Archive for June, 2012

On the road: ICON Hooligan 2 Jacket

Buying motorcycle riding gear is a totally separate endeavor from wearing it. My closet is full of old, but very clean gear. Most riders I know have enough gear to clothe a small family — but they usually wear the same two or three pieces over and over.

My untrained opinion is that we buy all this extra gear as a way to quiet the more expensive urge to buy a 2nd and 3rd bike.

After several years of trial and error and more cash spent than I care to remember, I find myself wearing mostly Rev’It gear — summer, fall and winter. Spring is all of 72 hours long anymore so it doesn’t count. Great workmanship, quality of materials and the now I know my exact size without having to try it on.

But some time ago I bought this safety orange, mesh summer jacket by ICON. I bought it for the air flow potential and the “get out of my way” color. I haven’t worn it much but after getting cut off quite a bit this summer I thought I’d give it some miles.

A hooligan fit: I like the room
I’m generally a medium in every gear brand I can think of. This is cut more loosely — hooligan style. At first I didn’t like it and always reached for my more European cut jackets instead. But I kind of dig it now. The arms are longer and the back and shoulders are roomier than the Rev’It. The arm sleeve length is bothersome only on a sport or sport touring bike because the cuff is pretty stiff and can dig at your wrists when you’re leaned over on them. On an upright standard or cruiser, it just means your wrists are never exposed. No gauntlet glove needed.

Protection: Fall only on your elbows or shoulders!
The armor in the shoulders and elbows are CE level and very good. Not sure why ICON chooses to go bottom basement when it comes to the spine protector. This just in: paralyzed guys don’t ride motorcycles and they won’t buy more ICON gear. The one that comes with this ICON jacket is terrible. I have dry sponges under my sink that could protect me better.

What to do?

I took out the stock spine guard and now use it as a bath mat. With the extra room in the jacket I decided to put on my ICON spine protector vest under the jacket. Walking around it felt great — and on my standard bike it felt even better. The snug fit of the vest and spine guard kept all my innards in place when I hit bumps at highway speed. More than anything, it gave me a sense of comfort mentally knowing I could just focus on my lines and riding smoothly.

With just a tee-shirt on under the vest and jacket I was more than cool in 80 east coast degrees. I may have found my summer long ride outfit that could give my Rev’It gear some time off.

High Visibility: Did it work?
There’s a reason why hunters use safety orange and why “Work Zone” signs around the highway are the same color — it gets people’s attention. I can’t prove it — although I am here typing this vs. on the hood of a car — but I could swear that I got more buffer space from drivers when I was wearing this jacket today. Usually, here in Pennsylvania drivers are good with motorcyclists but they have no problem getting close enough to read your license plate. Riding around today, cars kept their distance at stop lights and I definitely made a young driver hit the brakes as she was about to pop out of a parking lot in front of me.

Overall, the jacket is a good value. Decent quality, airflow is very good, high visibility is great but definitely go to a Plan B for a spine protection. Design wise, I wish the collar were a bit higher. Zipped up it’s about as high as a crew neck tee shirt. I personally prefer some protection higher up the neck so I can avoid wearing a buff if it gets cold. I can’t say I’ll be wearing all hi-viz gear like in Central Europe, but I will be wearing this jacket a lot more than I did last summer.

If for some reason it gets cooler, this jacket comes with zip-in liner. It will insulate you but it won’t stop the wind — especially on a wide mesh jacket like the Hooligan 2. My experience with other airflow jacket is to wear a wind stopper shirt from Aerostich under it if you want some air flow in 50-60 degree weather but don’t want to have to lug around a colder weather jacket. Works like a charm.

Ride safe. Be seen.

-Jose Mallabo

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Is this American Gothic 2.0?

This picture of Mark Zuckerberg and his new bride remind me eerily of American Gothic.

 

Add the pitch fork and Iowa. 🙂

 

, ,

No Comments