Roland Sands Maven Jacket Review

Gear -


Maven Jacket RSD Review 1

Roland Sands Maven Jacket Review

About a year ago, the company known for unique concept and custom builds launched a line of luscious riding gear. Luscious. Hey, if the shoe fits…I’m talking about Roland Sands Design, and if you haven’t laid your hands on any of this stuff, let me see if I can recreate what the owner’s experience would be.

The first thing you notice is the smell. I have never started a product review with that sentence, and if I ever do again, it’s likely to be a bad thing. But I’m holding in my hands the Maven Jacket by Roland Sands Design, so it’s a good thing; a very good thing. Sniff-sniff…mmm…like the cockpit of a Ferrari with the windows rolled up. And they’re getting foggy.

Next, you’ll feel how soft it is. Not butter-soft (butter melts) but like your grandfather’s wallet that’s been massaged by Buddhist monks before being blessed and sent off via UPS soft. It certainly feels like more than top-grain cowhide that’s been hand-oiled, washed, finished with wax and oiled again.

It’s at about this moment you just want to drop what you’re doing and put the thing on. The leathered tab of its brawny zipper just feels good between your thumb and forefinger as you pull it down, revealing a luxe lining of gold satin, impeccably stitched. You’re expecting the instant recognition of a familiar logo, and it’s absence makes it seem even more…exclusive. Look closer. There, on the sleeve, discreetly embossed, like an old-money heirloom watch…Roland Sands. Right about then, you realize you’ve got your hands on some seriously classy leather. And you’re thinking twice about all that armor that’s still in the box.

Maven Jacket RSD Review 2

It’s true. I’m ga-ga about this jacket. The retro-styling and exquisite construction are dead sexy. A veritable Bond-girl of a real riding jacket. Slip the optional RSD spine, shoulder, and elbow armor (well worth the upgrade) into the compartments sewn into its lining, and this luxe leather beauty morphs into personal protective gear that can really take a hit. I was doubtful at first that these light, flexible things would offer any kind of serious protection, but they do. Utilizing Nitrex EVO technology, these pieces add CE-approved protection without adding bulk or discomfort. Plus, it’s cut lower in the back, so not only will you look (and smell) great in your low-rise jeans and a vintage t-shirt, you won’t be subjecting innocent viewers to that embarrassing tramp-stamp, unsightly muffin-top, or (God forbid) your stupid butt-crack; that just isn’t safe for anybody, people.

Maven Jacket RSD Review 3
Ok, so I’m sitting upright here, but you can see how the RSD Maven Jacket is designed to cover the rider’s lower back

Because I have a thing for leather (and because it’s always hot where I live), I went ahead and tested this jacket in 95-degree weather, ready and willing to sweat the afternoon ride home through blazing hot freeway congestion and later, the high-mountain desert. Wow. Cleverly-placed perforated panels along the undersides of the sleeves and side panels of the torso kept me totally cool. In fact, riding later that night, I almost got cold. Granted, I have a very narrow comfort-zone…

Another example of thoughtful design are the stretch panels in the underarms, which give an incredibly comfortable fit while riding. You don’t get that restricted, strangulating feeling that some gear has before it’s broken in. Plus, these provide a better fit with curved body parts in the vicinity.

Maven Jacket RSD Review 4
Stretch panels in the underarms of the RSD Maven jacket accentuate the ahh-factor

I love the sophistication of black leather, but the RSD Maven Jacket also comes in a gorgeous tobacco color (called, strangely enough, “tobacco”), a rich, dark burgundy (called “oxblood”), and, if you search, you might find it in cream (now discontinued). The men’s version, called ‘The Barfly’, comes in black and tobacco. If you want to be Brad and Angelina for Halloween, start here.

The Maven jacket retails for $560; add another $90 for armor. If you’re ready to splurge, you won’t be sorry.

And, you’ll smell incredible.

If the words “subdued sophistication” are not in your vocabulary, stay tuned for my review of RSD’s new Oxford jacket; the style-o-meter’s cranked up to eleven.

  • armyvet05

    Looks nice, but the seams at the elbows look like they could rip right apart in a get-off.

  • imprezive

    I have the male version of this jacket, the Ronin, and it’s a fantastic looking jacket. The elbow armor is a joke though, it doesn’t even come close to fitting by my elbow. The back protector is also questionable as it doesn’t cover your lower back at all. Overall it’s a jacket I will wear to meet up with friends or go on a date but it’s not something I’m keen to wear at high speeds or canyon carving.

