Held is a leading German manufacturer of motorcycle apparel starting with gloves in the 1970s and is again offering a robust range of jackets, pants, rainwear, gloves, boots, and luggage in America. As with most apparel companies, the designs are from Germany, while manufacturing is elsewhere.
Naming a jacket Hakuna and matching pants Matata is no coincidence. “Hakuna matata” is a Swahili language phrase meaning “no trouble” or “no worries” and was popularized around the globe by The Lion King movie. Let us hope there’s no trouble but the experience of having reviewed two of their fine outfits over the years tells me this new pairing will be excellent.
The Hakuna/Matata duo slots in price right under the Carese jacket and Torno pants I reviewed in 2016, which are still in production under the Carese Evo and Torno Evo names.
Held Hakuna II Jacket
My first impression upon unboxing is that Held has given a great deal of thought and engineering into these garments, especially the jacket. Every trick in the book has been used to construct a jacket with the best features of the countless motorcycle jackets I’ve worn and tested, plus a few extras. It is engineered in Germany and manufactured in China.
Held offers seven jackets ranging in price from $269 for a vented jacket all the way up to their Atacama Top priced at $1999—no, that doesn’t include an airbag. The Hakuna II sits in the middle with an MSRP of $799, putting it in the price/features balance sweet spot.
The exterior, lining, and removable lining materials in the Held Hakuna II jacket are polyester and polyamide throughout, with a Coolmax breathable mesh lining. The construction quality is as good as any, with lots of extra details in the trim, adding depth to make a standout design.
I wore the outfit on a recent 700-mile trip to Death Valley, during which the temperatures varied from 50 F to over 95 F, and I was always comfortable. I wore the removable windproof/waterproof liner in the chilly mornings. I needed nothing under it but a cotton long sleeve t-shirt.
The removable liner has two-layer construction with a corduroy-like back that adds loft and warmth. The liner has two inner pockets of its own because it prevents access to the jacket’s two internal pockets. Both the liner and jacket have rear zippers that fasten to the Matata II trousers, although I do not know why one would zip the liner, rather than the jacket, to the pants. Most zippers have Held logo pulls, and those with manufacturer’s branding are from YKK and THC.
The removable liner is held in place by vertical zippers on both sides, three snaps at the top, and the sleeve ends are zippered around the cuff perimeter rather than the usual dual snaps found on most other jackets. They are not quite as easy to fasten as the dual-snap versions but, once in place, are nicer. Also, it’s easier to remove one’s hands from the Held Hakuna II jacket.
Both the jacket and liner have blue snap clips on their edges. These are for Held’s Clip-In Technology, allowing flexibility to customize the layers based on weather and rider needs. The clips enable you to connect diverse types of products to create multiple layers. I did not try any of these options but appreciate the thought that went into the products and the flexibility offered.
The interior has the same corduroy-like material on the back that helps keep the air flowing, instead of laying against the rider’s shirt. It’s warm on a cold day and cool in heat—slick. There is zippered access for an optional back protector—CE back protection should be included at this price point. The zipper also allows internal access to a back pocket. CE-approved Sas-Tec 3D shoulder and elbow armor are included, plus Velcro for Held’s optional two-piece chest protectors.
The collar has a soft, suede-like texture and is comfortable all day on a bare neck. It is fastened with a nice, wide strip of Velcro, so the rider may cinch it tight or leave it a bit looser. At the end of the collar flap is a loop that allows the flap to be secured in the folded back position and out of the way for warm weather.
Externally, the Held Hakuna II is one of the best-vented jackets I’ve worn. There are two long and narrow zippered chest vents under semi-waterproof pockets. The sleeves have forward-facing vent zippers from the cuff to mid-bicep. I love them. They unzip in either direction and, when unzipped from the bottom, the cuff tabs Velcro to the mesh inside the vent, thus keeping the vents wide open. Brilliant. There are two-way zippered and vented hip gussets that help feed a lot of air. Added to this are vents on the back of the arms from elbow to shoulders. Lastly, there are two rear vents from the shoulder down eight inches.
At 95 F in Death Valley, the venting on this was excellent, and there was a good, forced flow.
