Category Archives: Motorcycle Gear

Review: Earnest Co.’s ‘Tasker’ K-Canvas Pants

Pants. They are the comedy sidekick of the moto gear world. Even the word itself sounds funny. ‘PANTS!’ It’s like the punchline to a joke. It’s even funnier when the gear makers talk about them in the singular using the word ‘pant’. And most times, this is exactly how the riding public treats them, too. They are the last thing you think about after you’ve spent a small fortune on getting a kick-ass helmet, jacket and boots. Forever the afterthought. 

But why is this? Well, up until a few years ago, there was a real lack of decent pants available to riders. Unless you wanted to go for some top shelf leathers, most other options looked like Dad jeans or – worse still – like you’d just jumped off your Harley at the Sturgis show circa 1988. ‘Cool’ options just didn’t exist. Fast forward ten years and now we’re swamped with selvedge this and waxed cotton that. These ‘Tasker’ pants from the Aussie slash New Zealand Earnest Co. definitely fit into that second group, but are they any good?

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants

What are they, exactly?

The pants are a ‘Kevlar infused’ design (as opposed to ‘Kevlar lined’, which means that the tough stuff is sewn into the pants behind the denim) that’s just about as close as you’ll get to a regular pair of black Levis without risking skin loss. And as per their ‘workwear’ affiliations, they are designed to be comfy and functional enough to allow you to wear them on and off the bike with a minimum of hassle.

‘My current bike pants already do that!’ I hear some of you murmur. Sure, it’s no biggie. At least it’s not as big a deal as – say – a jacket that does the same thing. But should your day job involve any sort of tools, pens, rulers or general long pointy things, the pants have been rather subtly designed to allow you to accommodate these without a) looking like a Valentino Rossi moonlighting as a handyman or b) looking like a boilermaker trying to set a lap record.

Who’s Earnest, then?

A grass-roots moto and workwear clothing business, Earnest Co. was started in New Zealand in 2012 by a bunch of bike and car customisers who needed some gear to do a rather particular set of things and just weren’t finding anything suitable from the gear makers of the time.

Being at the tip of the now popular ‘work look’ moto style, Earnest have made quite the splash down under, and they are now pushing hard to do the same in the US and Europe. With a concise but highly refined range including overall, aprons, pants jackets and gloves, a quick perusal of their gear reminds any bikers with some remaining short term memory just how far we’ve come with our gear choices over the last 10 or 15 years.

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants detail

What do they look like?

Thankfully the Tasker pants understand that sometimes, you want your pants to take a back seat in the ‘overall ensemble’ party. Sure, camo patterns and the ever-popular cargo 47 pocket look still hold their own but personally, I mostly want my pants to protect my southern junk from angry tarmac rather than to fight for attention.

So if you’re a black jeans kind person off the bike, then these little fellas will tick most of your boxes once your butt is bike-bound. Yes, they do have a few extra seams to distinguish themselves from your garden variety pair of 511s, but most casual observers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference unless they get a real close, and by that time you’re probably more concerned about getting lucky or firing up your taser than you are with abrasion resistance.

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants action shot

What are they made like?

Earnest goes to great lengths describing how their ‘K-Canvas’ materials will protect your skin in the hopefully unlikely case of some unwanted freeway breakdancing lessons, but to my untrained eye, the stuff is as close to regular denim, which in my books is a very good thing. Sure, some of the stitching looks a little more ‘industrial’ than your average pants and the things are definitely ‘substantial’ in their build and heft, but that’s nothing that can’t be said for a quality pair of denim jeans either.

Unlike some of their competitors, you’ll have no real issue accepting that things are up to the task at hand. Without naming any names, I’ve tried on pairs of similar Kevlar weaves in the past and I just didn’t buy the claims the manufacturers were making. They just seemed too thin and light to be able to take a real licking. Rest assured the Taskers aren’t a bit like that.

One word to the wise. They are quite a slim cut, so in my humble opinion, you’ll be more likely to run into sizing issues regarding your inner seam and your ability to bend your knees than not being able to do up the top button. But as with all jeans, they will no doubt give a little over time.

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants

What features do they have?

Here’s where I have my word work cut out for me. Why? Because the Tasker’s clean, minimal utilitarianism means that they are mercifully fuss and do-dad free. No 12 zippers and 27 pockets here. That’s good for a clean look and a fad-free timelessness, bad for the guy who has to come up with all the words to do them justice.

But thanks to Earnest themselves, I can just geek out over a handy specs sheet and let you all know that the material is 20 times stronger than regular denim and it can also stand up against all kinds of sparks and stray blades in a typical workshop environment. It’s also triple-stitched where it counts to make sure an off-bike excursion doesn’t also force you into an unplanned strip-tease routine.

