I’ve reviewed all sorts of gear over the years, from helmets to boots and everything in between. I’m tempted to say my favorite items are helmets but, truth be told, I love a really fine jacket. The Ronin CE is just that. I’ve owned dozens of leather motorcycle jackets, and they are all lovely. However, none have the look and feel of the leather Roland Sands Design (RSD) uses on its Ronin CE jacket.
The leather, a proprietary product RSD named Airborne, is hand-finished, washed, oiled, and waxed top grain cowhide (.9m-1.1mm thickness) that is just so soft to the touch and has a luscious sheen and waxy finish to it. It feels a bit like fine lambskin leather, yet thicker and sturdier.
Jackets can be simple or fancy. However, the design, components, and craftsmanship must be just so. As is said of fine watches, I find the absolute best have complications, meaning any function on a watch other than the display of the time. Regarding fine leather goods and textiles, I define complications as design and functionality items that might not be needed on a plain garment, yet add so much depth to the final product.
Roland Sands Designs’ Ronin CE is such a jacket, and oh, the beautiful complications. I spent days wearing one, it is quite comfortable, and with the soft leather, it is like a second skin. The tasteful leather motorcycle jacket is not immediately perceived as ornate, so details that might be overlooked are worthy of attention.
At first sight, the cowhide leather is soft and supple right off the rack. The sleeves are sewn with multiple sections that accentuate the slightly pre-curved arms, and do not look like the creator was just trying to use a bunch of scraps.
There are perforated sections under the arms cut uniquely, extending from the armpits to below the elbows. The draft flap is also perforated, as are the zippered sleeve gussets, and zippered hip gussets for venting. All interior leather is perforated, though backed by air-tight solid exterior leather; it looks fabulous.
While I’m talking about the interior, it is comprised of a fancy gold-colored satin poly lining with a zippered pouch for a small back protector. There is a Napoleon pocket on the left side, two stretchy mesh cargo pockets (claimed to be six-pack capable) on either side, and a snap-flap phone pocket on the right. My iPhone 11 just fits in width and sticks out about an inch, so perhaps it’s a small wallet pocket.
Outside the Roland Sands Design Ronin CE motorcycle jacket, we find a Mandarin collar with two snaps for adjustment, a zippered left breast pocket, zippered right sleeve pocket, and zippered handwarmer pockets. The left pocket has an interior clip for keys. RSD-logoed riveted leather pulls are on the main zipper, sleeve pocket, handwarmer pockets, and sleeve vents. All zippers on the jacket are metal and YKK brand.
There is a leather tab with a metal grommet along the seam on the back between the shoulders. Five leather sections are sewn in a nice pattern on the back to add a desirable design element. It is quite a lovely jacket.
RSD has the jacket manufactured in India, which I have not seen from any major manufacturer. That said, I would compare the Ronin CE to just about the best garments made anywhere.
RSD describes the fit as an “aggressive sport style” that is “true to size.” I’m generally a US 46, which translated into a Large in this jacket—an accurate fit.
There are three versions of the Ronin, each with slight differences. The Ronin CE includes SAS-TEC flex elbow and shoulder armor and is CE Level 1 certified. This armor is very thin and hardly noticeable, yet offers CE-level protection. The jacket is CE-certified Class AA, one level below the top rating. However, there is no back protection, which is unfortunate at this price point.
RSD paid a great deal of attention to the design and construction of the Roland Sands Design Ronin CE jacket, and the results speak for themselves.
RSD Ronin CE Jacket Fast Facts
- Sizes: SM – 3XL
- Colors: Black; Tobacco; Oxblood
- Protection: Shoulders and elbows, CE Level 1 by SAS-TEC
- Certification: CE AA certified garment
RSD Ronin CE Jacket Price: $725 MSRP