Merlin Chase Jacket Review: Can This Jacket Go the Distance?

During my latest search for a new leather jacket, the Merlin Chase caught my eye – so I decided to take a closer look and test it out to see if it could be my next riding companion.

In this review, I’ll share my hands-on impressions after extensively evaluating the Merlin Chase jacket’s fit, construction, features, and overall performance.

I’ll provide details on the protection it offers, how it handled various weather conditions, and how it stacked up after repeated wear on long rides.

But, the main question I will answer in this review will be: Is this the best leather motorcycle jacket? Let’s find out!

Merlin Chase Jacket

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Key Takeaways

  • Impact armor for safety
  • Retro styling, modern protection
  • Good three-season versatility

An Overview of the Merlin Chase Jacket

The Merlin Chase is a 1.1 to 1.2-millimeter cowhide leather motorcycle jacket. It features a classic cafe racer design with some modern protective elements.

Here are some of the jacket’s notable features and specifications:

  • Constructed from 100% cowhide leather
  • Removable CE-rated armor at the elbows and shoulders
  • Quilted thermal vest liner can be removed for warmer weather
  • Two zippered hand pockets and interior stash pockets
  • Perforated shoulder panels for ventilation
  • Stretch panels at the waist for flexibility
  • Retro styling with modern protection

I was drawn to the jacket’s balance of form and function. It would provide ample abrasion resistance coupled with useful impact protection.

The style was right up my alley – a cool vintage vibe but tailored to accommodate today’s riders. Now, it was time to see if it lived up to expectations.

Sizing, Fit, and Comfort

As soon as I unzipped the packaging, the quality of the leather impressed me. It had a rich, durable feel that signaled this jacket was built to last. I chose a size 38 based on the sizing chart but found the fit to be on the roomier side. Here are some key points about the sizing and fit:

  • I’d recommend sizing down if between sizes – it runs more generously than expected
  • Has a “Euro relaxed” fit with extra room in the chest and shoulders
  • Arms taper down nicely for a more tailored fit around the cuffs
  • Not binding or too snug but avoids looking overly baggy
  • A stretch panel along the lower back adds flexibility when moving

Overall, the Merlin Chase has a comfortable fit. The leather shells break in quickly and move easily right out of the box. The quilted liner adds warmth for colder weather without restricting mobility.

The collar closure initially felt a bit clunky, but it didn’t bother me once I started riding. And the asymmetric vent on the left side was a puzzling design choice – I would’ve preferred matching vents on both sides. But neither of these minor issues affected my experience much.

SIZECHEST (IN)ARM (IN)
3836-3832
4038-4033
4240-4234
4442-4435
4644-4636
4846-4837
5048-5038

Protection & Safety Features

While style and comfort are crucial, I don’t compromise when it comes to protection. The Merlin Chase comes equipped with some rider-focused safety features:

  • CE-rated armor at the elbows and shoulders for impact protection
  • Ample abrasion resistance from the thick cowhide leather construction
  • Perforated shoulders allow ventilation while riding
  • Stretch the lower back panel and gussets at the shoulder for ease of movement
  • Removable spine pad (can upgrade to full back protector)

The CE-level 1 armor provides peace of mind against impacts on the road. It’s soft and flexible, allowing a comfortable range of motion.

And the heavy-duty leather shell resists abrasion extremely well in the event of a slide.

While more ventilation would be welcome, the shoulder vents and liner removal help prevent overheating on warmer rides. Overall, I’m satisfied with the protective qualities of this jacket.

Weather Protection & Versatility

A major factor I consider when choosing motorcycle gear is four-season versatility. Does the Merlin Chase leather jacket provide adequate weather protection? Let’s look at how it handled different conditions during testing:

Warm Weather

  • Perforated shoulders, two front vents, and a removable liner help airflow
  • The stretch-back panel prevents binding and allows air circulation
  • Liner removal provides solid warm weather capability

Cool Weather

  • Quilted thermal liner adds noticeable insulation for cooler temps
  • The non-perforated main body prevents wind from cutting through
  • Snug collar and cuff closures seal out the elements

Wet Weather

  • The leather stood up well in light rain, preventing soak-through
  • Heavier downpours saturated the shoulders and sleeves over time
  • Water-resistant treatment could help repel water

Cold Weather

  • The insulating liner makes it suitable for fall and spring riding
  • Lack of full sleeve liner limits use in freezing winter temps

While not a four-season jacket, the Merlin Chase provides decent versatility for different conditions. A waterproof liner or treatment would boost wet weather performance. But overall, it’s a solid three-season option, given proper layering.

