RST Sabre textile motorcycle jacket review: stylish and sturdy

RST Sabre - worn by rider

  Available with or without an airbag, the Sabre is a stylish jacket offering plenty of protection and comfort

Comfortable, good value, easy to move around in
Comes up quite short, airbag subscription is expensive

Key features

  • CE Level 1 armour
  • Reflective elements
  • Optional airbag (requires subscription)

Opting for textiles over leather doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. There are plenty of sporty-looking textile motorbike jacket options out there, one of which is the RST Sabre. The textile version looks almost the same as the leather Sabre, with what looks to be the same cut and styling. 

It’s available with or without an In & Motion Airbag, with the bagged version coming in at an RRP of £399.99 compared to £179.99 for the regular Sabre. The RRP can be largely ignored, though, as these jackets are frequently on sale for a lot less. It’s the airbag version I have on test, and it’s been worn for several thousand miles and about five months of riding.

Along with the premium charged for the jacket itself, you’ll need to pay extra on top for a subscription that activates the airbag at £120 a year, or a one-off payment of £400 to unlock it indefinitely. Otherwise, it’ll do precisely diddly squat if you come off your bike.

Irksome though that may seem, it’s pretty much the norm for premium airbag systems, and it’s also worth bearing in mind the subscription is tied to the control box rather than the jacket, so you can transfer the module to other compatible products. I (thankfully) haven’t had a chance to test out how the airbag performs should the worst happen, but it’s certainly reassuring knowing this is the same tech used in MotoGP. 

The airbag is integrated into a chunky back protector, and adds quite a lot of weight to the jacket, although you don’t notice this when wearing. The airbag/back protector combo also gives the jacket a slight hunchback look, although it’s not hugely noticeable. 

In terms of the passive protection features, there are nicely sized shoulder and elbow armour pads that conform to CE level 1 standards. The elbow armour extends quite far down the forearm, which is good to see. 

At this point of the test, the Sabre jacket has held up very well. There’s not as much as a loose bit of stitching that I can find, and were it not for a few fly splats I really ought to clean off, it looks as it was when delivered. 

Although it’s more on the sporty side of the spectrum, it’s still comfortable, offering a reasonable range of motion. I’ve worn it for some very long rides and not come away with any sore bits. 

It comes up smaller than expected - I have a slim build (which many find puzzling considering my terrible diet) so thought the 38 would be about right, but in that size, the Sabre was very tight around the chest. A 40 was much more like it, but it’s worth noting the Sabre is quite a short jacket. 

The jacket comes with a full liner including sleeves, which is reasonably easy to zip in and out, if a little fiddle when attaching the cuffs. With the liner in, you can comfortable ride in low double digit temperatures.

It does include a ‘waterproof’ membrane which will keep you dry during quick showers, but don’t expect it to be the same case during a prolonged shower. 

Should you buy the RST Sabre textile airbag jacket? 

In its standard form, the RST Sabre textile jacket seems like excellent value considering the decent levels of protection and the good build quality it offers. It seems less of a steal when the airbag is factored in, both for the additional upfront cost and the subscription fees - only you can weigh up whether it’s worth it for the extra protection offered.