Merlin Atlow Textile Jacket Review

“Well done, Merlin. This is a sleek, quality, retro styled jacket that looks and feels like it should cost double its price tag. Merlin have done a cracking job on the unisex Atlow and I love it.”

Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

Merlin Atlow Jacket Review


  • Price: £249.99
  • Mileage tested: 1000
  • Testing conditions: Touring Japan
  • Durability: 55
  • Fit and comfort: 55
  • Protection: 45
  • Value for money: 45
  • Colours: Brown, Blue, Black
  • Contact:


I wore this jacket as I toured through Japan earlier this year and it looked and felt perfect wherever I went – especially in downtown Tokyo where a lot of people commented on its style. The jacket wasn’t just a coffee-shop-showpiece though, I put it through its paces when caught out in a mountain top snowstorm and when riding through muggy gorges and along the warm coast. There are a few things to note, but before we get to that, here’s what you need to know about the jacket.
Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

The Atlow is a wax cotton jacket with a fixed waterproof membrane underneath. Keep in mind that you can’t see or touch the waterproof liner, so it’s not like one of those jackets that feel like a binbag against your skin if you remove the thermal lining. It does come with a removable tartan thermal liner, take that out and the material is still soft and plush.

Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

The Atlow is peppered in pockets. You’ve got four big popper pockets at the front, a small zipped pocket behind the top left pocket and another zipped pocket on the lower sleeve for a card or ticket. And there’s also a waterproof zipped inside pocket. There’s also the handy additions of handwarmer pockets, which sit behind the two big lower pockets.

Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

The pockets follow that classic heritage look, and so does the accompanying buckle belt. This is a unisex jacket, but the belt does a brilliant job of bringing the garment in at the waist for a more fitted look. When my partner,

Andy, wore the jacket for a week of testing, he didn’t bring it in and just took the belt off in the end.

Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

It’s not just the belt that helps with fitting though, there are popper adjustments on the upper and lower arm as well as on the base of the jacket to help get the best fit. You can also tighten up the neck strap (the collar has a lovely soft fleece material) and the cuffs have a zip and clip too, which makes getting thicker gloves on easy peasy. Merlin have hit the nail on the head with fitment and style with the Atlow.

Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review
Merlin Atlow motorcycle jacket review

What’s good?

It’s a warm jacket, with an excellent fit and adjustable at the neck, wrist and waist to keep you toasty. It’s also supremely comfortable and despite being a waxy jacket, it doesn’t feel stiff in the slightest.

What I love most about this jacket is its style and functionality. There’s no way it looks like its £250 price tag, I’d believe you if you said it was £400! Merlin have put some serious effort into making the Atlow look ultra-cool, and done a brilliant job of backing it up with top notch build quality and packing it with features. Well done, Merlin!

What’s not?

Aside from its good looks and sleek style points, let’s get back to its functionality. The Atlow is a three-quarter length jacket, made using waxed cotton with a fixed waterproof membrane. So, it was never going to be the ideal jacket for summer riding. It can be worn in the heat, but with no ventilation you’re going to start sweating as it gets hot. It’s also quite a heavy jacket, and while the wax cotton and waterproof liner do a good job of keeping the rain out, it can feel sodden and weighty after a soggy ride.

Round up

Well done, Merlin. This is a sleek, quality, retro styled jacket that looks and feels like it should cost double its price tag. Merlin have done a cracking job on the unisex Atlow and I love it.

Merlin Atlow Review: Total score: 1820

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