooth zip. There’s a very neat key pocket which closes with a waterproof zip but it is so small it really is for a key – singular.Jura key pocket

Finally there are elasticated net inner pockets in the thermal liner with sub-division for phone, cards, etc, and this repeats inside the waterproof liner and jacket outer so they’re always accessible, whatever the weather.

The whole garment has a tough feel, great material mix and superior stitching – although as with all clothing I test for Overland, I have failed absolutely to crash in it – sorry!

Safety is a big thing for Macna and the Jura, like most of their jackets, is ‘vision-vest ready’. This just means there are attachment points should you wish to wear a hi-viz over vest of their own design during particularly bad riding conditions. But perhaps more remarkable and certainly more subtle is their 2012 innovation called ‘Night Eye’.

Some of the fabric panels on the Jura contain tiny glass beads which work as small satellite dishes. These tiny mirrors reflect the light to where it came and therefore you light up in a car’s headlights from a long distance, much more effectively than normal reflective material. The material looks common mid grey in daylight, but completely lights up at night. If you really want to go to town, you can even add a 5 LED USB rechargeable light between your shoulder blades, but not of course if you use a camelbak!

I’m not sure of RRP, but from £182 on ebay this has got to be one of the toughest, most robust and superbly innovative jackets on the market. But where to buy it near you?

Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL. At 5’11” and 12 stone I have the ‘L’, but do check the under-arm fit if you work out!