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants

The traditionally-located (i.e. throttle side) coin pouch has a handy design that means it’s divided into two sections – one for your metal moola and one for tools. Think of it as a convenient place to stow a pencil or even a pocket knife without having it standing proud. But be wary of the fact that coins stowed in the wrong compartment will be too deeply buried to be retrieved with standard-length fingers. And just in case you need to be told, never ride with tools on your person. Never ever.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket

Similar tool-focused pockets are located above the right knee and there’s a ‘Pad protected gadget pocket’ inside the standard LHS hip pocket that fits phones up to an iPhone 11 Pro Max size. Last items on the features list include double canvas layers on the knees and booty bumps, and triple-reinforced pocket entries to ensure that repeated use won’t see them turn into dangling flaps.

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants action shot

Why should I buy a pair?

Look, far be it from me to stop you from riding around town looking like Krusty the Clown, if you follow my on-bike fashion ethos of ‘party up top, business down below’ then the Earnest Co. Tasker pants are a very solid choice. Designed by riders like you and I and not by fashion types that wouldn’t know the difference between a low-side and a side stand, they do what they set out to without exception or pretence.

Think of them like the Jay Leno of moto pants. They are eternally consistent, down-to-earth and not funny or weird in the slightest. If you’re looking to rock up to your local bike stop and explode people’s eyeballs with your ludicrous selection of ‘pant’, then these won’t be the choice for you. But if you want a reliable workhorse that’s genuinely good value (thanks weak New Zealand Dollar!) and that will still be holding up their end of the deal in 5 year’s time, they are a great place to start.

Pros:

  • Built like a tank
  • Beautifully functional
  • Nicely understated
  • Genuinely multi-purpose

Cons:

  • No armour as standard
  • No winter lining
  • Slim cut may feel awkward at first

Right now, the Tasker pants will set you back $270.00 NZD (that’s USD$194, £140, €160 and AUD$251 at time of writing). They come in sizes from 28/33 to 42/36; but Earnest notes that sizing runs a little slim, so maybe consider going for one size up than usual. Click below to find out more.

EARNEST CO. WORKWEAR



Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: Earnest Co’s ‘Smiths’ K-Canvas Jacket

Unless 2020 scared you into a prepper cave somewhere in the desert, you’ll no doubt have noticed a trend over the past few years for ‘moto workwear’. Put simply, it’s gear that’s made for both the workshop and the ride to and from it. Antipodean innovators in their field are the Aussie/Kiwi-based Earnest Co., who have been owning the style locally since they were founded in 2012.

With this trend in mind, we decided to try out their front-runner in the segment. Ticking all the boxes with ‘factory’ looks, Kevlar protection and some seriously heavy-duty construction, we spent a few weeks testing the thing out both on and off the bike. Please meet the ‘Smiths’ Kevlar and Denim jacket.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket

What is it?

This is the company’s flagship – and only – jacket. Being a home-bred concern, Earnest Co. ain’t a business to bang out 13 different types of jackets to corner every part of the market. No siree. Proponents of the ‘do it once and do it properly’ school of thought, this is their sole jacket offering. And while the temptation would have been to try and be a ‘something for everyone’ type product, it’s actually surprisingly focused.

What you get is essentially a CE-rated Kevlar and denim jacket in any colour you like, as long as it’s charcoal. This functional approach continues to the design itself, which is part classic denim jacket and part Chairman Mao uniform. If standing out from the crowd is your thing, then this probably isn’t the jacket for you.

Who’s Earnest, then?

Headed up by Aussie fabricator, mechanic, customiser and drift addict, Nigel Petrie, the company was started in New Zealand and Nigel liked it so much he bought a chunk of it, making it a dual-country concern. There’s little doubt that he and his colleagues know what they are talking about. This is no fashion-obsessed, latte-sipping bunch of pret-a porter prima donnas; it’s more a group of builders and riders who saw a gap in the market because they just weren’t finding the gear they were after themselves.

The company is now a well-known force in the ANZ moto scene, too. Think of them as small, crafty bike fanatics rather than giant multinational megacorp owned by some suits who prefer calculators to motorcycles.

The other cool part to this is that your hard-earned will go straight back to the riders who got off their butts and built the company from scratch. If you’re into buying grassroots and not feathering the nest of some random non-biker CEO, Earnest Co. would be a great choice to consider.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket

What’s it look like?

Refreshingly devoid of skulls, flames or fluro colours, it’s not going to match with your lime green Harley chopper. Not unless you’re an ‘opposites attract’ freak. Quite frankly, I really like the look and I’ve worn it out sans my moto, too. It’s that cool.

