Seems like RevZilla couldn’t wait for the end of the week to kick off their Black Friday markdown mania—their “Early Access” Black Friday event is on now, with killer deals up to 70% off on some of the best gear brands around.
You can check out the entire sale here, but we’ve also gone ahead and listed some of our select picks below. Find helmets, jackets, gloves, and more below—and get ’em before they’re gone!
Helmets Up to 70% Off
Shark Spartan GT Replikan
Regular Price: $549.99, Sale Price: $329.99 (40% Off)
This high-tech full face helmet uses a multiaxial fiberglass shell and multiple EPS layers to offer superior protection, while an Optical Class-1 rated visor with variable thicknesses provides crystal clear vision. An anti-fog breath guard, ergonomic visor locking system, and slot for a Sharktooth intercom are just a few of the other features you’ll find here.
Regular Price: $429.95, Sale Price: $214.99 (50% Off)
Vintage auto-racing looks meet modern protective features in this popular Bell helmet—now slashed to just over $200! You get an antibacterial liner, a ProVision dual pane face shield with anti-fogging capabilities, speaker pockets for optional comms devices, and an extremely sharp look. It also comes in the “Vanish” variant, which uses a classy matte-black paint job to look extra deadly.
Regular Price: $234.95, Sale Price: $99.98 (57% Off)
With a 600D water-resistant outer shell and CE-certified armor in the elbows and shoulders, this jacket lives up to the toughness and protection offered by its namesake—the legendary ancient Greek military formation. It comes with a back protector as well, plus a removable thermal liner vest for comfort in a wider range of climates.
Regular Price: $274.95.95, Sale Price: $109.98 (60% Off)
A removable hoodie for cool conditions and zip-off sleeves to help you beat the heat make this riding jacket one of the most versatile on the market. It also lets you pack any unused parts into tuck-away panels so you can carry them with you without having to rely on panniers or saddlebags. Comfortable and convenient.
Regular Price: $550.00, Sale Price: $275.00 (50% Off)
A practical-but-aggressive option for riders who want an edgy look without sacrificing protection or comfort. You get CE Level 1 Knox armor in the shoulders and elbows, plus a removable hoodie and plenty of venting to keep the air flowing when conditions warm up.
Regular Price: $79.99, Sale Price: $40.00 (50% Off)
An updated version of Joe Rocket’s formidable track-level GPX gloves, these ones were designed explicitly for use on the mean streets of—well, wherever you ride. Made in a gauntlet style with a goatskin chassis, they also feature injection-molded knuckle protectors, texturized non-slip palm overlays, and reflective features on the backs of each hand to keep you visible. Trust us; you’ll want to show these off.
Regular Price: $125.00, Sale Price: $50.00 (60% Off)
What can fifty bucks get you these days? A small bag of groceries? Half a tank of gas for your Road King? Or how about these tough-as-nails cowhide leather gloves with padded palms, flex knuckles, and a 100% tricot liner? Seems like an easy choice to us.
Regular Price: $650.00, Sale Price: $275.00 (58% Off)
Hooligans and troublemakers rejoice—this jacket is the perfect top portion of your uniform. Top-grain cowhide construction helps you keep your skin in a slide, while pockets are built in to hold optional armor in the shoudlers, elbows, and back. And with a streamlined rider-friendly fit, you’ll look at sleek as you feel protected.
Regular Price: $149.99, Sale Price: $44.95 (70% Off)
These straight-leg riding jeans will keep your butt from chafing if you accidentally sit down at speed on the pavement, offering 89.6% of the abrasion resistance you’d expect from 1.4mm cowhide. Optional armor slides easily into the pockets at the hips and knees, too.
Regular Price: $59.95, Sale Price: $29.95 (50% Off)
Tough goatskin protects your skin, while knuckle guards add impact protection where you need it most and a pre-curved fit makes it easier to wrap your hands around the grips of your bike with confidence. We dare you to do better in the gloves department for less than thirty bucks.
Let’s face reality here: it’s only really been in the past two decades that women’s jackets have been coming out in force. Before then, in what was historically a “male-dominated hobby,” women had to make do with either custom gear or modifying men’s gear to fit. We put the quotations there because ever since the 1970s, we know that women made up a good portion of riders, usually hovering in the 5 to 10% ridership range.
Flash forward to 2021, and now women account for about 22% of riders, worldwide. That is refreshing to see and has forced even a lot of the “old school” to recognize that there are badass ladies all over the globe that will swing a leg over and crank the right wrist. It’s also refreshing to see that in what was once traditionally a male-dominated sport, road racing and even MotoGP are seeing more and more women rising in their ranks.
What this means is that many of the big manufacturers and gear makers have had to adapt to provide proper racing suits and gear for these women. This, naturally, has led to the traditional trickle-down style of motorcycle gear from racing to street, which means that more and more jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and other pieces of gear are appearing every month.
Rev’It is one of those companies that has made women’s protective gear pretty much since their incorporation, as there are quite a few female riders in the Netherlands. On top of that, they have a history in both circuit racing and enduro racing, so both the full leather track jackets and hot weather mesh jackets are packed full of cutting-edge design.
The Eclipse is just one such example of this, with an open, flowthrough style mesh that would seem to not have any abrasion resistance at all. However, that mesh is made of polyester ripstop material, as is the main chassis of the jacket. While the solid panels are rated to 600D, the mesh itself commands a respectable 400.
With adjustable bicep and wrist closures, full YKK zippers, two external pockets, and one internal pocket, the Eclipse is also quite fashionable to boot. The armor comes in the form of Knox Flexform in both the shoulders and elbows, which feels extremely light but carries CE-rated impact protection. An optional back protector can be fitted to the jacket.
Roland Sands, with the Mia jacket, ticks off two-rider fashion styles in one go, without sacrificing any protection. The retro and cafe crowd will love the classic British asymmetrical styling, while the sport and the sport-touring crowd will love the aggressive fit with the included thermal lining that doubles as a hoodie when the leather is taken away.
