Riding Gear Review
Motorcycle House contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to review some of their gear. They wanted me to review a set of their leather saddlebags, but, since I ride a VFR1200, that wasn’t possible. So, they asked if I’d be willing to review a jacket. They even let me pick the jacket I wanted to review. Since I’m a sucker for a nice leather jacket, I chose the Warrior motorcycle jacket. There was no quid-pro-quo for a nice review. The deal was that they’d send me a jacket, and I’d review it, as always.
Now, frankly, that’s a deal that sometimes worries me a little bit. What if they send me something that I think sucks? I can’t say its good if it isn’t, because if anyone buys it on my recommendation, then they blame me if it’s crap. I mean, fortunately, I’m big enough of an ass to take some free swag from a manufacturer, then tell the world if it’s garbage. Though, of course, it means no more free swag from them.
Honestly, I was worried that this might be a lame jacket because the VikingCycle Warrior Motorcycle Jacket is currently listing at Motorcycle House for…wait for it…$74.00. A real leather jacket for $74? Seriously? So, when UPS delivered it on Tuesday night, I opened the package with some trepidation. “Clearly”, I thought as I cut through the packing tape, “if they’re only charging 74 bucks, there has to be something horribly, horribly wrong with it.” And…there wasn’t.
The jacket is pictured here, front and back. Click on the images for hi-res versions.
On the outside, the Warrior jacket is a full-grain leather cruiser jacket with a scooter collar that has a snap closure, and a brass-zippered front—in fact, all the zippers are brass, and not plastic. Leather laces on each side allow you to tighten or loosen the body for a custom fit, and the sleeve zippers allow easy access for gloves. There are two zippered side pockets in front. In addition, there are four zippered vents—two each, front and back—to allow you get more airflow in warmer weather.
Inside, there are two breast pockets that have snap closures. There is a zip-out lining, and when it’s removed, the jacket body is fully lined in mesh for better airflow in warmer climes. The sleeves are satin-lined. Or, if not actual satin, a polyester analogue of it.
The jacket is not armored. That’s not a knock on the jacket. Cruiser jackets usually aren’t, and I knew it wasn’t armored when I requested it. As anyone who’s read me on the subject knows, I only ride in armored gear. So, obviously, this jacket would require me to break out my Six6One body armor kit for riding use. I have two other leather jackets, neither of which is armored, and I wear my armor kit under them all the time.
The jacket is padded, however, with padding at the elbows, shoulder and lower back. I know a lot of cruiser guys don’t wear armor, so the lack of it wouldn’t be a show-stopper for wearing this jacket while riding. It’s a show stopper for me though, because this jacket fits far too well for me to be able to get an armor kit under it. I asked for the Large size, and it fits my 5’10”, 200 lb. frame like I’d had it tailored. It fits perfectly. If you’re a little thinner, you might have to tighten the side laces a bit to get a perfect fit, but that’s it.
So, I will never be able to wear it while riding a motorcycle. And I’m glad I can’t. The leather is so soft and supple that I’d hate to expose it to weather and bug juice while riding. It would seem like some sort of sacrilege. This motorcycle jacket is far too nice nice to wear while actually riding a motorcycle. I don’t want it smeared with insect guts, and road tar, and icky, icky dirt. I want to keep it nice, and slather it with Wilson’s leather crème, and wear it everywhere else.
You know how, when you feel some leather motorcycle jackets, the leather is almost as stiff as cardboard and movement while wearing them is difficult? This jacket isn’t like that at all. The leather seems as thick as it should be for a motorcycle jacket, but it just wraps itself around you, and is so supple that, thanks to the gusseted shoulders, you have full freedom of movement. Not only is it comfortable, but the leather is soft and seductive. It makes you want to rub your hands over it and just…feel it.
Seriously, if you’re a rider that doesn’t wear armor obsessively like I do, you’ll be very happy with this jacket. Especially since, as far as I can tell, the price just can’t be beat. I don’t know of anywhere—even LeatherUp—where you can get a jacket like this for the price. Except maybe one of those old-style leather jackets with the diagonal zipper and fly-away collar, like it’s 1956. But they suck.
The only negative about the jacket is the zip-out “quilted lining”. It barely qualifies for that term. It appears to be two layers of nylon, with a paper-thin layer of “insulation” quilted between them. Frankly, while it is technically a “quilted lining”, it’s essentially worthless for the purpose of keeping warm in truly cold weather. For a “cold” southern California day in the low- to mid-50’s, it’s probably all you need for just walking around, instead of riding. If you are actually riding along at 60 MPH on the freeway—probably not so much. If you’re riding or in colder climes, you’ll need a real warmth layer, because this jacket’s lining won’t do the job. It’s not a cold-weather jacket.
But you know what? I don’t care. I don’t live in a colder clime, and, since the jacket arrived on Tuesday, I haven’t been able to ride my motorcycle. The weather was rainy for a day or two, and for the rest of the time, I’ve had to do things that required me to drive a car. I have still worn this jacket. Every. Single. Day.
The Warrior jacket has become my go-to jacket for everyday wear.The leather seems as thick as it should be for a motorcycle jacket, but it fits so well, looks so good, and is so comfortable, that it’s the perfect walking-around jacket for the Southern California “winter”. Everyone who’s seen it has complimented me on it.
As you may know, I bought a Pontiac GTO this weekend. Despite the fact that it won’t be raining tomorrow, I won’t be riding my bike to work, but driving the GTO in, to show it off.
And when I do, I’ll also be showing off my VikingCycle Warrior motorcycle jacket, too. After all, I’ve worn it every single day since I got got it. I’m certainly not going to stop now.