Warm feet, dry eyes, old school spanners and the classic black leather jacket. All in this week's Gear Guide.
PRODUCT REVIEW - REV’IT! REDHOOK JACKET - BY THE BIKE SHED’S GARETH CHARLTON
The black leather jacket. A staple for every generation and style of rider, it is completely ubiquitous with our passion, and yet it can be remarkably difficult to find one you like. Too much branding, too plain, too modern, too old fashioned, the list goes on. But in the Rev it! Redhook, "designed to match the style and sensibility of vintage motorcycle enthusiasts" I have found a jacket with every detail I desire.
It is a simple thing, nothing fancy, just swathes of grainy, sweet smelling leather, blocked into classic panelling with robust stitching. The shoulders and sleeves received the majority of the designers attention with some period race inspired padding, beyond that a small slanted chest pocket and outline stitching on the waist pockets are the extent of the design elements. Those traveling in your wake will see your brand allegiance through a small embossed logo on your lumber spine.
The Redhook comes in either black or brown Arizona cow hide, it features Knox removable elbow and shoulder armour with a pocket for an optional back protector. There is also a simply removable thermal body warmer making the Redhook a multiple season option.
The sleeves are a generous length and it has a fine tailored fit across the shoulders. On my tall body an extra inch or so length on the torso would be ideal but it sits well when on the bike with slightly extended lower back coverage.
My previous Rev It! experiences attest to sound build quality and everything suggests the Redhook will live up to these standards. Technically it is a fine jacket and if the design ticks your style boxes you will not be disappointed.
LEWIS LEATHERS ROAD RACING BOOT NO. 177
The Road Racer Boot no.177 from Lewis Leathers are a short, close fitting leather racing boot with back ankle and leg straps with two expanding gussets at the back of the calf. The quilted front panel provides extra protection, and the soles are stitched moulded non-slip rubber.
Lewis Leathers are the oldest British motorcycle clothing company, founded in 1892 by David Isaacs. The company supplied early aviators, motorists and motorcyclists with protective clothing against the cold and damp British climate. In the mid-1950s, D. Lewis produced the Bronx leather jacket, a landmark garment and one of the first products aimed directly at the post-war teenage fashion market, which was widely adopted by the Ton-up Boys and Rockers of the 1960s and sponsoring leading TT racers of the day.
The Road Racer Boots No.177 are steeped in the racing tradition. They first appeared in 1977 are were a reworking of the then ten year old Racing Boots. They introduced the quilted front panel, which provided protection with flexibility, the construction was, and remains unique. The two expanding gussets at the calf provide extra ease for wider legs.
These are a great looking boot that have have a cafe racer retro feel, but still hold up to the rigours of contemporary biking. They come in black, or if you’re ballsy enough red or blue, in sizes UK 4 -13.
BARSTOW LEGEND GOGGLES
“Let’s face it: vintage riding gear – boots, helmets, gloves, leather pants - was basic, uncomfortable and, overall... not very safe. Goggles? Same.”
So Barstow set out to produce a vintage style goggle with a contemporary build quality.
The Legend has a slightly more retro look than it’s cousin The Classic, with minimalist frame design and reduced branding. They blend the vintage with the urban and are built to a very high spec with triple layered foam and fleece padding, leather, suede and canvas straps and clear distortion free Dalloz lenses. The upper vents force air in and channel out moisture to reduce fogging.
Barstow have serious bike sport credentials, with names like Kim Boyle, Dimitre Coste, Keith Lynas and Scott Burnworth all sporting their eyewear.
The Legend are comfy and are easy on and off all day with gloves on. They work remarkably well both in the heat and the cold and can be worn both with full face (at a squeeze) and open face lids. They keep out the dust and the rain, and survive the odd skid across the dirt. They’re not expensive either.
Barstow certainly live up to their promise.
ANDOVER NORTON COMMANDO TOOL ROLL.
Now, as some of you close to the Bike Shed will know, I’ve been boring anyone who’s even remotely prepared to listen, (and a few who who weren’t) for months now with the exciting news of my incoming Norton Commando.
I’ll try not to send you to sleep with the tale of how the Commando was the first motorcycle I fell in love with as a seven year old, and how I would get bollocked to within an inch of my young life for drawing it’s sleek, then modern lines, whilst I was supposed to be solving equations.
What I will tell you though is that none of my metric tools work on her. I need AF and Whitworth if I’ve any hope of doing anything.
Premier marque specialists Andover Norton do a lovely tool roll for us old Brit virgins, one that’s in the spirit of the original unit provided with the Commando. Larger and more comprehensive, these UK sourced tools are professional workshop grade, and will find a use on any old Brits.
The kit includes the following:
3/16 x 1/4 Whitworth
5/16 x 3/8 AF
5/16 x 3/8 Whitworth
7/16 x 1/2 AF
9/16 x 5/8 AF
11/16 x 3/4 AF
5/8 x 3/4 AF
7/8 x 15/16 AF
Hex key 7/32"
Phillips/flat blade screwdriver
"C" spanner/valve adjuster
Guide tool - camshaft oil seal
2 Tire levers
Rolled in a seventies style vinyl, it’s rolled size is 3.5” diameter and 8 3/4” long. At just under £80 it’s a bargain, and will save you rooting around your Dad’s spider web coated, wood lice infested, rusty old tool chest to get to work on your soon to be pimped custom Commando.
SEALSKINZ THICK MID LENGTH SOCKS
The never spoken about, but forgotten at your peril, key garment when astride your steed are socks. How many rides have been transformed from a joy to an ordeal because of cold or wet feet? Whether it’s commuting, touring, or blasting around the twisties like Agostini on angel dust, your feet need to be insulated, or sooner or later you’re going to be in trouble.
Sealskinz make a wind and waterproof sock that really does what it says on the packet. What’s really good about these is they’re sleek, not at all like the bulky woolen things your dear old gran knitted that make your boots feel two sizes too small.
These are a thick weight, mid length sock for “....where added insulation is imperative.” They’re totally waterproof, breathable and windproof with merino wool lining for moisture control & comfort. They have an elasticated ankle and insteps that offer support and a comfortable fit. They have a thermal rating of 4 out of a scale of 1 to 5.
Sealskinz employ Aqua Dynamic Design, which encompasses not only Sealskinz 3 layer patented StretchDry product but also the cut and sew ranges and ensures that every sock they make is “engineered for performance, enabling you to stay out longer whatever the activity, whatever the weather.”
These are seriously technical socks, and protect against the elements more than any other sock that I’ve come across. They come at a premium, but in my opinion worth every penny.