That leather is one-grain style better than cowhide, as it is oiled buffalo leather at 1.0 to 1.2 mm thicknesses. In areas requiring stretch, premium-grade elastic ripstop polyester is used. The hoodie liner is also breathable and waterproof, meaning that even if you have to do a dash from the bike to your front door in a downpour, simply flip up the hood and you’ll get there dry.
Protection comes in the form of Knox micro lock CE level 2 armor at the shoulders and elbows, with the leather jacket’s inner mesh liner holding a back protector pocket for optional armor. Accordion panels at the elbows and a quilted stitch design around the shoulders allow the jacket to move freely, despite being pre-curved for a front tuck position. Ventilation comes via some very well hidden shoulder intakes and vents, which keep the jacket looking premium when zipped up.
If Roland Sands has the women’s cafe market cornered, it’s fair to say that Alpinestars, realizing there was a gap to step through, made a sporty cruiser jacket with the Alice. Carrying all the right looks of the double-breasted front flaps, the asymmetrical zipper, and the relaxed arm curvature makes this both a classic and a modern sports cruiser jacket, all in one.
Don’t let its old-school looks fool you into thinking it’s not armored to the nines. Alpinestars has included their super lightweight, breathable Nucleon Flex armor, which is certified to CE level 2, at the shoulders and elbows, with a forearm extension on the elbow armor. This is carried in a mesh-backed cowhide 1.3mm leather chassis, with a back protector pocket for optional armor.
As with other jackets of the sporting style, the thermal liner of the jacket is easily detached and serves as a hoodie. Ventilation is hidden well in the underarm stretch panels, allowing just enough air to pass to wick away heat without being overly cold.
This is a jacket that would look at home being used while riding either Honda Rebel 500 or an Indian Roadmaster. Classic, timeless styling with modern armoring deserves a spot on this list.
Roland Sands strikes again with a superb classic English cruiser jacket. Solidly in the retro cruiser fashion sense, the Riot jacket would look perfectly at home being worn in the crowd at an Iron Maiden or Judas Priest concert as much as it does astride a Royal Enfield or a Triumph Bonneville.
Much more of a summer cruise jacket, the Riot is made of microperforated top grain cowhide sourced from Blackstone, which means it is soft, supple, and abrasion resistant with a thickness of 0.9mm throughout. The asymmetrical zipper is, of course, full YKK, and is of the bronze classic style. Quilted leather highlights and aggressive cuff YKK zippers make the jacket scream “Rock n Roll!” in that quintessential British understated-but-loud way.
The jacket is also, of note, made with a very aggressive black dye process, as the color will lighten the more it is exposed to UV light until it reaches the classic light black that well-worn leather fashion jackets eventually reach. This is also the only jacket recommended on this list that does not come with pre-installed armor. However, pockets for elbow, shoulder, and back protectors are ready to accept your own choice of the best armor, from Alpinestars’ Nucleon Flexto Icon’s D3O and Rev’It’s SeeSoft.
With the increase in women’s participation in BSB, ASA, MotoGP feeder series, and the like over the past three decades, Alpinestars has had a lot of exposure to creating gear that is suitable to both genders, or those in-between genders. For the men, the T-GP Plus R v3 Air is one of the best mid-range sport and track rated jackets you can get, and by simply adding a Stella to the front of that name, that same legendary jacket is available to women.
The Stella T-GP Plus R v3 Air, apart from being one hell of a mouthful of words, is made of 600D highly abrasion-resistant polyester. Interspersed between these polyester panels, abrasion-resistant, tightly woven polyfabric mesh allows just enough air to wick away heat, but not chill you to the bone. A full mesh lining also helps boost that airflow’s effectiveness in carrying away sweat and warm air.
Protection is in the form of Alpinestars’ Nucleon Flex CE level 1 armor, with the shoulders being additionally armored with GP Lite slide shields. As sport riders will often choose between vest-style back protection or using jacket pockets, no back protector is included. However, Alpinestars has included both chest and back protector pockets, suitable for Nucleon KR-Ci CE level 2 armor.
A definite warm-weather riding winner, those that ride sportbikes where it never really snows have a go-to jacket that can be armored up as the need arises.
If you want a sport riding jacket that is both warm-weather rated and contains the abrasion resistance of leather, Dainese has you covered with the Racing 3 Perforated women’s jacket. The “mortal enemy” of Alpinestars on the MotoGP grid, Dainese uses a special treatment on all the leather they use for track and street gear, naming it “tutu leather.”
This leather is always 1.2mm or greater in thickness, while the treatment makes it highly water-resistant, supple, and reinforces the abrasion resistance through chemical bonding. And if that wasn’t enough protection for you, the stretch panels between the leather chassis panels are made of S1 bi-elastic, a Dainese and Cordura co-development that mixes the elasticity of regular polyfabric with the 500D+ abrasion resistance of pure Cordura.
The jacket is also microperforated in key areas and includes zip closure vents in the upper chest, with intake and exhaust vents on the sides of the jacket. Protection comes in the form of Dainese composite CE level II elbow and shoulder armor, with the shoulders being covered by an aluminum impact and slide plate that is mounted on a composite base, meaning the plate is replaceable. The jacket features a back protector pocket suitable for a Dainese G1 back protector, or a Dainese D1 airbag vest can be worn under the jacket itself.
It’s a premium leather and polymer jacket that passes CE EN 1621.1 and CE Category II – 89/686/EEC Directive protection standards, meaning it is ready for track use. Dainese themselves note that the jacket does tend to run on the tighter sport fit side, so they recommend buying one size up from your measurements.
If you have spent even two seconds at the local gear store’s ADV and off-road touring gear section, Klim is a name that is plastered literally everywhere. Specialists in the long-distance touring style of gear, both on- and off-road, the Artemis is a design that is not shared with any other jacket in their lineup, making this one of the very few women’s only jackets.