Of course, the intention here is that you can jump straight off the bike and start work without having to change your gear, so it makes sense that dark (i.e grease-proof) colours and zero screaming skulls is the order of the day.

And I don’t think it’s too much to say that you’d look pretty decent grabbing a coffee or a beer at your favourite drink dispensers, too. While the lack of armour does reduce your protection should you come a cropper, it also means you’ll be able to wear the thing in more situations without feeling or looking like you’re dressed in a Hulk body suit.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket

What’s it made like?

Cut entirely from Earnest’s own 13oz ‘K-Canvas’ Kevlar cotton blend (it just looks alot like denim to me), the thing feels as tough as nails on first inspection. If they told me that it’d stand up on its own if positioned correctly, I’d totally buy it. Yes, it’ll probably soften up after long-term use but like a decent pair of heavy jeans, you can tell this thing’s tough.

If you were handed this on your first day of work in your local moto engine foundry, you’d be more than happy that management (or the local metal-workers union) had your safety front-of-mind.

And while I would have liked to have seen it made locally in with OZ or NZ, it’s sewn up in China and then shipped down under for distribution. Yes, local-made is better, but the added increase in price is probably something that most of us would not be willing to cop.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket

What features does it have?

What the jacket lacks in pretence and colour it more than makes up for in usability. This is clearly a product that’s been thought through to the n-th degree. A great example of this is the way the lower buttons on the front of the jacket are covered to protect your bike’s tank. And the rear length ensures you aren’t exposing the base of your back while you’re hunched over on the bike.

There’s also a bunch of external pockets – with some being divided into separate tool holders – that show a similarly researched understanding of what both the average biker and the career toolsperson would need. This includes a padded breast pocket for a mobile phone, decreasing your chances of broken screen both on the road and in the workshop.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket pocket detail

Photo by Ben Pilatti

Other neat-o details includes spark and slash resistance, triple stitching and plenty of reinforcement on pocket entries (think copper rivets, but again without the scratched bike), reinforced sleeves/elbows, and a top button that’s not going to choke you should you decide to do the jacket all the way up.

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

Notable exceptions to the design are the exclusion of armour, the lack of internal pockets and there’s no removable lining to keep you snug on colder days. Also, no reflectivity to help you be seen on the road. And while this completely makes sense when you consider the design brief it was made to, some still might pine for these. Personally, I like to keep my phone inside my jacket so that a little rain doesn’t risk me voiding my warranty, but that’s me.

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket detail

Why should I buy one?

If you’re currently in possession of a fully-armoured leather jacket that is overkill for inner-city trips and makes you sweat in summer like a criminal in a police club sauna, then this is the jacket for you. It’s not gonna be as breezy as some options when the mercury rises, but unless you’re cashed up enough to buy a jacket for every single season, it’s a great option.

Those who like long trips at freeways speeds and that don’t have an fully-armoured jacket option will want to look elsewhere, or consider wearing individual back and shoulder protectors under the jacket to keep you safe should the bitumen suddenly jump up and take a bite out of you.

And yes, the workshop look and functionality is great, but I feel that it’s more a nifty added extra than something that only mechanics and welders will look at. Honestly, its; not that limited; if Levi’s can sell a trucker jacket as a fashion accessory to the masses, then why not buy a Kevlar moto slash workshop jacket to wear on the street?

Earnest Co. 'Smiths' K-Canvas Moto Workwear Jacket detail

Pros:

  • Built like a tank
  • Beautifully functional
  • Nicely understated
  • Genuinely multi-purpose

Cons:

  • No armour as standard
  • Summer only, unless you layer up
  • No internal pockets

Right now, the jacket will set you back $310.00 NZD (that’s USD$222.00, £160.00, €185.00 and AUD$288 at time of writing). It comes in sizes S to XXL, but Nigel notes that sizing runs a little small, so maybe consider going for one size up than usual. Click below to find out more.

EARNEST CO. WORKWEAR

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: Blackbird Motorcycle Wear’s ‘Fly By Night’ Leather Jacket

Ah, the classics! There’s a good reason why they never go out of style. It’s all fine and well to have your Power Rangers outfits with their hi-viz this and their airbag that, but if you have a bike and helmet that suits, you’d be silly not to lean on history a little. Why, if it worked for Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley, who are we to question it? Looking to get a little more leather in our lives, we spent a few weeks with brill cream in our hair and a Triumph between our knees while we gave the ‘Fly By Night’ Leather Jacket from Australia’s Blackbird Motorcycle Wear a good ol’ spin around the block.

