PRODUCT REVIEW - BILTWELL WORK GLOVES
The Biltwell Work Gloves are a rugged all leather riding glove, picked up when my old faithfuls finally sprung a leak. Like everything that Biltwell do, these are built for purpose but also are styled to appeal to a custom bike rider, whether on a brat, cafe racer, tracker or a bobber.
Biltwell are a company owned by bikers, for bikers, and were born out of the new wave custom scene. Their products are inspired by identifying a need, rather than an opportunity for a quick buck. Their quality is consistently high, and the pricing very modest considering the build standard of their products. The Work Glove is no exception.
The palms are double thick leather with a suede insert for added grip. They are lightly padded in anatomical pressure points for increased abrasion resistance and “shock isolation”.
The index and middle fingers are articulated for added flexibility for two finger breaking and clutch control. With the stitched “accordian baffles” the gloves feel deceptively light and are responsive. The leather is thick enough to provide moderate insulation, but without feeling a lost of dexterity. These are a very well balanced glove.
The wrist opening has elastic gathering and a velcro closing, allowing the glove to be fitted snugly to the wrist, and allows for easy removal.
These are a comfortable glove out of the box, and the fit is snug and accurate. I become very attached to my gloves, a relationship even more intimate than with my lid. I find an ill fitting glove a worrying distraction, so when trying a new pair I’m always cautious. I felt confident with these the moment I put them on. I get the feeling we’re going to cover some serious miles together.
PRODUCT REVIEW - CHIPPEWA HIGHLANDER 7 INCH BOOT
The Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company was born in 1901 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, producing boots for the lumber camps of North Wisconsin. The Lumbermen’s boots were made to the demanding specifications of the rugged open country men who would be away for months cutting timber and driving logs, putting their footwear under the most extreme duress. Timber Country called for boots of supreme quality, a standard upon which Chippewa have built their reputation.
Original Chippewa is a “blend of modern durability found in contemporary outdoor products with the heritage of American craftsmanship and work ethic.” These boots are tough and robust, providing a strong boot to ride in that can be equally enjoyed off the bike.
The Chippewa Highlander Boot are ideal city riding boot, as the 7 inch rise is much easier to wear under ‘civvie’ trousers than the typical 11 inch engineer boots. They’re also a little cooler in the spring/summer months as they seem to breath a little better than their taller cousins.
The styling is a handsome hybrid between the classic engineer boot and a hunt boot. I went for the chestnut mid brown tan oiled full grained leather, which are already developing a lovely patina. The buckles are a robust nickel clinch, and the insole a Poron insole with a grain cover. The soles are a Vibram Christy wedge, in my opinion the best sole for riding a bike. With no receded instep, the sole allows you to move your foot around the pegs and levers without being restricted by the heel. They’re also thick enough to give your old Brit a good kick start without bruising the ball of your foot. They are oil resistant and water proof, a solid platform for riding.
The Highlanders are ridiculously comfortable from the get-go, with none of the usual wearing in period of normal work boots. They are also a true fit so when ordering use your true size, rather than comparisons with other work boots. They get better the longer they’re worn, and if oiled seasonally will last for years.
The Highlander comes both as a mens and womens fit, in black, tan and brown leather, and sand and black suede. A tough good looking boot looking for work.
PRODUCT REVIEW - COL.LITTLETON NO.20 DISPATCH BAG
I’ve been on the lookout for a smart work bag that I can wear on the bike for what seems like an age. My searches have fallen into two camps, the functional back pack that wears well on the bike but looks a little under dressed in a meeting, or the briefcase/laptop case which may look fine at work, but is a nightmare on the bike.
Finally, I found the perfect bag, Col. Littleton’s No.20 dispatch bag. This is the perfect size for a 13inch laptop in the main compartment, has a full width back pocket big enough for an ipad, and the two front pockets with ball closures are big enough for an iphone, a drive, and/or a wallet. There are an additional four discrete pockets under the front flap for added documents and bits and pieces such as receipts, note pads, and painkillers for those particularly tedious meetings.
The inside dimensions are 12.5” high x 9.75” wide by 1.5” deep. It’s leather, so there’s a little stretch room in it. It’s light at 3.5lbs.
What’s really impressive about the Dispatch Bag is how it sits. It’s the perfect size to be worn on the back on the bike without feeling bulky or causing drag, and the double articulated strap sits on the shoulder comfortably and keeps the bag securely in place. The handle is sturdy and well integrated into the main body of the bag.
