ROYAL RACING MATRIX JACKET REVIEW
Review by Sourpatch
Royal Racing has long been a staple in the mountain bike apparel arena and one thing they’ve always done well is make gear designed to handle the cold, wet winters. They might not have the deepest catalog, but their offerings are simple and straight to the point. Royal sponsored Season Two of our North American Bike Park Review Tour and since we had some stops planned for early Fall on the East Coast, we made sure to have a couple Royal Matrix Jackets packed away. We were lucky enough to stay pretty dry back east but have since experience some sub-freezing rides here in Bend, Oregon and have been stoked to put the Matrix jacket to use in the early winter on the high desert.
Royal Racing’s Matrix Jacket was made for cool, unpredictable weather with a cut designed for a riding position. With the use 10,000DPI.MVP fabric, the Matrix Jacket is waterproof yet breathable which keeps heat management in check. In addition to its waterproof shell, Royal has included 3 waterproof pockets: two external, double-zippered chest pockets that also double as vents, and one internal chest pocket. The internal chest pocket is even equipped with cable routing for earphones should you lack Bluetooth headphones and keep your phone in this pocket. The Matrix jacket has a large, toggle-adjustable hood that will fit easily over most half-shell helmets. The addition of Velcro cuff links help prevents the sleeves from riding up while also keeping out water/weather.
Royal’s Matrix Jacket does exactly what it is marketed as. We wore our Matrix Jackets during an extremely cold 28-36*F, mixed conditions days at Mt. Bachelor and the jacket kept our core warm and dry. The Matrix Jacket did a great job keeping the rain out, however, the hood would not cover our full-face helmet. It’s not a deal-breaker 95% of the time, but when the conditions are really nasty and you’re riding the chairlift, it’s a nice bonus.
When it comes to the descent, the jacket never hindered our ability to ride well and we never got overly hot. The jacket does get a bit warm thought when temperature rises above 45*F. This jacket is definitely more of a cold weather piece compared to a lightweight, packable wind shell. Royal Racing made the Matrix for cold and challenging weather that would keep most people at home. So if you’re going out for a ride on a 45-degree day with a slight breeze, this isn’t going to be the ideal jacket. If it does warm up mid-day though, the two large chest pocket vents do a great job of letting air flow through to cool down the core.
The shell of the Matrix Jacket is very durable and has withstood a couple falls and numerous encounters with juniper trees and other trail-side demons looking to claw us off the bike. The way Royal designed the jacket is perfect for even the most aggressive riding, so long as the weather if cold enough to make use of it. The fit is dialed, and the jackets are true-to-size without being overly bulky or baggy.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Royal Racing has a solid offering in the Matrix Jacket for those looking for a heavier rainshell that will keep them warm when temps drop below 44-degrees. The Matrix Jacket held up to lots of abuse, kept us dry, warm and looking good. The athletic cut that the Matrix Jacket uses won’t hinder your ability to shred and the colors Royal offers don’t scream high-vis roadside flagger. The only drawback that we have found with the Matrix Jacket, is that the hood doesn’t cover full-face helmets. The Jacket can also be overkill if you’re just trying to combat a cool, windy day as it does get a little toasty, especially on cool, sunny days. That said, the Matrix Jacket will be one of our main go-to jackets this winter season.
Colors: Plum Red, Black Grey
Warm and Waterproof
Gets warm quick
Hood doesn’t cover full faces helmets
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