This week's Guide brings us lovely skinny jeans for lady bikers, a selvedge denim helmet bag from Dawson Denim, a badass jacket from Icon, some slick leather gloves from Helstons, and a stunning art book on Wheels & Waves.
PRODUCT REVIEW DAWSON DENIM HELMET BAG
"Dawson is our family name. We simply aim to produce the best Workwear we can using our 15 years working with denim."
Dawson Denim is Kelly Dawson and her partner in both senses of the word, Scott Ogden.
All of Dawson's products are made in their own specialist workshop in Brighton, East Sussex, in small limited run batches. They cut all their own patterns by hand the old fashioned way and all the fabrics are hand cut. The sewing machines they use are mostly 50's denim specific that they have personally restored to full working order. The fabric used is woven on old 1920's looms, and the fabric is 13oz Japanese selvedge.
Kelly and Scott hand produce a stunning helmet bag. Apart from motorcycles, two of my favourite obsessions are denim and helmets. So what could be more satisfying than a denim holdall for any one of my every increasing array of lids?
The bag is constructed from 13oz selvedge denim from Okayama, Japan, features a 1928 spec Riri zip, lined with french ticking stripe, an 8oz leather base and heavy leather straps. It has a internal leather pocket.
This is a stunning bag. Some would say over-engineered, but in the custom bike world that's a compliment of the highest degree. It looks terrific and fits any open face lid securely. It's tough, light, and looks the business. It's comfortable to carry and will protect your brain-wear from scrapes and scratches. It's a welcome relief from the horrible leatherette or nylon offerings from the mainstream manufactures.
Dawson Denim is steeped in motorcycle heritage. Kelly rides a rigid framed 1954 D1 BSA Bantam, a Vespa VBA, and Scott rides Lambretta LI150, all fine machines in my book! The come from a rich biking lineage, Kelly's Dad an original North London ton-up boy, and her brother a junior scrambling champ in the 1070s.
The Dawson branding/logo was inspired by the 1911 Bat motorcycle. It's the cheesehead screw that holds the levers.
What's terrific is each piece Dawson produce comes with a “log book” inspired by the same document from the golden age of motoring. "The ideal of being built to last has long been forgotten but we are proud to be able to offer a durability guarantee with each of our products
." The log book entitles the owner to a service in the first six months when any wear and tear created in this time will be repaired by hand in their workshop.
PRODUCT REVIEW - UGLY BROS WOMEN'S TWIGGY JEANS
It's rare to find good looking protective clothing, and even rarer to find bike wear for women that's protective AND fashionable. It's almost non existent.
This is where Ugly Bros have pulled off a coup with the Twiggy jean. Made from 12oz stretch denim with elastic shirring knee and lower waist back panels, they come with removable Powertector knee and hip protectors. They are fastened with a tough YKK zipper in a skinny true to size fit. They come in black and an indigo fade.
Tested by friend of The Bike Shed, Sabrina Nova, she enthused "The wash on the blue Twiggy's is beautiful. They have a comfortable high waist, have a good degree of stretch that allow me to move around the bike. The armour is instantly removable and the jeans look great with and without it."
Living and riding in Florida, where you can literally roast yourself riding in leathers, these serve Sabrina as a practical and reasonably well ventilated alternative to hide, whether cruising on her Harley or tearing it up on her wicked CB cafe racer. Here in the UK these are suitable a spring/summer wear.
Born almost a decade ago, Ugly Bros came to life from a desire to fuse protective motorcycle gear with high-style fashion garments. "Anyone who rides a motorcycle will know wearing your moto gear all day is impractical."
Vince, the founder of Ugly Bros, has developed a range that takes a very different approach to bike wear.
"We felt it was time for a new range of garments. Designed to satisfy the needs of both Riders and ‘Biker Style’ fashionistas, equally protective, as they were fashionable, that looked as great in the office or around town, as they did on the bike."
The result is high-style fashion fused with function and safety technology, and in Twiggy a great looking jean than women can feel confident in both on and off the bike.
Images courtesy of J Gavin Jordan, and a big thanks to Sabrina.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BSMC'S VERY OWN IAN HEARTFIELD - ICON BASEHAWK JACKET
I’m a big fan of windproof clothing. Using my windproof North Face as a mid-layer has helped me soldier on with my Roland Sands Tracker jacket right through this particularly brass monkeys winter. But now I’m the proud owner of a windproof designed to be worn as a jacket in its own right, albeit in spring/summer only.
The Basehawk walks the line between dedicated motorcycling attire and clobber that you’d quite happily wear down the pub. It’s fully loaded with armour in the elbows, shoulders and back, but slip these out (something that is refreshingly easy to do) and it’s supremely comfortable for daily use. The hood is something likely to divide opinion. Personally I love it. I often ride with the hood of my hoodie flapping away out of the top of my jacket as I think it looks kinda bad-ass.
As with all the Icon gear we’ve come across here in the Shed, the Basehawk is extremely well put together, and looks like it will last forever. Plus the attention to detail like hidden pockets and thick elastic to hook your thumbs through as you pull it on, prove this is a brand that cares about how the new owner will feel. This is the kind of brand behaviour that floats our boats.
I can’t wait for this sodding winter to loosen it’s grip and let spring take over so I can wear this jacket properly. In the meantime it’s doing a mighty fine job at keeping me warm on the walk to the pub, and helping me look bad-ass standing at the bar. Well, as bad-ass as a 42 year old, 11 stone, middle class white man can look.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BSMC'S VERY OWN STEVE SIMMONDS - HELSTON BOSTON GLOVES
After spending most of the winter riding in a pair of flimsy ‘handy-man’ gloves that one of the team bought back from the States for me (thanks Timm!) with the addition of a pair of £1 cotton Primarni innards I was very glad to get my mitts on, or rather in this pair of Helstons.
So what can I say about these gloves. Firstly, they are super cosy, but more importantly - they’re not in any way restrictive. There’s nothing worse than having warm hands but little feeling over your controls. With these gloves my hands and finger tips were perfectly warm and I still felt I had full dexterity over the throttle. Always important as you’re trying to slice thru the morning jam to work.
They’ve also held up well to the rain we’ve been having recently, although luckily enough I’ve missed the worst of it so I’ve yet to test them in torrential conditions, however I’m sure that won’t be long until I do and am pretty confident they won’t let me down.
The design is simple and in-offensive and subsequently fit’s with all my other gear. I personally don’t like long gloves that come half way down your forearm so I found these suited me well coming up just enough to marry with my jacket.
The blurb states they are re-enforced with Kevlar, luckily I’ve not been forced to test this, but you certainly can’t feel any stiffness the leather is super supple. All in all this is one set of very cosy, soft stylish gloves.
JO FISCHER - WHEELS AND WAVES PHOTO BOOK
The last two summers, armed with a Leica, Jo travelled with some of his buddies to the now legendary French vintage and custom bike Festival 'Wheels & Waves" in Biarritz.
The few long hot days in the Basque country every year have achieved mythical status. Stunning rides through mountain passes, winding coastal roads, and crowded narrow resort back streets speak directly to the romance of what we do. Halcyon days that make the empty wallets, the hours in the rain by the side of the road, the bitter early mornings when the bastard won't start, all worth it.
Great food, good friends and strangers, beards and tattoos abound, some of the loveliest lady bikers on the planet, make for an abundance of knowing smiles and childish grins. The perfect long weekend.
Jo's testimony is incredibly personal, told through soul bearing portraits and fast shutter reportage, this is W&W seen through an analogue eye, featuring the whole beautiful ugly spectacle in all it's grubby glory.
Bring on June.