The Raida Bolt jacket promises a satisfying level of protection, considering its place in the market.
Mesh jackets are a calculated compromise between protection and comfort – for the sort of weather that we get here in Mumbai, they’re the only feasible option for most of the year, because they’re the only design that offers sufficient ventilation. The compromise is because the mesh panels that provide the ventilation aren’t quite as resistant to abrasion as textile or leather panels.
Level-2 protectors for back, shoulders, elbows.
The Raida Bolt jacket that I’ve been using for the past few months promises a satisfying level of protection, considering its place in the market. This entry-level jacket features a large amount of 600D textile panels in its construction (which do a good job of abrasion resistance), and the mesh panels (which aren’t quite as protective) are restricted to areas like the inside of the upper arms, and the flanks of the back and front torso, which aren’t likely to make too much contact with the ground in the event of a fall. Impact protection is also rather well taken care of, with CE level-2 protectors for the back, shoulders and elbows. One count here where it does lose out is the chest protectors, which are non-certified foam pads, but this is on-par with what most competitors are offering at this price. Where some competitors outdo the Bolt is in providing double stitching at all the mesh-textile interfaces, which this jacket doesn’t do across the board.
Only foam pads for chest.
There are mesh panels on the outside of the lower arms, from just under the elbow down to the wrist. This is an area that is quite likely to rub against the ground in an accident, but these areas also feature the level-2 elbow protectors underneath (which extend roughly halfway down your forearm), and these will contribute quite significantly to abrasion protection as well (an often overlooked fact).
The Bolt lacks when it comes to comfort. Ventilation is adequate, but not excellent – the chest protectors don’t have holes in them, so airflow is somewhat restricted. But more than that, the jacket fails to feel plush and comfortable against your body. The inner lining isn’t quite as soft and smooth as I’d like, and more attention should have been paid to areas like the cuffs and collar, which feel quite rough against the skin. The collar does feature a neoprene lip, but it isn’t quite as thick as it should be, and the collar itself rises up a little too high, making it uncomfortable to do up the button at the top. The cuffs don’t feature any sort of soft lip or lining, and end up feeling quite coarse against your wrists, especially when wearing full-gauntlet gloves. What has also robbed me of a feeling of quality are things like the main zipper becoming sticky and one of the reflective elements beginning to come off, after a rather short but intensive period of use.
The overall fit of the jacket is decent for my slender build, and can be tweaked slightly using the velcro bands around the waist and forearms. But there is no scope to tweak the placement of the protectors, and I found the back protector sitting a little lower than I’d like. On the upside, the jacket can be zipped to a pair of compatible pants.
At Rs 5,950, the Raida Bolt is offering a decent level of protection for the price, but no more so than what its biggest rival is offering for the same money. If you have strict budget constraints, this makes for a fair first jacket. But comfort is a very large aspect of riding gear, and in this area, there is room for improvement. If your budget can accommodate a more comfortable and slightly more protective jacket, that would be the more sensible option to go for.
Price: Rs 5,950