Named after the Ancient Greek goddess that protected nature, the Artemis does a very good job at protecting whoever is within its confines. A true three-season touring jacket, this jacket is made of Klim’s own Karbonite textile, which is rated at least 600D, and up to over 750D, abrasion-resistant across multiple certification tests. Behind the chassis sits a full GoreTex membrane layer, which itself is over a Klimatek mesh layer that acts to both wick away hot air and sweat, and supports the jacket on the body.
In making the Artemis specifically for women, Klim did not have to worry about ventilation for the male torso, so airflow has been mapped specifically for the female torso. Ventilation is controlled via two centerline chest vents, two cross-core vents, 2 forearm vents, and two bicep vents, all of which exhaust out two massive vertical back vents.
Protection beyond abrasion is reinforced by D3O level 1 armor in the back, shoulders, and elbows. The Karbonite fabric is also penetration resistant, so no sharp rocks on an off-road trip should leave much more than a small bruise and a memory. The collar is comfort-lined to not be abrasive to the neck, and both sides of the collars can be pinned back to the upper chest to allow ventilation air to pass down from the neck roll into the body of the jacket.
If you are going to be off-road for any duration, you really cannot get a better ADV jacket than the Artemis. It’s designed for, built for, made for the active off-road riding woman, and it shows!
The latest trend in protective gear in 2021 has been the major push forward with armored shirts and hoodies. Either out of a desire to not look “kitted up,” or purely for comfort, there are varying degrees of quality with these newer pieces of gear, and Merlin has been at the forefront of the highest-rated, best quality shirts.
Looking like your average long-sleeved plaid shirt that isn’t out of place on a farm, the Madison shirt is much more than just a fashion statement. The Buffalo Plaid fabric, itself tear-resistant, is backed by a full, interwoven, 100% DuPont Kevlar lining that is rated to 1000D abrasion. A light mesh lining keeps things comfortable, as does a relaxed street fit, while the kevlar holds CE level 1 elbow and shoulder armor in place. There is a pocket in the mesh liner for a back protector as well.
What looks like a button up front is in fact a storm flap closure over a full YKK zip, with YYK zippered vents cleverly hidden along the tops of the chest pockets. The pockets have small inner pockets designed to hold hand-warmer packs, and if that wasn’t enough, the whole shirt is water-resistant but breathes easily.
If understated but superb protection is in your checklist for gear, or if you just want a good all-around riding shirt that pairs beautifully with some riding jeans and boots, Merlin has just the shirt for you.
To say that this jacket is revolutionary is understating just how important it is. It may not look like much, it may even look bland compared to some of the other options on this list, but Helite has made a women’s fit jacket that has the single most important protection feature that any jacket can have. Enter the Xena, a leather sport touring and cruiser jacket with a built-in, tether deployed rider airbag system.
Made from premium 1.2mm cowhide leather, the Xena hides stretch polyfabric under a cleverly designed panel at the top back of the jacket, whose importance we will discuss shortly. As well, the sides and lower back feature floating leather on stretch panels, allowing the jacket to keep a tight, close fit at all times. The arms are relaxed in their curvature, making it comfortable for long-distance cruising.
The importance of both the large stretch panel at the top of the back and the stretch panels on the sides and lower back is so that if you do come off your bike, in any way, shape, or form other than stepping off of it when it’s parked, a tether attached to a solid point on your motorcycle yanks an activation valve open, inflating the airbag hidden in the liner of the jacket in 0.1 seconds. This airbag, along with the full Sas-Tec CE level 2 back, shoulder, and elbow armor, provides extreme impact protection into the high tens of G’s.
As it is a tether-operated system, with no fancy electronics or GPS sensors, it works every time you need it to. In fact, the airbag will self-deflate over about half an hour, and as long as the jacket has not been penetrated by any object or otherwise damaged, all you need to do to reset it is replace the spent 60cc CO2 cartridge in the right lower front of the liner, and it’s ready to deploy again.
For disguising a life-preserving safety feature in a fashionable cruiser and sport-touring jacket, while it is expensive, nothing is more expensive than your life. Either this or the wearable Helite Turtle 2 airbag vest, comes highly recommended.
Much like a couple of the other jackets in this list, if you’re going for a retro look that hides otherwise superior protective features, Dainese has a retro jacket for you in the Lola 3. Just looking at it, you’d think it was a slightly heavier track jacket, or a zip-up spring jacket to wear on the walk to the grocery store.
However, the Lola 3 is so much more. Combining high-grade Iride matte leather with S1 bi-elastic polyfabric panels and Dainese Pro-Armor impact zones, the jacket passes both prEN 17092 Class A jacket protection and EN 1621.1 armor class 1 standards. The Pro-Armor elbow and shoulder protectors are also rated CE level 1, which, while not as protective as CE level 2, allows for the armor to be more flexible and comfortable, while still being able to take an incredibly harsh whack without passing the impact to you.
And the piping on the jacket is not just for fashion, either. It is fully reflective material in an artificial shape, so the eye at night recognizes an artificial shape among the organic clutter of the environment in their headlights. A pocket for an optional Dainese G1 or racing G2 grade protector is inlaid into the TechFrame internal comfort liner just in case that person doesn’t see you.
Motorcycle jackets are one of those pieces of safety gear that it just makes sense to own. No matter if you live in a hot, humid, cold, or dry area, all roads possess the ability to be rather harsh to your skin should you ever go down. There are jackets designed for all four of those previously mentioned environmental conditions, and some of the best jackets possess the ability to handle more than one.
Since there really is no “one size fits all” type of motorcycle jacket, this list will not be ranked competitively. What we mean by this is that instead of counting down from 10 to 1, we’ll instead be showing the ten overall best motorcycle jackets for men, flat out. Simply choose the one that best suits your environment, and you’ll have many fun riding days ahead!
