Our top five tech wax jackets… as chosen by you!

Our tech wax range is incredibly popular amongst riders who are looking for a little more versatility in their riding gear. 

Tech Wax refers to Cotec, a waxed cotton designed in collaboration with Halley Stevensons exclusively for us. Cotec is lighter in weight, more breathable and stronger than our traditional Silkwax jackets, achieving a CE rating of ‘AA’ as opposed to the single ‘A’ of Silkwax.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new jacket, and we agree that there’s no better opinion than that of your fellow riders. So, once you’ve read our guide to choosing a Merlin wax cotton jacket, we’ve pulled together a selection of real customer reviews from some of our retailers.

Edale

A customer favourite, our Edale jacket scores highly across the board.

Customers praise Edale for its quality and great value for money. They say it’s comfortable to wear, lightweight and above all, resistant to both cold and rain. One customer comments: “The neck is soft and watertight, while the cuffs fit tight on a second press stud allowing gloves to easily fit over them. I was caught in a downpour on the motorway on its maiden journey and not a drop got through.”  

Offering practicality and style in spades, customers also say it’s a comfortable jacket for riding serious miles in, while being well-fitting and feeling heavy and durable but not uncomfortably so.

Merlin Edale waxed cotton motorcycle jacket in olive

It’s not just our British customers who enjoy riding in an Edale. Praising it mostly for its colder weather capabilities thanks to the Outlast thermal lining, reviewers across the pond also appreciate the attention to detail and compliment the style. 

Edale is made from our Halley Stevensons collaboration Cotec waxed fabric, is pre-fitted with D3O armour to the shoulders and elbows and includes Reissa waterproofing and an Outlast thermal lining.

Shenstone Air

Shenstone Air is ideal for riding in warmer climates thanks to its mesh front, rear and arms.

Shenstone is impressing riders with its ability to cope well in spring/summer riding conditions, with one reviewer saying: The Shenstone is a really good summer jacket that flows the air through nicely. It has a removable liner – not often seen on mesh jackets – which when installed offers a level of wind and water protection which is exactly what you need with our unpredictable weather.” 

As well as complimenting the style and airflow, customers also enjoyed the smaller details in the Shenstone. “The jacket is super nice quality, mega comfortable and looks great on. I love the little details, like the colour coded studs in sleeves to make sure you put the arms of the liner in without twisting them. A lot of thought has gone into the design of this jacket.”

Merlin Shenstone Air waxed cotton motorcycle jacket in olive

And in the parts of the world where, for the most part, riders are getting the most out of the mesh panelling, our customers couldn’t be happier. Riders also like the versatility that comes with Shenstone in its removable thermal lining, with one saying “Nice jacket for riding in hot summers due to the good amount of mesh. Where I live it can get fresher in the mornings and afternoons, and I think the removable liner works very well to keep the wind out a little.” 

Shenstone is constructed from the lightweight, breathable 8oz Cotec waxed cotton with ballistic mesh panelling for increased airflow. A Reissa waterproof membrane can be attached and reattached as necessary, and a five-piece D3O armour set is pre-fitted to the shoulders, elbows and back.

Perton

One of our most popular jackets with a timeless style.

One thing customers are most complimentary on is the style of the Perton jacket. “I just love the way this jacket looks. It’s modern retro with the latest technology. The Cotec wax material, heat regulating liner and D3O Armour this is ‘old skool cool’ with a modern twist.” 

When choosing a motorcycle jacket, an accurate, comfortable fit is one of the most important attributes. One reviewer says “outstanding quality jacket combined with a smart tailored fit,” while others commented the jacket fit perfectly to their differing body types.

Merlin Perton waxed cotton motorcycle jacket

Other customers praised versatility, with one calling Perton “a quality item that works really well in hot, cold, dry and wet conditions”, a sentiment echoed across a number of Merlin customer reviews.

Perton is a short cut, classically styled tech wax jacket with weatherproofing from a Reissa waterproof membrane and a removable Outlast thermal liner. D3O shoulder and elbow armour is fitted as standard.

Chigwell Lite

With a summer bias, our Chigwell Lite takes traditional summer riding gear in a different direction.

Of course, the biggest focus and feature of Chigwell Lite is the entirely mesh front, underarms and back and this is where customers leave their praise. Take a look at just a small selection of their glowing reviews of the airflow provided by Chigwell Lite. 

