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.


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.


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. 


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.


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

Merlin Explorer Collection: For the weekend warriors, urban explorers and city escapers banner

New Merlin Explorer Collection: For the weekend warriors, urban explorers and city escapers

It’s no secret that bikes are becoming more and more versatile with each new unveiling. 

Not so long ago, if you wanted a bike to commute on, a bike to ride for weekend fun and a bike to take on track, you’d have to build a bigger garage. But that’s not the case anymore.

Manufacturers are listening – they’re beginning to build one machine that can do a little bit of everything. With bikes like the Royal Enfield Himalayan and Triumph Scrambler 1200 hitting the market, it’s now possible to spend your hard earned on just one bike – and while taking a Himalayan around Cadwell Park certainly isn’t encouraged, it could be done (and we’d love to see it).

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 came with us on the Explorer shoot - and proved to be the perfect versatile machine

But as manufacturers expand their ranges and make them more versatile in the process, we as gear makers need to apply the same principle. 

That’s where our Explorer collection steps in.

Explorer steps in to serve riders who want to take incredible trips over vast terrain in comfort as well as style

We know there’s already gear on the market that claims to do-it-all, but they’re all very similar in one way. Not every rider wants to be polyester-clad, and that doesn’t have to be the only option. We know the need for wanting bike gear that looks good both on and off the bike – that’s where our Leisure Moto collection came from – but Explorer steps things up a notch.

With not a hint of polyester in sight, Explorer takes the durable and practical features from traditional touring, adventure and commuter gear, and really makes it Merlin.

Initially comprising of 13 items in total, nine of them brand-new, they’re all made from materials that are traditionally found within the Merlin Heritage range, making the perfect heritage-adventure blend. Halley Stevensons® waxed cotton, D3O® armour and Reissa® waterproofing all feature, with the addition of Cordura® for those riders after the more typical adventure/touring style.

D3O® armour, Halley Stevensons® waxed cotton and Cordura® all heavily feature in the Explorer collection, providing high-quality at an affordable price point

The headline items: Three brand-new jackets featuring all the quality materials and high-standard finishes you’d expect from Merlin. Their leading points? Each product comes with a full set of seven-piece D3O® armour – that’s shoulders, elbows, back and chest. A quick search on one of our largest retailers websites shows our jackets as the most competitive option in this arena, with jackets equipped to this level typically costing over £700. Built for riders, by riders – the Explorer collection has been designed with the typical rider and average Merlin consumer in the forefront of the mind. 

Each of the three new jackets feature seven-piece D3O® armour, with a highly competitive price tag

Also sitting behind the concept of the collection – the rise of motorcycling within popular culture.

Motorcycles are now cooler and more popular than ever. You can’t watch an action film without seeing one being ripped around – usually by the headline stealthy character, who’s usually using it to outrun the good guys. 

But whether it’s in the latest James Bond film, in a music video, or parked up in the background of the BBC’s latest crime drama, bikes are becoming near-enough impossible to escape in popular culture – and we can’t get enough of it.

Add to that the growing cafe racer and heritage motorcycling scene on Instagram, and the result is a newer, younger generation of people who are beginning to discover just how cool riding a motorcycle really is. 

With trips of epic proportions, cafe meetups and off-road excursions all embedded in their plans, they want to dress the part, as well as look it. Explorer is for them, too.

We’ll be bringing you an in-depth look at all the products in our next blog, but for now you can head to the Explorer collection product page to discover the entire range and all their specifications in detail.


Published on 11 February, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

Merlin Biker Collective: Annette banner

Introducing The Merlin Biker Collective: Annette

It doesn’t matter at what point in your life you come into motorcycling – once you’re in, you’re in. Having gained her licence a little over three years ago, 41-year-old Annette is already deep-diving into the motorcycle world, so having her as part of the Merlin Biker Collective was an obvious choice. “I’ve recently found a love for all things motorbikes and I’m enjoying being involved and part of the wider biking community.”

Having started out on a Mutt Mongrel 125 to gain experience, Annette has quickly worked her way up the biking ranks. She passed her test the first time within three months of getting her Mutt, and swiftly jumped ship to a Triumph Bobber Black. Now, Annette has two bikes in her garage: a Triumph Speed Twin 1200 and a newly-collected CCM Blackout Spitfire Scrambler. You can relive the first ride on her Blackout on the CCM YouTube page.

Now beginning to discover a world of adventures on two wheels, Annette is no stranger to making the most of the time on two. Her best biking memory? Four days of pure exploration in Andalusia, Spain, making the most of the clear, sunny sky, temperatures into the mid-20s and twisty roads. “The route we needed to take was not only riding through the caves and the tight Spanish cobbled streets of Setenil de las Bodegas, but it also meant riding through the middle of a local fiesta of maybe 300 people! Talk about clutch control and the benefit of a horn!”

