PRODUCT REVIEW FROM THE BIKE SHED’S ROSS SHARP
WRENCHMONKEES LIGHTNING #3 WORK TROUSERS
When at the opera it is generally considered good form to wear a tux, and for most job interviews a tie is high up on the necessity list. So, if you’re pointing a spanner at your latest build and hoping it will vaguely resemble the fabulous craftsmanship of the Wrenchmonkees then make sure you dress for the occasion.
These WM A.C Nordic Workwear trousers have been specifically designed with the bike builder in mind by long established Danish workwear manufacturer Kansas, these certainly aren’t from the thick catalogue at your local promotional clothing company, with a fancy label stuck on.
They’re made from heavy 375g cotton, over-dyed black and delivered unwashed, ready for action. Side seams are triple stitched and suggest sturdy construction and longevity. The gold reinforcing stitching at the pocket corners stops them bursting open when kneeling. These pockets are sewn on externally and therefore prevent keys, screwdrivers and sharp pocketable things from piercing your thigh during workshop lunging sessions. It also makes retrieval of said pointy things much easier, especially if like mine, your knuckles are always cut and bruised.
There are two rear pockets, again strengthened with gold stitching, the left one is normal and the right has an over-stitched flap. Good for keeping a wallet in place or for passing a small D-lock through, both useful if your test ride lands you in a less savory neighbourhood.
On the front, two pouches accommodate a full sized knee and shin guard, not only handy extra protection for test rides but great for scrabbling around if you don’t happen to have your bike on a bench. I only had an elbow pad from my jacket to hand, which slipped in relatively easily with the trousers already on, and stayed put during fettling and made kneeling on hard block-paving less tortuous.
On the right leg there’s a very handy vertical dual-pocket set up, one with an engraved brass popper. Not quite big enough for an iPhone 4S with military grade case but plenty of room for a Kit-Kat Chunky (Peanut, other flavours not available at time of test), vernier calipers and some more pointy things. The larger slash-cut pocket behind easily swallowed a large 1/2” drive ratchet and 17mm spanner, keeping them in-place during aforementioned lunging.
The trousers on test were a 32” waist with an across the range 34” leg, giving me a double turn up to look cool and to catch any pointy things that had missed the other seven pockets above. The waist is relatively high and the front is flat, so any spare calorific storage is squeezed upwards and over the waistband, somewhat spoiling the look of the brass zip and Wrenchmonkees engraved button. A 34” would have been slightly too baggy so if you’re not of a sporting physique and prefer a looser, Death Row type fit, go for the next size up. I will caveat that slightly by saying that I am not the 32” waist I used to be.
These trousers will last well and stand up to the rigours of building a bike on the workshop floor and help you look the part while doing so. There are limited sizes left at nearly half price, €67.25 available direct from the webshop.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BIKE SHED’S GARETH CHARLTON
REV’IT MELVILLE JACKET
The Melville jacket from Rev'it has been my staple jacket, on and off the bike, since the winter of 2012. The Dutch company have thoroughly embraced the aesthetic of the classic or custom rider with their ever expanding "Tailored Technology" range, which they showcased at the Bike Shed III event.
The Melville is styled after the classic wax jackets of yore with four front pockets and an exterior belt, it's good looks have tempted a couple of us at the Bike Shed to part with our hard earned and subject it to the inevitable abuse of the daily commute. I plumped for the brown version which has a more greenish hue in the flesh than in pictures, it is also available in black.
It comes fully equipped for both riding and falling, with removable KNOX lite armour in the elbows and shoulders and a pocket for an aftermarket back protector. It has a removable thermal lining that attaches via a combination of zips and snaps and features multiple inside pockets. Size wise I found the sleeves a touch shorter than expected and with the liner in the fit is slightly snug. It has a refreshing lack of logo smattering with just a small reflective design at the nape of the neck and branded rubber poppers below the waist to preserve tank paint.
When the skies do choose to part with their water content the Melville survives briefly, comparably with most wax cotton twill jackets, before starting to damp you down from the sleeves in. Lining in, armour out and with thermals on, the jacket saw me through the coldest winter a trip to Minneapolis could muster (-24), yet lining out, is light enough for a UK summer ride.
The build quality is high, the underarm stitching on mine burst open in a particularly vigorous snowball fight, but that was hardly the jackets fault and was easily repaired by an able seamstress. Overall I love my Melville, it represents great value, looks great and is my go to jacket for any situation, two wheeled or not.
PRODUCT REVIEW - DYER AND JENKINS LOT NO 4 JEANS
This week yours truly, the Bike Shed resident denim geek, has found a lovely pair of jeans that are ideal for summer riding, the Dyer and Jenkins Lot No 4.
These are a simple mid weight 13.5 oz Nihon Menpu Selvedge Denim jean. The first thing than struck me about these out of the box is the colour. It’s a rich deep, dark indigo, almost purple, beautiful. A tone I’ve not seen in any other jean, and for once I don’t want to see any fading, I want these to stay exactly how they are.
