There is a lot to be said for a decent sporty textile jacket; it’s less cumbersome than a full touring-cut jacket and as a result is more appropriate to sportier bikes – or rides. A textile version can also be lighter and more technical than say a leather jacket, which can always be useful on British roads in any of the seasons – a rainstorm is rarely far away and a textile can shed water better than a leather, for example.
This jacket plus others like the Richa Gotham or Spidi H2Out are good examples of a sporty textile jacket that can do you from spring until well into autumn. It has kept me dry in several showers and warm when the temperature heads into single figures yet is cool enough to suit even the warmest rides.
The Narval is designed specifically to take its cues from the company’s sports leather jackets but with that flexibility that being formed in textile material offers. It’s a relatively short, sporty cut so sits nicely with a pair of riding jeans and the longer arms hang well to the side.
They are pre-curved for the typical sporty riding position and it does up with a single zip with a narrow draught flap behind. There is also a Velcro flap that covers the zip-pull to prevent it dropping down.
The collar is nicely lined and has no separate fastening so it is comfortable and also allows a little airflow around the neck. The cuffs are wide enough to go over medium-weight or short gloves and fasten with Velcro flaps though they are on the cusp of being too chunky for gloves to go over and not wide enough to get long-cuff gloves under. Along with the fixings for the lining sleeves, they can get a bit crowded – my only real criticism...
The removeable thermal liner is not particularly thick but it is effective and the inner surface is slick and comfortable. I still prefer long-sleeved base layers when I’m riding but throwing this on briefly over a T-shirt is not an unpleasant experience. It’s not quite as comfortable with the liner removed – the PVC liner isn’t quite as nice against the skin but it’s still not uncomfortable...
There is an adjustment at the hem which helps to pull the waist in if you are large across the shoulders but less so across the waist and there is a strap-and-popper at the upper arms in case you want to tighten the outer when the liner is removed.
There are cooling vents on the inside of the upper arms – designed presumably to grab air outside any screens or fairings and away from rucksack straps which can obscure some vents - and there is also an exhaust vent on the back.
These are quite effective with the liner in but much more so with it removed. Leave the collar slightly open and the cuffs as loose as they will go and you get a very nice flow of air through the jacket on warmer rides.
In addition to the cuff issue, I have one other criticism. For some reason, there does not appear to be any CE rating displayed in the garment itself. There are CE markings, indicting it is approved but no rating, suggesting it didn’t do brilliantly.
Related: Best textile motorcycle jackets
There have been suggestions it might be only rated to A but as it is now discontinued – Sportsbikeshop still has some – we may never know. However, it does come with Level-1 D3O armour, which is incredibly flexible and comfortable without being intrusive.
There are also external TPU sections on the outside of the shoulders and there is a pocket for a D3O back protector – one is not included.
Instead of a back protector, I used the Narval with Furygan’s zip-in airbag vest, powered by the In&motion system. This inevitably adds to the feeling of bulk but when compared with the reassurance and security it offers, it’s a very small price to pay.
The Narval is a nice sporty textile jacket that works well in chilly, mild and warm rides, depending on whether you leave the thermal liner in or remove it.
The vents are effective enough to make it useful when the temperature starts to go up but the lack of a CE rating perhaps contributed to it no longer being available, though you can find them online if you look and can be paired with Furygan’s airbag insert for additional protection.
Textile performance in sporty jacket
Comfortable and lightweight
Unknown CE rating