And she’s not planning on stopping there. Annette and her partner Dave have already booked a trip to Portugal in June, hiring a Triumph Street Scrambler and BMW F900 to take in all the country has to offer. In July, Annette aims to join the all-female Curvy Riders Motorcycle Club on their weekend Wales trip, with various other domestic events and excursions thrown in to maximise the two-wheel time.

Annette is already getting rolling with Merlin clothing, having already received the Harriet Cotec Jacket and Sycamore Hoody, and already she’s loving them. “The Harriet jacket is so easy to wear; lightweight, super comfortable and easy to move in and it’s cosy and warm too!”

“Ladies also want and expect to have choice, look good and of course be safe too. I am so excited to be a female rider, representing a growing biker population in the Merlin Biker Collective. To have an opportunity to input is really cool, such a privilege and will be like my birthday multiple times a year each time I’m lucky enough to get a piece of Merlin gear! I am proud to be working with a great British brand and be part of Merlin’s exciting journey, while meeting great people, having fun, and making friends along the way. I want to encourage and grow my inner biker to another level!”

Follow Annette on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube – ‘nets_sleds’.


Header image credit: CCM Motorcycles

Published on 7 February, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

Merlin Biker Collective: Nate banner

Introducing The Merlin Biker Collective: Nate

No stranger to writing and reviewing, Nate was the perfect candidate for a place on the Biker Collective. Freelance front-end developer by day, he turns his attention to Renchlist by night – his uber-cool website dedicated to the latest and greatest in custom, retro and classic motorcycling. At 44-years-old, Nate has now been riding for six years, with four of those on his stunning Triumph Thruxton 1200 R.

While still a relative newbie to the riding world, Nate has already clocked up the miles. In the summer of 2018, he rode over 1000 miles in only 27 hours from North Wales to Biarritz, France for the heritage-heaven Wheels and Waves Festival. “Admittedly, it was mostly motorway riding but the sheer number of miles and the limited time frame made for an exhilarating road trip!”

2022 sees all kinds of two-wheeled adventures being planned. As well as reviewing bikes and riding his favourite routes in Wales, Nate will also be taking the Triumph to the popular Bike Shed Show at the Tobacco Dock in London, as well as visiting the up-and-coming cafe come retail haven Baffle Haus in Pontypool, South Wales. “There’ll be lots of other ad hoc weekend bimbles and pootles too, though!”

With the Merlin Lichfield leather jacket already his go-to jacket, Nate’s familiar with the brand and its quality already. “I’m honoured to be a member of the Collective, and I’m particularly keen to meet the other riders too. Equally, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to create content that inspires other riders to jump on their machines.”

Follow Nate on Instagram – ‘motophotonate’ and ‘renchlist’.


Published on 5 February, 2022 by Emily Macbeth

Merlin Biker Collective: Zak banner

Introducing The Merlin Biker Collective: Zak

Zak brings a wealth of knowledge to the Biker Collective, as not only a motorcyclist, but also as the owner of a sustainable fashion brand. At just 35-years-old, he owns NAECO, which uses 100% recycled materials sourced from our oceans to produce luxury garments.

An avid bike fan, Zak has had his licence for less than a year but is already the incredibly proud owner of a custom Harley Davidson Forty Eight. “One of my best biking memories is going through my first tunnel – it made me feel like a real-life Tron! It’s childish, but we’ve all done it.”

“I’m planning to be on the bike as much as possible for 2022, as this will be my first proper summer after passing my test in 2021.” Zak and his friends are planning a trip to the South of France, taking in Monaco and Nice, as well as plodding through the Peak District in April, starting in Matlock and ending in Hebden Bridge, admiring around 80 miles of stunning Peak scenery.


Zak’s no stranger to Merlin products. A true Merlin warrior, he already owns six – the Cambrian jacketXander hoody, Yarnfield rucksack, Kurkbury jacket and the Ether boots in both black and brown. “I applied for the collective as I genuinely love the products that Merlin produce and I am a customer. I tell people about the clothes I wear and recommend them and when I found out about the collective I really wanted to be a part of the brand I love.

If I can help promote great products and influence the future of the garments, that’s a fantastic opportunity. I also work in textiles and garment manufacture so I know how garments need to perform under pressure and know that Merlin makes products built for the job that also look great.”

Follow Zak on Instagram – ‘thebobbergram’.


Published on 3 February, 2022 by Emily Macbeth