For Gear Guide #68 we squeezed into a pair of the superb Resurgence Cafe Racer 'Skinny' jeans and dragged a pair of Helstons Boston gloves and a Mission Workshop waxed canvas backpack through the worst of London's November rain...
Resurgence Café Racer Jeans SKINNY Fit
I have amassed over the years; I’m sure like most people reading this, a generous collection of riding gear from boots through jackets, helmets and gloves. But what I really lacked was a proper pair of strides, something that offered real protection but crucially were smart enough that I could wear them for what makes up 70% of my riding, zipping around London to meetings without time to change out of bike gear. So the hunt was on for some stylish bike jeans; I’m a big fan of quality and safe gear on the bike, but when you turn up to the pub and your mates say you’re dressed like a bellend that’s a burn Kevlar can’t protect you from.
Having looked at various brands of trousers I was chuffed when I received these Resurgence Café Racer jeans in the brand new skinny fit. Now first off, for anyone horrified by the phrase ‘Skinny Fit’ and picturing the current crop of trendsters with feral barnets and spray-on denim fear not! These are cut to a Levi 511 fit so will give you a smarter cut without looking like someone’s drop kicked a monkey through Topman. In fact a few of my mates with far less ‘European figures’ than me (read rugby calves) have bought these in standard fit fearing the slim fit on their sturdier legs and have all now tried and fit happily into the Skinny option.
Made from 12oz selvedge denim the Café Racer have simple, classic jean styling with nice copper stitch detailing. Quality Knox armour is supplied for hips and knees and a fancy Pekev lining is fitted without the superfluous external stitching that often gives bike trousers a more utilitarian look. The guys at Resurgence have been working on Pekev, their development of Kevlar, for over ten years. All you need to know is that Pekev is thinner, lighter, washable and comes with the reassurance of industry leading abrasion resistance - it’s stronger than Tom Selleck’s moustache game.
The mesh lining is so soft and unobtrusive I forget its there and it does the job of wicking away heat and moisture very well. I’ve worn these in sunbaked London traffic up to 30c and they keep the heat down better than my other bike trousers. The Resurgence guys are based in LA so being able to wear these in hot weather would be a must. You’ll notice some smart bike influenced details such as the deep pockets that prevent its contents flying down the road like expensive confetti and the brass rivets that are shield shaped instead of nipple, allowing them to slide instead of catch on the road in the incident of a tarmac toboggan. The leg length is very long allowing you a substantial turnover should you wish and the waistline cut low enough to allow comfort in a variety of riding positions.
I went with my normal jean sizing and found the armour fitted perfectly, allowing normal free movement. These have quickly become my favourite jeans in terms of style, function, practicality and comfort. I’m now seriously trying to stop myself from getting a second pair! Come try a pair on at The Bike Shed, London. EC1V 9LT or alternatively...
Reviewed by Rich Gunn-Show.
Helstons Boston Gloves
It's that time of year again, the seasons are leaning full tilt around the corner toward the deepest chill of winter and the question that always dominates remains. Do I wear my comfortable summer gloves and get numb, frost bitten fingers or dig out the stinking, heavy winter mitts and lose all feeling of the controls on the bars? A third option would be preferable.
Meet the Helston Boston gloves. Despite sporting the looks of a far more sun loving glove the Boston packs the technical punch to tackle these times when the orb has long since packed up for the day. We have expressed our admiration for the Boston before in these pages but Helston's decision to pack in a new Primaloft liner has given the excuse to have another play.
The ultra thin Primaloft thermal liner keeps your fingers as warm and cosy as a scotch by the fire without adding unwanted bulk to the gloves. The waterproof membrane has kept me bone dry through torrential rain on my 45 minute commute while the combination of DuPont Kevlar thread and reinforced leather panels on the palm has my mind at ease should a spill befall me. The upper hand is unencumbered by armour which may turn some away but for my type of riding and crashing they seem more than sufficient.
I love the clean, classic styling and the full grain leather is laundered to a soft perfection with pre-curled fingers to give comfort and total freedom of movement. The ribbing on key digits (thumb, index and middle fingers) gives you the extra flexibility to grip the bars fully without excess material bunching up when the gloves are flat whilst adding a nice stylistic detail.
Available in either black or brown the Boston are proving a hit in the Bike Shed Shop as well as online and are well worth your consideration should cold wet hands be ruining the start and end of your day.
Mission Workshop Arkiv Edition Backpack
I have very little jealousy reserved for cyclists. Gaining the momentum for lengthy travel through lung busting endeavour as oppose to the combustion of petrol is not an idea that appeals, and my craving for lycra has long since subsided. But I have on the odd occasion found myself ogling with green eyes the rucksack of a pedal powered, headphone wearing, suicidal lane changing commuter. When one such rider's hard won propulsion had eventually come to a halt I determined the label on said pack bore the monogram M.W and from this indefinite starting point google introduced me to the wonder that is Mission Workshop.
Mission Workshop began when a group of likeminded, adventurous doers and makers set up a workshop in the Mission district of San Francisco with the ambition of creating the luggage and apparel they wished they had.
"Mission Workshop's bags are constructed with the most rugged assembly of industrial and technical materials in the USA. Domestic manufacturing allows us to make smaller more controlled runs of every bag, ensuring that each bag is worthy of its lifetime warranty."
The pack I chose from the extensive MW collection was the 20 litre wax canvas Sanction with an Arkiv closure system. The American made 10 oz. waxed canvas exterior combines with YKK urethane coated zippers and a light-weight grey waterproof liner to create a compact weatherproof rucksack designed to hold all your daily essentials. Available in three colour ways I plumped for the olive green variant and am pleased to see the wax finish ageing nicely with wear lines that reflect daily use. The Arkiv® closure system is a wonderful alternative to the traditional clip. The sturdy, slotted steel clasp adjusts on lightly elasticated straps to go up and over the stiff webbing runners forming a swift yet secure closure. All Mission Workshop backpacks allow for the addition of single rail Arkiv® accessories on both shoulder straps allowing your wallet to further feed your new found love affair with the brand.
Large enough to haul a 15" laptop and a host of other paraphernalia the bag has taken it's daily any weather battering across London in its stride and yielded nothing but praise from myself and admiration from others. Our two wheeled brethren of a pedal persuasion are onto something here, it is a handsome and highly effective bag with enough strength to easily excel in spite of the extra abuse motorcycle riding inevitably exposes it to.