For Gear Guide #66 we have indulged in a feast of brown leather… Gloves from Davida, boots from TCX and a beautiful satchel from DragonBear.
D4Vi9A NUT Brown Leather Shorty Gloves
Tweed pressed, shirt starched, helmet polished to a mirror sheen, the entire ensemble carefully curated for what is without doubt the most stylish day in the motorcycling calendar, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. And then you go and ruin the entire facade with your dirty daily gloves or a pair of bright yellow mittens more suited to gardening than riding a motorcycle. But for this year’s ride I had a solution; my latest gloves from Davida have proved more than capable for the rigors of daily duties with the added bonus of being sartorially suitable for this most distinguished of days. (…Plus they matched my brown boots, seat & grips)
In the classic style of short military gloves the Nut Brown Shorty Gloves come with clean lines, minimal fuss and maximum comfort. They are made from smooth, supple cowhide with Kevlar thread stitching and lined with comfy fleece creating a simple and uncomplicated glove with great dexterity.
They are more defined by the features they lack than those they have, a simple yet functional double popper adjusting strap being the only real feature of note. On the road they are as unobtrusive as gloves can be offering great feel with ample warmth to extend their usage to the majority of British days.
As a long time fan of Davida lids the build quality of the gloves is of the high standard I expected, their products just work pure and simple whilst adding a touch of class and quality to any motorcycling wardrobe. If only the rest of my DGR attire worked as well as my gloves then I could ride dapper all the time. They’re also pretty warm now that there’s a distinct chill in the air.
TCX X-Blend Boots.
TCX was born out of the merger between Oxtar and Novation. My previous experience with Oxtar was a pair of their mighty Maxi-Enduro boots which were stiff and heavy as hell (albeit perfect for their requirements). So I was pleasantly surprised when slipping on the X-Blend for the first time to find them of a completely different ilk.
These leather beauties are soft, sophisticated and light day-to-day, drop the bike and walk around the city while maintaining the levels of protection that made TCX the first motorbike boot manufacturer to earn CE certification. Usually I travel with a pair of trainers in my backpack and wear a bike only pair of boots for the ride. I’ve had the luxury of never needing to be too formal and so my feet are unaccustomed to such style but I’m finding these so comfortable that I’m starting to look like an adult all day long.
The best thing about bespoke is getting what you actually want, exactly as you’d like it, with no compromise, and hopefully doing the job you intend it to do. I spend most of the time on my bikes carrying stuff. Having to hump shit on a motorcycle irritates me at the best of times, as almost always acts as an uncomfortable intrusion, compromising the potential enjoyment of the ride.
I have searched the length of the land and beyond to find the right bag. I’ve got a pretty good rucksack, but I wanted something reasonably smart that I could throw over my shoulder at work and didn’t make me look like a courier, and carry everything I need on my journey to and from wherever my job may take me. A seemingly impossible task.
Until I came across Dragon Bear. Raquel and Al make bespoke leatherwear to order, from dog collars, to book binders, to bags. A costume designer and prop builder in the film industry, they’re used to working quickly, to a high standard, and to an exacting brief. They’d already built me a great looking and extremely durable belt and Leatherman case, so I knew the quality of their work.
I spoke to them about my needs, and they came up with a design that more than met my expectations. They chose a piece of ethically sourced hide that was rough edged and with the unique branding intact. The construction is tough hand stitched, with high quality fittings and a thick adjustable shoulder strap with an oversize support. The courier style unfinished flap is fastened by a cross strap, which leaves the front of the bag unmolested. The leather is oiled to make it highly water resistant.
This is an incredibly handsome bag, but one which will last a lifetime. It’s extremely comfortable on and off the bike, and can be strapped close when riding. It can carry a heavy load made bearable by the thick strap that distributes the weight evenly.
Al and Raquel will design and build a bag to order. They can also make you belts, pouches, and any kind of strap you may need. Bespoke isn’t cheap, but getting what you want is a premium worth paying for. They are currently designing a set of panniers for my XJR1300 build.
Reviewed by Gareth Roberts.