“You get a nice cool breeze flowing through the jacket when riding. It’s so cool you’ll need another layer on more inclement days. On a warm day it does exactly what’s needed.”

“Definitely a fan of the classic cafe racer look while maintaining the utility of the breathability of the mesh lining.”

Merlin Chigwell Lite waxed cotton motorcycle jacket in olive

“It’s soooo ventilated and light that it takes some getting used to while riding since you hardly feel it’s a motorcycle jacket. I’ve been wearing heavy leather jackets all my life while riding and that’s probably why it took me a little longer to get used to it, but it’s worth it on a hot day.”

“This thing is really comfy, moves with your body and the ventilation tech is on another level.”

Chigwell Lite blends the 8oz Cotec waxed cotton outer with mesh panelling and D3O armour to the shoulders, elbows and back.

Kurkbury

Our Kurkbury jacket is a hit with customers worldwide. Its belted, longer length style provides a little more coverage for chillier days, while the classic outer styling masks a wealth of modern protection.

Praised for its wearability and style, one reviewer states, “An excellent product at a very competitive price. I’ve used the Kurkbury for cold weather riding and it has done a brilliant job of keeping me at a comfortable temperature. It also looks beautiful; a gorgeous vintage aesthetic with modern technology behind it. Well worth the purchase!”

While another praises the off-bike practicality too. “Absolutely love this jacket. Wanted something that looked good on and off the bike – suffice to say I’ve worn this more off the bike so far! On the bike it has a great weight, feeling sturdy but not restrictive.”

Lifestyle image of Merlin Kurkbury Cotec jacket

Finally, commenting on the seasonality and ‘bang-for-buck’ value, this customer says: “The Kurkbury is everything I’d hoped, quality feel and all the technical spec for an amazing price. I’m turning into a Merlin fanboy. While this is mid summer so I can’t comment on the NASA tech Outlast’s ability to keep you warm, its cooling properties are spot on.” 

Convinced? Head to our Find a Stockist page to locate your nearest Merlin retailer and choose a Tech Wax jacket that suits you.

 

Reviews collected from Sportsbikeshop, Urban Rider, Revzilla and the Merlin Shopify. 

The Epic Australian Voyage: Chris and Liam live to ride another day

Back in February we shared the story of Chris Donaldson, who was re-attempting his epic Australian voyage 40 years after his first trip didn’t go exactly to plan. You can read the story behind his first try here

Chris and his friend Liam set off for take two from The Overland Event in Oxford in September 2021. While Liam chose the sensible Moto Guzzi V85 to take him round the world, Chris chose the (perhaps not-so) sensible 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans he originally intended to take with him the first time round. 

From Oxford they travelled down to London for a charity ride to the Brighton Burn-Up at the famous Ace Cafe biker haunt for the last stop on their short UK jaunt.

Catching the ferry from Dover to Calais, Chris and Liam stopped off for a “boozy send-off” with some friends in France before heading South through the stunning scenery of the Black Forest in Germany and into Switzerland.

Mandello del Lario was the first proper stop on the tour – the home of Moto Guzzi. To celebrate 100 years of the Italian marque, a weekend festival was planned to celebrate all things Guzzi. Unfortunately, Covid lay claim to the event, but as Chris says; “It went on anyway. Covid can’t stop the Italians having a party!” 

“It [Mandello] is a small town, and everywhere had a Moto Guzzi – the shop windows, on the streets. Everywhere you turned, there was a Moto Guzzi!”

Chris and Liam rode to the edge of Lake Como to join Moto Guzzi in their 100th anniversary celebrations
Chris Donaldson and his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans at The Overland Event in Oxford
Chris prepares to leave The Overland Event in Oxford to head off on his Australian epic
Chris Donaldson and long time friend Liam on their pair of Moto Guzzis
Chris and Liam line up for photographs in the battle of old Moto Guzzi vs New

Afterwards, Chris and Liam made their way South towards Genoa.

“We joined a huge motorbike demonstration to complain about the state of the roads, after a bridge collapse that killed 43 motorists in 2018. Then we followed the Italian coast south from Portofino to Rome, then on to Pompeii, where our bike boots walked where the chariots had left grooves in the cobbled streets.”

Plans to head through to Albania were swiftly put on hold, due to the duo finding out that, because of Covid, the Greek authorities were only letting 140 people a day cross the border. Instead, they opted to take a ferry from the Italian city of Bari to Greece. The next day they cruised into Athens, where Chris claims “a much younger but just as stupid me had left for Israel 42 years ago!”