Alpinestars is a name that has been in motorcycle racing for a long time, and it shows with their gear. The Missile Air jacket is designed to be used for the street, yet it is made from race-grade 1.3mm cowhide leather, meaning that it offers the same level of abrasion protection that MotoGP and World SBK riders have. It is also fully perforated on the front and back, and meant to move a lot of air over the rider while carrying away heat and sweat.
In short, this jacket is meant for those who go fast, but also want to be comfortable doing so. Added protection comes in the form of CE-certified hard shell sliders on the elbows and shoulders, backed by dual-density foam over CE-certified armor on the innermost layer.
One of the best aspects about the Missile Air is that it is designed from the factory to be used with the Alpinestars TechAir Race airbag vest, which is worn under the jacket. The inner lining has attachment points so that the vest offers the best impact protection without the jacket riding up or moving around, and the jacket features a small LED panel on the left sleeve that gives riders status updates at a glance.
The only downside to the jacket is that while it does have a padded aerodynamic hump and a lower backslider, it does not include a back protector, even at this price. This is mostly because the TechAir Race has a CE level 2 back protector built-in, but if you do not use the vest with the airbag, you will need to source a separate one.
The Rev’It Cayenne Pro is one hell of an adventure jacket. ADV and dual-sport jackets have probably the crowd to please in all of motorcycling, as they have to be both extremely comfortable while providing protection against on-road and off-road hazards. On top of that, they are expected to also be three-season viable without being too complicated to switch between a summer jacket flowing a lot of air to a rainy day jacket that is waterproof.
Rev’It has designed the Cayenne Pro to check off all those boxes, and a few more that you probably aren’t thinking of. The biggest part is that the entire chassis of the jacket is 750D polyamide coated with Teflon coating. This textile, Rev’It’s own in-house design, feels like Cordura but contains 87% polyamide, 7% leather, and 6% polyester, giving it superb abrasion resistance while also making it reasonably penetration resistant as well.
The Cayenne Pro is 100% waterproof when all airflow vents are closed, and there are a few of them. This allows you to tailor the amount of air you want through the jacket, from none on a particularly chilly day to almost being a mesh jacket on super hot days. And throughout it all, this jacket carries Rev’it’s CE level 2 rated SeeFlex shoulder and elbow protectors, and a SeeSoft CE level 2 back protector.
For those that are serious about spending days, if not weeks, on a motorcycle, adventuring across the Australian outback, or touching all the big landmarks in South Africa, Klim has the jacket for you. The Adventure Rally Jacket is not for those looking to ride for a day, no. This is about as hardcore as you can get.
Using all the latest in material and protective technologies, the Adventure Rally is waterproof, windproof, stain-resistant, and shucks off salt, water, and biologicals that might get tossed into the air if you’re riding along a coastline near the sea. GoreTex interwoven with Armacor textile provides three layers of abrasion resistance and waterproofing, so even if you do take a spill and tear the outer layer, two more layers will still keep the integrity of the jacket.
The Adventure Rally also comes with a full complement of armor, all of it D3O CE level 2 or better, in the chest, shoulders, elbows, forearms, and full back. It has an internal kidney belt that helps the shoulders bear the weight of the jacket on the tops of the hips while also armoring the kidneys. A built-in, 3-liter hydration pack in the back is easily refillable, and contamination-proof when closed, with the drink tube able to be routed either internally or externally, depending on your preference.
Ten waterproof external pockets mean you can carry all the gear you need that’s too small to fit in your saddlebags or pannier lockers. Ventilation is also highly customizable with no less than 6 vent options, all closed and sealed by YKK zippers and waterproof GoreTex membranes behind the zips.
Yes, this jacket costs as much as a decent used dirt bike, but it is meant, as stated, to survive weeks, if not months, on an adventure. And for that, there is no better jacket.
The history of cafe racing personal protective gear is a bit of an interesting one, as cafe racers in the UK were the first riders to fully and truly wear head-to-toe protective gear, usually made of high-grade cowhide leather. It’s a good thing, then, that Merlin decided to not fix what’s not broken.
The Chase Cafe jacket is made of high quality, double- and triple-stitched cowhide, in varying thicknesses of 1.2 to 1.3 mm. The main chassis is backed by a smooth satin black fabric, with a removable thermal liner vest that weighs only 100g.
Keeping with the style and feel of the rock and roll racing era, the two-tone leather hides an impressive set of CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows, with a back pocket in the liner designed to handle any of the top quality back protector inserts on the market, from D3O all the way to Nucleon and SeeSoft.
Also in keeping with the cafe history, all zips are high-quality YKK, with Merlin snap closures including a storm flap closure just under the collar if you want a little more airflow, or a full neck snap if it’s getting a little chilly. Other jackets made of the same materials, with the same level of protection, will cost you over $100 more, which makes the Merlin Chase Cafe jacket one of the best value-for-money options out there in today’s cafe jacket market.
“Wait,” we can hear you say. “That’s a jacket?” Indeed it is, although it is branded as a “riding shirt.” It may look like a slightly bulky cotton button-up, but that is underselling the serious protection that this jacket hides.
Looking like an average construction site work shirt, the exterior is made of 67% cotton and 33% polyester, although it is not on-brand Cordura. Instead, it is branded out as 12oz coated denim, which has about 300D ripstop equivalent. While that is not overly impressive, the 140GSM aramid knit backing to that denim is. Much like riding jeans, the aramid takes the brunt of the abrasion, with a ripstop rating of 1000D.
This is backed up with full Sas-Tec CE Level 2 armor, certified to EN 1621-1 performance, in the elbows and shoulder areas, held in by aramid and polyester lining. There is a pocket for a back protector at the rear of the shirt and will fit all major armor types in that pocket.
Hiding behind the front buttons, in case there was worry that the shirt might rip open during a slide, is a fully double-sewn YKK zipper. The collar has hidden snap-downs to prevent it from flapping in the wind, and there are belt loops hidden in the hem to keep the shirt from riding up during a slide as well.
