For Gear Guide #69 the Rev' It Zircon
proved an all time 'Shed favourite whilst on long term test and in the name of thoroughness we crashed and splashed in a pair of Stylmartin Indian boots
before standing back to admire an assortment of lovely lids on the Helmet Store Display
REV' It Zircon Jacket
All-in-one and four season are claims made by jackets of all trades and masters of none. There's a reason bikers have wardrobes bursting at the seams and rails bowing under the weight of a multitude of protective gear, clothing is a combination of compromises.
Rightly or wrongly looks are as important as protection. Clothing manufacturers aren't going to be in business long if they try to peddle crap looking clobber and punters won't last long riding commando because of poor design. We're a pretty fussy bunch here in the 'Shed (some much, much more than others) and we'll only stock gear in the shop that we think is decent and that will be appreciated by visiting shoppers. And when it comes to bagging stuff for long term tests we prefer to enjoy the experience rather than being guinea pigs.
Wind the clock back to autumn 2015 and the thought of shivering through another frigid British winter became too much. If you've read previous Gear Guides you'll be familiar with my inability to self regulate body heat so I didn't want to hear about compromises, just that whatever I'd be wearing would look good, keep the weather at bay and offer proper protection. Enter stage left the Rev'It Zircon.
The traditional look is nothing revolutionary, four pocket, just under three quarter length with a waist belt. I plumped for black as most of my bikes either lack a rear mudguard or require roadside fettling and general rolling around in the dirt. The abrasion resistant shoulder and elbow panels break up the silhouette and nod slightly to the technical features that Rev'It endeavour to incorporate into their fashionable urban range. Space-age words you can't pronounce and acronyms describing those features can be found here
First off, sliding into a Zircon is like nestling into a thick sleeping bag. The thermal liner is super plush but detaches easily in case you want to trade it for knitwear. Frankly though, don't bother until summer arrives. After scraping the ice off my seat the other day I donned the jacket for a -2∘C ride on an unfaired bike. With just a t-shirt, shirt (quilted) and woollen jumper underneath I arrived so toasty warm and smug that Dutch promptly ordered one for himself. Annoyingly he chose the more handsome, but less practical, sand colour and I now have slight jacket envy.
I've ridden through sideways squalls in London and howling gales in the Peak District and have remained dry and comfortable on every occasion so far.
Size wise I'm a boring British medium, a pint with a handle and bacon with the fat on type of medium, not one of these veganist, pencil armed men
that seem to be used for modelling clothing at the majority of motorcycle apparel manufacturers. I chose a medium Zircon it's a perfect fit.
However, if I lived in Scotland or somewhere equally devoid of the sun's rays I'd go for a large to enable an extra layer beneath. It'd also be wise to try the next size up from your usual if you ride a café racer or anything involving a bit of forward stretch. With the back protector inserted and a thick jumper underneath the cuffs come up ever so slightly short. But, I'll caveat that by mentioning that I'm still sporting short gloves that finish at the wrist. There are also internal elasticated cinches at the hem to ensure a decent seal and avoid chilly drafts.
The pockets are square and keep water out, and the bottom two are fleece lined when entered from the side, ideal for keeping frostbite at bay when waiting for the recovery man. I also like the outer phone stash pocket, thought has gone into this. The zip is yellow, making it easy to find the sucker with a full face lid and gloves still on, better yet it's accessible without undoing the main zip.
And there's a loop, a proper flipping hanging loop! You know, one that doesn't require the dexterity of juvenile octopus to operate. Seriously, other jacket makers, stop what you're doing and listen-up. A great looking garment is rubbish if you have to drop it on the floor due to an afterthought tab of fabric proffering as a storage solution.
Despite what I said about multi-season claims I'm looking forward to relying on the Zircon for summer evening blasts and will definitely be wearing it for longer camping tours later in the year. The Zircon is banging value given its refusal to yield too much to the aforementioned compromises and we've been selling loads of them.
As I mentioned, after seeing the sand-coloured version, Dutch snaffled one from the rail too, here's what he thought:
"As a brand Rev'It may not come with the cache of long-standing heritage or a Bond Street label, but the quality of the design, thought process and materials that go into this jacket are undeniable, and it's perfectly priced. Put simply, this jacket works and you'll never regret spending your hard-earned cash on it.
You know how you just love that worn-in, heavy leather you've had for 20 years, but it weighs a ton and lets the wind chill your kidneys, whereas that boring quilted North Face jacket you got last winter is practical, weightless and keeps you snug in a gale, well that's how I think of my Zircon; Practical, light and cozy. It's not something I'll be wearing at a Film Premier anytime soon, but for a proper bike ride on any day below around 10 degrees celsius the Zircon is my jacket of choice. If the day cools to minus 5 you'll get home without goosebumps, or if the day warms up to double figures it's not heavy or hot. I could go into detail on the fastenings and features, but basically there are pockets for everything and it functions faultlessly. If I was only allowed one jacket for all seasons and purposes, this would do nicely.
