Edition #60 of the Gear Guide features a handsome technical leather jacket from Pagnol, a protective denim shirt from Rokker, a range of great striped shirts from LA Rocka!79, a hardy key chain from the JBird Collective, and another terrific glove from the 78 Motor Company.
PRODUCT REVIEW PAGNOL M2 JACKET
Rarely does protective and fashion fuse effectively, one almost always yields to the other. Not with Pagnol.
"We spent as much time developing our jackets on the bike as well as off the bike so that you look and feel comfortable on your morning ride to work and then to the bar afterwards without looking like a Power Ranger. We knew that great aesthetics do not need to be sacrificed for function."
Th M2 has been built to exacting safety standards, and "...are made from tough yet supple cow hide leather and constructed to ensure maximum abrasion resistance and durability through everyday riding. While this is not a replacement for your full race leathers or a full performance jacket, we also didn't create "fashion" jackets to primp around in."
Pagnol is manufactured at a "Socially Responsible" Certified Factory and from grass fed cattle.
However, this jacket looks and fits like a high end fashion jacket. The leather has a soft supple feel, and the detailing is not only functional, it's subtle. It has a contemporary urban retro feel, and is certainly produced with the city cafe racer/brat rider in mind. It wears comfortably from the outset with concertina stretch panels, not needing the tedious breaking in period of many bike jackets.
"Every function of our jackets has been designed to work with the riding position. We really hated how certain jackets prevented us from moving around or bunched and pinched us in places. Our jackets have been developed to be flexible where they should be and breathable for those hot days - all within a slim, flattering fit."
The M2 is extremely well tailored. The low cut of the back works well, it gives a good shape to the jacket but critically gives that extra bit of protection in the unfortunate event of an off whilst keeping the draughts at bay. There's something particularly gruelling about wind climbing up the spine on the ride home. The sleeves are also cut long for insulation, so no tan stripes between the cuff of the jacket and the gloves.
The jacket is well ventilated with perforated panels, so is a warmer weather wear, but the cut does allow for a jumper to be worn underneath so it's good for spring and autumn.
The neck has a slightly lower cut making it a more comfortable fit for a thick neck like me. It means the jacket can be worn done up right to the top without feeling restrictive.
The design of the pockets are thoughtful and practical, from the concealed zips to the horizontal opening on the lower pockets, which is a real plus if you're like me and prone to leaving the zip open and emptying the contents of your vertical opening pockets down the street as you ride off. I've lost an iPhone, keys and several hundred quid that way over the years.
The M2 is constructed from 1 to 1.2mm Tumble aged Cowhide, with perforated leather on the centre zip, under sleeves, and side front chest panels. It's lined with full body and sleeve ventilated mesh rayon lining with inserts for optional protective armour. It's contoured sleeves have elbow stretch accordion panels, in addition to shoulder blades to waist back, and hip accordion panels. Snap buttons fasten the sleeves and the collar zip tab. It has two chest pockets and two lower front pockets with zippers and an internal zip pocket. The under arm stretch kevlar fabric inserts are by Schoeller.
The brand was initially created by Paulo Rosas, designer-owner of www.SpeedMachinesDesign.com
. Assembling a crack team that collectively pools design experience in MotoGP, AMA and CEV Repsol, moto apparel design, fashion design, industry media, custom motorcycles and industry retail. The result is a stunning range of jackets.
You wouldn't buy this jacket to wear couriering, but if you're looking for a jacket that you can wear on the bike that offers a high level of protection, as well as in a bar with your non biker mates, or indeed out with your better half, this is a terrific choice. The M2 comes in black and cream.
Thanks to Simon Bottomley for the images and Andrew Almond at Bolt London
for location and bike.
PRODUCT REVIEW ROKKER DENIM RIDER SHIRT RAW
Being a denim geek, this is the perfect solution for the summer months. A handsome and robust selvedge shirt-jacket that's designed to be worn on a motorcycle and that offers a good level of protection.
The outer shell is made of top drawer heavy gauge raw selvedge denim, and is completely lined with 100% schoeller®-Dynatec ®, a hard wearing fabric with good protective properties and a high level of stability. It is pleasant to the touch and is extremely tear-and abrasion-resistant. It is impact and temperature resistant. Dynatec ® is made of Cordura ® and Dynafil TS 70 TS with a melting point of 290°C. The material complies environmentally with Öko-Tex Standard 100.
The shirt is also heavy double stitched on all the stress points.