The waist has Velcro belts on both sides to adjust fit. Small snap-secured flaps behind the hip gussets allow snugging the skirt down about an inch on each side. Finally, there is a string gather along the skirt to allow pulling the bottom as tight as one likes.
All these details are rounded out with two water-resistant lower front pockets. There are reflective sections throughout and two Velcro arm adjusters per side, and around the bicep and forearm areas.
As with many Euro-sized garments, you will need to order a size or two up. I’m a US 46 and usually a large and occasionally an XL. I needed a 2XL to fit in the Held Hakuna II jacket properly.
The Hakuna II is a genuine four-season jacket that should satisfy even the most demanding riders.
Held Hakuna II Jacket Fast Facts
- Sizes: S – 6XL
- Colors: Black-Grey; Grey-Orange; Grey-Black; Grey-Blue
- Armor: CE-approved Sas-Tech 3D shoulder and elbow
Held Hakuna II Jacket Price: $799 MSRP
Held Matata II Pants
Held shows the Matata II pants as unisex and offers the widest range of pants sizes I’ve seen—regular, stocky, slim, and ladies, totaling 20 sizes. There’s got to be a size for most here, and they are worthy ADV/touring pants suitable for four seasons with some layering.
The Matata II slots into the middle of Held’s range of seven ADV/touring pants styles, which range in price from a $250 vented pair to the pants for $1600. The MSRP for the Held Matata II pants is $539.
Internally, Coolmax material lines these trousers. A solid weave stretch material around the lower abdomen and seat changes to an airy mesh down the legs. There are mesh pockets to accommodate optional hip protectors, a raised corduroy-style mini-kidney belt panel, a zipper to attach to the jacket, and a couple of blue snap clips, like on the Hakuna II jacket, for Held’s Clip-In Technology accessories. The CE-approved pliable knee protectors are height-adjustable, and there’s a pocket for the optional Held cloverleaf Sas-Tec CE coccyx protector.
The included removable waterproof, windproof, and breathable liner has two layers with a touch of loft for added warmth. Like the jacket cuffs, the liner cuffs zip to the lower leg and around the waist for a clean look and easy on/off transitions.
The ubiquitous fly gusset on both pants and liner, like most designs, mandates some partial disrobing at rest stops. Will someone please try a waterproof zipper in the future and save us some time?
Externally, the Held Matata II pants are built from DuPont Cordura 500 D. The material has a nice weight and strength without being too stiff.
Kangaroo leather is featured on the seat, knees, and inner calves to help avoid slipping around on the bike. It’s super soft and adds a nice dimension. There are stingray-like patches of what appears to be abrasion-resistant material on the side of the knees where race suits might mount their pucks, though these are not pants for knee-dragging in corners.
The waist is secured with a hook and snap with a plastic buckled belt to top it off. There are two zippered slash pockets at hip height, and each of the two cargo pockets is secured by two snaps. This is a nice layout and common in this genre.
At each cargo pocket’s leading and trailing edges are six-inch vent zippers positioned nicely for function. Other venting is provided by 15-inch bi-directional zippered gussets on the outside seam on the lower legs. As with the Hakuna II jacket sleeve vents, the Velcro tabs covering the bottom of the cuffs connect to loop material within the vent to hold the vents open. When the vents are closed, these tabs, along with mid-calf tabs, allow one to tighten the fit and eliminate any flapping of the lower leg material, much like the adjusters on the jacket arms. I really like these functional features.
Stretch panels at the back, crotch, and knees help assure a comfortable fit, and easy movement and reflective sections add additional visibility at night.
I’m a US 36 waist size and fit comfortably in the XL size, so this item is true to size. They are all-day comfortable, protect well, and have good venting. They are certainly of quality and design equal to the Hakuna II jacket, earning the “hakuna matata” salutation.
As is evident with all of the company’s garments, the Held Matata II pants are well thought out and an excellent choice for the adventurer tourer.
Held Matata II Pants Fast Facts
- Sizes: S – 6XL, plus specialized sizes
- Colors: Grey/Black; Black
- Armor: CE-approved knee protection
Held Matata II Pants Price: $539 MSRP
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