In addition this is a fine looking satchel, with a vintage military feel in a chestnut leather with brass fittings. The hide is exceptional. The Colonel isn't interested in using “Condominium Cows”, animals confined and restricted for harvesting pristine hides. He uses free-range beasts and if there are signs of wear and tear that come from the animals being allowed to roam, they’re not seen as imperfections, but as character.
Col. Garry Littleton, “The Colonel” is the proprietor of Col. Littleton, "Purveyor of Fine Accouterments in the Americana Tradition". Starting in an upstairs studio in his house making practical quality leather wear, twenty five years on he employees over forty skilled artisans, and is the largest employer in the small pretty Southern Tennessee town of Lynnville. The Colonel personally designs each one of the products, and they are manufactured in his Farm House workshop using traditional techniques.
“We’re homegrown, we do it all”. He’s made a fine bag here.
PRODUCT REVIEW - HEDON HANNIBAL MASK
How to keep your face from falling off in the cold whilst wearing an open face lid is a winter-long and often fruitless quest. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve arrived home with lips like Scott of The Antarctic and unable to speak with a frozen chin after a brisk winters blast. And then when you’ve found the solution to the cold all mummified in a scarf, how do you stop your goggles or your visor steaming up?
Lindsay and Reginald of Hedon have come up with a cool (well actually a very warm) solution - the Hannibal. A natural calf leather face mask that is carefully moulded to fit the contours of your chin and nose. It has two fine machined aluminium brass coated ventilators with carbon active filters to allow for cleaner breaths of air and that greatly reduce the fog factor. It fastens via a velcro fastening at the rear of the neck, the strap being thick enough to provide added insulation at the base of the lid.
The Hannibal takes a moment to adjust to the correct fit, but once it’s on it’s surprisingly comfortable and stays in place once you get going.
The Hannibal comes in black, brown, and burgundy.
Hedon (derived from Hedonism) was set up by Lindsay and Reginald in 2011, who brought together their many years experience in design and helmet crafting to create a line of distinctive protective motorcycle headgear, challenging themselves to produce bold, refined, nostalgic and comfortable products that provide an alternative to conventional styles. “Created for our clients devoted to the joy of the ride and pursuit of unabashed pleasure.”
The Hannibal is certainly distinctive and looks terrific, but is comfortable and warm, protecting your face from the elements and your lungs from the filth and the grime of the city air.
DAVIDA - COSMIC FLAKE CREATURES
Davida, famous for their eclectic and often eccentric helmet colour ways have excelled themselves with the Cosmic Flake Creatures. Mastering the idiosyncrasies and time consuming nature of metal flake effects, they have created a striking new series of lid designs.
The Cosmic Flake Blue Red Thunderbolt 750, Cosmic Flake Silver UJ Sides 751, Cosmic Flake Stars n Stripes 752, Cosmic Flake Black Orange Flame 753, Cosmic Flake Silver Red Flame 754, and the Cosmic Flake Blue Red Star 755 are easier on the eye than on the tongue, and the attention to detail and the depth of colour create a visual effect that is simply stunning.
These designs unashamedly hark back to the late sixties, to Peter Fonda’s sideburns and Jack Nicholson with a full head of hair, to Dennis Hopper’s acid head musings, ape hangers and twenty yard turning circles.
Unlike the old piss-pots of that era, these hand-made lids come with with full leather lined construction, and bells and whistles EU safety certifications (with the exception of the Speedster). The Cosmic Flake is available in the Jet, Ninety2 and Speedster shells.
The Cosmic Flake Creatures bring Easy Rider to the hipster generation.
GUEST REVIEW FROM WORN TO RIDE http://worntoride.com/
CONTEXT x SCHOTT CXL 113 LEATHER JACKET
Madison, Wisconsin based retailer Context have teamed up with legendary American manufacturers Horween Tannery and Schott NYC to create what could arguably be one of the finest looking leather motorcycle jackets ever.
As a tribute to the original Perfecto motorcycle jacket created by Irving Schott in 1928, the trio have certainly paid their dues with the production of this handmade (in Schott NYC's New Jersey factory) beauty.
Made from Horween horsehide, the CXL 113 is built to withstand centuries of abuse and will only get better with consistent wear. Surely that's a great reason to keep wearing your favourite jacket. Production is limited to 60 pieces and each one ships with a replica 1930's Perfecto jacket box, custom canvas jacket sleeve and hanger included. Get yours before they're gone.