And in the battle of old vs new, Chris says things are going well. “The two Guzzies performed well, with a bit of competition between my 44-year-old Le Mans and Liam’s young pretender V85. The old bike’s winning so far – no problems!” But one of Liam’s ABS cables broke and he couldn’t fix it, so he hasn’t had ABS for the journey so far.

The pair left the two bikes at a Moto Guzzi shop and returned home for a couple of months to replenish their wallets and refresh their brains, before embarking on the next leg.

Chris Donaldson riding his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans near Jordan
As you get further into the middle of nowhere, the roads breathtakingly open out
Chris Donaldson riding his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans past the Colosseum in Rome
Out and about seeing the ancient sights of Italy. How better to do it than on two wheels?
Chris Donaldson riding his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans
A soggy Chris Donaldson stops off on the way to Jerusalem

In November 2021, they set out again.

“On starting the next leg, we shipped the bikes to Israel and spent a few days seeing the sights before we rode to the Jordanian border post in Eilat. Then disaster – the Israeli guards warned us that the Jordanians might not let us cross and we wouldn’t get back as Israel only issues Visas at the airport. We could be stuck in no-man’s-land forever…Tom Hanks, eat your heart out!

The Israelis checked with the Jordanians and sent them pictures of our bikes, but the Jordanians said they didn’t like them… They were probably BMW owners!”

And with that, they were forced to take the boat out of Israel, just as Chris had originally done 42 years ago. 

Deciding where to go from there proved a challenge, with Egypt to the left struggling with Covid numbers and Syria just above recovering from war. The pair eventually decided to ship the bikes back to Athens until the paperwork to cross into Jordan was completed. However, with a new strain of the Coronavirus spreading rapidly, the pair made the difficult decision to return home to ride another day.

Chris and Liam are now back out on the road seeing more of what the world has to offer. Follow the next leg of their journey on Instagram and check back to the Merlin Blog soon for part three.

Merlin are excited to be supporting Chris on his journey, providing him with an Expedition jacket to keep him protected on his travels.

How to choose a Merlin Waxed Cotton jacket

Choosing a new motorcycle jacket can be a daunting task. With so many materials and features to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Waxed cotton is becoming an increasingly popular choice and it has many benefits. Aside from the fact that it oozes retro cool, it’s also highly durable, abrasion resistant and protective. Wax has moved on since the 70s, and, to paraphrase Jim Blackstock’s review of our Edale jacket in Motorcycle News  waxed cotton is no longer reserved for farmers in tweed caps.

We have a selection of waxed cotton bike jackets in our range across two collections, but when you’re so spoilt for choice how do you choose between them? We’re here to help…

The collections explained

Our wax jackets sit across two collections – Traditional Wax and Tech Wax.

The Traditional Wax range (Barton II, Yoxall II, Expedition and the new Monty jacket) are all made from Halley Stevensons 12oz Silkwax cotton. Silkwax is a little more reminiscent of the traditional waxes of yore, in that it’s heavier in weight and has the slightly sticky to wet feel you might expect. 

Halley Stevensons 12oz Silkwax up close
If you look closely at a 12oz Silkwax jacket, you can see that the weave is tightly knit. This gives the high water repellency and wind-roofing

In our Tech Wax range, all the jackets (and the Lombard trousers, too) are made from Halley Stevensons 8oz Cotec waxed cotton. Cotec was designed by Merlin in collaboration with Halley Stevensons, so you won’t see it used by any other brand.

Halley Stevensons 8oz Cotec up close
When you look closely at 8oz Cotec, you can see that the weave is slightly looser. This makes jackets made of Cotec more breathable and better for summer

As the ounces suggest Cotec is lighter in weight which makes it more breathable, but it’s also stronger too, achieving an ‘AA’ rating in the EN17092 tests as opposed to the single ‘A’ of our traditional range. In addition, Cotec has a less sticky to wet feel, but keeps the heritage wax aesthetic. 

Take a look at the graphic below which compares the features of both waxes.

A comparison table of 12oz Silkwax waxed cotton and 8oz Cotec waxed cotton

All lined up

All our wax jackets, no matter which range they sit in, come with thermal linings. The exceptions to this are Chigwell Lite and Shenstone Air, which we’ll come to later on.

