THE FINEST SUIT ON THE MARKET
Stadler is a 40 year old, family-owned and family-managed business based in Bavaria in Germany.
They are not particularly well known in the UK, but in their homeland they are highly respected, and it is widely accepted that they make the world's best motorcycle protective wear. They supply textile riding suits to every single German police force, as well as to many in other European countries, including the Garda in Ireland. They also make all of Touratech’s touring suits.
We’ve known about Stadler for years, but only started working with them in earnest in early 2017. For now, we are offering just one of their suits: the 4 All Pro. It is their best-selling line, and it forms the basis of nearly all their police suits.
We consider the Stadler 4 All Pro to be one of the finest jacket and pant combinations on the market. It's the only suit, in our view, that can go head-to-head with Rukka’s top-of-the-range Nivala. The Stadler is demonstrably superior in some areas; the Rukka in others. They are both great suits; the decision as to which one to wear will come down to fit, and perhaps the seasonality of your riding.
Like most Rukka suits, the Stadler 4 All Pro’s chassis is constructed from a Gore-Tex Pro, three layer laminate. There is no method of constructing a motorcycle suit that delivers higher levels of waterproofing. Because the material does not ‘wet out’, it will not become heavy when it rains. The rider will stay dry and, because the jacket does not get soaking wet, you will stay warmer too. The jacket will also dry out much faster than a traditional drop-liner jacket.
If there is a theoretical weakness with the Stadler, it is that its thermal liner is not particularly impressive. Apparently, this is because German motorcyclists are very disciplined. They do not ride in the depths of winter. On November 1, their bikes simply get consigned to the garage, not to see the light of day until the following spring.
The thermal layers on the Nivala, by contrast, are world class. Filled with genuine duck down, they are worn loosely, and not attached to the jacket or trousers. But they are very warm, and easy to put on and take off.
But whilst the Nivala has better winter protection, for riding in the hotter months the Stadler is in a league of its own. Rukka has never been famed for its venting and, although the Nivala is the most vented Rukka laminate suit ever, the Stadler is far superior in this regard.
It has two large, zipped vents on the chest, and two large exhaust vents on the back, but the secret of the 4 All Pro's superior venting is the uncrushable, 3D piping that runs around the jacket, and which literally propels air coming through the vents all around the jacket. You see, most vents on most jackets do very little. The air that hits the jacket flattens the fabric, and the air goes nowhere. But on the Stadler the vents really work.
So if winter commuting is your main priority, a case for the Nivala would be easy to make. But if you’re riding all year round, and really like to tour in the warmer, summer months, the Stadler has distinct advantages. For most people, however, summer touring in a Rukka is not an enjoyable experience. Perhaps the perfect jacket would be the Stadler worn over Rukka’s superlative duck-down filled liners. This would make for what only can be described as the gold standard.
Comfort is very subjective, but it will often be the deciding factor with a purchase like this. And here the Nivala would take the laurels, as the material contains stretch throughout. It is, as a result, extremely comfortable to wear.
The Stadler achieves its fit through stretch panels. It is probably more comfortable to wear than any Rukka other than the Nivala, but there is no doubting that there is a certain stiffness to the Stadler’s outer shell that one doesn’t experience on the Nivala. Some people put on the Stadler; it fits them like a glove, and they love it. But some prefer the Nivala.
On the subject of fit, however, the Stadler does have a wider array of sizing options. Stadler offers a stouter ‘D’ size option which Rukka doesn’t. Stadler can also offer a custom-fit solution, which Rukka cannot.
Stadler can do this because they can make complete jackets and pants in Germany. And it is this facility that also allows them to offer crash repairs, which Rukka does not, because all of its jackets are made in China.
Protection-wise, we would have to say that the Stadler is the superior product. Stadler uses Superfabric for added abrasion resistance at the shoulders and elbows. It is the strongest material used in motorcycle wear. Rukka used to use it, but it became too expensive. Stadler clearly took a different view.
For comfort, Rukka uses D3O armour, although their back protector only meets the lower Level 1 standard. All the armour in the Stadler is Level 2, and Mr Stadler does not want to move to a softer armour because the armour he uses currently exceeds the Level 2 standard by up to 60%. As a major supplier to the police, Stadler takes safety and protection very seriously indeed.
Other differences between the Rukka and Stadler are pretty minor. The Rukka suit comes with braces and a neck collar; on the Stadler these are both extras. And we would always recommend them. The zips on the Stadler are fully waterproof Aquaseal zips. The zips on the Rukka technically are not waterproof. They have rain flaps, but rely on a storm flap to stop rain getting in. The Rukka is a slightly shorter, more blouson-styled jacket; the Stadler is longer. The Stadler’s trousers are particularly comfortable, and from a fit perspective are even nicer to wear than the jacket.
Finally to price.
In Germany, the prices are very similar. In the UK, the Rukka is much more expensive because it is sold via a UK distributor who adds 20% to 25% to the price. We are the sole distributor for the Stadler, and so the price is much more reflective of the price in Germany. We can also, somewhat uniquely, offer 36 months interest-free credit on the Stadler outfit. On the Rukka, it’s just 24 months.
Overall, there’s not a lot of separate these two superlative riding suits. We like them both. The Rukka is warmer and perhaps more comfortable. The Stadler is more protective and much better in warmer weather. The Rukka suit comes with an impressive six year manufacturer's warranty. The Stadler has an even better 10 year warranty.
Heads or tails?
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