This weeks Gear Guide features summer leathers, a handy pocket knife, a lock with attitude, a tough as nails pack and fuel to keep you charged up.
VANSON LEATHERS PERFORATED DRIFTER JACKET
Although the sunshine in the UK is mercilessly brief, riding in hot weather and still trying to protect yourself can be an uncomfortable task. Vanson have produced the perforated version of their classic Drifter jacket to help keep you cool and protected on your summer blasts.
Vanson is America's leading producer of high quality motorcycle apparel. Vanson (a contraction of the last names of Van der Sleesen and his original, but brief arrangement with a partner) was founded in 1974. Mike Van der Sleesen had been working in France at a motorcycle dealer at the time and had been traveling to England to pick up parts and supplies. This was when the sun was setting on the English motorcycle empire but there were still several marques thrashing around in their death throes.
While Van der Sleesen was on one trip he made a contact in England to distribute English made leathers in the United States. Britain was then having difficulty producing much of anything at the time (sort of like the US today) and the English leathers production facility (a terraced house) was unable to produce. Van der Sleesen took over the designs and brought the production facility to Boston in probably one of the last episodes of off-shoring English manufacturing to its former colony.
The Perforated Drifter jacket incorporates retro styling with contemporary safety and comfort features. The straight front zipper, two zipped hand pockets and fitted kidney panel reference the classic cafe-racer style.
It is fully perforated and and features a fully breathable mesh lining, providing a high level of ventilation. With the addition of subtle yet substantial CE approved body armor and the patented sleeve vent that maintains the diameter of the sleeve whether open or closed, the Drifter jacket maintains its shape and therefore the safety and comfort.
The Drifter riding jacket is comfortable to wear on or off the bike, and avoids the need to boil yourself in order to keep protected.
WYNNCHESTER VINTAGE SWISS ARMY MOUNTAIN PACK
Wynnchester source and refurbish classic canvas military gear bringing back to active service the very best, most bomb-proof and durable European military rucksacks ever made, robust and functional military gear that deserves not to be forgotten, and prove that old is still often much better than any modern gear.
Perhaps the best military canvas rucksack of all time is the 1950′s canvas and leather Swiss Army Mountain Pack. A beautiful elegant and functional design, this pack is made in a very lightweight flax and nettle canvas typical of Swiss army packs of that era.
The canvas was developed during WWII when the country was surrounded on all side and fearing invasion by the far larger armies of the Axis powers the Swiss camped out in the high alps ready to defend from the heights; this meant everything had to be hauled up to the top of the mountains so the Swiss army developed a range of innovative load carrying techniques and equipment. Switzerland had to become self-sufficient in many things due to blockades and cotton was unavailable to them. Stinging nettle is a very high performance fibre as it happens with immense breaking strain and other useful properties. The Flax provides the suppleness and together they present a speckled appearance known as ‘salt and pepper’.
The pack has tough forged anodised metal fixings, thick leather and metal buckles. An internal aluminium frame provides a curved shape which keeps the pack off your back together with a hip tension band, and with these features and the overall ergonomics this is a very comfortable, compact pack. A drawstring system seals off the top of the pack and there’s a single large outer pocket. A full leather base protects the pack when put down on the ground, and all the leather is beautifully and incredibly robustly saddle-stitched.
Wynnchester source these and feed the canvas and leather with various oils including beeswax and flax oils for the special canvas, which takes the dried out grey canvas back to it’s original working condition and military colours. An amazing and iconic pack, and getting rarer and rarer.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY BSMC’S OWN TIMM WELLENS - IRON AND RESIN SQUID BATTLING SCRIMSHAW
We all love value for money. There is nothing better than finding something that is fit for purpose at the right price. Whether it is a new tool that costs a small fortune but makes life easier, or the old exhaust that you picked up for quid that is in desperate need of love. I can remember exactly to moments that you discover such items.
After opening the box from Iron and Resin, I picked up the Squid Battle Scrimshaw pocket knife. The first thing that came to mind was the weight. It wasn’t so light that it felt flimsy, but that ideal weight that made it substantial. It will never sit too heavy in your pocket, but I will always be able to locate it quickly.
After feeling it I started to play with the blades, flicking them in and out, looking at the quality of the steel, and the machining of the various components that make up the knife. This knife was far from the ones I grew up with. I remember my grandfathers that he would bring fishing. That knife was 50 years old by the time I first saw it, so the years showed the great quality. But the I&R seem to have made something better. I can’t put it to specifics, but you know it when you hold it. It’s a proper tool.
The knife has three blades, each very useful for different purposes. The steel quality and sharpness are very good. The finish of the metal is polished and clean. But the biggest thing on this little dandy is the bone etched handle. The squid battling the whale is very cool retro image, to which the detail is brilliant. It’s a nice bit of kit, one that could you can pass on to future generations.
MAXIFUEL VIPER BOOST GELS
Riding bikes is a physical act that requires focus and concentration and relies on fast reactions. Tiredness kills bikers every year, and causes countless more accidents and injuries. Whether on a long commute, a touring holiday, or a Sunday blast, fatigue can cause significant problems. It’s always worth having fuel for your body on hand when going on long journeys, and a useful practical solution are sports aid gels.
There are many energy boost products on the market, but Maxifuel’s Viper Boost can give you the energy boost you need without creating the anxious buzzy sensation of other similar products. They’re easy to stash, and palatable, consumed easily on the roadside.
Viper Boost caffeine and carbohydrate gels offers a combination of convenience and research proven fuel and focus. Each gel provides 25g of Quadcarb fuel, replenishing nutrients in the form of sodium and stimulating caffeine to “...support exertion and help sustain performance”. As an easy to swallow, fluid consistency available in citrus burst flavour provides a refreshing, fuel fix and that something extra to help keep you alert and energised. These are safe, and are IOC present. Maxisport are passionate believers in drug-free sport.
The Maxifuel Viper Boost gels are the ideal size to carry in your pocket or pack when you’re out on a ride. The perfect solution to the practical issues of fatigue on the bike.
KRYPTONITE NEW YORK FAHGETTABOUTIT MINI LOCK
Kryptonite’s New York Fahgettaboudit Mini conjures up an image of a short, squat Brooklynite cast out of solid muscle and bad attitude yelling “Forget about it”, as he mocks the toe-rags trying to nick his bike.
This is a seriously tough little lock and is without doubt the strongest bike specific U-lock in the Kryptonite line up, with a substantial 18 mm Kryptonium steel shackle that will resist bolt cutters and leverage attacks. An oversize crossbar with additional Kryptonium steel sleeve provided significant security and is backed up with a double deadbolt locking mechanism for extensive holding power. The centre keyway design defends against leverage attacks.
Mini U-locks make sense; a smaller shackle makes them very difficult to lever, or indeed to get any sort of levering tool inside the shackle. They are also easy to stash in your pack, under your seat, hang off your frame or your belt loop. This is a tough lock that is highly portable. The downside is that limits the applications, but for on the move security this is second to none.
This lock is Sold Secure Gold rated, and it’s dimensions are 8.3 cm x 15.3 cm, and weighs in at 2.09 kg.