In the Traditional Wax range, the thermal linings come in two guises. The first, which you’ll find in the Barton II and Yoxall II jackets, is a 150g full-bodied liner. 150g is the warmest of our thermal linings, and being full-bodied means you’ll benefit from the warmth all down the sleeves too, where a lot of thermal linings only cover the torso as a gilet.

The second type is a combined waterproof and thermal lining. This is one weatherproof inner layer, which brings together a 125g thermal liner and waterproof membrane, and is found in our Expedition and Monty jackets.

Merlin Outlast technology in a thermal liner
Some of our Tech Wax jackets use the NASA-worthy Outlast temperature regulating technology in their thermal linings

Our Tech Wax range carries the same principle. In the Chigwell Utility and Nomad jackets, the 125g thermal linings are bonded to the Reissa waterproofing. 

But in Edale, Kurkbury and Perton things are kicked up a gear. These three jackets use the space-worthy Outlast in their thermal linings. Outlast is super clever – it essentially stores excess body heat as it’s kicked out, and releases it when your body temperature starts to drop, keeping you permanently in a comfortable state of toastiness.

Whichever wax jacket of ours you choose, you can ride assured that you’ll be perfectly protected from whatever the weather throws at you.

Merlin Shenstone Air jacket in Olive
The Shenstone Air jacket has a waterproof membrane with no thermal lining. A storm flap stops rain water seeping through the zip, as shown above

Chigwell Lite and Shenstone Air are the only exceptions to the rule. Suited for summer riding, Chigwell Lite is liner-free with a mostly mesh construction, so you’ll get stacks of cool air flowing around your body on warmer rides.

Shenstone Air is great if you live in a changeable climate. Its mesh front, arms and back keep cool air circulating but a Reissa waterproof membrane can be zipped in and out as required, but the lack of thermal lining makes Shenstone not such a great option in colder temperatures.

Reaching new lengths

Both of our ranges have a variety of lengths to suit every style of riding. 

In our Tech Wax range, there are some shorter options – Chigwell Lite, Chigwell Utility, Nomad, Perton and Shenstone Air all have the typical shorter sports cut. 

Edale is a little longer as it sits around the hip while Kurkbury rests just below the hip. 

In the Traditional Wax range, Barton II is the shortest, followed by Expedition with Monty and Yoxall II being the longest.

Of course, it’s entirely up to you on which length you prefer. All jackets have connection zips to attach them to jeans, so whichever length you choose you can be confident there won’t be any risk of draft sneaking up your back.

Style without compromise

Protection is key when choosing a bike jacket, but we all like to look good too. In fact, Merlin prides itself on creating high-quality, technical garments that look just as at home off the bike as they do on it.

If you like the traditional waxed jacket look of the 70s, then the Kurkbury is a great option with its timeless style complemented by an adjustable waist belt.

However, if you’re looking for the classic quilted style, Edale has the heritage staple across the chest, shoulders and elbows. 

Brass finished Merlin branded snap studs
Brass finished Merlin-branded snap studs are used throughout the Heritage range

If you want something with the traditional wax look minus the fuss, then Perton is perfect. Apart from a small panel at the back of the jacket, Perton has no diamond quilting, but remains in keeping with the heritage range.

Within the Traditional Wax range, all the jackets feature diamond stitched quilting with the exception of Monty and Expedition. These are in our Explorer range, which puts a heritage twist on traditionally-styled adventure gear.

All our jackets come with the antique Merlin branded snap-studs and brass finishings.

A wax jacket isn’t just for Christmas

If you look after your wax jacket, it will look after you and last for many years.

Typically, a 12oz Silkwax jacket will require more regular maintenance. Due to the enhanced wax content in these jackets, you may find that bits of fluff and dust stick to them easier. But don’t let that put you off, it couldn’t be easier to clean it up. A quick, light brush with a cold damp cloth will get those bits right off. 

As the 8oz Cotec jackets have less wax content, they don’t have the same slightly sticky handle as Silkwax. So, bits won’t stick to them as easily but you should still wipe them down every now and again to keep them looking factory fresh.

When you notice that rainwater is beginning to soak into the wax rather than bead off it, it’s time to rewax. If it’s only happening in smaller areas, you could get away with using the 50ml wax dressing, but if you’re doing the whole jacket, you’ll need the 200ml.