All in all, if you want to look casual, but ride protected, REAX has a relatively inexpensive but amazingly protective riding shirt for you.
As easily seen in the top form of motorcycle racing, MotoGP, there really are only two houses of racing suits across the entire competitive field. One is Alpinestars, the other is Dainese. If there ever was a war for sportbike and supersport gear dominance, it is between these two companies. So it’s only fitting that while one of our top recommended sports jackets is Alpinestars, the other is one of Dainese’s best.
Instead of relying purely on cowhide for abrasion resistance, Dainese has invested a lot of research and development money into what is known as S1 Bielastic Fabric, developed in partnership with Cordura. While high-quality leather does make up a large part of the chassis, especially abrasion areas, it is backed by S1, and S1 is also used to form the stretch panels between leather panels. As well, the S1 in and of itself is equivalent to 600D ripstop and contains polyamides, polyester, and aramid fibers for the strongest, but most flexible, protection possible.
This allows for the jacket, which is relaxed just under a full race fit, to stretch and conform to the rider’s body without needing to be fully tailored to the rider. On top of that, the jacket features composite armor in the shoulders and elbows, with replaceable aluminum external slide points. The entire jacket is also CE Cat 2 certified, meaning it is a viable track jacket and passes all requirements to be worn for track days if you do not have a full suit.
Sometimes, riders want to have gear that serves as both protection while riding, and outerwear when they park up somewhere. While most jackets can feel a bit stuffy or even downright heavy when air is not flowing through them, Rev’It has balanced the Stealth 2 Hoody right on that razor’s edge.
In terms of protection, the Stealth 2 is made of triple-layer stretch Cordura, backed by a HydraTex pro waterproofing membrane. The elbows are reinforced with polyamide fabric to help with abrasion resistance and sliding. The shoulders and elbows are protected with Rev’It Seesmart armor, with a back protector pocket in the liner of the hoody.
In terms of outerwear, the Stealth 2 also comes with a detachable thermal liner that brings the jacket to a full three-season level of warmth and wearability. Being stretch Cordura, the hoody is also highly breathable, allowing sweat and moisture to wick away from the body. This means that when you arrive at your destination, you can wear the hoody as normal outerwear without having to lug around a heavy jacket.
The Scorpion EXO 1909 is a jacket that has both an interesting story and a specific design behind it. A cross between a sports jacket and a cruiser jacket, the 1909 in the name symbolizes the incorporation and opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where throughout the years motorsports of both the two and four-wheeled varieties have taken place.
Made of distressed leather for a soft feel, it nonetheless offers over 1.1mm of cowhide abrasion protection. Sas-Tec CE level 2 armor is discreetly hidden in the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket in the rear for a Sas-Tec CE level 2 back protector. On the elbows specifically, extra leather overlays have been sewn in so that there is added protection on one of the most common slide points.
Zippered rear vents work in conjunction with discreetly hidden perforated underarm and flank panels. A removable thermal liner allows for both warm and cold weather riding. All of the zippers on the jacket are genuine YKK but in a special process antiquated brass look. The wrists are zipper closures with accordion stretch panels to create a good air seal for cruiser riding, and a good glove seal for sport riding.
The biggest thing with the EXO 1909 is not that it features a hell of a lot of protection, but that it does so while recreating the look and feel of an early 20th-century leather jacket.
Before anyone asks, yes, that is the actual retail name of this jacket. Roland Sands is a premium gear maker, and the [email protected]#k Luck definitely deserves the premium tag. Each jacket is handmade, and the entire jacket chassis is 1.1 to 1.3 mm thick premium cowhide, which is hand-finished in vegetable dye.
It comes with Knox CE level 2 armor at the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket for a back protector. All zips, as are common on high-quality jackets, are YKK. There are four mostly hidden vents, closed by zips, at the shoulders and middle of the back.
The jacket is water-resistant, with a waterproof internal device pocket. It is also articulated so that if you ride a supersport, a sportbike, an ADV, or even a cruiser, the jacket can move and adapt to each riding position without stretching or straining against your body. That alone makes it one of the best, and the fact that it technically qualifies as a track-wearable protective jacket is just the icing on the cake.
A lot of motorcycles live in places where it can get uncomfortably warm in many other types of jackets. This is why mesh jackets first started getting made back in the early 2000s. Evolutionary materials and engineering have brought what used to be bits of nylon stretched between leather panels into fully armored, abrasion-resistant, yet exceptionally comfortable modern mesh textile jackets.
Of these, Rev’It has the Ignition 3, possibly one of the finest examples of protection with maximum airflow. The third iteration, the base chassis is made of Monaco Performance cowhide leather, some of the best protective leather you can get in the world. Between the cowhide sections is tightly woven Dynax mesh, which is heat-resistant and deflects off as much heat as it allows air through, and also will not melt during a slide.
Backing up the Dynax is PWR I shell 500D stretch fabric in the arms and 600D waxed polyester in the torso. All of this is then backed with Lorica fabric. It may sound like a lot of layers, and it frankly is, but the fact is that you can hold this jacket up to a light with it fully closed and zipped up, and still see the light through it.
Because it’s Rev’It, and they over-engineer almost all their gear (which is a good thing!), there are two detachable liners, a full Hydratex 3L waterproof one, and a thermite liner in case it gets chilly. Protection comes in the form of full CE level 2 Seeflex armor on the elbows and shoulders, and there is a pocket in the back of the jacket for a Seesoft CE 2 back protector, which will fit D3O, Nucleon, and other armor types without issue.
If you need the best protection with the best airflow, Rev’It have you covered!
I’m the biggest Formula 1 nerd I have ever met. Say what you will about tobacco advertising in motorsport, it still produced some of the greatest and most-legendary racing liveries the world has ever seen. There is no comparison. Tobacco advertising made cars, motorcycles, racing jackets, pitlane teams look cooler than ever. I said it, kill me.
