Roland Sands Design Ronin Jacket – Gear Review

Gear -


Roland Sands Design Ronin Jacket

The Good continued…

I have found that since I am on the cusp of moving up a size, leaving the side adjustment zippers open gives me the best fit and doesn’t sacrifice warmth or wind protection.

The pre-curved sleeves and other “performance” fit features made the break-in time for this jacket minimal. It was comfortable right away and has only gotten better with time.

The interior mesh pockets are the only pockets I use. They are very flexible and are great for storing glasses, books, hats, burritos and pretty much anything else, size permitting.

So far the jacket has held up wonderfully. I was wearing it when I had my first crash and despite sliding a few feet on the asphalt, the jacket experienced almost no damage (except for a few minor scratches).

Given its classic style, I have worn the Ronin to various social engagements that did not involve my motorcycle and received many compliments. I find it to be great for riding and everyday outings.

Roland Sands Design Ronin Jacket

The Bad

Other than the mesh pockets in the interior of the jacket and the two zippered pockets on the front, I have found that the pockets elsewhere are essentially useless. While the actual size of the other pockets (exterior breast, zippered sleeve, interior zippered and electronic snap) are pretty good, the openings are very tight and make it difficult to reach into.

I find the paneled sleeves problematic. In an accident, stitching is a weak point, in other words, the more panels, the more stitching. Although in my accident I didn’t experience loss of structural integrity in any of the stitching, it remains a concern if I am ever involved in a future wreck. Aesthetically speaking, I find the panels on the sleeves to be overkill and would prefer to see less of a pattern.

Ideally for a price of almost $600 this jacket would come equipped with armor. Unfortunately it doesn’t, so if you want additional protection you’ve got to spend a little bit more money, which is of course well worth it.

Roland Sands Design Ronin Jacket


Classically styled, comfortable and functional. The Ronin is a great option if you are looking for a motorcycle jacket that is more understated. As long as you don’t mind pockets that are mostly just for show and spending a little additional money on armor, it is one to look at as I’ve had a very good overall experience with it the past year. Did I mention the mesh pockets can hold burritos?

Do you have a Ronin? What is your experience with it? What about sizing? What has worked for you?

  • SteveNextDoor

    If you’re interested in the (discontinued?) colors Ash (light gray) or Almond (looks like light gray with a hint of brown) and you need an XL or XXL, Motorcycle Superstore has them for 250 USD right now (they were around 400 for awhile and I held off, but just before Christmas they dropped the price yet again and I couldn’t help myself). To give you an idea on sizing, I’m 6 ft and 220 lbs with an athletic build, the XL fit me good, just a bit snug in the arms, especially the forearms (and I don’t have particularly large forearms, these jackets are cut very strangely but it works).

    • Guy

      Thanks for the tip. I just ordered the RSD Mission jacket for $199. I’ve been eyeing it since it came out but could never justify spending the $600+ on it.

  • E Brown

    Nice, but I like the style of the Enzo/Vandal design more. Glad to hear it’s holding up well.

  • Philipp Seifert

    I have a custom made Vanson Leathers one which i would not give away for the world. Once it broke in, which took a while, its brilliant. The look is very classical and understated and the color of the dark brown leather pretty unique. I love it.

    • chupa

      I find the Vanson to be too Marlon Brando for me. I know their quality is top notch but I wish they would update their jackets.

      • Piglet2010

        I find any jacket more “biker” than an Aerostich Darien to be too “Marlon Brando” for me.

        • chupa

          To each their own but I’d rather look too Marlon Brando than this:

          • Piglet2010

            Looking like a hooligan being fashionable shows how far the standards of society have fallen.

            • chupa

              A leather jacket like the Ronin is looking like a hooligan? But dressing like a giant M&M is considered high standards? HA!

              • Piglet2010

                Do not conflate the preference for a practical design such as the Darien, and the contention that leather jackets are not semi-formal (or better) to be a claim that the Darien would be considered suitable for semi-formal dress.

  • enzomedici

    I have this exact jacket and it is great. It looks even better in person. The photos don’t do it justice. The tobacco color is amazing.

  • stephen

    I have had one for around a year as well – wear it in most weather except the winter in Canberra (Aus) – fit wise I am around 175cm 80-85kg and it fits well except at the neck, but i think that has more to do with my fat neck. the armour you can buy will need to be cut down a bit in size to fit the pockets but that is easy to do and no problem.

    have not crashed in it as yet and have had no issues with the quality of the product. the leather is very nice and the colour is excellent. I also have worn it out to non bike events (even with the armour in) and received compliments – particularly (paired with my brown red wing engineers) when i went to a female friends birthday barn dance!

