A slick new take on the Bell Bullitt, a new visor range from Davida, a great new sweat from from El Solitario, a waterproof shoulder bag from Ally Cappellino, and rugged gloves from Icon. All in this weeks Gear Guide.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BIKESHED'S VERY OWN ROSS SHARP - ICON RIMSHOT GLOVE
Losing a glove is one of the most heartbreaking things a motorcyclist can endure. The persistent search in places already emptied and rummaged through can drive delirious thoughts about where one might have been when the functioning pair were last seen. OK, so crashing, theft and breaking down are irritating but mildly in comparison to admitting defeat and having to throw away that lonesome and redundant singular glove.
Luckily my recent experience of this was softened by Bike Shed’s Ali Latimer, who generously gave me a pair of Icon Rimfire gloves to test. Well that’s what I thought, but apparently he doesn't like externally seamed gloves so was simply palming them off. Personally I think it’s because he has lady hands and couldn’t touch the sides.
Icon from the Portland, Oregon produce some really well constructed gear, with their 1000 Collection proving popular with the custom scene as they manage to combine retro aesthetics with modern tech in a slightly more up to date package. Think post-apocalyptic urban street fighters with a slick, tailored, vintage feel.
The Rimfire glove is made from drum-dyed French cowhide with D3O® protection across the knuckles and features metal palm rivets to ward off gravel rash in case of a slide.
I have been using these gloves for about 2 months through all weathers and am pretty happy thus far. The sizing though is way out of whack, I am an extra large (if there are ladies reading this I’m considered a XXL by Italian manufacturers, just so you know) so rebuffed Ali’s offer of a pair of mediums. Strangely the medium slipped on and although snug didn't restrict movement, especially between thumb and index finger. The soft leather surrendered easily to a bit of sweat and movement and now the fit is spot on. The underside of the fingers is cross stitched with internal elastic which eliminates bunching and the palm also remains taught allowing good grip on the bars.
The same can’t be said for the rivets. Although they do look cool, if your bike has bar-end weights and you tend to hold the grips at their extremities the heel of your palm becomes more slippery than a politician with an expense claim form. In addition the external seams provide sumptuous comfort but do make single digit braking or clutch work slightly cumbersome. Now the leather is more supple the seams have capitulated and I look a bit less like a pianist when going for the levers.
The only other gripe I would have is that the velcro on the wrist strap is a bit sharp and either tickles or scratches. Some modification will be required with a blade.
Other than that the Rimfire is a really well made glove and I haven’t managed to break them or upset any stitching, and I’m pretty hard on equipment. With that irritating little man Jack Frost visiting London at the moment I thought that a thicker and more arctic-spec glove would be required to see me through winter but the French cow that gave up it’s coat must have been from hardy stock.
I recently saw a gentleman sporting the grey version of the Rimfire and came over all envious, Santa will be receiving an addition to his lengthy list.
PRODUCT REVIEW - ALLY CAPELLINO WAXED COTTON DISPATCH SATCHEL
A couple of weeks ago I waxed on all lyrical (see what I did there?) about Ally Capellino's backpack, proclaiming it to be (in my humble opinion) the answer to the discerning motorcyclist's prayers. This satchel is the shoulder bag version. It retains all the hardy waterproof (yes proof as opposed to resistant) qualities, and has good load space that can fit your laptop and tools in safely. It's smarter than the rucksack, so can be used for work meetings as well as humping power tools. It's 41cm long, 34.5cmhigh and 10cm deep. Plenty of room.
Ally Capellino initially started making bags for men in 2005. "The reaction was cautious; men’s handbags, manbags? Rucksacks were only for mountaineers and Totes only for women to carry groceries in. How things have changed." As a fashion brand they've done what their competitors rarely do, which is cater to the real needs of real men, creating good looking, hard wearing bags that multi-function and can take a battering.
Ben is a practical dispatch style satchel with a removable, adjustable and wide webbing strap that can be worn across the body or on the shoulder. With pared back simplicity, Ben is a waxed canvas unlined bag with bridle leather handles and concealed press stud pocket detailing on double over pockets. It comes in grey or black.
This is practical all the way. I've worn mine a few times on the bike now and it's bedding in well. It repelled the 'weather bomb" keeping my stuff safe and dry. It's rugged appearance allows it to be knocked about without too much care, and is easily wiped clean.
BELL BULLITT RSD COLLABORATION
After much fanfare, Bell released their retro full faced lid the Bullitt earlier this year. It's gone down a storm in the custom scene, providing all the safety standards of a modern full face helmet with cool seventies styling.
Bell boldly state " Inspired by the very first Bell Star helmet, the Bullitt is a modern take on the original. Featuring an exceptional fit and ultra-high quality details, the Bullitt is the perfect helmet for riders looking for a vintage look with full-face protection."
Bell have recently expanded the range to include the stunning Roland Sands Design collaboration. With blue, red and black strips and pin stripes, this has distinctive race feel, and is by far the most sporty design in the range. With the Bell online configurator you can have it fitted with clear and tinted visors, both flat and bubble. This is my personal favorite of the Bullitt line.
The Bullitt has an ultra low-profile fiber composite shell with a removable, washable and antibacterial Micro-suede interior. It has a padded chin strap with D-ring closure, and an exclusive Magnefusion keeper (patent pending). It also comes with a five year warranty. Its wide aperture allows for a broad field of vision.
EL SOLITARIO WOLFSKIN SWEAT
The Galician bandits are up to their mischief once again. Not content with building the most controversial and outrageous, and in my mind genius custom bikes, El Solitario continue to design some really tasty clobber too. Their latest venture is ES/Customs, individually finished garments that embody their custom ethos. They've excelled themselves with the Wolfskin sweat, which is just perfect for the winter months.
Built with heavy weight 100% natural cotton, The Wolfskin sweatshirt shares the same attitude and feel of their basic WTF sweatshirt, but with a combed interior for added warmth, real skin elbow pads, two front pockets, and the hungry wolf stitched to its front. A special wash and coating is applied and then they are hand finished one by one in their shop granting them a softer touch, giving each sweat a “life” of its own - making it personal and unique.
El Solitario add "Wolfskins have been individually broken in and present evident signs of wear. Because of the nature of the leather some brown color bleeding and marks will also be present and might increase with wash. We actually care for these peculiarities as they add personality and distinctiveness to each garment."
I love these guys, I love their bikes, and I love their gear.
DAVIDA WRAPA AROUND VISORS
Friends of the Shed, Davida, have launched three new styles of full length D4Vi9A (spelling Davida when typeset properly) wrap-around visors.
Available in more than ten different finishes, including clear, blue, yellow, smoke and chrome, all are made from 2mm polycarbonate, preformed in a variety of shapes, including the popular 70's bubble style. With three adjustable sliding studs all the new D4Vi9A visors have a universal fit, suitable for use with the Davida Jet, Ninety 2 and Speedster, as well as a wide range of other brands of jet-style helmets fitted with visor studs.
D4Vi9A 74 BUB Visor - a 70's style, full length, bubble shaped visor, available in Smoke and Blue.
D4Vi9A 74 WRS Visor - a full length, traditionally shaped visor, available in Light Smoke and Yellow or Light Gradient Smoke & Light Chrome Rainbow.
D4Vi9A 74 DPV - an extra long, traditionally shaped Visor, available in Clear.
As with everything Fiddy and the crew do, these are premium quality and perform exactly as they're meant to.