In this week's Gear Guide we feature exquisite ladies bike boots, another fine lid from the guys at Hedon, an iconic Lewis Leathers jacket, the bible of choppers by The Vintagent, and something sweet to stop you losing your keys.
HEDON HEDONIST ASTON HELMET
One thing that defines Hedon's open faced helmets is their use of colour and finish. The Hedonist range is distinctive in it's striking bold tones rendered the shiniest of gloss and the flattest of matte.
In the Aston they have created a helmet that is both striking and subtle, featuring a gloss gunmetal shell, with two contrasting gunmetal matte stripes. Called the Aston, it's as slick as it's namesake.
Hedonist was created by partners Lindsay and Reg for "....those devoted to the joy of the ride and pursuit of unabashed pleasure.
" The Aston is trimmed and lined in genuine calf leather and features their logo plaque in brass gunmetal. It's a very slim fitting composite fiber shell of carbon fiberglass and carbon, and is lined with Hed Armor and 360" cushion padding, finished with Merlin anti-bacterial fabric. The strap is fastened with a gunmetal plated DD buckle. The Hedonist is ECE 22.05 certified, which means they're fully road legal for all of Europe and the UK. The helmets are all assembled in London by Lindsay and Reg themselves.
The Hedonist is a well fitting and very quiet helmet. The Aston is a beautiful lid that will look the business with all your brushed ally, titanium pipework, and battleship primer paint.
FRYE VERONICA BACK ZIP LADIES ENGINEER BOOTS
Women get a raw deal when it comes to motorcycle appropriate gear. Almost always they are forced to wear mens clothes in small sizes, or badly fitting specimens half-arsedly (if there is such a word) adapted from male designs by reluctant manufactures. Thankfully Heritage American cobblers Frye are an exception. They have designed an engineer boot in the Veronica that is tough and rugged enough to be worn on a bike, but feminine and stylish enough to be worn once off it.
Frye use their toughest skins for the hardworking Veronica, featured here with a full back zip. Four thick cut straps are buckled down with foundry forged hardware, with three straps securing the zip area. They come in antique pull up leather or soft vintage leather, with a rugged rubber sole and full leather lining. They have a 15" shaft circumference (based on a US size 6), a 13 1/2” shaft height, a 1 1/4” heel and come in a medium width. The Veronica back zip comes in ten different colour and hide combinations.
On March 10th, 1863, John A. Frye opened the doors of a small shop on Elm Street in Marlborough, Massachusetts. serving a simple purpose: to provide reliable and comfortable footwear for the daily working lives of the hundreds of factory workers in that small New England town. Each generation of Frye dedicated themselves to the art and craft of shoemaking, creating new patterns, discovering new materials, and even inventing shoe-making machinery. Their passion for footwear as durable as it is beautiful has been the company’s benchmark.
These are a lovely looking, built for business, women's boot, that work well whether on a bobber, cafe racer or brat. A truly rare commodity.
LEWIS LEATHERS SUPER MONZA NO.445 LEATHER JACKET
Lewis Leathers jackets go hand in hand with cafe racer culture, and have been worn by motorcyclists since way before the second world war.
Lewis Leathers started as D Lewis Ltd in late 19th century London, and supplied early aviators, motorists and motorcyclists with protective clothing, and by the mid 50s was the largest motorcycling clothing company in the UK. In the 1960s it aligned itself with the 59 Club and as Mods and Rockers slogged it out on bank holiday beaches, Lewis could be seen worn on both sides. Lewis have always provided racers with protective skins, whilst rock musicians adopted the cool styling as their own.
These days a Lewis Leather jacket requires a hefty investment but these jackets will last a lifetime. One of Lewis's most iconic jacket is the Super Monza,
The super Monza appeared in 1978 as an update on the particularly short Monza jacket. The Monza was an early seventies race inspired design that was instantly popular. The most apparent stylistic change of the Super Monza was the longer length. The side adjuster belts were moved to the back and an inside pocket was added. It came to be the most iconic Lewis Leather jacket of the late 1970s early 1980s.
An extra long jacket tailored from quality hide, it features a wrap over windproof front with heavy duty zipper, zipped pockets and cuffs. It features signature reinforced diamond padding at the shoulders and elbows.
All Lewis leather jackets are made to order and available in eight different shades of cow hide, so give yourself some time when ordering. If you are an odd size - built like Arnie or a Teletubby - Lewis offer a reasonably priced bespoke service.
"THE CHOPPER - THE REAL STORY" - PAUL D'ORLEANS.
“Where did you get this motorcycle?” “It’s not a motorcycle, baby, it’s a chopper.
” — Butch (Bruce Willis), Pulp Fiction
As bikers, many of us with a natural leaning towards grumpiness, tend to think we know pretty much all there is to know about bikes that worth knowing. Well, we're wrong. Paul D'Orleans, The Vintagent, is a man who puts virtually all of us to shame. He knows more, alot more.
Rider, collector, builder and historian, Paul is a rare breed of journalist who always educates and never condescends, and with an unbridled enthusiasm he has the infectious knack of rendering subjects once dismissed by some as irrelevant, utterly fascinating.
The sleeve notes to "The Chopper" claim:
"Whether you collect custom motorcycles or want to throw rocks at those biker freaks who leave you deaf as they zoom by, you need to know the story of the chopper. Because the story of the chopper is the story of popular culture."
I'm not a big chopper fan, in fact much of my interest in the new wave custom scene is a reaction against the blingy excesses of the Orange County chopper scene. But Mr. D'Orleans turns all of my ill-formed misconceptions on their collective head.
In an entertaining and illuminating narrative he navigates the journey of the chopper from the Great Depression to post war austerity, through to the explosive 1960s counter culture, past the excess of the 70s, through to the present day.
Accompanied by archival and contemporary photographs, this is a terrific read. Produced to the highest quality, this essential book for the custom bike library is equally at home on the coffee table as it is in the workshop.
SIDEWINDER APPAREL LEATHER LANYARD
Sometimes it the littlest thing that makes the difference between a perfect day out on the bike, and a wretched miserable ball-ache. One recent little thing springs to mind (yes Bike Shed crew, have your giggle now) - losing one's keys. Unless you lose them before you start your journey, such misadventure costs too much time and money for it to be vaguely amusing. Even now.
An easy solution is a lanyard. There are many on the market, but this one from Sidewinder is particularly sweet. Not too long, or too short, this handy and hard wearing plaited leather key holder is perfect. It securely clips onto belt loops, bags etc with high quality and reliable fittings.
Martin Black, the founder of Sidewinder Apparel states “Sidewinder is dedicated to bringing you high quality, practical & classic accessories for the modern Gent around town. We are very proud that all our items are crafted in small quantities within the UK
.” All materials are sourced only from British suppliers. Fabrics all come from British manufacturers. The leathers are European or British and conform to strict EU regulations, naturally tanned using vegetable tanning agents.
The lanyard comes in black, brown and untanned. Perfect!