  • Comic Chuck Ludwig

    I have this jacket. For the most part it is the best all around jacket I’ve ever had. The cut is really comfortable, extending to my lower back even on a sportsbike.

    I have two issues with it though: the RSD armor sucks a fat one. Especially the elbow armor, which tends to ride up my arm completely exposing my elbow. Furthermore the armor pocket is so small that you couldn’t put more protective elbow pieces in. The fact that the armor doesn’t cover the elbow or any part of the forearm is a bummer and I’m considering having a seamstress friend enlarge the pocket.

    My second gripe with the jacket is the stitching holding the zipper has come undone on near the on my left side. For a 600$ jacket that is supposed to protect me in a crash, having seams undo after only about 2 months of wear is unsettling.

    Still, it’s a pretty sweat piece of kit.


    if i cant fit my family of chickens in it, theres no point

  • Deeds

    I have a Ronin. I will give it a 7/10. The upper arms of the jacket are too baggy (even with the shoulder and elbow armor). Speaking of the armor, the elbow armor doesn’t fit so well. I feel as though it should be a little bit farther down the elbow/forearm. The wrist zippers also don’t seem to keep closed all of the way, despite the leather breaking in over about a year of use. I got the Sand color, but it has darkened up a bit after I treated the leather with some SnoSeal.

  • Campisi

    The elbow armour pockets are indeed in a strange location, exposing one’s elbow much of the time. Looking over the remains of my Ronin after a crash revealed severe wear and noticeable thinning of the leather in the shoulder area. The poor quality of the stitching and hardware had begun to manifest before that; coupled with the armour-placement issues, I had resolved to re-purpose this jacket as an armourless fashion jacket before that crash made the issue moot.

    • Ayabe

      Yep, blown out stitching seems to be a real problem with these, far far too many reports for me to trust my safety to it.

  • Piglet2010

    I must be out of the loop – to me, leather jackets always seem low-brow.

    • Mykola


      • taba

        Yeah, I prefer a more technical/obviously motorcycle jacket because I’d not be wearing a leather jacket otherwise.

        • Mykola

          I meant he’s out of the loop. Some jackets can look sharp, e.g. this one, the RSD Enzo, Wes’ Vanson, and others that don’t yell ‘Biker!’ at non-moto social engagements.

          • taba

            Different loops for different folks. I’d rather it yell Biker! than Low-Brow/Hipster! at non-moto social engagements.

            • Justin McClintock

              I don’t see it that way at all. A good, well tailored leather jacket, be it a motorcycle one or not, never screams low-brow. A nice leather jacket should be a part of every man’s wardrobe. If you can get your motorcycle jacket to fit the bill, all the better.

              • taba

                But since few wear leather jackets, wearing a leather jacket does scream Something! (Even if only Fashionable!)

                Some can carry off screaming, some canna.

    • E Brown

      Yeah, you’re out of the loop. ;) Provided you choose wisely, a leather moto jacket can be one of the most fashionable, practical, and flattering jackets in someone’s wardrobe, and it’s a HUGE plus that the style is as timeless as a navy blue blazer or other wardrobe fundamentals.

      • Piglet2010

        But would you wear a leather jacket over a suit to a business dinner? The Rev’it Opera would be a better choice than any leather jacket.

        • E Brown

          No, I wouldn’t wear a motorcycle jacket over a suit jacket. However, in 30-some years of riding, that situation has come up zero times. If I did encounter that situation regularly enough to rate a jacket just for that, my preference would be an Aether Skyline over the Oxford or other Belfast-type jackets. Even so, that doesn’t make a leather motorcycle jacket low-brow just because it doesn’t apply to every wardrobe situation – neither does my blue blazer or wingtips; like those, it does cover a lot of wardrobe ground.

  • MattCav

    I’ve had mine for about 8 months now. I’m 5’7″, 155lb, athletic build. I wear a size small and it fits like a damn glove (which is great)… Just enough room for a good hoodie this time of year, with the amor in as well. I’ve found that my range of motion is limited a little bit, but that makes sense given the extra thickness with more layers, and doesn’t really matter too much on the bike – I can do exactly what I need to, and that’s fine. I like the jacket a lot… I think my smaller stature makes my experience with the elbow armor different that some of the other people that have complained about it riding farther up their arms. Mine stays put, right where it’s supposed to. Shoulders are fine too. I don’t find any part of the jacket to be baggy, as others have described, but everyone’s shaped differently.

    I use the cross-draw interior pockets all the time – phone, checkbook (I know, right?), sunglasses, etc. The mesh ones, not so much, except for a book or envelope. The chest pocket is pretty impractical, given the angle you’ve got to get your arm to in order to actually use it… I’ve actually used the stash pocket on the right arm a few times for small items, and it’s kind of nice. Eh, whatever. Pockets… For real things, use a bag. The only “feature” that I think is a little silly is the grommeted tab on the center back, on the shoulder yoke. I’m not hunting in this jacket, so I’m not wearing a back tag… I get it, it’s a little more burly for hanging on a hook, but come on. Use a hanger.