And now, for the most important part. Please, please, please don’t throw your waxed cotton jacket (be it Cotec or Silkwax) in the washing machine. There’s a host of care advice on our website to help you, or if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for then please contact us.

 

Okay, waxed cotton expert. Now you know everything you need to know about our waxed cotton ranges. So go forth and find your nearest stockist – it’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.

 

Published on 15 April, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

Lifestyle image of Merlin Motorcycle jackets on Royal Enfield Himalayan and Triumph Scrambler 1200

Behind the new Merlin Explorer Collection

The all-new Merlin Explorer Collection launched in February and has already started to receive five-star reviews from customers worldwide.

But what’s behind the collection and where did the inspiration come from? We sat down with Product Designer James Franklin to find out more.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the Explorer Collection?

A: “Explorer was created to blur the lines between naked, retro, heritage and adventure. There are a number of technical features in the garments that you would find in your typical adventure gear, but Explorer takes them one step further. Cordura® and Halley Stevensons® waxed cottons are used in outer constructions and seven-piece D3O® armour is pre-fitted into the garments too, so you’re getting both performance and the timeless signature Merlin style in the jackets, boots and gloves along with a couple of trouser options. 

We’re really looking into and exploring this new market. We’re seeing this influx of new motorcycles that are yet to have gear to match them, so we’re excited for this new rugged, durable range.”

Q: What makes Explorer different to what’s already on the market?

A: “Adventure gear is typically made from polyesters and man-made fibres with laminates and in their own right they do what they’re designed to do very well. But for the ‘weekend warriors’ and the people who are trekking out on a Saturday and Sunday and are back into the office on Monday, they’re looking for something with a more refined style to include the Merlin DNA. 

The Nomad jacket has the perfect combined weatherproof lining which can easily be removed if needed

We’ve lifted the CE performance through the garments so you’re getting a higher level of certification through the test houses we use in the UK, Italy and Spain. We’ve also upgraded the waterproof membranes used and added more pieces of D3O® armour, so instead of the standard three/four/five pieces you’re getting seven pieces pre-fitted.

Ultimately, everything we do is about ‘bang for buck’. We’re packing loads into the product but it’s got to be affordable for all riders. The goal is that everything we’ve done in previous collections is carried over – so you’re getting the improved seven-piece D3O® armour, exclusive Cordura® cottons with a brushed finish, Halley Stevensons® waxed cotton and Reissa® waterproofing, along with the implementation of the newly-acquired Sympatex® license, which is used in the gloves. 

Merlin Ranger Waxed Cotton Motorcycle gloves in olive
The Ranger gloves are the first Merlin gloves to utilise the new Sympatex license

Everything in the collection is ultra-high in specification and performance but at everyday, affordable prices, which has always been our goal.”

Q: Who is Explorer for?

A: “Explorer is for the new breed of motorcycles and consumers coming into the market. Someone who’s looking for a bike to travel a little extra distance on, but isn’t necessarily going to go for a ‘retro classic’ bike or make a huge step up to a BMW 1250GS, for example, so we’re looking at that gap in between. 

Lifestyle image of Merlin Motorcycle jackets on Royal Enfield Himalayan and Triumph Scrambler 1200
The Royal Enfield Himalayan and Triumph Scrambler 1200 are two examples of the bikes Explorer is aiming for

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a prime example of the motorcycle we’re aiming at – it’s accessible, easy to ride and is fun both on and off road.”

Q: How versatile is Explorer? Can it really be used anywhere?

A: “It absolutely can be. We’ve included multiple layering systems to allow for riding in all weathers and all conditions. There’s fixed waterproof drop liners, full ventilation to the front and rear and also removable waterproofing options. You can strip out all the thermal and waterproofing, open up the vents and you’ve got a full, lightweight outer carcass that still has the protection you need but is more breathable.” 

Q: What’s your favourite piece from the Explorer range?

A: “The Mahala jacket and trouser combo stands out to me the most, because we’ve got a number of colour options inspired by the outdoors – different to the existing Merlin ranges, which have typically been quite subtle in black or olive. 

Merlin Mahala Cordura Explorer Motorcycle jacket in Black/Olive
The Mahala jacket and trousers are made from an exclusive-to-Merlin Cordura cotton in their construction

In the Mahala we’re getting new colour combinations all in the brand-new and exclusive fabric that we’ve developed with a mill. The new Cordura® cotton meets CE ‘AA’, but the jackets it’s used on still keep the classic, Merlin signature styling with leather trims and Merlin-branded snap studs. 