Who was the king of tobacco-based advertising in motorsport? You already know the answer to this question, because it’s been unanimously decided already: MARLBORO. How could a brand speak such volume with such simple liveries? I have no idea, but I like to pretend the amazing looking cars gave famous racer, Ayrton Sena, a competitive edge.
Roland Sands took a 2008 BMW R 1200 GS and completely transformed it into this beautifully vintage-styled off-road masterpiece. Sands took the front end off an R NineT and retrofitted it with forks from an Africa Twin with Ohlins cartridges to maximize the motorcycles off-road abilities.
The gas tank was borrowed from an R80, and set up to run the robust fuel injection system found in the 1200 GS’s engine. A skid plate, fork guards, crash bars, LED lamps, and an Akrapovic exhaust was also added to complete the look and provide more functionality to the bike, making it a dangerous off-road weapon.
Now that you’re more informed on the bike itself, It’s time to discuss the amazing merchandise collection RSD brought us to celebrate the build. The merch kit comes with an ash trey, shirt, string bag, hat, lighter, and photo of the RSD Dakar GS for a price of $160 (only 150 packages are available – don’t miss out). None of these items are sold separately, so you’re stuck buying the entire package. That’s not a huge deal though, these trinkets and apparel items are wicked cool and feature a confident nod to the Marlboro Dakar racing heritage through its design. I’ll be buying one; race you there.
Most folks know of Roland Sands and his company Roland Sands Design. Recently he and his team took a 2008 R1200GS and transformed it into a homage to the 1980s rally bikes that took on the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Sands drew inspiration from an R80GS that was built by racing specialists HPN-Motorradtechnik. That bike was ridden by Gaston Rahier in the 1986 Paris-Dakar Rally.
The bike that Sands crafted was named “Dakar GS,” which is a fitting title. The bike has 45mm telescopic fork legs with an upgraded Ohlins cartridge kit taken from a Honda Africa Twin. This took some doing because of BMW’s unique Telelever front suspension setup. To make it work, the team used a front end from a 2018 BMW R nineT.
At the back of the bike, things weren’t so difficult. Sands and his team could simply fit a stock Ohlins shock to manage the travel of the rear swingarm. From there, the team robbed the R nineT of its oil cooler and added plenty of RSD custom parts. They also added AltRider guards, a Touratech aluminum skid plate, and SW Motech engine crash rails.
The bike also features Dubya USA custom wheels (a 21-incher up front and an 18-incher in the rear) that are shod in Dunlop D908RR Rally Raid rubber. The subframe is more or less original to the 2008 GS. Some small alterations were made to fit the Saddlemen seat and survival box. There’s an Akrapovich exhaust and a Baja Designs XL Pro LED headlamp housed in a custom fairing.
The gas tank was altered by RSD’s team and was painted in the classic livery by Airtrix. There are some ProTaper Evo handlebars and AEM Factory Titanium/carbon fiber brake and clutch levers as well as a Raceco custom rally tower. There’s also a Lowrance Elite-5 Ti GPS.
The RSD team said the entire process is repeatable for the right price. I’d imagine it would have to be a whole lot of money to make that happen, though.
After today showcasing Roland Sands’ new BMW R 18 based drag custom on MCNews.com.au (Link), we thought it might be a good time to revisit this chat we had with Roland a couple of years ago in his surprisingly quite compact L.A. workshop that also pulls double duty as the Roland Sands Design sales office.
Despite being clearly pushed for time, the 43-year-old (now 45), was very forthcoming with his views on various subjects. He also allowed us unfettered access to his office and workshop to shoot photos which helped us to illustrate this insight into Roland Sands, and the firm he heads that bears his name.
What do you think of the current Harley-Davidson range and the dropping of the Dyna platform?
“For anything like that, especially a bike, it’s a departure, people have to get a feel for it, have to get their hands on it and have to ride the bike. In time they’ll find it’s a better bike.
“And when it comes to the custom market, as the custom market always does, it deconstructs that thing, and builds it back up. It makes something new to the market, to inspire Harley to potentially bring models to the market, maybe more in the vein of what people were hoping they would bring.
“But man what a strong offer, it was crazy to see that many motorcycles, I was blown away. That one thing was so polarising, that it almost took attention away from what I thought was one of the cooler bikes, the Road Glide, one of the most beautiful bikes Harley has ever introduced.
“I’ve ridden the Fat Boy and the Fat Bob, the front end was something else. The width of the whole thing to me is a little out of proportion, but the bike works really good. I enjoyed riding it. It’s quick. We’re going to work on a Fat Boy shortly.”
Where do you find your main business is from?
“I’ve been selling motorcycle parts since I was 16, but we started Roland Sands Designs in 2005, and have just been grinding away at it. It comes from events, motorcycle builds, parts, a little bit of everything. It’s been finding projects which would help grow the brand, and help to bring people to motorcycling.
“That’s what I’ve been focusing on this year, how do we get more people on motorcycles, how do we introduce new people to motorcycles, how do we take the racing to people, instead of getting people to the races.
“October 14th we’re going to throw a race in Bolsa Chica on the beach. There’s a really cool beach culture, there’s a parking lot and a concert venue right there, we build a flat track in the parking lot, a race course and a drag strip.
“It’ll be a small event, with only 7,000 people and it’s a first year event, but we’ve got some great sponsors, it should be fun. It’s going to be more grass roots, it needs to be bright and fun, riding motorcycles, with people just coming out to ride bikes and race all weekend.”
What about your two-stroke GP background, the class you were most successful in, winning the AMA 250 Grand Prix Championship in 1998. Do you get out on track on a machine like that these days?
“I haven’t ridden a bike like that since 2002, my last National, I’ve still got the bike, just as how it came off the track in 2002.
“Flat track is a totally different deal, I went from two-stroke GP bikes, to Harley-Davidson customs. I mean I’d still love to go back, and I still have a few flat trackers. I ride motocross and a bit of everything now. I like to do it all, with motorcycling you don’t have to do one thing, you can do a lot of different things.”