And with Sydney now descending into Autumn, we weren’t a moment too soon, either. It goes without saying that reviewing a leather jacket in the height of a Sydney summer is like trying to hammer a nail with a banana; it’s the wrong tool for the job. So with a welcome layer of hide between us and the not-so-chilly Sydney Autumn, off we went. Read on to see what we thought.

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

What Is It, Exactly?

According to the Blackbird website, the Fly By Night is ‘a ladies leather motorcycle jacket that balances classic biker and edgy aviator style.’ Of course, the intermingling of the aviation and moto genres goes all the way back to WWII and the penchant ex-fly boys had for motorcycles and the as-close-as-you-can-get-to-flying thrills that they have always delivered. So off they went on their two-wheeled adventures, with their ex-air force gear in hand.

And the rest, as they say, is history. The cafe racers of the late ’50s in London adopted this double-breasted look and the city’s famous Lewis Leathers took the whole kit and kaboodle and set it in stone (or skin, as the case may be) with their still best-selling ‘Bronx Jacket No. 384.’

Taking this as their baseplate and adding their own little spin on things, Blackbird have tweaked the design both for modernity and to reinstate a little more ‘aviator’ style into the mix – most notably with the addition of a removable, genuine Aussie wool collar.

Who’s Blackbird Motorcycle Wear, Then?

Owned and run since 2013 by the Mother-and-Daughter team of Belinda and Matilda McPhee, the company was founded after a particularly spiritual moonlight run on a Ducati 1100 down a country road. In my head, the Beatles’ famous song ‘Blackbird’ is playing; but in reality, I guess the blast of the wind would have overwhelmed any Hollywood-like soundtracks. Damn you, real life.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the Blackbird team on numerous occasions and I can tell you that they are not only in the business for all the right reasons, but they also live and breathe the gear like only a family-run business can. There’s no faceless global megacorps here, just two passionate women who clearly love what they do.

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

What Does it Look Like?

Right out of the rather large Blackbird Moto Wear-branded shopping bag, the jacket impresses. Its weight is impressive without being unwieldy; this is clearly a substantial leather stock. Linings are 100% polyester and all zippers on the jacket are YKK brand – a good indication in my books that things are being done without corners being cut. Similarly, the detachable collar (which doesn’t come with the item and must be purchased at an additional cost if the necessity takes you) looks and feels top shelf.

And while it definitely draws from the classic aviator jacket of years gone by, the design has been simplified by Blackbird into a cleaner, less fussy look without the multitude of zips and pockets the original air force designed called for. The leather has a pleasant sheen to it before any decent patina has set in, and clearly it will be a few years until some decent aging is accomplished. And if it looks this good now, just imagine how it’ll look then?

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

What’s It Made Like?

The tags on the jacket indicate that it was crafted in Pakistan – aka the world’s tannery. There’s no surprises here. In this modern world of globalisation, a vast majority of the leather products you see on shelves come out of this part of the planet. Whether it’s a small boutique label like Blackbird or heavy hitters like AlpineStars, this is where modern moto gear is made. And you thought AlpineStars were an Italian brand?

Of course, the country of origin doesn’t dictate quality and I’m happy to report that this jacket ticks an army of boxes upon closer inspection. As always, the devil is in the details but nit-picky checks of the pocket linings and the compartments designed to take the CE-rated armour that comes supplied with the item is promising. And unlike some jackets I’ve reviewed in the past, all the press studs here fasten with a similar amount of pressure; there’s no ‘dud’ ones that seem to eternally pop open if you dare even look at them sideways.

And the smell? It’ll send vegans packing but if genuine leather is what you’re after, then this ‘Supersoft, natural milled cowhide’ will be the perfume for you. With a thickness of about 1.1 to 1.3mm across the entire item, it strikes a rather nice balance between toughness and useability. One issue I have come across in the past with certain types of Pakistani leather is that regular exposure to sun and the elements can cause some inconsistent fading – especially across the back and arms. Now I’m not suggesting that it will be an issue here, but it’s something to think about when considering a relatively small-batch item such as this.

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

What Features Does it Have?

As mentioned, it comes with a full set of CE protection armour; bright yellow shoulder, back and elbow memory foam squishies are for you to insert or not, as the mood or intended purpose of the jacket may call for. The woolen collar comes in two shades, ivory and black. The lining is a satin-finish polyester and the two external pockets are matched to two internal (and unzipped) ones.

Zips on the cuffs include some pretty substantial pulls, as do the external pockets and the big sister main zip that runs right up the front. For those unfamiliar with the design, this zip closes the jacket up entirely when put to use and the large lapels that go such a long way to providing the jacket its style are neatly folded away when needed, or when the temps drop to such a point that wind must be banned from your core.

