Richa say their Infinity 2 jacket is “The best four season jacket we ever made.” Paddy Tyson rode to Ireland in one just to see how it would perform. In January. In a storm.
I’ve read reviews of the Infinity 2 jacket from Richa which have slated its waterproofing ability and I couldn’t disagree more. Having ridden to Ireland during the January 2020 storm season, at one point enduring a 5-hour ride through continuous downpour and flooding, I can assure you that no water whatsoever made its way past the waterproof layer, which Richa call the Aquashell LTD membrane. But that’s the thing, this jacket is constructed on the ‘drop-liner’ principle, which has pros and cons.
Firstly, the manufacturing process is much easier and the retail price can be controlled because one internal waterproof layer can be fitted to a host of different garments. This also means that the membrane can be designed without compromises and can be made to work. On that point alone this Richa jacket scored a clear 10 in horrendous conditions.
The downside of this manufacturing process is that the very outer layer of the jacket is only water resistant. This means the material, in this case a very tough high quality Cordura® fabric with abrasion resistant mesh, fills up with water becoming heavy and the worst thing of all: water can drain inside your gloves and certainly runs out in torrents when you arrive at a fuel station.
One other positive outcome of the drop-liner system is that any jacket thus constructed can be liberally equipped with ventilation for when the going gets warmer. This Infinity 2 doesn’t take advantage of that fact at all though, and there are only slim vertical vents on the chest, with similarly-sized exhausts sited either side of the back panel. On the sleeves there is the ability to open the expansion zip in two directions to create another vent, but again they are minimal. This is surprising, until you consider the design brief, which was for a do-it-all 4-season jacket at a reasonable price. No garment will be so vented that it works well in the heat of the Sahara and so warm and waterproof that it will survive a journey to Prudhoe Bay. But it’s still your money, so what does this jacket provide?
Linked to the modular construction style there is a thermal liner which is removable to improve cooling on the hot days. It’s not a terribly warm layer and I’d probably class it Spring and Autumn rather than Winter, but with a woolley jumper underneath it’s fine. It’s not the normal quilted insulate offering and the rearmost panel embraces the idea of trapping body heat in mesh, like a string vest, rather than being a complete inner garment as is often the case.
Removing and refitting it is straightforward though as there is a full-length zip either side and press-studs at the cuffs. Inside there are pockets either side and these are definitely always dry should you wish to house your travel docs in absolute safety.
Pockets are a traveller’s best friend and again this Infinity 2 is fine but doesn’t excel. There are 2 large front pockets which close with both Velcro and press studs. These are pretty good at repelling water, but I wouldn’t put my wallet in one of them. The two pockets inside the thermal liner are mirrored on the inside of the outer garment for when you’ve taken out the insulate, and in addition there’s a wallet/phone pocket behind the outer main storm flap. Technically this pocket is outside of the waterproof membrane, but it appears to be separately lined to keep the water out, as nothing I’ve had in there has yet succumbed.
In total that means you have easy access to just 5 pockets at any one time and considering the broad brief that’s OK.
What’s not practical is the infuriating inner zip which operates to close the waterproof membrane. The teeth are tiny and there’s an extra flap of liner material to ensure no water ingress. All that results is the fine teeth continually snag the material and you need to operate the zip exceptionally slowly.
Thankfully the outer zip has much coarser teeth and then there’s an outer flap which Velcros shut. The collar is easy and comfortable to close with Velcro and there’s a little hook should you wish to leave it open in warm weather.
There’s loads of adjustment on the waist and down the arms to ensure a snug fit, which also keeps the armour in place.
There’s D3O® protection at shoulders, elbows and back, with optional chest protection and so far (4,000 miles) I can see no signs of wear in any of the material or stitching. I have faith in its abilities and there’s a joining zip that’ll link it to any number of trousers should I wish it.
I like the colour options (mine is green) and I have absolute faith in the waterproof abilities of this Richa jacket. It’s rare that the opportunity exists to ride in such terrible weather on a test and the Infinity 2 really proved itself. It’s not the warmest jacket you can buy and the venting isn’t fantastic, but as a good-looking, well-fitting, competitively-priced, all-year jacket that doesn’t want to compromise any particular season, I think it’s really very good indeed.
Sizes available: S – 6XL
9 colourways available, mostly greys and blacks with flouro flashes, and this nice green…
Visit Nevis.uk.com for more details and to see those colour options