PRODUCT REVIEW - ALEXANDER LEATHERS ARKANSAS JACKET
I’m four months in with my Alexander Leathers Arkansas jacket, and it’s already become a close friend. This was a comfortable jacket straight out of the box, but after a short time it has moulded to my shape perfectly and has become easy to wear on and off the bike.
Inspired by the classic 1920’s half-belt jacket, it’s a simple design with an angled breast pocket and two hand-warmer pockets lined in moleskin. The cuff is a classic button closure and the front is closed with a heavy duty front zipper. There's also an inside studded pocket. The jacket is semi -fitted, and can be easily adjusted by the side buckles. The body is relatively short, which is fine by me as it avoids bunching up at the front when on the bike, but the jacket can be ordered longer if required. The jacket is lined in moleskin, which is both comfortable and warm.
Alexander Leathers are based in Selkirk Scotland, and their focus is the recreation of classic leather jackets of bygone eras. Inspired by 1920’s - 1960’s jackets worn by war heroes and icons of the big screen they build jackets for the enthusiast and the fashion conscious.
Alexander’s production is low output high quality using the strongest top quality hides. Their manufacturing methods are labour intensive with each jacket individually hand cut by highly skilled leather craftsmen. An Alexander jacket is designed to last a lifetime, developing it’s own patina, character and shape with time.
The Arkansas is available to order, and can be manufactured in Horween Horsehide, Horween Chromexcel Steer and Bison, Goatskin or smooth steer, in a variety of colours. You can also chose your lining.
This is a tough jacket, with thick hide and very strong stitching. It doesn’t contain armour, but its anti-abrasion qualities are high, and this jacket won’t be disintegrating in a slide up the road. If you’re looking for a robust and good looking jacket that will serve you on and off the bike, then the Arkansas could be the one for you.
CHURCHILL MAVERICK CLASSIC DEERSKIN VENTILATED GLOVES
Churchill’s Maverick Classic Ventilated Gloves are ideal for summer riding. The perforations offer plenty of ventilation keeping your hands cool on a hot day. However the protective qualities of the gloves are not compromised by the ventilation, these gloves are extremely tough, but very comfortable and tactile.
Churchill Gloves are made from deerskin, an extremely strong yet soft and flexible leather. Unlike other leather gloves, deerskin gloves dry to their original soft condition. Churchill offer their gloves in thirty styles and seven colours, and are made in the USA.
Every hide that is used to make Churchill glove is chosen for optimum colour matching and weight. They are sewn with a single or double needle lockstitch machine, using a 92 top thread and 62 bottom thread form the Coats American Company.
The Maverick has a Poron Urethene foam padded palm that is a flexible high density product that maintains excellent resistance to compression. This provides good vibration dampening and impact absorption. They feature a keystone thumb double stitched around the base for added wear.
Churchill claim “Experienced cutters, sewers, formers and inspectors, plus the finest quality materials, make Churchill deerskin gloves the finest motorcycle gloves made in the USA”. A bold statement that is hard to counter.
If you are in the USA you can order through the Churchill website (Feel The Ride), but if you need the gloves shipped outside of the USA each set of gloves must be inspected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department and are subject to a hefty fee.
If you’re in the EU you can order from Churchill’s sole UK distributor Foundry Motorcycles, who hold a wide range of Churchill gloves. You could even pop down and buy them in person, have a coffee, and see the stunning Matchless bobber Foundry built and exhibited at last weeks BSMCIII event.
The Maverick are the perfect summer glove.
IRONHEART IHVB - 05 THE WILD ONES ENGINEER BOOT
Ironheart, the UK/Japanese heavy denim and workwear manufacturer have teamed up with Viberg to create a terrific engineer boot. These are a stunning variation on the biker classic and have been in development for considerable time, with the Ironheart team making sure every last detail is perfect.
The Engineer boot was developed as a protective work boot in the depression era and were adopted by bikers in the late 40s and early 50s and have since become an enduring symbol of motorcycle wear. The Wild Ones are a faithful contemporary working of this iconic boot.
