This weeks Gear Guide features more lovely stuff from the mercurial El Solitario, a lively ladies leather jacket by Boda Skins, cool Ts from The Foundry, waterproof protective sneakers, and a handy handlebar mounted case for your (illegedly) smartphone. Splendid.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BIKE SHEDS VERY OWN LITTLE BIG NOISE, AKA VIKKI VAN SOMEREN - BODA SKINS QUILTING BIKER JACKET
Ladies; as autumn kicks-in and your feeling a little blue, cheer yourself up, and your winter wardrobe, by investing in a gorgeous Boda Skins leather Biker Jacket. I got my hands on an outrageous red one and I love it. It just makes me smile every time I put it on, although I rarely smile in pictures as you can see.
The leather is lightweight, full of detail and hugs your body in all the right places. Boda Skins’ philosophy is based on a luxury, ethical sourced second skin and with this jacket they’ve nailed it. They come in a range of colours from baby blue, vintage cream, fawny brown to a crisp white.
Based in Manchester, the Boda team share their love of leather with the fashion world, as well as providing the local community work experience and apprenticeships. Their family of sixteen expert leathersmiths artfully craft each jacket using traditional tanning methods, ensuring the manufacturing process stays environmentally friendly. Using only leathers and furs imported under strict licensing laws, Boda refuses to trade in endangered species. There products are made in a small village in Turkey. Ticking quiet a few boxes methinks!
You can definitely tell they love their products. The attention to detail is evident. I love the quilting; a mix of diamond and banded with light touches of stitch work, but what I really love is that you feel like you’re wearing top quality leather but without the heavy weight. This jacket is perfect for parties or hanging around at some launch event, kicking tyres and drooling over the cool looking beards, I mean bikes.
On the bike it moves effortlessly with you, it has a good coverage of the lower back and the arms don’t rise as you stretch over the tank… I don’t know how warm it is as it has only just started to get chilly, but it’s so soft it is easy to put on a few layers underneath… but hey, what’s a few chills when you’re looking so damn good.
Oh and for an additional 10% of the jacket price, they will provide you with one of their signature pieces tailored to your exact measurements, not bad huh!
TCX - X STREET BOOT
For those of us who like to wear a sneaker style boot on a bike, but want a good degree of protection, the X Street is a great option.
A durable waterproof ankle boot, the X Street is designed with an impressive level of protection, comfort and attention to detail. The sole has a steel shank and makes the boot CE approved. The fact it's also waterproof is impressive for the price.
Made from full grain leather upper (except for the denim version), it has a full waterproof lining (except for the denim and perforated versions), it features toe, heel and ankle reinforcements.
It features an anatomic footbed and a rubber sole, and features the Comfort Fit System.
The Comfort Fit System, developed by TCX is special and virtually entirely manual technique allows the boot to be shaped on a “mould” that faithfully reproduces the anatomy of the foot, making the boot exceptionally comfortable and ideal for prolonged use in different situations, both on and off the bike. These can be worn on the ride, at work, in the pub and are pretty comfortable walking in.
They come in waterproof black, blue and in ladies anthracite and two tone brown: and non waterproof denim and perforated. A great alternative to thick leather biker boots.
EL SOLITARIO - THE VANDAL
Not content with building some of the most controversial and outrageously cool motorcycles, El Solitario make some pretty interesting clobber too.
Their latest creation, The Vandal, is their “ vision of an overshirt, which is a more versatile garment than any of the others. Wear it over other clothes and/or between layers.”
Made by hand from raw 14oz denim and stitched with contrasting gold twine, it features suede shoulder panels. It has canvas lined inner pockets to stash your valuables in addition to two breast pockets. The El Solitario lone wolf is embroidered on the back of the collar.
Like all of El Solitario’s gear, this is incredibly well made by craftsmen and not in sweatshops, and are built to last.
The first run is manufactured in very limited numbers in medium, large and extra large. It comes at a premium, but is a beautifully crafted garment.
“Not a jacket not a shirt El Solitario Vandal is way cooler than any of them.” Who are we to argue?
THE FOUNDRY OL’ 56 T SHIRT
One of my favourite builds is from our mates down at The Foundry, the beautiful 1956 Triumph T110 Tiger bobber. In what appears as a deceptively simple build, is a clear example of what The Foundry crew do best, classic inspired builds that are perfectly balanced and exquisitely finished. Perfect, unfussy lines and muscular good looks.
With a background in engineering, sculptural metalwork and industrial design Tom and Simon build bikes with character, distinction and engineering credibility. Based up the road from Goodwood, they serve great coffee and sell some good gear too.
As T shirts are my staple, I was well chuffed to discover Foundry had manufactured a T with an illustration of the lovely ’56 on the chest. Made out of natural cotton in a slim fit with a sepia image, this simple, well fitting T is the nearest I’m ever going to get to owning this lovely machine.
The Foundry do a range of Ts that feature their builds.
INTERPHONE UNIVERSAL SMARTPHONE MOTO HOLDER FOR TUBULAR HANDLEBARS
For those of you who haven’t done ‘the knowledge’, or have a homing pigeon’s sense of direction, this universal waterproof smartphone holder is the business. Designed specifically fo motorcycles with tubular bars, this is secure and protected by a impact resistant case that’s extremely solid when mounted on handlebars. Your smartphone can become a handlebar mounted GPS (or music player) with full touchscreen functionality.
The holder is equipped with a mounting bracket that can be fixed on circular handlebars of various diameters (up to 30mm or 1 1/8"). Since the bracket is articulating, the holder can be tilted and turned in a number of ways, so it is optimally positioned and accessible.
It protects your mobile phone from impact and environmental hazards such as: mist, dirt, dust and light rain. The clear front window made of special crystal film protects the phone and allows the keys on your touch screen to be fully functional. The double zip offers a practical system for threading earphone and power cables through the case and into the phone. It is universally compatible fitting smart phones up to 4.3" screen size.
So no excuses for getting lost coming home from the pub.