With designing do you prefer sketching and scribbling or do you put some metal together and check what it looks like? Or is it mostly computer based.
“It’s a little of everything, if I’m selling a bike or have an idea, I’ll have it all rendered out so we know where we’re going. Most of the time I’m down there working with my guys working out how to put everything together.
“We’ll mock stuff up, we’ll put pieces together and work to get the silhouette right. Trying different parts like a front fork, or a tail section or a fender eliminator, or wheel sizes. Custom bikes are all about getting the bones of the bike correct, and then putting everything on, all the pretty stuff, after that.
“If the bones aren’t correct then you won’t have a good bike.”
What about electric bikes, do those serve your passion?
“Yeah for sure, I had a blast when I rode the Harley LiveWire, and I had a chance to ride the Alta, that thing is mad. They built a flat tracker out of that thing, and a super moto out of it. I rode it on the street and it’s hard to keep the front wheel on the ground.
“Anything that gets the blood going, and the throttle hand twitchy. The fastest bike at Pikes Peak was an electric bike, that says something.
“I think aesthetically you have a whole new set of parameters to work with on an electronic bike. It may not at its core be as beautiful as a fuel motor, but you’ll be able to come up with something completely new.”
Are there any new metal finishing techniques or any processes, 3D printing, or anything you find yourself using more these days?
“We’re using a lot of different techniques to get our products to where they need to be quicker. 3D printing is a huge part of that. There’s also new stuff and finishes we’re working on, but I don’t want to talk about until we’ve got it on the market. But we’re always exploring new ideas. Customers are always evolving, in what they like, and the style that they like.
“We came out with our Black Ops finish (Link), so whether we have different colours like that, it’s a matter of giving people unique things. Then when they build a motorcycle they can do something unique no one else has done. You just don’t want your bike to be the same as the guy next to you. You don’t want to be on the exact same bike and looking at each other.
“So it’s cool to be in the position where we can give people those options.”
Where’s the inspiration come from, for the new designs?
“Sometimes it’s just as simple as sitting down with the new bike, like the new Harley, and we’ll sit down and we’ll look at that motorcycle, and see what we want to do to it, and what we can modify.
“We’ll pull parts off it, we’ll start deconstructing it, and then we’ll say, what can we do to make it a better motorcycle, more fun, aesthetically better. Harley have always done a great job of providing a platform for customisation.
“I think this one will provide a better platform than most, it has this really simple architecture, once people get over the swingarm, it’s a single shock swingarm bike, it’s going to work. Once people get over that and figure out how to construct some things to go on one… that’s what we do.
“I’ll strip the bike, look at the architecture of the frame, look at how the motor sits in the frame, look how the swingarm lines up with the top of the frame, the shock placement, the geometry of the frame.”
Talking about the engine and styling for an electric bike, how do you approach that?
“I thought the LiveWire was a pretty cool execution of it, but I like how they did use some cues to motorise it, I mean if I was going to design one from scratch I would try and make the electric motor part of the design rather than just covering it all up. But it’s all getting started.
“People just want to ride motorcycles and do big miles. You get on a motorcycle and the last thing you want to worry about is if you’re going to get stuck out somewhere because you don’t have a battery charger. Until they can figure that out, it’s going to be difficult for anybody to make an electric bike.
“I don’t really want to sit around for two hours and wait for my motorcycle to charge, and on a motorcycle it’s a bigger deal as you have a smaller battery. You don’t want to be saying I don’t want to ride hard or how will I get back.
“So I mean it’s still a bit of a toy, for city bikes it’s perfect, get to work plug it in, get home plug it in, but if you guys did it, it wouldn’t make sense . At least until they have a huge breakthrough with batteries, which they haven’t had in a long time. I really hope they do…”
Did you have any formal design training.?
“No, I just grew up in a bike shop and around motorcycles, I worked in a machine shop for a very long time, so I understood how to make things. I watched my Dad build drag bikes, and sand drag bikes, and you guys know who Bob Correll is? He built a jet bike, and then a kite bike, and he could jump the bike with the kite, in the coliseum back in the day.
“But I watched some really crazy stuff when I was younger, so I always had this bigger view of what was possible.”
Which of your custom bikes, which you don’t have any more would you most like to have back in your possession?
“Probably my first bike, a sportster flat tracker, I have no idea who has it, but it was clean frame, it actually had clip-ons on it, like a little road racer, 17 inch wheels, road race forks, carbon body work, I built it when I was 18. I’ll find it someday, it’s sitting in someone’s garage.”
Working on any projects for any companies?
“We’ve got a few projects going on with BMW at the moment, definitely Indian projects going on, and there’s a lot of customer builds.”
Any famous people? I see Brad Pitt’s bike downstairs.
“Yeah, but I can’t possibly talk about them, some of my customers just don’t want that.”
Do you still have the pressure time wise as far as builds go?
“Every fucking day! Yeah we’re throwing this event and its turning into kind of a beast, so I’m dividing the days I have for meetings.
“I have customer deadlines and you need to finish bikes to make money, and you have to put the nail into the coffin. If you have a bunch of half finished products, you have no money.”
How many staff do you have on the tools?
“We have two designers, and everyone works on everything. I have a project designer who races as well. Two in the shop, one chief fabricator and a mechanic. It’s not a massive stack to be building the bikes. My design staff are constantly working on Indian or truck projects, and a bit of off road stuff too.”
Are you a designer or a mechanic at heart?
“My heart is a motorcyclist, I’d rather ride a motorcycle than work on it any day, but I get a lot of satisfaction from bikes. I’m on the phone, on the emails, doing everything I can to keep everything coming in. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else, I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a lot of fun and meet a lot of cool people.”
Your thoughts on a design point of view for the MotoGP bikes. When you saw the new Ducati fairings, what were your first thoughts?