Available in black or brown, the 9” boot is made of fully dyed, heavy duty oiled leather on a 2005 last with a hand cut gusset and extra length straps. The boots have brass vintage style Japanese roller buckles and a Vibram 705 half sole and cats paw heel. They are available in half sizes and a standard and wide width.
Iron Heart was founded by Shinichi Haraki in 2003, Giles Padmore partnered with him a couple of years later to expand business outside of Japan. Together they seek to source and create “classic and timeless clothing crafted out of the finest materials to the highest standards. No attention is paid to fashion trends”.
Originally made for bikers, their clothes are made from heavy weight fabrics and are designed to be durable, and to a degree protective for bikers.
As with most Ironheart products, the Wild Ones are made in limited runs, so best to get your order in quickly.
PRODUCT REVIEW - PIKE BROTHERS 1937 ROAMER VEST IN BLUE WABASH
The one garment that for me is the most under appreciated piece of kit to wear on a bike is a vest. That crucial one extra layer under a leather jacket can provide the added core insulation that makes the difference between a soul-crushing frigid ride home and arriving at your destination feeling human.
A vest can be worn over a sweat shirt, jumper or shirt, without bulking and making your jacket tight and uncomfortable. Denim is the perfect material for a vest, being warm, hard wearing and looking great.
Pike Brothers have recently added the 13oz pure cotton blue selvedge wabash denim to their range of 1937 Roamer Vests. Wabash denim was popular workwear in the early 1920s and 30s and mostly associated with railroad workers and extensively used for heavy labour.
The vest has three front pockets with buttons made of real ivory nut and heavy bar tacking on pockets and seam ends.
Pike Brothers have a premium reputation for producing authentic workwear of the early to mid 20th Century. Their garments display a meticulous degree of attention to detail and are designed to be striking in appearance whilst being uncompromising in comfort and durability.
Founded on Portobello Road in 1930, during WW2 they specialised in the production of uniforms for the US Allied Forces. They combined the finest fabric with European craftsmanship creating sturdy American menswear with a European influence, a tradition they continue to nurture today. They have a close relationship with motorcycle culture.
This is a tough piece of kit that is comfortable and durable. Like all things denim, it’s a little stiff to begin with, but eases in quickly to become a snug and pliable layer. The Roamer Vest looks the business off the bike whilst keeping you warm on it.
MUFF CUSTOMS TOOL ROLL
Muff Customs is run by our mate Josh down in Hackney Wick. Muff is a workshop and cafe dedicated to new wave custom bikes and good hearty food and coffee.
Josh builds hardy traffic beating machines for London’s challenging roads. He also offers great food and excellent coffee and serves local artisan beers to soak up in the impending summer sun, or to drown your mechanical failure blues. Muff is a friendly destination for an urban ride out, and somewhere to buy some cool gear.
Josh designs and sells a range of well built practical accessories, and arguably the most impressive is the tool roll. Made from fine bridle leather the roll holds ten tools with an additional side pocket for other bits and pieces. It’s fastened closed by two adjustable straps and can be easily mounted to your handlebars or frame.
This is a simple but functional design that is handsome to look at and very useful to have when your less than trusty ride has decided to throw yet another tantrum. They are built in limited production runs, but turn around time is short, so if you need to order one you won’t be waiting long.
GUEST REVIEW FROM WORN TO RIDE http://worntoride.com
TRUSCO TOOL BOX
You've probably got a load of tools lying around. Perhaps you keep them locked away in a nice orderly fashion or maybe they're just strewn all over the floor. Either way, wouldn't you prefer to keep them in a beautiful looking tool box? After all, these are the pieces of metal that keep you riding and surely they deserve only the best.
Thanks to American craft brand Field, you can now add the missing piece of the jigsaw to your garage. Found in a small hardware shop in Japan, the rugged Trusco Tool Box is a staple classic worthy of a place on anyone's shelves. Manufactured from stamped and enamelled steel to give it a distinctive look, it also features a unique hinged lid and removable dividers that allow for a range of tools and uses.
The Trusco is currently on pre-order but is due to ship next week. Careful though, your mates might end up asking to come round and asking to see your tool box!