Performance-wise, there’s a Reissa waterproof membrane and 125g thermal liner that can be taken out. Then coming back to the biggest feature of Explorer, which is the seven-piece D3O armour. For the first time in an affordable garment, shoulders, elbows, back and two chest inserts come pre-fitted in the jackets.”

Q: How did you design Explorer and what were your inspirations?

A: “Good question! If we look at the stand out design cues of Explorer, you’d look at the asymmetrical zip of the Monty jacket, which is striking because it comes from that classic, rally-inspired look. In that jacket we’re also using the 12oz Halley Stevensons® Silkwax cotton, so it’s a heavyweight garment with timeless style but modern performance.  

Merlin Monty Waxed Cotton Motorcycle Jacket in Olive
Monty uses a classic 12oz Halley Stevensons waxed cotton for its construction, and is backed by a seven-piece D3O armour set for protection

Behind that there’s Mahala, with a fully connectable jacket and trouser with a more touring-focused look. There’s the traditional four front pockets with side entries on the bottom two and a double layer storm flap up the front, so in concept it looks a little more familiar which we hope consumer will engage with. But it’s totally different in its design cues and the colours stand out a lot more. 

There’s something for every rider, so if you’re looking for something shorter and away from a Monty, there’s Nomad which has a more traditional sport cut with two pockets to the chest and side-entry hand pockets.”

Q: How does Explorer fit with the existing Merlin ranges?

A: “We’re heavily focused on the collections being targeted at different types of riders. We’re probably most well-known for Heritage, so this would be our staple collection. Behind that we’ve got an urban offering in Leisure Moto which offers lightweight items; riding denims, Kevlar® shirts etc. 

Explorer bridges that gap between heritage and what we see coming in the lightweight adventure gear market. It fits nicely within the existing ranges without conflicting with anything else, but still maintains the same brilliant price points.”

 

You can view the full Explorer Collection on our website now and head to our Store Finder to find your nearest stockist.

Published on 1 April, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

Four tips for choosing Spring-friendly motorcycle gear

Summer is so close we can almost hear the sound of thermal liners everywhere being unzipped from jackets and tossed to one side. 

But let’s not be so hasty.

In Britain especially, we have to get through Spring first. And perhaps the only thing more unpredictable than a British Summer is the weird period between March and May where pretty much anything can happen. 

Dressing for the ride in months like this can be tricky, so we’re here to guide you through it and help you make the right choices.

STAY SAFE, STAY SEEN

While it stays lighter a little later during Spring, it’s still pretty dark around 6pm and there are drizzly days that are much darker than others, so it’s important to keep yourself visible at all times.

Many riders opt for high-visibility jackets when they’re riding in the dark but you don’t have to adorn yourself in fluo yellow to stay seen.

Reflective striping can be a great alternative. This silver-coloured material reflects from the headlights of cars to help riders stand out on darker days. 

Gloves are a great place to find this protective piping, as, unless you ride a bike with huge handguards, your hands are going to be facing head on with the traffic coming towards you. Our Titan 2.0 gloves have reflective paneling across the fingers and the back of the hand, and you can even opt for the black/fluo yellow option if you prefer that look.

TO LAYER, OR NOT TO LAYER?

Be prepared for every eventuality. While Spring can bring delightful warm days, it can just as easily bring April showers, but for three months straight.

A jacket with removable waterproof and thermal liners is a great way to make sure you’re ready for whatever the weather throws at you. They roll up small enough to fit into a rucksack or pannier too, so they’re always there should the weather start to change while you’re out and about.

The Nomad jacket has the perfect combined weatherproof lining which can easily be removed if needed
The Nomad jacket has the perfect combined weatherproof lining which can easily be removed if needed

Our Nomad jacket has the Reissa waterproof layer bonded to the thermal lining, which creates one weatherproof layer that can easily be removed and reattached as needed.

You may also want to consider a jacket such as Gable. In our Gable leather jacket the waterproofing is laminated, meaning the membrane has been directly bonded to the outer shell of the garment to prevent water soaking up into the material. The result? Only a slightly soggy jacket and a completely dry rider. The 125g thermal liner is separate, but can easily be zipped in and out as needed.

