In pictures, the Icon 1000 Shortie Jacket looks like a typical leather vest. When it arrived in the office, it was not what I was expecting. It was something different altogether. Weighing in at about 4-1/2 pounds there’s a definite feeling of girth and protection not typically found on a basic vest. Made from beaten-down Brazilian cows, it was so soft out the box it felt as if I’d been wearing it for years.
The area we were riding had same-day temperature swings of about 40 degrees. In the morning I wore a flannel underneath to keep warm and when the temperatures sored, my exposed arms helped me beat the heat. I think it fits a cool niche between a typical all leather jacket and a vest for hot weather riding. The Shortie might short your wallet at $400, but thankfully a free one is included in the jacket. Check out some of the other gear at icon1000.com.
Moc-Toe boots with crepe soles seem to be what the “in crowd” of riders is wearing these days. The Redwing 875 boots are not so much of a fashion statement as just what most guys in SoCal wear at their everyday jobs. Most workers’ local unions have a deal with Redwing retail outlets where vouchers are traded for boots, so the comfortable thick leather upper and non-marring soles makes the 875 the boot of choice. It just so happens that most of these types of blue-collar guys are riders too.
Another reason the 875s are popular is that after about five days of break-in pain, the boots become so form-fitted and comfortable that wearing any other boot or shoe (even on the weekends) is pretty much out of the question.
These made-in-USA boots are not cheap, but ankle surgery runs about $12,000, so a nice $200 boot that fits right and offers good protection seems be a good deal for two Benjamins. Get your heels in the real deal at redwingboots.com.
ProCycle DT Motorcycle Lift
If you are going to do any sort of work on your bike more than putting air in the tires, a lift in your garage is a must. It will save your back and knees and keep you from getting squashed when a 1,000-pound bike flops over while you’re wrenching from the floor. I have used many lifts and most of them have the same features: most are low quality and become downright scary when using them. This lift is the exception and is a real quality piece of equipment. The air-operated ProCycle DT has a 24x93-inch diamond plate table, so it can hold the longest of choppers. To get the bikes on the lift it comes with a 20-inch removable approach ramp. To keep bikes secured while on the lift a beefy wheel chock is standard equipment. It’s only 645 bucks, so before you spend more dough on some shiny paint or another project bike you will never get to building, do yourself a favor buy one of these lifts. Your body will thank you at a later date. Check them out at directlift.com
Leather Jean Jacket
For me, finding a good-looking daily riding jacket that fit correctly has not been an easy task. I have worn dozens of mid- and high-priced leather jackets and have always found fault with them. Some fit well, but looked like a billboard and some were stealthy, but felt like cardboard. Suffice to say I have been wearing uncomfortable jackets for safety and was fed up.
After searching my options and hearing good things about the brand, I decided to give a Fox Creek Leather Jean Jacket ($346) a whirl. Situated in Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fox Creek is a family-run business that that has been making all of its gear right here in the USA for more than 40 years.
The jacket looks very basic, which is what I was after, but it has all of the features I was looking for. Tough leather and top-quality construction were my main concern and the Leather Jean Jacket had both of those in spades. The beefy 1.8mm leather is some of the nicest stuff I have ever worn. It’s very thick, but I didn’t have to walk like a robot or drag it behind my truck for a month to get it to break in. In fact from the day I dawned the jacket, it felt like I had been wearing it for years.
After a decade of searching for the perfect daily riding jacket I think I have found my leather life partner, just as long as I don’t get too fat for it.