Back in 2016, RevZilla joined forces with Cycle Gear under a parent company called COMOTO, and now this partnership has created REAX, “an apparel brand…within a casual, refined aesthetic“. Cycle Gear utilizes in-house brands already in the form of BiLT and Sedici, but I’ve found products under those labels to be fairly terrible. Now with RevZilla’s expertise on-board, will the newest in-house brand be worth your money?
Comfortable, well-thought out, and almost entirely devoid of branding, the Ludlow has become my go-to commuter jacket. RevZilla apparently knows what they're doing, and they've created a quality street jacket that's decent value for money. The Ludlow is available in Loden (what I'm wearing) or Charcoal (what I wish I had) in sizes between Small and 3XL for $299.Check out the REAX Ludlow Jacket!
Photos by Nathan May.
Again, two years ago RevZilla and Cycle Gear merged under the brand name of COMOTO, and their management is saying the right things. Roger Sgarbossa, Vice President, Product Development for COMOTO: “More often than not, truly sophisticated technology comes at a price point that’s unrealistic for many riders. With REAX we wanted to bring those same technologies to a wider range of riders.”
Matt Kull, CEO of COMOTO and RevZilla co-founder: “We are product geeks and after all the years of ongoing interaction with our customers, it made sense to take that knowledge and perspective and pour it into something of our own. Rider preferences are incredibly diverse, and nothing is for everyone. That said, we’re excited by what we’re delivering with REAX and hope it will resonate with the riding community.”
REAX specifically calls the Ludlow a “City Jacket”, but I broke mine in with a ~800 mile round trip to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering and I’ve since used it to commute with every day for the last couple of months. The short story is that the Ludlow is surprisingly good – it’s become my go to jacket – but let’s look at some details.
Classic StyleI love the way the Ludlow looks: I like that it doesn’t look like a motorcycle jacket, I like the herringbone texture that seems to give the outer shell a slight sheen, and I really like the minimal branding. I even like the removable hoodie, even though I’ve haven’t had an occasion to put the hoodie on except for the below photo.
REAX logos are found on the main zipper, the lower right corner of the outer shell, on the top of the back of the jacket, and on the buttons used for waist adjustment. That might sound like a lot when I list them out, but they’re either tiny or hidden most of the time – the hoodie covers the rear logo and there’s no reason why the zipper logo would be showing while you’re wearing the Ludlow.
What surprised the most is that nearly every single time I wore the Ludlow in front of a colleague from the motorcycle industry for the first time, they would ask me about the jacket. It’s an eye-catcher for those in the know, I think specifically because it’s so subtle.
My one annoyance from a styling standpoint is the gussets on the back. The bottom third of the gussets are the back vents, and the rest…do nothing. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing from a functionality standpoint but I can’t figure out what it is and it looks goofy:
The last thing I’ll say is that this is one of VERY few motorcycle jackets that Vy likes the look of, which means it does a good job of looking casual on or off the bike. To me, that’s a huge bonus.
Modern FeaturesThe Ludlow is well thought out from top to bottom. The hoodie is secured in place against your back with a neodymium magnet to ensure that it won’t flop around, even if you’re breaking the speed limit (not that you’d ever do that).
The interior of the collar is comfortable thanks to a microfleece liner, though I find the neck opening to be a little on the tight side when the main zipper is all the way up.
There is CE Level 2 shoulder and elbow armor by SAS-TEC, and it’s “molecular”, which is a semi-generic term that gets thrown around nowadays for armor that is flexible at rest but rigid when pressure is applied (like in a crash). This makes the armor incredibly comfortable and thin enough that it barely shows, though you are obviously giving up a little bit of protection compared to the chunky armor found in a track jacket. I’d like to complain about the lack of back protection, but I’m giving the Ludlow a pass simply because there are plenty of much more expensive jackets (like the $489 Alpinestars Yokohama Drystar I tried last year in Italy) that have the same issue. If you want to rectify the problem, RevZilla recommends ordering an Alpinestars Nucleon back protector.
There are vents all over the place – two on the chest, two on the biceps, and two on the lower back. When closed, they’re well-hidden and don’t interrupt the lines of the jacket too much. When open, they don’t flow enough air to my liking. The insufficient venting is my biggest complaint about the Ludlow, probably because there’s been a lot of 95+ degree days in Los Angeles over the last few weeks.
The Ludlow is claimed to be water-resistant (not waterproof) thanks to “strategic seam sealing”, but I haven’t seen any rain here in months to verify the claim. I did hit the jacket with a hose and it seems like this would keep you dry in a drizzle or for 10-15 minutes in heavy rain. In those situations, there’s a waterproof Napoleon pocket to keep your electronics and wallet completely dry. Speaking of pockets, there’s a key clip in the left hand pocket which is nice, even if I don’t use it, and cargo pockets on both sides of the interior to complement the waterproof Napoleon pocket.
From a feature standpoint, I think the one real oversight is a lack of reflectivity. I’m sure that was a deliberate omission to preserve the casual style, but I think it was a mistake to not include a couple of small reflective areas, at least on the back.
ConclusionI did not have high hopes when I was asked to review this jacket due to my previous experience with BiLT and Sedici. But it looks like RevZilla knows what they’re doing, because is a genuinely good jacket at a reasonable price.
It’s not all good news – I’ve also been provided some Tasker gloves and I do not enjoy them at all. But if this jacket is indicative of the kind of gear REAX is making, then it’s worth your time to investigate the rest of their lineup. You can find REAX products at Cycle Gear brick and mortar stores or on the Revzilla/Cycle Gear websites.