We test out the ICON 1000 Vigilante jacket, a great, all-purpose armored riding jacket. We tried is out on LA freeways, and Black Hills' backroads.
Do you have a closet full of motorcycle gear? Every piece of leather for bad weather, good weather, long rides and short rides? Or do you just have a few pieces of essential gear that work in all sorts of conditions? Or maybe you have that full closet, but you still have that perfectly worn jacket and a set of gloves that are broken-in, ever so slightly. The ones you wear all the time. The go-to stuff. For a lot of riders, the Icon 1000 Vigilante jacket will fill that niche.
ICON 1000 Vigilante Features
The outer layer of the ICON 1000 Vigilante isn’t mesh, but it’s definitely more breathable than leather. It’s a tightly-woven, highland-coated nylon textile. That material is then treated with a highland coating for a more vintage feel and make it more resistant to abrasion. All that PR speak basically means you’ll rarely need to clean it and it breathes better than leather, but not as good as mesh. That's all reigned true since I've had it. I’ve had to clean the leather sleeves a couple times, but I've yet to dirty the nylon enough to prompt a cleaning.
The reason this has been my go-to jacket is not only the ventilation (see below), but the look. Like so much in the ICON 1000 line you won’t look all that silly on a cruiser, sportbike or cafe racer - hipsters need not apply.
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“The difficulty with that jacket, was we wanted a jacket that had the denim-cruiser look, while retaining crash protection,” said Joe Gustafson with ICON. “It needs to have sportbike-crash protection--like everything we build--it needs to protect from a crash from a very tall height and sharp angle.”
Fitment, Weight and Liner
Each ICON jacket is only available in one fitment style. The Vigilante sells as a Sport fit: the middle-of-the-road fitment with a straight body and curved arms. Squeezed in between the attack fit and the relaxed fit it’s an extremely comfortable jacket. For a tall guy, the arms fit me surprisingly well and the more it breaks in, the better it gets.
In the recent Southern Californian heat, I immediately removed the zipped-in, inner liner. The final inner layer is mostly mesh. One bummer was that the mesh ripped under one of the armpits, but that hasn’t been a usability issue.
The biggest drawback on the jacket is the straight cut body bunching up at the bottom - it becomes cumbersome and looks goofy. “We have a significant challenge from a design point with that,” said Joe. “Where it’s comfortable on the bike, but will people be happy when they first try it on in the store.”
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The Chapter jacket has a shorter body section and, according to ICON and doesn’t have that bunching problem like the Vigilante, but with that jacket, most people think it doesn’t cover enough when they first try it on. So, while the Vigilante is too long at the bottom, it does help with its versatility, like adding a hoodie or extra clothing underneath for colder weather riding.
The semi-low cut collar was occasionally a problem as my broad shoulders pulled the jacket back and pinched my throat. You may or may not experience that problem depending on your measurements. The ICON 1000 Oildale has a lower cut collar.
With the liner removed, it's a very light weight and free-feeling jacket. The arms are snug, but the center section remains loose and comfortable.
I’ve mostly ridden with the jacket on congested, hot LA freeways, so ventilation is a must. The nylon itself doesn’t vent, but more importantly, it doesn’t hold heat like a black leather jacket does. Two reverse zipper vents are located under each arm pit and they’re easy to pull down even with gloves and a backpack. More vents would be a luxury, but ultimately it has decent ventilation.
This isn't that big of a deal, as it's an inner liner, inside of the thicker removable liner, but it's an area that has shown wear and tear in a short period of time.
I didn’t see a lot of rain in the jacket, save for a couple Southern California showers and heavy rains in the Black Hills of South Dakota. ICON considers its water-resistance to be a level 1, and only moderately good at keeping you dry. I had no issues with getting wet in the jacket; even with the air vents open, it performed better than advertised.
It’s not a cold weather jacket, but the versatility comes into play with being able to wear clothes underneath it. It was roomy enough for me to wear a generic hoodie under the jacket for some of my Sturgis ride.
ICON doesn’t sell a jacket without armor. The companies D30 armor includes a back, two elbow and two shoulder pads standard.
This has been the jacket I grab when I’m unsure of the day’s weather or even the type of bike. I’m in a generally hot and clear-skied environment, but the jacket has kept me comfortable. Generally speaking, it’s a breathable, light-weight, easy to wear jacket. Like so much of ICON’s lineup, it can be worn on any genre of bike without looking too much like a doofus…despite my best efforts on the Yamaha SR400.
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The fitment could stand to be more snug. Little areas, like a rip in the mesh of the liner could be improved, but for the price, it’s a very good jacket.
Some of the ICON 1000 models are being replaced with the new lineup of gear. This jacket will stay. For those that are being replaced, you can find deals at Motorcycle-Superstore. For the Vigilante, it retails for $280 and comes in “Dark Earth” like reviewed or black. There’s also the OilDale, which has a similar cut but with a lower collar, no leather arms and waxed, cloth material, it retails for $250. That’s pretty cheap for this jacket.