The cuffs and front are secured by thick poppers and reinforced with concealed zips, which ensures the shirt won't get torn open if you slide up the black stuff. The shirt doesn't come with armour, or any facility to insert it.
Rokker have been careful to retain all the classic styling of the iconic Western denim shirt, so this has a no nonsense timeless feel, free from all the fussiness of the archetypal protective jacket. It can be worn over a t shirt and removed once off the bike or can be worn against the skin. Alternatively if you size up you could wear it over a sweatshirt.
Rokker are a German company that "...believes that passion to ride a motorcycle is inseparable from style. We understand that the feeling of freedom is to be safe and comfortable on a bike as well as looking good between the rides. We are uncompromising regarding the combination of the best materials with the appreciation of aesthetics. We will always concentrate on highest quality and fine details."
This shirt is clear evidence of this philosophy. Like all good denim this shirt will only get better with wear, and will last for years. Perfect.
Thanks to Simon Bottomley for the images and Andrew Almond at Bolt London
for location and bike.
PRODUCT REVIEW LA ROCKA! 79 - TRACKER SHIRT
The striped long sleeved shirt has been synonymous with alternative bike culture since the 1920's and has appeared in different guises ever since, often adopted by racers whether it be salt flat sprinters or board trackers.
I have the "Dennis the Menace" red and black striped version from La Rocka!79. These are a high quality airtex long sleeve made from 100% cotton in La Rocka!79's exclusively woven stripe fabric. It's a great fit, although I did need to size down by one. It's been washed many times and shows no signs of fading.
La Rocka! Founded on the Kings Road, London by Lloyd Johnson in 1979 has been resurrected after decades of being dormant. "A pure heritage line of England, today paying homage to the early 1960 café racer culture with elements of the classic La Rocka! designs worn by the many iconic stars of the 70s, 80s and 90s."
Heavily associated with the punk and new wave movements of the seventies and eighties, La Rocka!'s resurgence is a welcome return. I always wanted one of their leather jackets to tear about in on my RD250, but alas my funds were burnt on Castrol R and four star.
La Rocka! make the Tracker in seven different designs. They're available to buy at Bolt London
JBIRD COLLECTIVE - RINGER KEY HOOK - BROWN
The Ringer is a key chain handmade from full grain vegetable tanned leather featuring military grade hardware and a parachord allowing you to release your keys as if you were jumping from 10,000ft. Now most of us won't be jumping from anything like that height, but a secure quick release key chain is more than handy when getting on and off your bike, especially if you live in the city like I do and constantly jumping on your ride. This well thought through piece of design, resolving a pet irritation of mine.
It's dimensions are 19cm x 2.5cm, and is available in brown and black.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon USA, JBird Collective was set up after a hugely successful crowdsourcing campaign with the aim of "....reinventing men’s carry goods to be as diverse as their lifestyles.
Every JBird Collective product is handmade in the USA combining style with heritage materials and tech features, and is built to be versatile, durable and ready to work in a variety of situations.
These are available through London online retailer Wax and Hide, which means you don't have to wait and eternity for it to arrive in the UK, or pay pesky import duty. Wax and Hide have selected a range of items from a number of independent mens accessories brands from across the globe, chosen on the basis of quality craftsmanship and a heritage ethos.
Check out their website www.waxandhide.co.uk
78 MOTOR COMPANY SPEED GLOVE
One man band Anthony Jackson is taking the artisan moto apparel to a new level with his recently launched range of helmets and gloves. His mission statement is clear:
"78 Motor Co was born out of a passion for all things mechanical and cool, creating the finest limited edition lines of motorcycles, bicycles, art and apparel. 78 Motor Co collaborate with local designers, engineers and artists to design, build, stitch and sew for the retrospective collective..."
All too often a vintage glove has vintage protection, but the Speed Glove has a contemporary inner steel carbon knuckle protection that offers a high level of safety.
Each glove has double stitched panels, discreet knuckle protection, a perforated top panel will cooling fins that direct air up under your sleeve. A double layer palm panel, double stitched for extra protection alongside under perforated fingers and an oversize silicone Velcro strap for a tight closure without snagging. It comes lined in poly satin for comfort, with an ultra low weight and a quick dry construction.
Each pair is hand cut and crafted from treated Scandinavian aniline cow hide each with their own unique patina. Every panel has been designed to sit close to the hand yet allow fluid motion with protection. Every pair feature Velcro Buddy Tabs to keep your gloves together.
These are a beautiful glove with a very technical design. Anthony is fanatical about detail, and this glove is a testament to his commitment to quality small runs over mass production.