In this week's Gear Guide we review a great collaboration between two great British classics, brand new vintage kevlar lined selvedge jeans, a stunning jacket from Hackney's finest, and the reddest of all red lids. Oh, and some something to save your bike from the evils of rust.
PRODUCT REVIEW BY THE BSMC’S VERY OWN ROSS SHARP - CLARKS X NORTON 'THE RISE' BOOT
For the New Wave yoof out there, you won’t remember the days when Britain was a powerhouse of engineering and manufacturing; luckily I don’t remember either but some of the BSMC crew are so flipping old they used to drink flagons of ale with Isambard Brunel.
As a result more than one of our members rides a Norton, and wax lyrical about their excellence and distinguished place in the annuls of motorcycling history, the bikes that is. Clarks is another British brand that after a wayward period of producing velcro fastening, care home creepers is now back at the top of their game; reviving the trusty Desert Boot, maintaining a diverse product range, whilst keeping one eye firmly on quality.
The new collaboration between Norton and Clarks seems to have come from left-field and caught some on the hop, but when you walk up Regent’s Street and see a modern Norton Commando in the Clarks store window it simply makes sense.
Luckily this isn’t Will. I. Am. and some Z-list hottie teaming up to cash in, this range of motorcycling footwear is the real deal. I’ve tested the Norton Rise, in black, and hope to try some of the other styles.
Opening the co-branded and chequered flag box, quality is expected; once unwrapped and held in the hand, the Rise feels like a substantial and well made boot. The leather is reassuringly thick but not stiff, nor too supple. The Goodyear Welted sole is stitched on with contrasting white thread and the heel is retained with four brass, slotted screws; an attention to detail I would hope for, but not expect. The light tan leather strip between the rubber sole and the upper breaks up the black bulk and draws the eye up to the other features.
There are finger pulls on both sides to assist with sliding yourself in, and the six heavy duty eyelets mean only minimal unlacing is required to put on and remove the boot. Once inside, comfort is instant. I have weird feet and am always nervous of new boots but threw caution to the wind and sported these on a recent Barbour photo shoot in central London. The admiring comments from the rest of the BSMC crew being the only reminder that I was wearing something new. A size 9 1/2 being exactly that, a proper, British fat-toed 9 1/2 not some skinny European dancing fit. The Ortholite® breathable sole ensuring all-day wearability and not a single blister or breaking in chafe, the Rise is comfortable right from the start. Boot manufacturers, buy a pair and take note!
Apart from looking good one needs a modicum of protection around town, the sturdy reinforced (but not armoured) heel cup and toe box provided reassurance; I wouldn't want to test them at 150 mph down the Hangar Straight at Silverstone but for the Kingsland Road in Shoreditch they are more than adequate. Old people will rejoice as there is an additional leather panel across the toe sections on both boots, allowing for comfort and longevity when shifting gears on the wrong side.
Just below the trouser hemline, towards the heel a subtle embossed Norton logo can be seen, so for goodness sake if you are a yoof and choose a pair of these for kickstarting your CB550 Brat, do some wikipedia-ing and gen up on bikes from the glory days as people are bound to ask where your boots came from.
The rest of the Norton Clarks range is available on the Clarks website
and having seen the Cognac leather up close you definitely won’t be disappointed if, like us, you’re a fan of brown hide. Ladies with feet below the VAT threshold look elsewhere, the whole range starts at size 6. Gents, if you need smaller than a size 6, then take up a different hobby; dancing perhaps.
For a closer look at the pair on test, click here
SJC - YARD BOSS JEANS
SJC aka Simon James Cathcart is unleashing a truly awesome vintage denim collection spanning denim culture of the 20th century on Kickstarter next week. The collection entitled "From Pioneer to Punk" is made from 16oz ring spun Japanese denim, which for us is on the right side of heavy. The collection includes denim chinos, cinch back Brakeman jeans, engineer overalls, punk denim and a rather sexy skinny jean for your lady entitled "Bad Kitty" with a matching jacket.
However most interestingly he's slipped Kevlar in his 1950's styled "Yard Boss" Jeans and Jacket so you get a matching denim upgrade lined with the gold stuff to keep your skin where it belongs. The bonus is on Kickstarter it will be available for an amazing discounted price! There will also be a denim helmet bag and a serious Anvil apron.
