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Clothing Review: Roland Sands Design Maven Leather Jacket

A functional, feature-rich luscious leather jacket.

By Genevieve Schmitt
3/11/2014

We get excited when a new company starts making quality women’s motorcycle jackets. The latest motorcycle company to branch out into women’s riding gear is Roland Sands Designs (RSD) with its Maven jacket. We told you about this exciting RSD jacket when it first came out.

"It feels like a fine Italian leather jacket..."

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket oxblood
Laura Stanley, a rider from Bozeman, Mont., chose the RSD Maven in Oxblood, a deep dark red that looks super stylish on her riding her vintage BMW.


clothing review roland sands designmaven leather jacket brown tobacco
I picked the RSD Maven leather jacket in dark brown, what RSD calls Tobacco, to test because it matches my boots and motorcycle. The Maven also comes in black and cream.

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket sportbike
The Maven is a café racer style jacket, which means it is fitted with clean tight lines.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket oxblood red
The leather is top grain cowhide in a medium- to heavy-weight thickness. In new condition, it has some stiffness, but after a few wears it softens up and contours to your body.


Riders who like high-end leather products will appreciate the design that went into creating the Maven. It feels like a fine Italian leather jacket created specifically for motorcycling. A lot of thought went into making the strong leather comfortable to wear on a motorcycle.

The leather has been pre-oiled, washed, then hand finished with wax and oiled again so it has a finished feel to it. In fact, it easily resists road grime. This is the kind of leather jacket you’ll have for years, one that gets better with age. Laura said, “It has that vintage look that I like, and will stay in style for a long time.”

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket harley-davidson
In addition to her vintage BMW, Laura owns a Harley-Davidson Nightster. She says, “I wanted the RSD instead of a Harley jacket because it’s unique and special, plus I like the café racer look and appreciate Roland Sands’ reputation.”


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket sleeve
The only identifying name on the jacket is on the sleeve.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket pocket
A perforated panel runs the length of each inner arm. "The jacket is really cool on a hot day,” Laura said. “I don’t use the pocket on the forearm though because it’s too much work to put anything in there because the jacket’s so fitted."


Before I share any more of the Maven’s features, let me address the jacket’s safety components for those who wonder if the Maven is all fashion and no function. Pockets are sewn into the shoulders and elbows to accept CE-approved armor.

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket armor
The shoulder, elbow and back protector armor for the Maven are sold separately for $90 since not all riders want armor.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket back armor
The armor is Nitrex Evo brand CE rated body armor that has a lightweight and flexible grid pattern that reduces weight.


Laura bought her Maven in a size large that fits her well, but is a bit snug. She feels RSD's sizing runs small. With a bust measurement of 35 A-B, it doesn’t allow her to have much bulk underneath, let alone armor. “It’s a little too small for me to put in armor. I wish it came with it. For 580 bucks, it should come with the armor," she said.

My Maven is a medium and I have a bust measurement of 36A. I can comfortably wear the jacket with the elbow armor and back protector, but putting in the shoulder armor limits flexibility and makes the Maven feel like a straightjacket. If having armor is important to you, order the Maven a size larger.

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket perforated panel
A stretch accordion panel under each arm helps with flexibility and movement. A perforated waist panel allows for an expandable—and breathable—fit. Notice the large leather zipper pulls. Easy to grasp with gloves.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket front view
I love that the RSD Maven jacket is super stylish for wearing off the bike, but loaded with features riders need.


clothing review roland sands designs maven leather jacket wrist cuffs
The wrist cuffs are snug and are open to reveal a perforated gusset. I rode with the zippers open for extra air flow on warm days. Horizontal panels on the left elbow create a pre-curved sleeve, necessary for the comfort of motorcyclists who ride with their arms slightly bent. The white specs on Laura’s jacket are bug splats. Road grime like this washes off with a damp cloth.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket collar
A perforated panel under the main zipper helps with air flow. The mandarin style collar has a snap closure.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket rear view on bike
Even though the jacket’s specs indicate it has a “dropped back” it wasn’t long enough for Laura in her lean-over position so she wears a long shirt to cover the gap between the jacket and her jeans.


clothing review roland sands design women's maven leather jacket motorcycle
For me, sitting upright on my cruiser pushed back against my saddle, the “dropped back” caused the jacket to ride up my back. See the rise in the jacket by the back of my neck? A two-way zipper would help to flatten things out but this doesn't have one.

Traditional leather motorcycle jackets lack the versatility offered by the Maven. The perforation on the thick leather outside and on the inside liner allows the jacket to breath, but adding a windbreaker underneath, like Laura did when she rode over Montana’s Beartooth Pass last summer, where temps average 55 to 60 degrees, blocks the perforation keeping heat inside.

clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket interior pocket
The inside has a smooth satin liner that feels nice on your skin, but does stick to it when you’re real sweaty. Laura likes the inside pocket here. “I can throw sunglasses or other stuff in it. The zippered ones on the outside are not very big.”


clothing review roland sands designs maven leather jacket back view
The back is simple with no logos. You can see the “dropped back” here; it goes below the waist when standing up.


clothing review roland sands design maven leather jacket vintage bmw

The Maven's sizes range from S to 3XL, and the jacket comes on a sturdy wooden hanger in a cloth garment bag. As Laura mentioned earlier, this is not an inexpensive jacket at $580. She said she’d been drooling over the thought of owning one for months before she finally dropped the cash. No regrets though, she says. She wore it all last riding season. I love mine, too.

You can order online at RolandSands.com

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