Helmets for hedonists, macho pink sweats, crashed-in boots, and hand stitched leather all in this weekend's Gear Guide.
PRODUCT REVIEW - HEDON HEDONIST OPEN FACED HELMET
Hedon founders Reginald and Lindsay have designed a beautiful helmet that speaks directly to the new wave custom scene. Tired of conventional style, they set out on a mission to “...rethink the urban rider’s protective headgear”, crafting helmets with future retro styling combined with contemporary colours and finishes.
Hedon are a small company based in North West London, producing limited runs. Their ethos is based upon the belief that “...when form and function come together seamlessly, style is effortless.”
The Hedonist helmets are small, and I don't mean they squeeze your head, but have a small shell size that looks authentically old school and avoids the bulbous look of many contemporary open face lids.
The shell is constructed with a composite fiber of carbon fiberglass and carbon. The shell contains Hed Armor lining with 360" cushion padding and Merlin anti-bacterial fabric. They have full ECE 22.05 certification.
They are incredibly well constructed and each one is hand crafted. They are comfortable out of the box, with a hugging fit that doesn't pinch. These feel safe. The leather lining is soft against the skin, and is secured with a felt lined strap. The Hedonist feels like a luxury product.
I got mine in matte Teal with a tan natural calf leather lining. The finishing details work really well with the leather trim around the opening, the leather goggle strap, and the copper and brass fittings. I also got the blue bubble visor, which again is well constructed, clear and surprisingly distortion free. Check out the website for the wide range of colours in both matte and gloss finishes. They’ve chosen well - the Mint, the Cactus and the Creme are stunning.
The Hedonist is an excellent helmet, and at a mid-price range, it rivals much more expensive lids in build quality, comfort and design.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY BSMC’S OWN ROSS SHARP - REV’IT MOHAWK BOOTS
Unless you ride a scooter or Charlie McGregor touring machine, carrying capacity is unlikely to stretch to a spare pair of shoes once you reach your destination. This left us bikers with a choice, Red Wings or proper armoured boots, until now. Rev’it Mohawks bridge the gap between safety and style, arguably better than what has previously been on offer. I haven’t tried the Stylmartin Indians so can’t comment on these, other than I prefer the Mohawk’s aesthetic.
Plain and understated the Mohawk’s look good in the only colour available, chestnut brown. There’s no fake ageing going on, just quality tanning of the full-grain cowhide. The ‘pull-up’ leather used ensures an organic look once the boot is worn in and due it its oiled and waxy composition will repel water and last ages. Crease lines and light scuffs in pull-up leather can be rubbed to release the oils and rejuvenate blemishing and revive the colour.
Thermoformed plastic toe and heel protection elements are unobtrusive and visually unnoticeable, complimented by subtle ankle plates which all go someway to ensuring you walk away from a tumble. A good urban boot but I would probably prefer something more substantial if attacking the Indy Mile. There’s 3M reflective tape on the thumb loop on the rear for added visibility.
Laces are waxed cotton covering a gusseted tongue to keep the elements out. The top lace rivet is ochre which may only be a small detail but it works. The sole has a low, gradual rise heel making it versatile for most foot peg set ups and walking around town. To keep the toe area looking good and preventing that dark shifter mark, the boots come with a matching protective leather strap, which is interchangeable if you ride right-shift Brit bikes.
The supple leather and padded ankle cuff promised much but my initial walk around was about as comfortable as the atmosphere on a Brazilian footballists tour bus. Mostly due to my stupidly shaped heels so a couple of pairs of socks should see me through the breaking in period. Other shoe and boot manufacturers out there, look inside these boots and take note. Seems, stitches, creases, flaps or folds are not welcome in the heel area, there is no need! Well done Rev’it for acknowledging this and making a completely smooth, irritation free heel zone.