    Other than riding, I’ve been wearing the Ronin as my daily jacket, continuing to break it in, make it more my own, get the motion in those elbows, dream about riding (*sigh*)… It’s very comfortable, looks great, and has kept me warm enough through a New England winter (with the hoodie). I was slightly nervous to spend close to $700 on a jacket (cost of the jacket + armor), but I feel that I made a good decision. I’d recommend it to anyone that could afford it and fit in it well – it’s definitely cut “true to size,” and favors people with an athletic build.

    I know I’d buy it again if I had to – but hopefully I won’t…

    • Reid

      Thanks for the good review. We’ve got basically the same dimensions, so yours was perhaps the most helpful info on this jacket that I’ve come across anywhere. I really appreciate it. I’m trying to decide on a good leather jacket for when I want to look a little classier riding the scoot, and this Ronin might just be the ticket (after I save up the scratch, of course). Thanks again!

      • MattCav

        My pleasure, Reid! Glad it was helpful. I always try to look for (detailed) reviews from smaller dudes as well…

        I had emailed with the guys over at Revzilla a few times before ordering it. I had ordered the small originally and thought, “Man, this feels great and looks great… But, is it too tight? Fits different than any leathers I’ve had before (which, to be clear, have been hand-me-downs from my dad. We’re build very similarly, so that’s never been a problem.)”

        I ended up ordering a medium as well to compare them side by side. The medium fit with room to spare, but even with an extra layer, like a thick hoodie, it would’ve been baggy and saggy. Everything on the small fits me like it’s *supposed to.* You can really tell the difference when you think about the actual lines on the jacket. Look at the shoulder yoke, the arm holes, the sweep (bottom hem), cuff (with arms down, and arms out front)…

        The yoke is where it would be on a decent dress shirt – because it’s meant to *fit.* The armholes are actually higher, at the right place – think of our dads’ suits vs. the suits we’d wear now (that is, unless you’re my dad’s age?)… The sweep lands at the bottom of my belt (hoody sweep falling 1.5 inches below that). You’ll notice on the picture up top that the cuffs on the model fall just after his wrist. My cuffs fall about an inch and a half lower than that with my arms down. Doesn’t bother me, or look strange. And when they’re outstretched, it’s perfect – no gap between the jacket and (short) gloves. Again, I think this little bit of difference contributes to the elbow armor experience.

        Anyway… I’m glad it was helpful!

        • Reid

          Definitely. Thank you much, sir. Now I just have to start putting aside the money to get one. It would just happen to be when I decided to drop my phone in the parking lot at work…non-upgrade prices on phones are ridiculous, but since I already have a good (textile) jacket, I can’t justify spending the money on another jacket until I’ve got my communications situation taken care of once more. Besides, what I really need to get before another jacket is a good pair of riding pants. Anyway, thanks for the information about the jacket. Safe travels.

  • Justin McClintock

    I dunno. $590 seems a little steep for what you’re getting here. I’d rather just get a Vanson or something from Fox Creek for that kinda money. It’d be a much better jacket at the $350-$400 price point, or $450 if it came with armor.

  • SeanA

    A great Jacket, I like SteveNextDoor found one in Grey on Motorcycle Superstore for ~215 bucks. Sweet. I’m a bigger fellow, 5’10 250 and the XXL fit perfect. The jacket is extremely comfortable and well made. I like that the armor is optional as this jacket can double both on and off the bike. The materials are beautiful and its looks great. Hard to know how it compares to a similar vanson (etc) but I like the minimalist styling and lack of brand logo’s all over the place. At $600 its pricey but the grey/ash color at 215 is a steal. Love it and expect to get manner years of out it.

    • Piglet2010

      Says something not too positive if old stock is being blown out with a 60%+ mark-down.

      • SeanA

        I bought the Ash colored jacket that was the only one at that mark down. The other colors were still at full retail. I loved the tobacco but 600 is some serious $.

  • contender

    I got a RSD Domino on Amazon for $250. I love it…looks great as a casual jacket and functions as motorcycle piece.

  • Reid

    The most critical question (other than on-bike safety, of course) that comes to my mind is this: if I had to fight for my life when off the bike and look good doing so, could I do it wearing this jacket? The limited range of motion makes me wonder about that…wait, no, it’s the price tag.

  • chupa

    I have one as well. Great jacket indeed if you can afford it.

  • Jay

    Love the jacket, hate the elbow pads. Has anyone tried using different pads on the elbows? The RSD ones slide down my forearm.