Finally, some side buckles just above the hips allow a tighter hug should you see fit. Buckles here are aged with a tarnished finish, as below. This integrates them more comfortably into the overall look and prevents them from being too bling-y, too.

 blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket

Earnest Co. Tasker Moto Pants

Stitching is doubled up where required and the design itself means that when fully zipped, you’ll actually have two layers of hide at your front quarters should it ever come under sustained attack. The back of the jacket has a seam right up the middle that forms a sporty vee with the shoulder panel above it and the cut-off at the base of your back is extended ever-so-slightly to keep things covered up.

The final word in the features list is its clearly-intended functionality as a fashion piece alongside the fact that it can also save your bacon and keep you warm while riding. If you need any further justification as to why you should spend the money, a classic moto jacket like this will probably get used far more than you might think. You may not be riding at night with it on, but chances are you’ll definitely be using it after the sun goes down.

blackbird moto wear fly by night jacket on the road

Why Should I Buy One?

If the cafe racer boom of the past 15 years has taught us anything, it’s that some things never go out of style. If you have a bike and the helmet to match, then a classic leather jacket like this is a real no-brainer that should certainly go on your moto shopping list. The fact that you can wear it even when you’re not on the bike is just the cherry on the gasoline cake.

Yes, the design – or something like it –  is available from a plethora of brands from the boutique likes of Blackbird all the way up to the original gangsters like Lewis Leathers and Belstaff. Who you go with should you decide to pull the trigger on the purchase is entirely up to you, but I’m happy to say that this here Fly By Night jacket is well worth your consideration.

Pros:

  • Timeless styling
  • Well made
  • Wool collar is a great addition
  • Genuinely multi-purpose

Cons:

  • Zip pulls can flap about at speed

Right now, the Fly By Night jacket will set you back AUD$599.00 (that’s USD$466, £335 and €385 at the time of writing). It comes in sizes from XXS to XXL, and it ships free worldwide. Click below to find out more.

BLACKBIRD’S FLY BY NIGHT JACKET

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

The Story Of A Motorcyclist’s Valued Treasure—The Wallet

There was just no getting around it any longer. The wallet I’ve had for 21 years was close to expiring. It’s sad. I noticed the subtle hints of distress about a year ago when the stitching began to come apart, loose threads sprouting out like little errant, frayed black hairs. Then, a few months ago I noticed that the main crease was wearing extremely thin and the first hint of a tear was barely visible. I was in denial, pretending I could nurse it through several more seasons of motorcycle trips by being a little more careful with it, being a little more gentle with the daily ritual of sliding it into and pulling it out of my back pocket and in and out of various riding jackets. But, as these things go, once the rip took purchase it escalated with a vengeance.


Related: Motorcycle Watches For The Professional


As my trusted wallet began its rapid decline over the past few months I began to think of everywhere it’s been with me. It dawned on me that wallet had been along on every single motorcycle outing and every overseas trip I’d taken in the last 21 years. It had been there on every one of my trips up the Pacific Coast to attend the World Superbike and MotoGP races at Laguna Seca (as a matter of fact it’s older than some of the riders currently piloting factory machines on the grid). It has been tucked into the pockets of various riding jackets on myriad motorcycle trips, from arid deserts to cold mountain summits, endured sweltering heat to frigid cold. It has been through the rugged Baviaanskloof of South Africa and submerged in a stream crossing crash in the foothills of California. It crested the Great Atlas Mountains of Morocco with me as well as experienced the sublime serpentine roads of Tuscany. It was with me one night in the Pyrenees when I was caught in a torrential and frightening lightning storm that left it saturated with so much Spanish rain that all the ink-written items tucked away in its folds were turned to unintelligible rivulets of blue ink.

That wallet had been taken out and opened over the years at an endless string of gas stations to retrieve a credit card to refuel a multitude of motorcycles. It accompanied me to every domestic and international press launch I’ve attended during my motorcycle journalism career. That wallet was opened in a hospital in Italy to retrieve my Blue Shield card when I shattered my collarbone and broke five ribs after tucking the front end of a Ducati 999 at speed on the Imola circuit. And, it was my steady and loyal, nonjudgmental partner in crime whenever I had to show an officer of the law my license when caught exceeding the speed limit. It had been there, through it all, without complaint, without demands.

Perhaps that walk down memory lane will help assuage any notions of me being too sentimental over a fold of leather. If it were possible to extract them, there are enough experiences imbedded in its grain to produce a fairly interesting novel. All this sentimentality is born out of a simple reality in life; when something doesn’t cause you any anguish it’s all too easy to take it for granted—until it’s too late. Most guys reading this will no doubt consider their own wallets and the fact that these things are our dutiful companions through thick and thin. They are the things that go with us, often at speed, into our two-wheeled adventures. They are the rectangular forms we reach out and feel for when riding—through layers of leather or denim or textile—to ensure we have not left them behind at a gas station or restaurant. They share status with ignition keys and helmets as one of our most important and essential possessions.