If you can’t afford to shell out for a whole new biking wardrobe, our new Platinum Rainwear jacket and trousers are a great alternative. Just pop them on over your existing jacket and trousers and feel the benefit of their laminated waterproofing in a pinch.

8oz vs 12oz

Getting to know waxed cotton can be daunting at first. 8oz? 12oz? Silkwax? Don’t worry – it’s all pleasantly simple.

Let’s start with our traditional wax jacket range (this features Expedition, Yoxall II and Barton II). These have been made from Halley Stevensons 12oz Silkwax cotton, which has been given a coating to act as a protective barrier against wind and water, making it a great construction option for winter jackets. 12oz Silkwax is heavier in weight too, so you’ll feel the benefit more in colder conditions.

Merlin Edale jacket in black
The Merlin Edale jacket is constructed from 8oz Cotec and is versatile enough to tackle the changeable season

Our Tech Wax range is constructed from 8oz Cotec waxed cotton. Cotec is a Merlin-exclusive wax produced in collaboration with Halley Stevensons. As the ounces suggest, Cotec is lighter in weight than the Silkwax, so in more extreme and cold conditions you may find it a little too light – but Tech Wax jackets are perfect for Spring. 

CONNECT IT UP

You know that annoying, cold draft you sometimes get on the bottom of your back when your bike jacket slightly rides up while you’re riding? One way to eliminate it completely is by ensuring the jacket you go for has a connecting zip on the back.

These either come as long or short zips, and attach your jacket and trousers together. That way, when you’re riding along (especially if you’re in a tucked in sports position), the jacket won’t ride up and expose your back. Clever, huh?

All Merlin jackets have connecting zips to allow the attachment of Merlin jeans.

BONUS TIP…

If you already own a wax jacket, you’ve probably been putting off rewaxing it all winter. But now’s your chance, and your jacket will most certainly thank you for it. 

Treat your wax jacket to a tin of Merlin Wax Dressing. It comes in two sizes – 50ml for touching up small areas of the jacket or 200ml for rewaxing the whole thing – and is really simple to use. 

Just warm the wax up to soften it, work it into the garment with a lint-free cloth, blow with a hairdryer and hang to dry in a warm place.

Not only will your jacket look like-new, but its water repellency will have seriously increased, meaning no more soggy jacket!

Suggested products for Spring riding…

White background image of Merlin Chigwell Utility waxed cotton jacket in brown

Chigwell Utility Jacket

The perfect Spring riding jacket, Chigwell Utility is constructed from the lighter and more breathable 8oz Cotec waxed cotton. With a full mesh front, back and sleeves, Chigwell offers bags of cool airflow, but if you find the temperature dropping, you can easily zip in the combined waterproof and thermal lining.

Titan 2.0 Gloves

The Titan 2.0 Gloves cover every eventuality, with a Hipora® waterproof membrane and thermal wadding to ensure digits are always toasty and dry. Reflective panelling on the cuff and across the fingers boosts visibility on darker Spring days, and there’s a black/fluo yellow option if you want to further increase visibility.

Platinum Rainwear Over Trousers

If you’re not in the business of buying a whole new wardrobe, you can opt for a pair of our Waterproof Over Trousers instead. The waterproofing is directly laminated to the outer shell so the trousers won’t saturate, leaving you and whatever you’re wearing underneath completely dry.

Nomad jacket

With an 8oz Cotec waxed cotton construction, Nomad offers a lightweight touring option from our Explorer Collection. A zip-out Reissa Active waterproof membrane is attached to a thermal liner for the ultimate weatherproof layer, while ventilation points front and back provide cooler airflow on those rarer warm Spring days.

Platinum Rainwear Jacket

When paired with the matching over trousers, the Platinum Rainwear Jacket provides the perfect waterproof layer. With its waterproofing bonded directly to the outer layer, you’re guaranteed to stay dry and reflective elements also enhance visibility – perfect for drizzly, dark Spring riding days.

Wax Dressing

If you already have a waxed cotton jacket, you might want to consider reproofing it ready for Spring. This only needs doing if you notice the water repellency of your jacket is diminishing and it needs restoring. There are two sizes available – 200ml or 50ml – depending on how much of the jacket needs reproofing.

Published on 18 March, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

The second time’s the charm: Meet the man re-attempting his epic Australian voyage 40 years on

Belfast-born Chris Donaldson was just 21-years-old when he embarked on his first Australian adventure in 1979. Armed with just £1000 and a two-year-old Moto Guzzi Le Mans, Chris had ambition to get out of Belfast, see the world and head out to Australia.