With very minimalist detailing, they’ve let the denim do the talking here. Very comfortable straight on, and the fit is next best to perfect. It’s as if these were tailored specifically for me. These are an extremely well cut jean, which is even more impressive considering how young the company is.
There’s no bedding in here, these are great from the go. A mid rise cut that works well on the bike, cut well in the thigh and knee for movement, but are far from baggy. They’re a slim tapered jean with wide deep pockets that are good for stashing stuff on the bike and limiting the risk of sprinkling your stuff all over City Road on the way to work.
Dyer and Jenkins are a young LA based company, launched in November 2013 after a successful crowd funding raise, concentrating on a small range of denim and knitwear that features extremely well thought out products with rigorous standards of manufacture.
Their philosophy rests on ‘Lean Manufacturing’, which is the process of eliminating costly and wasteful elements from the traditional manufacturing methods that most mainstream clothing companies use.
Their mission statement is “To deliver high quality American made clothing at affordable prices.” On the basis of these jeans they're making good on their promise.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BIKE SHED’S TIMM WELLENS
4H10 SLIM LEATHER FACE MASK
Last year I decided that I had enough of commuting by public transport and stick to the bike. Anyone that commutes in the less than prefect months knows it takes a love of motorcycling. And good gear. Really good gear.
A few months ago I saw our friends on the continent at 4H10 come up with a leather face mask. I have always loved this look, very Road Warrior-esque. It’s a look that mothers hate, and makes fathers tremble. But looking at what these guys did was something pretty amazing. The leather is high quality, supple and gives a very nice look. The vent holes are well places and plenty of them to get good airflow through, whilst the cut of the mask itself fits nicely with open face helmets. The two adjustable straps are ideal for fitting to your face and give a secure, snug fit. Once you get the feel for it, slipping the helmet over may require a bit of a fiddle but you will be happy you did. You know when you have it on that you will protecting that well manicured, over moisturised skin from natures nastiness, and ride in comfort.
Practicalities aside, the thing looks great. I can’t tell you how nice the leather and craftsmanship is. I can’t say that this is for the hirsute inclined, but I think a beard is meant to the same thing whilst preserving tasty morsels from your lunch as an afternoon snack. But for those of you that don the dapper shaven look, this is just what you need for those colder rides. The Goose would be proud.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BIKE SHED’S STEVE SIMMONDS
WRENCH MONKEES LIGHTNING BLACK #2 MC WAISTCOAT.
When I received my Wrench Monkees waistcoat, I seriously thought they’d sent me two by mistake. Sadly they hadn’t - but this is a thick, quality bit of kit. They describe it as 100% heavy 375g cotton and they’re not kidding.
As part of their WM A.C range, which they describe as ‘decent work wear – simple but functional’ the attention to detail through-out this waistcoat is really evident. Other than the weight, the first thing that struck me was the colour. Yes it’s black, which is, er, the new black, but it’s a proper black. None of this slightly faded, bit wishy-washy black.
Next are all the brass features, and who doesn’t love some black and gold! Engraved buttons and a thick zip, with a WMA.C patch on the front finish the look off this perfectly.
The waistcoat has a handy zipped pocket on the outside, plenty big enough for my iphone, two poppered pockets either side, then another handy two smaller pockets on the inside plus ring for keys etc.
I personally like wearing this over another jacket, so I was pleased when the Medium was perhaps on the slightly larger size than some other brands and it meant this was the perfect fit.
For riding out on the bike, it provides, not only that all important style, and sometimes more important warmth on those still slightly chilly evenings, but for those perhaps more concious (dare I say wiser) riders, there’s a handy zip to slip a back protector in there too.
What more could u want, quality, style, function and form. Glad to see the Wrench Monkees have carried their bike ethos successfully into their clothing.
GUEST REVIEW FROM WORN TO RIDE http://worntoride.com/
CHIVOTE 2FACE BACKPACK
We love a good bag and the Chivote 2Face is not just a good one, but one of the most stylish and clever backpacks we’ve ever seen. The brainchild of two English designers, it has as its name suggests, two sides. Fed up of second rate bag designs, Andrew and Alex set out to create the ideal backpack that would ooze style in any situation whilst also being produced to the highest of qualities.
It also had to be formed from the finest materials and for this reason literally every part of the exterior is made from genuine leather including the equally stylish straps. At first glance, the 2Face looks like a high quality, well designed yet simple bag. Look closer and it’s even more impressive. The complete leather outer means that the backpack is reversible, each side showing a different style catering for whatever daily activity you throw at it.
It’s also completely functional, with the interior housing various compartments capable of holding all of your gadgets and preventing them from rubbing together. The pair launched this project on Kickstarter and have now received full funding exceeding their target and it’s easy to see why. There are three different colours available and they expect to start shipping at the start of next month.