The sojourn with my wallet started in 1991. I stumbled onto it in a fine men’s store while shopping with my girlfriend. It was so wonderfully uncomplicated; a single, thin fold of fine leather with a place for a license and three credit cards. Perfect. My interest instantly waned when I saw the dangling little white price tag read $50. I couldn’t justify spending that for a wallet. However, my girlfriend—a very sophisticated and fashionable woman—said that a wallet was a very important accessory for a man. She proffered that most males sport very little in the way of jewelry or ornamentation (this was long before tattoos were accepted into social norms) and therefore a wallet, like a watch, becomes an important symbol of status for a man. In other words, when you present your wallet it reflects something of who you are. Her words struck me as genuine and true, so I paid the then princely sum of 50 dollars and transferred all the contents of my old battered wallet into the new one. It’s true. Having a nice wallet does make you feel a little classier. Twenty-one years. I wonder what that is in wallet years? Fifty dollars. That works out to about $2.38 per.

Over the ensuing years I watched the wallet transition through various stages. The board-like stiffness fresh from the store quickly vanished. The leather gradually softened with the natural oils from my hands in the daily ritual of sliding it into and drawing it out of a plethora of pockets. It took on the natural curve of my hip and became a comfortable, almost invisible companion. Over time the leather was aged to exquisite smoothness.

Now, sadly, my dear wallet was finally giving up the ghost. The tear down the fold could be ignored no more. The only thing holding the two halves together was the silk liner with the brand name Bree vaguely visible in a black-on-black design. And so it was, that on a recent press launch to Madrid I finally decided it was time to replace her. I perused the small avenues off the main drags in search of a small shop that just might have a wallet that spoke to me. Finally, after a half day of milling about, I entered a quaint leather shop and saw it; a thin, simple, single fold-over wallet with a license area and slits for five credit cards. It was made of beautiful, soft black Spanish leather. It was on sale for 28 euros ($37).

On the return trip from Madrid I used my new wallet to obtain my boarding pass—its first official duty. I sincerely hope this wallet gets to enjoy the kind of wonderful experiences the old one did. I got to thinking about my old one, which was tucked away in my gear bag in the holds of the jet, and decided I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. Wherever the cow is that gave up some of their flesh to provide the makings of my old wallet can rest peacefully knowing that its sacrifice was put to good use. Since that wallet has served as a kind of trophy for so many of my various adventures in life, it deserves to be on display. Therefore, I have decided to frame it.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

WP Pro Components Suspension Brings Championship-Winning Tech To The Masses

WP Suspension has new fork and shock options for off-road riders looking for a competitive edge. WP Pro Components will be available starting mid-May 2019 and the first wave of products include three fork setups and two shocks.

The WP Xact Pro 7548 and WP Xplor Pro 7548 forks are equipped with Cone Valve technology derived from the factory racing division, providing superior damping characteristics for any type of terrain. They also offer more stroke and top-spec material construction aimed to greatly improve bottoming resistance.

There’s also the WP Xact Pro 7448 Air Fork, which also comes with Cone Valve technology along with the AER spring system. The Xact Air Fork provides a 2.2-pound weight savings. The Air Fork system pairs the Cone Valve damping leg with the AER spring leg and provides nearly unlimited configuration setups.

For the back end, there are the new Xact Pro 8950 shock and Xplor Pro 8950 shock. Each of these shocks comes with the WP-developed Supertrax system, which allows adjustment to high- and low-speed rebound damping via a TXN adjuster. WP promises this technology provides improved bottoming resistance, more reliable traction, and a smoother ride overall. There’s also a gear-driven preload adjuster made to allow for easy adjustment to your bike’s sag.

Pricing has yet to be announced for these new components, and when they are released later this month, they’ll be available through any WP Suspension authorized center.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Arai Ram-X Open-Face Helmet First Look

Arai has announced an innovative new open-face helmet in the Ram-X. It’s made to be ultra light, highly protective, and comfortable, becoming the most sophisticated open-face helmet from Arai to date.

The Japanese brand took cues from some of its top-of-the-line helmets to devise the Ram-X. Its ventilation diffusers are borrowed from the Corsair-X, providing heightened airflow through the intake vents and channels. Arai changed the aero stabilizer design to optimize stabilizing performance on the new lid.