“I had relations out in Australia, so the idea was to go out there, get a job, earn some money and maybe come back in six months…”

But, over 4000 miles away from his home in Belfast, tensions in the East were rising and suddenly his voyage to Australia was in doubt. In November 1979, his route via Iran was thrown into jeopardy when a group of Iranian students took over the American embassy and held 52 diplomats and citizens hostage. Chris had only made it as far as London before he had to call off his plan. As the nation watched the scenes unfold on the TV from the edge of their sofas, Chris sat in London wondering what to do next.

“I went everywhere except Australia!” says Chris, who embarked on a completely different journey through the Austrian Alps, Israel, Syria and Jordan before heading across the Sahara Desert, Uganda and Sudan. To return to Europe, Chris blagged his way onto an ocean yacht race by exaggerating his sailing experience having previously lived on a 47ft yacht in Dubai for eight years.

Chris Donaldson sitting on his bike
A leather jacket - the garment of choice for every adventure motorcyclist worldwide
It wasn't all adventure in the 70s, Chris did have some time to relax on his Guzzi!
Chris Donaldson riding his bike through a doorway
While things were a bit different in the 70s, we're pretty sure riding a motorcycle into a house wasn't recommended then either!

“In Africa I ate native foods and either camped out in the wild or stayed with friends, living a very basic lifestyle.” A far cry from the epic Chris is embarking on the second time around.

But why, forty years after his first attempt is he trying again? “After writing my book [Going the Wrong Way], I read Ted Simon and Ewan McGregor’s books too. Their journeys were easy! I wanted to show people what it’s really like to do it unsupported and without a crew of people behind it. If we were any smarter we’d have waited and started next year, but we’re not! You’re better doing things today, than putting them off for tomorrow.”

“I’d like to think I can do everything I could when I was 21, and I can… it just takes me a bit longer!”

And just for authenticity, he’s doing it on exactly the same bike too – a 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans. “It seemed to be the right thing to do to use the same bike,” Chris said. “Back then, people told me it wasn’t the right bike to be doing this on – so I’m proving them wrong!”

But this time, it’s “old vs new”, and things are going to be a little bit different. “The aim of this trip is to show that just because you’re old doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you want to do.”

Chris stopping to explore new locations
There's always time to stop and explore new locations - just be wary of the local military lurking in the background!
Chris and Liam rode to the edge of Lake Como to join Moto Guzzi in their 100th anniversary celebrations
Chris taking to the sand in his Merlin Expedition jacket

Chris won’t be flying solo this time. His long-time friend Liam will be along for the ride on a brand-new Moto Guzzi V85, and they’ll be comparing the two bikes along the way.

“I’ve known Liam for over 25 years – he’s a guy I’ve done a lot of stupid things with… we owned and built an aeroplane together once! If I wanted to do something stupid, I’d do it with Liam. He bought a bike a few years ago and I’ve come in and out of motorcycling. I haven’t ridden the Guzzi for over 10 years, so this trip is resurrecting my interest in motorcycling again. Liam talked me into doing this, but we knew we’d have to do it differently to when I first set out in the 70s.”

Now, both Chris and Liam have families and jobs, meaning embarking on a round-the-world trip is more challenging than it was before. Instead of saying ‘see ya’ later’ to their families for a year, Chris and Liam will be flying out to their destinations before taking in some two-wheeled miles and flying back. “We’re not rushing this time, so we can appreciate it a bit more.”

“You’re better doing things today than putting them off for tomorrow”

They departed on their adventure from The Overland Event in Oxford on September 4, 2021 and headed for the Royal Observatory in London, before crossing borders into Italy to join Moto Guzzi in their 100th anniversary celebrations at their factory in Mandello Del Lario, on the edge of Lake Como in Italy. They then headed through to Greece, where they left their bikes to fly back to Belfast to catch-up on the everyday they had missed while they were away.

Merlin are excited to be supporting Chris on his journey, providing him with an Expedition jacket to keep him protected on his travels.

Chris’s book detailing his first attempt, ‘Going the Wrong Way‘ is out now. You can also read more about the first leg of their new journey and what happens next in our follow-up pieces soon.

 

Published on 25 February, 2022 by Emily Macbeth