Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Motorcycle Racer, Dakar Rally Finisher and BRAKE Magazine's big dog, Llewelyn really likes to do things involving motorcycles. He also likes bicycles, coffee, pop punk and making horrendous puns.
As a bike manufacturer, producing riding clothing is a difficult process. Bringing an expert in the field to the party is by far the best approach. Husqvarna have done exactly that to produce a gear line to match the 701 Enduro. It flew a long way under the radar, so we took said riding gear and wore it lots. We also absolutely loved it.
It’s early November. The British clouds loom heavily above me; dark threatening and about to burst. The wind blows cold and quite frankly riding in the impending weather is going to be very, very unpleasant. Even with great kit, riding in the rain on motorways is wholeheartedly an unexciting experience.
When the weather closes in and life is about to get miserable, the Sixtorp Pro GTX has become the kit I pull from the cupboard. If the weather outside is frightful, this is without doubt one of the best items of adventure/dual sport gear you’ll ever put on, partially because it’s so damn different to the majority of kit.
Let me explain.
Currently adventure kit ticks a few boxes. Over the last few years of testing kit the one thing I feel that we’ve come to accept is that waterproof liners, in my humble opinion, are a bit pants. They do a job but they are less than perfect.
“When the weather isn’t good, it’s really bloody good. It’s a genuine, adventure ready, tarmac and dirt friendly piece of riding equipment.”
Likewise, most items of clothing (not all) that are waterproof externally, leak a little breeze here and a little water there. Sometimes it’s at the cuffs, sometimes it’s at the waist. Now the final point is that even when you find a suit that is good at keeping things dry and warm, they generally sit at the bulky end of the spectrum. Liners add bulk too and it makes movement more difficult than it need be. That’s fine if we’re munching miles on the tarmac, plodding from A to B but what if we’re not?
What if we still want to ride our bike with enjoyment, to feel free and comfy in our riding kit? What if being comfortable when hail is dropping on your head doesn’t seem like an impossibility?
That previous paragraph is the exact reason I’ve grown to love the Husqvarna Sixtorp Pro GTX by Rukka. When the weather isn’t good, it’s really bloody good. It’s a genuine, adventure ready, tarmac and dirt friendly piece of riding equipment. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely up there.
The most impressive feature of the Sixtorp Pro GTX is the material selection and the weather sealing using Gore-Tex®. Now everyman and his dog has produced a Gore-Tex® licensed garment at some point. The type of Gore-Tex® used in the Sixtorp is both fully waterproof and windproof. That doesn’t mean it still leaks a touch of wind and rain in the sleeves or around the waist. Nothing sneaks in, anywhere.
Husky and Rukka attacked bad weather head on by sealing everything. This starts under the cuffs where you’ll find a clever little waterproof cuff that sits snug as a bug around your wrist. Honestly, that’s on of my favourite features. The material is nice, it stretches over your glove if you’re wearing a dirt bike style item and it keeps the wind well and truly away. It isn’t the type that loops over your thumb either, so no pulling or added thickness on the palm.
“The shock is that it feels very free and light to wear.”
All the vents are fitted with well produced waterproof zips too. There are two on the chest, two big ‘uns on the forearms, two body length ones on the sides and one on your back. The zips seal fantastically and haven’t ever leaked.
The neck line is made of a soft, wet weather friendly neoprene. It keeps the rubbing irritation to a minimum and is very nice against your skin. The front zip also has a fold over flap to keep things wind and water free. The trousers also have a high waist line so the rain and wind can’t sneak in and they zip together on a zip that comes around 270 degrees of the waistline.
The big shock in the whole design however, is not that a company like Rukka have nailed making a riding suit that works in the wet. The shock is that it feels very free and light to wear. It’s not bulky and cumbersome, it doesn’t feel restrictive and that is, we’ve convinced ourselves, because Husqvarna have put their two cents into the design. It feels like a product designed by someone who likes to ride off-road.
The material construction is made of two parts. On all of the slide panels, the areas where you’re highly likely to touch down in the event of a crash, the suit is built strong. That means the shoulder, elbows, bum and knees are highly abrasion resistant Cordura®. The bum is even reinforced with a big leather slide panel.
All the material panels in-between the slide panels are completely different, slightly odd, lightweight material that is flexible and free feeling. It means that jacket is surprisingly light. When you pick up and put it on, it’s the exact opposite of what I’d typically expect and adventure jacket to feel like. It’s both refreshing and really good to wear.
Living in the Real World
The Sixtorp Pro GTX jacket fits like a dream. The sizing is spot on and it is incredibly comfortable. Our unit is a Large and that runs about the same size as a Euro 54 in most brands. It’s a relaxed fit, with room for a few layers or some body armour underneath with comfort. The arms aren’t tight, they give full range of lovely, off-road friendly movement. The jacket is quite long, which is great for the cold weather too. All in with the jacket, the fit is loose but accurate and incredibly comfortable.
“The highly windproof nature of the material means that it doesn’t really vent well enough to be worn in late spring or summer temperatures.”
The trousers are designed to run high up the waist to keep the breeze out and things comfy. Generally, they’re super comfortable too. The lining is really nice and we’ve never had an issue with the in boot design. What is a little odd is the fit. The waist definitely runs about an inch large and is really designed to be worn with the included dungarees. Our pair claim a 34” but really they’re closer to a 36”.
They fit issues arise with the size of the leg. If you have anything bigger than skinny legs you’ll want to size up on these as the leg width to waist ratio is a little off and it restricts your movement a surprisingly large amount, making things like getting your foot down or clambering aboard your steed harder than it need be. If we’d gone a size bigger this probably wouldn’t be anywhere near the issue it is but we’d definitely need to wear the included dungarees.
Now apart from that, there isn’t much more to gripe about with the Sixtorp Pro GTX. Where all the pockets are fitted with waterproof zips they can be a little difficult to squeeze a gloved hand into and… No, that’s it. That’s all I can find to complain about.
The Seasonal Battle
The Sixtorp Pro GTX is an awesome riding suit and has easily become a favourite for riding is terrible weather, but what it is not is an all year round job. It’s a three season suit where it can be worn once the temperature drops below 23-25ºC. The highly windproof nature of the material means that it doesn’t really vent well enough to be worn in late spring or summer temperatures.
In summer and temperatures around the 30+ mark, you’re looking at a garment that’ll cook you like you’re in a commercial oven. That doesn’t make it a bad suit, it’s just specialised for bad weather and at that it excels.
The Sixtorp Pro GTX is really good at what it’s good at. When the weather hits hard it gives you the power to stand there, stare the snow storm in the eyes and flick a foam finger sized bird before ripping a wheelie into the horizon (We can’t actually wheelie well enough to do it all the way to the horizon). It’s also an exceptionally well thought out piece of kit, designed with attention and love.
But all of that comes at a price and that price is cold hard cash. The reality is that if you live anywhere or travel anywhere that gets warmer than the UK, this isn’t going to be the only suit you’ll want. You’ll want something more breathable and with more wind flow and that means two suits and two financial outlays.
£1000 is a lot to justify for a lot of motorcycle riders. The counter to that is that this suit is without a doubt, incredibly good at what it is good for. It’s got fantastic slide protection, incredible weather protection and a fantastic use of material technology to keep the weight low and the freedom of movement high but the big question will be whether you and your bank account can justify spending that.
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