“You know it’s hard, because to see something in photos and not in person, I don’t like to comment. But seeing them on the race track and watching them win, they must work… I think it’s pretty wild, and I don’t mind building out of the box.
“Before they had these wings hanging off them, I wouldn’t want to get impaled on one of those, so the fact that they kinda connected it now, makes it safer.
“Things are polarised now, and new things polarise people. BMW came out with this hood, and the hood and back of the car had this weird shape to it. People freaked out. Because people want to keep shit the same.
“A few years on, everyone’s looking at it and saying how much they liked it when it came out… Because by then people are used to it.
“I try and reserve a real partial judgement and let things marinate first, and let them become part of the culture or the scene. That Ducati is different, it’s wild, it may not be something you at first think is beautiful, but then you see it in action… I don’t hate it.”
Your work always seems to have a heritage, a constant reference to the past, is that how you see your own work?
“Yeah, I think the past is really important and I’m not one to duplicate the past, I try and take what I know from history and put it into our work.
“I always want to take it into account, what’s been done before, and a lot of people will say they are the first to do this or that, but everyone’s done everything.
“Some people do it better, some are creative and combine the right things. You take a café racer and a factory racer and smash them together and what do you get? What do they look like in your head? We make those thoughts a reality.”
The BMW R nineT that you did, the R5, were you hoping that they might take that into production, or is it something you’d like them to, as that’s a big hole for them.
“It’s a huge hole for them, I’ve discussed that with them, but they’ve taken some different routes with their projects, with their bikes, but that bike as a cruiser, as a bobber, I think that’s a missing hole for them.”
What was it like working with Ola? He’s a custom bike person going way back… but BMW is so corporatised… Does it hurt the bike has been so corporatised for the mass market?
“It was awesome, but if you work with the OEMs that’s just what you have to deal with. We work with more of them than anybody. We do our best to bring a flavor to each of the projects.
“A lot of people say how do you work with so many of the OEMs, at the same time. I try and separate the projects, compartmentalised, for different consumers and different customers.
“I don’t know, it’s really fun, as we get to work with designers. I speak that language, and it’s one of the most interesting things you do, to come together and see a vision. It’s hard for them to do internally, to do what we do for them.
“For the speed – we can build a complete concept bike in two months, if we get models and assistance.
“But they can’t do that internally, and they know that internally they wouldn’t be able to build the bike we come up with.
“Lots of the concept bikes never ran, but the concept R nineT was the first concept bike that actually ran . I said that’s the only way we’ll do the project, if the bike runs.
“We’ve only built one project that didn’t run, and that was for Ducati. That was the original Diavel, a full concept for them. We didn’t even get close to the satisfaction we got prior to that. I guess it rolls, but it doesn’t work…”
Have you been approached by Harley to do anything for them?
“We have been approached in the past, but recently, nothing. Crickets over there.”
What do you listen to?
“Recently a lot of Pandora… *laughs* I’d like to say I’m here DJing all day and drinking whiskey on the floor but I’m not…”
BMW Motorrad returns to the cruiser category with the R 18, but will they soon add a Dragster version like this produced by renowned LA designer Roland Sands?
His custom job was made easier by the fact that the R 18 has an easily removable rear frame and a simple-to-dismantle painted parts set.
I think BMW will build a model like this because this is a fully BMW-sanctioned custom build by the same person who helped them design the R nineT.
And have a loom at that “R 18 Dragster” engine stamp. That looks like a production model to me!
If BMW doesn’t build a Dragster model, you may be able to customise your own.
Roland has also created two design collections of milled aluminium parts for the launch of the R 18 Cruiser: “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black”.
They include front and rear wheels in different dimensions from standard, plus speedometer housings, handlebar clamps, risers, handlebar grips, hand levers and mirrors as well as engine housing trim elements, filler caps, intake silencer covers and much more.
Roland also created custom parts for the R nineT.
These are expected to be available when the bike launches next month.
In fact, batteries can be made into almost any shape and electric motors are much smaller than an internal combustion engine, allowing designers much more flexibility with their creations.
Consequently, we’ve seen some crazy designs such as the Essence e-raw with its suspended seat and “tank”, the bug-like Johammer, the Saietta that resembles a bull and the just-wild Zec00.
Mark agrees with Roland on the limitless potential for electric motorcycle design.
“Electric motorcycles are interesting to me because there are no prior restrictions,” he says.
“Tradition doesn’t really play a roll, besides it that it needs two wheels. Stylish gas tanks that play such an important style cue on the motorcycles we have looked at for a decade, are a thing of the past. What new ideas can we implement?”
Racer-X is Mark’s “clean sheet vision” of an electric motorcycle.
There is very little conventional about the Racer X.
The suspension and steering have one pivot point, so there is no conventional suspension, springs, shock absorbers, forks, triple clamps, etc.
We’re not sure of the exact mechanics of how that works as details are scant.
However, they say the steering is electric and works with a servo motor controlled by an arduino which is a computerised controller.
We can only wonder what happens to the steering and suspension if there is an electric failure!
Mark grew up near the Bonneville salt flats, so his first love is straight-line speed and turning corners doesn’t seem to be a feature of this bike.
Aluminium and carbon
The basic structure of the bike is a mixture of aluminium tubing and carbon panels.
There are also no details about the motor which was given to Mark by Bonneville Salt Flats racing colleague Dr John Sullivan of Purdue University in Indiana.
It comes from the university’s land speed bike when they upgraded their drive train.
It drives the rear hubless wheel by a conventional chain on a sprocket that runs on a shaft through the main bearing plate and passes through a hole down the middle of the bike.
“The rest is just vivid imagination,” Mark says.
His Racer X is not destined for production, but display.
If you’re in LA over the next year you can see it at the Electric Revolution exhibition in the Peterson Automotive Museum which is well worth a visit!
Mark says he hopes the bike inspires other designers to experiment with the coming wave of electric motorcycles.