I’m looking forward to sporting these handsome boots on the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride later this year once they look a little less box-fresh.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY BMSC’S OWN TIMM WELLENS - DUKE & SONS WALLET
Everyone that went our Event III knows Jan from Duke and Sons. He was the craftsman that everyone watched build masterpieces from leather. He and his wife, Ingeborg, flew to London to be with us that weekend to create a lasting relationship.
I am a stickler for quality. It is so important to me I am on the verge of starting a petition to outlaw Wal-Mart/Asda. When I saw Jan making his belts, card holders and wallets, I really looked at what he was doing. This guy is an artisan, extremely skilled in his trade. The result is brilliant, high quality goods.
So at the show I order his BSMC inspired wallet. It took a month to arrive, and once I pulled it from the bag I knew that I bought a wallet that would last me a very long time, if not a life time. Everything from the stitching to the carving of the piston and wing, it is all done meticulously well. The leather is tough, rigid at first, but durable to last decades of abuse pulling it from your pocket to buy the next round.
So he offers this wallet with variation on the colours, threads and engraving. I went for the brown and the reddish stitch and it looks great. Like I said at first the leather is stiff, but after a while it will soften and form its unique shape.
His next project for me is a passport holder.
PRODUCT CRASH TEST BY BSMC’S OWN TIMM WELLENS - REDWING IRON RANGER BOOTS
Its always a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. We all know that. So when we get out on our bikes it must cross everyone’s mind. I think about ‘when’s the next time’. The time before last I was intentionally knocked off by some white van man experiencing road rage through Clapham Common. Kent Building Contractors… twat.
A couple weeks ago I was on my way to Muff to meet the other Shedders for Sunday breakfast. Everyone that lives in London knows Sunday mornings the roads are empty, relatively speaking. I did the checks on the bike, which is strange for me I never do pre-ride checks. So before I set off I put some air in the front tyre and went. The ‘67 Bonnie was running a treat, the morning was warm and fresh just after a rain storm. I was cruising towards Blackwall Tunnel when something happened. Next I know the front end is sliding off to the left and I see the road rapidly approaching me on my right. Fortunately I got away with only a broken wrist and a damaged bike. Not even a flesh wound.
As it was only a quick ride I wore my favourite boots, the Redwing Iron Rangers. These boots are great, so comfortable and stylish, they make the prefect boot. If you can’t tell, I love these boots. So getting up from the wreck, I was first concerned about the bike then myself. After realising both were fine, I started to look over what damage I caused to my clothes. Of course I look at my boots thinking I would have some heinous scraps or rips. But no, nothing really. Very little damage. The scratches on the boots were minimal, even character building. A little oil and they blend in. The lace loops held up fine, remarkably strong. The sole completely intact. Amazing. They faired far better than the jacket and gloves which took the secondary bashing. There is something to be said for wearing the right kit. Redwing may seem trendy, but they haven’t changed since I knew them growing up. It goes back to my original review on these boots, the quality shines through even after the little spills we take.
PRODUCT REVIEW - WTF EL SOLITARIO SWEAT SHIRT
Our good friends from the Galician backlands having been making some pretty cool gear for their Iberian and Basque anarchist biker brothers and sisters for quite some time. Their Rascal pants have become something of a legend. Like their bikes, the build quality of El Solitario’s gear is exceptional.
I am something of a sweatshirt geek. I live in them, whether under leathers on the bike, working on the bike, or hanging out with the dogs dreaming of bikes. I hate shitty sweats. They should be like jeans, getting better with age, not going all thin and brittle and threadbare.
David and Val have spent over a year researching the right suppliers in the pursuit of ‘...obscure perfectionism”, discarding sackfuls of samples in order to get to the point where they’re made their way. Made in Portugal these sweats are just right down to the fit, the ribbing, the neck, and even the labels are pretty cool.
I got mine in the marbled pink, because hey, I like pink, and real men wear pink. Take the piss if you will, because I don’t care because I love my pink sweatshirt. If you fancy something a little less bright, then it comes in charcoal too.
As you’d expect, these are 100% cotton.