SJC Yard Boss Bike Jacket and Yard Boss Bike jeans have the same classic early fifties shape, but this pair are truly built to last as they are lined with Kevlar. Hidden under the flattering profile is this wonder fabric which will keep your skin exactly where it belongs. The jacket and trousers have the same features as the regular Yard Boss models and are made from exactly the same heavy 16oz ring spun Japanese selvage denim but significantly tougher. Get the Kevlar Yard Boss jacket with the Yard Boss Kevlar Jeans together for an amazing Kickstarter discount whilst you upgrade your bike denim wardrobe for this winter in one sweet hit!
BLACK SKULLS BSL LEATHER JACKET BSO2
Black Skulls started off from humble beginnings in a sparse breeze block one-car garage in the arse-end of Hackney (London), tinkering with an array of bikes, and as their skills progressed, so did the interest from others. They moved to a bigger yard and started doing work for other people’s rides as well as their own. Drew and his crew are a friendly bunch: “At the Black Skulls HQ there is an open door policy and everyone is welcome!”
Earlier this year Black Skulls launched a range of jackets, and BSMC's Vikki reviewed the ladies jacket, loved it so much she bought it and christened it at Wheels & Waves.
The mens jackets are every bit as good as the women’s jacket. The BS02 is a sharp contemporary take on the classic asymmetric Perfecto style. It features a left front zip through opening in hard wearing cow hide, fully lined with luxury quilted lining in British racing green. It’s cut with extra length and elbow room for comfort and protection, and features adjustable side straps with custom black hardware. It has back sleeve vents with 8" zips, three zip fastened pockets with ball and chain zip pull, and a sleeve pocket on right bicep and snap shut coin pocket.
All jackets are made in London to order with a six weeks delivery.
HEDON HEDONIST GLOSS ROUGE HELMET
So I got to spend the afternoon last weekend at Hedon’s studio in Hayes hanging out with Lindsay and Reg, the two person team behind Hedon. These guys have created a family business building the most beautiful helmets. They are designed in the studio by Lindsay and Reg, and once the components are manufactured, they assemble the lids themselves.
With extensive experience in design and helmet crafting, Reg and Lindsay came together in 2011 to create Hedon. Tired of conventional style, they set out on a mission to rethink protective headgear. They wanted “…something bold, refined and nostalgic with comfort as a driving point above all else.”
The Hedon Hedonist helmet has a composite fibre shell made from carbon fibreglass and carbon. Internally the open face helmet has an anti-bacterial cushion padding with leather trim and lining. The helmet has brass hardware throughout, and is fastened with a DD buckle.
I am a convert, I’ve been wearing my matt teal Hedonist all summer, and I love it. It’s got a super slim profile making it one of the smallest lids on the market, but they have not sacrificed on fit or safety, being full ECE 22.05 safety standard certified. The lid is lined with Hed Armor lining, and fits snugly, but comfortably, and is very quiet.
The gloss rouge Hedonist is stunning. The paint is thick, rich and seriously polished. If you’ve got a red bike, or just like red, this is the daddy of all red lids. Goes just right with the frame on my CB750 cafe racer, question is can I justify yet another lid?
For me, the worse thing about winter is not the cold, nor the dark, not even the wet, but rust. All those shiny bits you spend all summer lovingly polishing, turn into that nasty bubbly, crusty, shit coloured spawn of the anti-christ. I hate it. So imagine my unbridled joy as I was introduced to ACF-50
ACF-50, Anti-Corrosion Formula, is a state of the art, anti-corrosion/lubricant compound, that has been specifically designed for the Aero Space Industry. It is an ultra thin fluid film compound which should be applied on an annual basis.
“ACF-50 actively penetrates through the corrosion deposits to the base of the cell where it emulsifies and encapsulates the electrolyte, lifting it away from the metal surface. ACF-50 then dispels this moisture and provides an atmospheric barrier which prevents any further moisture contact, thereby keeping the cell inactive. This compound continues to actively penetrate and "creep" into the tightest of seams, lap joints, micro cracks and around rivet heads, dissipating the moisture, even salt water, in these corrosion prone areas. “ Errr...OK.
The manufactures claim it’s particularly good on bikes.
“On areas such as switches or under the tank and seat, one application will last up to 12 months. Other more exposed areas will need topping up more regularly. ACF-50 has the ability to 'chemically neutralise road salt' and water will bead on contact and literally bounce off. Ideal for the bike that is used all year round in all weathers, a superb service spray as ACF-50 is also a lubricant and penetrant (without loosening structural attachments) and if you put your bike away for the winter, applying ACF-50 will ensure that moisture will not be allowed to cause any damage! Untreated moisture will creep into cracks and will not freely evaporate - ACF-50 actively ejects moisture from these areas”
They give a damn good sell, so I’ve ordered mine and see what the winter brings….