The shell of the Ram-X is based on the construction of the Quantum-X and Signet-X. It’s made from a PB-cLc2 material (which stands for peripherally belted complex laminate construction square). It’s a technique that was created in-house by Arai and which makes use of a number of different impact-resistant materials.

The shell also makes use of the newly designed Z-Compound resin, which provides better adhesion between layers while allowing engineers to use less resin than before. That results in a lighter-weight lid that is both DOT and Snell approved. There’s no specific weight number listed by Arai however.

There are four shell sizes used to construct the XS–XXL size run for the Ram-X, improving the accuracy of the fit. Arai has given the Ram-X an intermediate oval shape in an effort to make the helmet comfortable for a wide range of riders.

Each shell size comes with its own multi-density EPS liner and comfort padding.

Riders can choose to ride with the Pro Shade System up and utilize the shade as a peak, or ride with it down to reduce the amount of light entering the helmet. A newly developed VAS-Z shield system provides a lower pivot point which allowed engineers to create a smoother design in the temple area. All of these elements were also designed with aerodynamic efficiency in mind, with the aim of creating a helmet that cuts through air as best as possible.

The shield is Pinlock ready also. There are a number of color options available, and the Ram-X starts at $679.95.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Best Motorcycle Mechanic Shop Apparel

Dickies has been a go-to name for work wear for generations. The company’s garments are tough, cheap, and available almost everywhere. Dickies’ new Moto Collection adds abrasion-resistant cloth to familiar designs. It’s not the kind of stuff we’d trust to save our hide on a real off, but it’s perfect for wearing in the garage or on a quick rip around the block after cleaning out your carbs for the 1,000th time. The Eisenhower jacket’s contoured arms and gusseted shoulders are comfortable enough in a riding position, but an attractive price is the real winner.

Shop pants typically fit like they’ve been imported from 1950, with high waists and baggy legs. The Moto chinos can be had in a variety of fits, and because they’re made from the same tough textile as the Eisenhower jacket, they’ll stand up to years of crawling around on the concrete while you clean chains and change oil. Dickies threw in a contoured waist to keep the things comfortable on a bike too.

A good pair of boots is as at home in the garage as it is in the office. Red Wing has been making its Iron Rangers for over 100 years. Like the Dickies threads, the boots are made to take a beating, but they’re comfortable enough for daily wear. The Vibram sole stays stuck even on wet concrete, and a thick leather upper will last for years with proper care.

The CDC is pretty clear about dermal absorption. For many workers, toxic substances enter the bloodstream through the skin, not the lungs. Disposable shop gloves are our go-to for keeping the nasty stuff off our hands and out of our bodies, but the cheap, thin parts-store variety are about as durable as a paper towel. These 14-mil bruisers walk the fine line between being tough enough to resist tearing and thin enough to maintain dexterity. At $20 a box, they’re more expensive than the kind you’ll find at the dentist, but you’ll use fewer per project, reducing waste while you’re at it.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Motorcycle Watches For The Professional

Wristwatches, like motorcycles, are specialized instruments. You don’t take a Supercross bike on a cross-country freeway haul, or chase lap records on a saddle-bagged cruiser. Similarly, you wouldn’t wear an oversize tool watch to a wedding or funeral. Or to the office. There you want something versatile on your wrist—dressy enough for a professional environment, but also suitable for raising hell during the morning commute. While some of us are lucky enough to have careers riding or wrenching (see page 60), most are pulling a 9-to-5, which means sitting at a desk, staring out at the parking lot, and waiting until quitting time to get back on the bike. These watches work as well at the office as they do on the open road, and are stylish to boot. They’ll make watching the clock a little more tolerable.

Savvy Associate:

Timex Marlin

Price: $199

The original 1960s Marlin brought super-sharp, American-designed watches to the masses. Now Timex is reissuing that mid-century icon with a classic manual movement, the company’s first mechanical watch since 1982, and smart new color combinations. It has the retro looks to impress Don Draper and the durability to take an Easy Rider beating. It also happens to be shockingly affordable. Consider this an instant (and easy) upgrade.

Creative Director:

Nomos Glashütte Tetra

Price: $2,320

Complicated square watches have been synonymous with speed since Steve McQueen wore one while filming Le Mans. NOMOS Glashütte brings a motorcyclist’s approach to the shape, downsizing and paring back frivolous functions to their utilitarian core. Each example is handmade in Germany, with a stout manual-wind movement tucked inside an extra-slender case. Perfect for the enthusiast with small wrists looking to make a big statement.

I.T. Guy:

Montblanc Summit 2

Price: $995

In terms of outright functionality, smartwatches are tough to beat. The rub? Most look like lozenges, give off an AV club vibe, or both. The Summit 2 offers all the rider-friendly tech you want—Bluetooth syncing, voice activation, GPS and navigation—in a traditional steel case, with a rotating crown and handsome calfskin strap. Plus, it’s packing the powerful new Snapdragon processor and latest version of Google Wear OS. Think Swiss charm by way of Silicon Valley.

