VikingCycle Skeid Jacket
So, here’s the usual thing with gear and apparel reviews, when you write for a web site like this one: someone sends you an item to review for free, and which you get to keep. In return, you are obligated to write a review of it. Most of the time, it’s no big deal. They send you a mid-range bit of riding gear, you write a review with mid-range approval, because they almost invariably send you an item that does the job it’s supposed to do, at a reasonable price.
I mean, nobody sends you a piece of suck, expecting you write about it glowingly. If you care about your credibility, you don’t want to give something a glowing if it isn’t, and you don’t want to come off sounding like a company fan-boy shill. But, what happens if you get sent an item you really, really like? That’s the situation I find myself in with this review.
A while back, Motorcycle House sent me their Warrior Motorcycle Jacket, which I reviewed fairly positively, considering that I would never wear it while riding a motorcycle, as it was unarmored, and I’m an ATGATT guy. But, I still wear it regularly as a, you know, jacket.
This past week, they sent me another jacket to review, the VikingCycle Skeid buffalo leather jacket. Now, I have to write a review of it. And, in doing so, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to sound quite a bit like a company fan-boy shill. Because it’s frickin’ great. In fact, it’s starting to make me think that Dainese and Feldscheer are massively cheating us with the prices they’re charging for their gear.
First of all, let’s talk about the price. It’s $99 from the Motorcycle House web site. Keep this price uppermost in your mind, as I continue, because this price, for this jacket, is literally insane. There is no possible way that they can make money selling a jacket this good at a price this low, yet, somehow, they do.
The leather is thick buffalo hide, colored a rich, chocolate brown. The jacket I received is a 2nd-generation version, so it looks slightly different—and better—than the first-gen jacket displayed at the Motorcycle House web site. “How thick,” you may be asking, “is the leather?” Well, the shipping weight of the jacket was 9.2 lbs. And it is all leather. There’s none of this cheating business where the non-impact areas of the jacket are some hideous textile. If an area needs to be stretchy, like under the arms or at the gathered waistband, the leather is pleated. If something needs to be zipped, it is zipped with brass zippers, not plastic ones. That’s how you end up with a jacket that weighs nearly a dime. The elbows, by the way, have an additional layer of leather for extra abrasion protection.
Leather jackets, of course, are famously hot in the summer, so the Skeid jacket has large, zipped vents in front and back, as well as on the upper arms. This is a fairly warm jacket, too, in the winter, or at least as wintry as it gets in San Diego. I’ve been riding with temperatures in the 50s to the 70s, and have been perfectly toasty without the zip-out liner, and acceptably cool with the vents open in the higher temperatures.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “You’ve been riding while wearing it? Does that mean it has armor protection?” Why, yes…yes it does. You can even see the outline of the back plate in the picture above. It has removable, dense-foam elbow, shoulder, and back protection. It isn’t hard-shelled, so not CE-approved, but it’s thick enough that I judge it acceptably protective for daily riding. The jacket is also fitted so that the forearms are snug enough to ensure that the elbow armor stays exactly where it will need to be if you go down. The lower arms have zippered closures with snap cuffs. It’s tight where it needs to be and loose where you need movement. The jacket I received was a large, and it fits my 5”10”, 190-lb. frame perfectly. It also looks pretty darn good.
Since I got it on Monday, I have worn this jacket every time I have ridden my new Trophy. I will wear it the next time I ride, too, and expect to continue doing so every day until the 100-plus degree heat hits in late summer, which will force me to go back to my Olympie Motorsports jacket, even though I now regard it with a vague contempt. The Skeid Jacket is my new go-to, every day riding jacket, and my Olympia Motorsports jacket now just sits on a shelf, sad and lonely.