    • crankaholic

      I’ll have to agree with you there… I ride wearing it with the optional armor around town, but wouldn’t go out for a day of serious riding like that. A frocefield pro shirt underneath solves all those problems though.

    • Heather McCoy

      You guys are exactly right; it’s a solid jacket with exemplary good-looks. It is not what I’d wear for a hard day’s ride. What RSD brings to the table is simply another option, with an emphasis on sophisticated style. In a perfect world, we could all just waltz into our closet and pick the right gear for the right occasion, huh? (Hey, I’m getting close!)

  • Davidabl2

    Something I’ve just noticed, that while many jacket manufactures specify the type and thickness of their leather, RSD doesn’t seem to do so.

    • Richard Gozinya

      It’s listed on their website actually.

      • Davidabl2

        I guess I really need to do my homework then ;-)
        Resellers sites often don’t mention it for some reason.They must think they don’t need to because people are blown away by the sheer style of the jackets

        • Heather McCoy

          I did mention “top-grain cowhide”, but will remember to included the thickness. You’re right; it’s important!

          • Davidabl2

            Thickness and stitching should make the difference between motorcycle-looking fashion leather and real motorcycle leather gear.

  • hunkyleepickle

    I’m sure it’s nice, ill stick with my ICON 1000 chapter jacket for now. Ridiculous quality, D30 armor, less $$$.

  • Jonathan Berndt

    how about some reviews other than Ronald Sands and Icon??

    • Heather McCoy

      Hang in there, Jonathan. More cometh, but it might not be in the order you’d like. :)

  • Kr Tong

    I worry about the stitching on the elbow. race jackets move the stitching away from there so it doesnt blow open when you slide

  • JP

    Thank you for the in-depth review.

    • Heather McCoy

      You’re welcome! :)

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    Cool jacket, good article. I don’t think that every jacket designed needs to be bomb-proof. Most jackets need to be able to get you through one crash without disintegrating and this feels up to the task. I think the price is right too. Leather jackets are expensive but worth it.

    • armyvet05

      I think that is what we are saying- doesn’t look like it would make it through one crash without splitting.

      • Nemosufu Namecheck

        RIght – I think it would last exactly one crash, which is generally acceptable unless you are a track guy. Most people I know don’t crash that often.

        • armyvet05

          If the seams bust you can be exposed to the ground on that first crash, negating any protection offered by the jacket.

          • Heather McCoy

            I would not wear this jacket (or any jacket) without the CE-approved RSD armor specifically made to go with it (shoulders, elbows, spine).

  • Piglet2010

    The picture above the article makes it look like the jacket was designed for an orangutan.

    • Heather McCoy

      You know what, the arms are about an inch too long for me, but I’m such a shrimp (5’2″), arm/leg length is a common problem.

  • Campisi

    The new leather jackets REV’IT has coming out in a month or so- the Red Hook and Flatbush particularly- should provide some stiff competition for RSD’s line.

    • Heather McCoy

      I’ve got the new REV’IT Xena jacket tee’d up for a review soon. Decidedly sport-oriented, but the materials and quality are exemplary!

  • charlie

    I used to want an RSD jacket for the longest time but reading about the fit and armor issues along with the exposed seams really changed my mind. I’ll probably check out a Vanson or a Schott. Can anybody recommend a summer jacket that isn’t covered in logos and colors?

    • imprezive

      I have a Rev’It Ignition 2 that I really like. I’ve even gotten compliments on it on from strangers who didn’t realize it was a motorcycle jacket. It’s a mesh and leather hybrid so it’s warmer than full textile but it’s got good airflow.

      • charlie

        That’s a really good looking jacket. What’s the hottest you’ve ridden in with it before it got too uncomfortable?

        • imprezive

          I’ve ridden through the desert with it in 100F+ and it was fine while moving. When stopped it sucked but I think most jackets would esp black ones. I live in SoCal and never felt like it was too hot during the summer. If I live in Atlanta or Florida I’d probably get a white textile jacket else you’ll be fine with it.

  • martin

    Nice fashion jacket, just don’t think about falling off as the seams will pull apart like mine did in 2 weeks