The Promotion:

Baume & Mercier Classima

Price: $990

Baume & Mercier has nearly two centuries of watchmaking heritage and deep ties to motorcycling. (The brand once did a Burt Munro tribute sports watch, plus special editions for the new Indian Scout and Chief.) Powered by a hassle-free quartz movement, the Classima adds a professional aesthetic to the pedigree, offering all the classic hallmarks of a dress watch: sleek Roman numerals, a tidy date window at the 3 o’clock position, and a handsome dark-colored dial.

The Executive:

Jaeger-lecoultre Reverso

Price: $6,200

Conservative but not stuffy, fashionable but not flashy, precise as a surgeon and reliable as a sunset—the Reverso is an ideal investment timepiece. And its namesake feature is ideal for riders: The entire watch head can swivel 360 degrees, so the metal case’s back faces outward, shielding the dial from debris and road grime. Nothing says “I’m the boss” like a watch that can drop visor when it’s time to get down to business.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Pirelli Angel GT II Sport-Touring Tire First Look

Pirelli announced the next generation of its sport-touring line of motorcycle tires with the new Angel GT II. A refined compound, new tread pattern, and revised carcass promise unparalleled performance for a wide range of riders. Considering how good the original Angel GT performed (it’s been a part of Pirelli’s motorcycle tire lineup for more than six years), its successor has some serious shoes to fill.

Sport-touring is a demanding segment for tires. A set needs to be capable of handling sporty rides, so be nimble with reliable grip throughout. But they also need to have longevity, and the ability to perform when the weather turns. Pirelli promises it all with the Angel GT II.

That’s owing to a variable cord end count carcass and high-silica compound. Combined with a new tread pattern which owes its roots to the intermediate race tires used in World Superbike, the Angel GT II aims to deliver confidence and competence in spades.

Pirelli highlights the new Angel GT II’s strength in straight-line stability and durability along with smooth transitions from side to side. That goes for both dry and wet conditions too. The Angel GT II is also touted as being ideal for riders on machines with sophisticated electronics, things like traction control or cornering ABS, where grip can be affected by changes beyond throttle control or road conditions.

The Angel GT II is recommended for a diverse range of segments as a result, in Pirelli’s estimation. That includes large, luxury touring and adventure riders as well as urban-focused or more casual, weekend riders.

The size range backs up that assertion, with a large selection of sizes for an expansive array of machines. Below is the complete run as of the announcement.

Front:
120/60ZR-17 M/C TL (55W)
120/70ZR-17 M/C TL (58W)
120/70ZR-17 M/C TL (58W) (A)
110/70R-17 M/C TL 54H
120/70R-19 M/C TL 60V

Rear:
140/70R-17 M/C TL 66H
150/70ZR-17 M/C TL (69W)
160/60ZR-17 M/C TL (69W)
170/60R-17 M/C TL 72V
170/60ZR-17 M/C TL (72W)
180/55ZR-17 M/C TL (73W)
180/55ZR-17 M/C TL (73W) (A)
190/50ZR-17 M/C TL (73W)
190/50ZR-17 M/C TL (73W) (A)
190/55ZR-17 M/C TL (75W)
190/55ZR-17 M/C TL (75W) (A)

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Product: 2019 Merlin Victory jacket

Lightweight and protective motorcycle jacket now available.

Link International, the Australian distributor of Merlin, has announced the release of its 2019 Leisure range, including the Victory leather motorcycle jacket.

With many years of motorcycle apparel manufacturing experience, Merlin has focused on combining the latest production technology and componentry with authentic heritage styling.

Whether you’re enjoying a Sunday morning tootle or your riding is hardcore, Merlin will keep you comfortable and well protected while providing class and style.

merlin victory jacket

Image: Supplied.

2019 Merlin Victory jacket key features:
– Halley Stevensons 10oz Super Dry water-repellent cotton outer.
– Dupont Kevlar 220g reinforced impact areas (shoulders, elbows and back).
– SW Level 2 armour pre-fitted to shoulder and elbows (removable).
– Back pocket prepared for optional CE back armour.
– Silver micro snaps plus silver YKK central zipper.
– YKK zippers used throughout.
– Stunning tartan lining throughout the jacket inside.
– Two lower pockets with side entry hand warmers.

Available in sizes small through to 3X-large, the Merlin Victory jacket is priced at RRP $329.95. For more information, visit www.merlinbikegear.com.au.

Source: CycleOnline.com.au