The Skeid is also a very pocket-y jacket. There are two chest flaps with snap closures. With the vents zipped up, the flaps give you access to breast pockets that are about 12” deep. With the front vents zipped open, you lose the chest pocket on the right side, but the left side pocket remains, and, in addition to the flap on top, there is another zipper inside the vent that gives you side access to the big chest pocket. There are also waist pockets on each side, accessed via brass zippers. On the inside of the jacket, there are two inner chest pockets with snap closures, each of which is large enough to accommodate an iPhone 6+ with it’s 5.5” screen.
The mandarin collar has a snap closure, and the neck is topped with soft neoprene above the leather, so it doesn’t irritate the back of your neck by rubbing it with a hard leather seam. The built-in liner is a breathable, mesh polyester, and an additional, removable nylon liner is also included.
The removable liner isn’t really designed for a lot of extra warmth, being basically two layers of nylon, with very little insulation in the quilting. The underarm area of the liner is a stretchy polyester material for movement. The thing is, the leather is really thick, and I’ve been wearing it all week, mainly without the liner, because, even with temps in the 50s, the jacket is plenty warm without the liner, just wearing a regular shirt under it. And the liner is another couple of layers of nylon, so it will no doubt be more than warm enough for any weather I’m likely to encounter in San Diego. Of course, I’m also riding a Triumph Trophy, so I’m already pretty protected from wind and weather. If you’re on a CBR, hanging out in the slipstream, your opinion might vary, but I doubt by much.
So, to sum up, what we have here is a thick buffalo leather jacket with extra armor protection, lots of pockets and zippered vents—with brass zippers—that looks nice, and fits exactly the way a motorcycle jacket is supposed to fit to offer protection if something goes terribly wrong during your ride.
I showed the jacket to some serious motorcycle guys at work, and asked them to guess what this jacket would cost. Their guesses ranged from $500 to $900. They were slack-jawed with stupefaction when I told them it was under a hundred bucks. I’ve looked this jacket all over to try and find some area where cost-cutting and economy is obvious, and the only thing I can find is that a) it’s made in Pakistan, and b) there are raw leather ends around the collar and front zipper stitching, instead of having the leather ends folded back under the stitching. But, that alone can’t possibly account for the insanely low price for this jacket.
So, how does VikingCycle offer this jacket at this price? Well, according to them, it’s simply what they do. They offered me this as their corporate profile:
Motorcycle House has been serving riders of all types since 2007. We’re a quick growing company of similar minded riders who want to help make a difference in the Motorcycle Industry. The company was started when we realized that there wasn’t a company that was passionate about riding. We’re passionate about Motorcycles regardless of what Model and Make you ride. Our company goal to help riders save money and also provide the best customer service possible. We’re tired of big motorcycle retailers that don’t understand the motorcycle lifestyle. Since we’re committed to bringing the best values and comparable products. We can use our overseas manufacturer connections, and offer necessities like Motorcycle Jackets, Chaps, and Gloves for much better prices without sacrificing our own integrity or quality. We’re always improving and looking to expand, be sure to let us know what we can improve on. There is also a company named Viking Bags which is our sister site. Viking Bags has become the motorcycle luggage authority for bikes of every type.
As far as I can tell, based on the products I’ve seen from them, every word of the above paragraph is true.
Honestly, though, even if they hated motorcyclists and motorcycling with every fiber of their being, I’d still give them my money for this jacket. I don’t care if they’re sacrificing children in the fires of Moloch. If they can produce this jacket at this price, then I’d say the little tykes deserve it. “More wood, Priest! Let the purifying flames burn higher! I wear a large.”
Did I mention that I love this jacket? Because, In case I wasn’t clear about that, I do.
Long story short, I now have a new jacket that I wear while riding every day. If you buy a different jacket, or pay hundreds of dollars more, well, then, you’re a moron.
UPDATE (2 Feb 15): Just so you know, this is the only jacket I’ve worn since I got it. It stays on my motorcycle, and has become my go-to jacket every time I ride. So, I guess at some point, I’ll be able to prove how it stands up to daily use on a long-term basis.