Having played down the style and the label, I really like the looks and cut of this jacket, and the sand coloured option adds a proper touch of class and character, which was how it caught my eye in the first place. Not only do most bikers compliment me on it and ask what exotic new brand of jacket I'm wearing, but it also makes me feel a bit more like an intrepid explorer than an urban commuter. Ross has the black one, and he's well-jealous."
Stylmartin Indian Boots.
I take my work very seriously. It may outwardly appear that I spend my days at The Bike Shed surrounded by splendid motorcycles in a shop filled with my favourite things with easy access to hot coffee, good food and snappy haircuts but actually, I am seriously hard at work. My job is rarely tougher than when I am required to sample the fine wares on offer in the shop. Stylmartin Indian Boots require testing? Fine, if I must. They probably expect me to jump in a river and crash in them as well...
Arduous research yields the knowledge that Stylmartin are a long established Italian maker of boots of all descriptions and that the company is as well known for its walking and climbing footwear as for its motorcycling boots. The Indian design illustrates the history of the marque perfectly with its walking boot styling cues and full motorcycle specific protection.
A bright sunny winters day suggested a ride to the countryside was in order for a paddle in a babbling brook to test this waterproof claim (see, I am even working hard whilst away from the office
). They are not marketed as waders but in the pursuit of thoroughness I plunged a size 11 into what looked a rather inconsequential flow of H20. A miscalculation in the speed of the stream led to a torrent flowing up and over the side of the boot and dowsing my left sock in super chilled water, excellent. More cautious water dipping with the right boot suggested that if used in an appropriate manner the waterproof claim is entirely realistic. Conveniently the heavens opened for the journey home and the still dry right sock remained dry for this more realistic test too.
As a diligent & thorough worker I was keenly awaiting a situation in which to rigorously test the safety structures of the Indian. Reinforced toe and heel boxes, point of ankle caps, a padded collar and stiffened shank running through the excellent non-slip Vibram sole constitute the boasted features. A dark, grimy, wet night in the Blackwall tunnel a renta-van-man with a heavy foot and nervous disposition provided the perfect opportunity for such a test - after determining that the corner ahead was a potentially fatal hazard he screeched to a hasty halt.
My front brake and tyre promptly threw in a wet towel and decided to leave the task of slowing man and machine down to the grinding of boots and engine cases down grubby asphalt. After springing to my feet, righting my grazed steed and swiftly collecting various motorcycle parts I was back on my way pleasantly pleased to learn that my feet and ankles were entirely intact. Crash test pass. (Yes you self-righteous preachers out there I have re-examined my condition specific braking distances...).
After a stiff start (quiet at the back) the boots have bedded in well and are now all day comfy. Post Blackwall bash and with a month or so's daily abuse the boots, to my mind, look splendid (see above). The leather is allowed to scuff up readily for the worn in look but can be polished back to a sheen with leather cream if desired. The second pair of laces may feel like a child shoe store gimmick but once again to complete a thorough job I sampled both. I like the red. They increase my corner entry speed by at least 2%.
I love my Indian's and judging by the reaction of the lovely folk I am required to chat to all day at work they are a very fine thing. Now I must get back to work - some beautiful new helmets have just been delivered...
Helmet Store Display
Helmets are beautiful. Well, some helmets are beautiful - techtastic, flip front, vent filled noggin toppers (as practical as they may be) definitely do not warrant a lingering look. But the lids that fill the 'Shed shop and that we see protecting punters each day are truly things of beauty. Less sling it under the desk, more place it on the coffee table stand back and admire. Now, for those lids where even the coffee table won't quite cut it, Helmet Store Display
provide an option worthy of the finest skull saver.
Based near Portsmouth in Hampshire, Helmet Store Display specialise in the manufacture of precision engineered display stands for motorcycle helmets. All of the component parts are produced in the U.K. to exacting standards before hand finishing to ensure quality.
"When you've spent £200, £400 or even £600 on a high performance helmet, we know you don't want it placed anywhere where it could be knocked, scratched or damaged. Placed on an appropriately positioned HSD stand your helmet will be protected and ventilated, keeping it fresh while the stand itself will look as fantastic as your motorcycle helmet."
The mounting plates comes in a variety of different styles depending on your personal marque affiliations. To date HSD have crafted variants including BSA, Norton, Triumph, Ducati, Indian, Yamaha and a host of others. Special requests and designs can also be turned out should you be looking for an item to pair with your most obscure machine.
These stands have been put together with the care and attention to detail that you would expect from a craftsman. Hidden mounting screws, brass finishing screws, retaining grub screws and a self assembly process to teach those Swedish flat packers a thing or two. We have given a variety of lids pride of place upon the BSA unit we had in the shop and each and every one sat resplendently and safely on its padded pad. Every motorcycle cave needs one.