Design, Materials & Durability

Let’s take a closer look at some of the Merlin Chase’s design elements and construction:

  • 100% drum-dyed cowhide leather – substantial 1.1-1.2mm thickness
  • Classic cafe racer profile with modern accents
  • Retro detailing like shoulder pleats and contrast stitching
  • YKK metal front zipper and quality hardware
  • Durable, double-layered elbows hold up to abrasion
  • Leather-lined interior with a smooth satin feel
  • Removable thermal vest liner with interior stash pockets

The jacket features premium components like the YKK zipper and reinforced leather panels at the elbows. The materials feel sturdy, from the substantial cowhide shell down to the satiny viscose liner.

And after repeated wear, the Merlin Chase is showing excellent durability. It’s maintaining its shape and structure with minimal creasing or wear. Only the usual scruff and patina that give a leather jacket character over time.

Based on my experience so far, this jacket will last for many seasons of riding with proper care and maintenance. Overall, the quality and construction meet the standards I’d hope for, given the price point.

Pros & Cons of the Merlin Chase Leather Jacket

Pros

  • Classy vintage cafe racer styling
  • Protective cowhide leather construction
  • Removable thermal liner for seasonal versatility
  • Useful CE-rated armor in elbows and shoulders
  • Quality materials and durable hardware
  • Relaxed fit allows wearing layers underneath

Cons

  • Only one front vent makes warm weather riding tricky
  • No full-sleeve thermal liner for cold weather use
  • Collar closure is a bit cumbersome to fasten/unfasten
  • Sizing runs slightly big, so sizing down is recommended

While not perfect, the Merlin Chase brings a lot to the table for riders looking for a fashionable leather jacket with the protection to match. The pros outweigh the cons, in my experience.

ProsCons
ProsCons
Classy vintage stylingOnly 1 front vent
Protective constructionThe collar closure is clunky
Removable linerCollar closure is clunky
CE-rated armorRuns slightly large

Who Is the Merlin Chase Jacket For?

The vintage cafe look and minimal vents make the Merlin Chase best suited to urban riders who value style and protection. It’s a good fit for those looking for:

  • A fashionable, modern-classic leather motorcycle jacket
  • Low-key safety features like armor and abrasion resistance
  • Comfortable protection for city commuting or weekend cruising
  • Leather that can handle urban environments and hold up over time
  • A jacket that works for spring, summer, and fall riding

The Merlin Chase hits the sweet spot between function and aesthetics. Riders prioritizing protection but not wanting to sacrifice style should definitely consider this jacket.

Final Verdict: An Excellent Blend of Form & Function

After thoroughly testing the Merlin Chase leather jacket, I’m impressed by how it blends retro style with useful safety features.

The thick leather construction provides ample abrasion resistance, while the CE-rated armor boosts impact protection. Features like the zip-out liner and perforated shoulders add comfort and versatility.

While not quite a four-season jacket, the Merlin Chase handles warmer weather better than many leather options. And it provides ample protection paired with a flattering, comfortable fit that is perfect for urban adventures.

Sure, a couple of extra vents would be nice, but that’s a minor complaint, given the overall quality and value.

For those looking for a fashionable leather riding jacket that doesn’t forget function, the Merlin Chase is an outstanding choice.

I’ll wear mine whenever I’m not in full race gear. This new staple of my riding wardrobe earns a strong recommendation!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Merlin Chase Jacket

Does this jacket run large or small?

It runs slightly large overall. I’d recommend sizing down if between sizes for the best fit.

Is this a good choice for warm summer riding?

The single vent and perforated shoulders provide some airflow, but a mesh or textile jacket would be better for hot summer weather.

How is the sizing for women?

The men’s version runs large, so women may be able to size down additional sizes. But a women’s specific version is recommended for the best fit.

Can you customize the armor?

The shoulders and elbows have CE foam armor that could potentially be swapped for an upgraded protector. But the armor is pre-shaped specifically for this jacket.

What is the return policy if the sizing is wrong?

There is a free return policy on unused items returned within 30 days. Customer service can provide a pre-paid return label if needed.

Conclusion

Choosing the right jacket is crucial whether you’re a devoted motorcyclist or a newcomer to riding.

The Merlin Chase hits all the marks – delivering retro style, ample protection, and versatility for urban adventures. I’m thrilled to add this quality leather jacket to my riding essentials.

Ride safe out there and enjoy the journey! Let me know if you have any other questions about the Merlin Chase. I’m happy to provide more details from my experience testing this impressive jacket.

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