I lovingly refer to my RSD Zuma as my Lynyrd Skynyrd jacket because this retro cafe racer piece of kit rocks. It’s “Timber” color is ’70s tre chic, and the wing-footed RSD logo is a shoe-in for Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits album cover. In addition to being hipster fashionable the Zuma fits well, is protective, and is good for three out of four seasons.
I’ve owned a lot of cowhide, and the occasional kangaroo skin, but never buffalo leather – specifically the water buffalo variety – from which the Zuma is constructed. Inspecting the Zuma up close the buffalo hide appears to be on the thin side. However, at 1.0-1.2mm thickness, the Zuma actually has a thicker hide (in some areas) than the similar-looking Oscar Brass Leather jacket from Alpinestars with 1.0-1.1mm-thick cowhide.
According to RSD apparel GM, Bob Ketchum, “the Zuma Jacket is tumbled and oiled in the tanning process to make the thicker leather feel more soft and supple while still offering the protection of the thicker leather.”
Thus far my Zuma’s been spared of any crashing activity, and I’m trying my best to keep it that way, so we’re just gonna have to take Bob’s word on the thickness/protection claims. Soft and supple, though, we can confirm. The Zuma is Charmin-soft, and as malleable as Play-Doh. The combination goes a long way in elevating the Zuma’s comfort level.
With a very Euro cut, the snug-fitting Zuma doesn’t tolerate beer-gut body proportions. It makes an attempt with side adjustable waist tabs, but don’t kid yourself – you might just look foolish. If you have an average American body, stick to jackets with American sizing. The snug fit also doesn’t allow for a lot of layering, so a winter jacket it’s not. Spring, Fall, and possibly summer, okay, as the perforated areas flow a sufficient amount of air.
The arms are pre-curved, and running the inner length of each is an elastic nylon panel. The stretchy fabric frees movement and reduces bunching in the crook of your arm. At the elbows and shoulders, you’re protected by CE level II Sas-Tec body armor. A first for any RSD jacket, the body armor is included in the price of the jacket, not as an option for an additional cost. There is also a small foam back pad, all of which are removable.
The shoulders feature a couple of memory foam patches, which seem more of a styling exercise in perceived safety rather than providing any real crash benefit. Accordion stretch panels at the shoulders and elbows, however, provide a definite comfort advantage.
At 4.7 pounds, including body armor, the Zuma can be considered a lightweight jacket, which when combined with its soft, supple nature, and pre-curved arms make for comfortable all-day moto-wear. With an MSRP of $750 the Zuma isn’t cheap, but it’s not a short-term investment type of jacket. Whether you opt for the Timber color pictured here or the Black color option, the Zuma should patina nicely in the years to come.
Long after I quit this gig, and assuming I don’t gain 40 pounds, this jacket will remain a garment in my moto closet. Who knows. If the band keeps touring, maybe I’ll wear it to a show. “Free Bird,” baby!
For more on the Zuma or other RSD motorcycle attire go to RolandSands.com.