Photo by Caleb Smith
Run for the hills, the hipsters are taking over. Demand for real motorcycle gear with solid, retro looks has been around for years, but 2013 finally saw the market flooded with such products. Here’s our guide to the best retro motorcycle gear available.
2013 Retro Jacket Picks:
Roland Sands Barfly Jacket
A no nonsense leather riding jacket with all the style and modern goodies you’ve come to expect from Roland Sands.
What It Sets Out To Do: You won’t find any flashy logos or designs on the Barlfy. Inspired by the leather racing shirts of yesteryear, the Barfly proves there is beauty to be found in simplicity.
Modern Innovations: While it may look like something out of the 1970s, this jacket can be equipped with the protection you need in this modern world of ours. The Barfly has shoulder, elbow and back protector pockets that fit RSD Armor. Armor does not come with the jacket and must be purchased separately.
Icon 1000 Akorp Jacket
A military-inspired jacket that exudes class. Icon’s 1000 Akorp is well-equipped to deal with any unexpected situations you may encounter on or off your bike.
What It Sets Out To Do: This jacket will make you look as stately as Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman. Don’t kid yourself, you’ll never be Richard Gere, but you can sure try, and the Icon 1000 Akorp will help you get that much closer.
Modern Innovations: In addition to the elbow, shoulder and back armor the Akorp comes with a removable quilted satin vest liner and magnetic flap covering its YKK zippers.
Price: $515.00 - $560.00
REV’IT! Oxford Jacket
3. REV’IT! Oxford Jacket
The Oxford by REV’IT! was designed for the modern rider with classic styling in mind.
What It Sets Out To Do: The goal of this jacket is to combine retro styling with modern features and functionality. As with most vintage-inspired jackets the Oxford lacks in-your-face branding and instead relies on its classic looks to turn heads.
Modern Innovations: The Oxford comes with shoulder and elbow armor (back sold separately). It has a detachable thermal liner as well as a waterproof Hydratex Mesh G-liner.
Retro Jacket 101 Primer
Jackets play a very large role in determining your level of protection; so it is important to make an informed choice. As a general rule, the fewer panels on a jacket the better. Seams are a weak point and can split in an accident. If you are going the leather route, take time to inspect the quality of the leather and stitching. As for padding, CE-rated elbow and shoulder pads are the way to go. Back protectors are a nice feature but can sometimes mess with the fit of the jacket. If that is the case you we recommend buying a separate back armor to wear underneath.
For more on jacket construction and what to look for in riding jacket check out page two of the Stylish Motorcycle Gear Guide for Men in 2014.
The Biltwell Gringo is a throwback to the early days of full-face helmets. No special features, just a what-you-see-is-what-you-get product. You can check out Sean’s in-depth review of the Gringo here.
What It Sets Out To Do: The Gringo provides a helmet option for riders who love the simple aesthetic of older helmets but know that wearing one would be a very foolish idea.
Modern Innovations: Unlike the helmets it takes after, the Gringo is DOT approved and has a shock-absorbing EPS inner shell.
2. Bell Bullitt
Bell obviously took note of the Gringo and decided to create their own retro-inspired, full-face. They introduced the world to the Bullitt in October at the AIMExpo.
What It Sets Out To Do: The Bullitt is a vintage-inspired helmet with modern capabilities that stretch beyond that of similarly styled helmets.
Modern Innovations: Rather than rely on the traditional snap on accessories Bell has incorporated its shield into the actual helmet. It has a removable and washable antibacterial interior and a Multi-Density EPS liner. As far as safety goes the Bullitt is DOT and ECE 22.05 certified; you could even do a track day in one.
Price: $399.99 (Available March 1, 2014)
When choosing a helmet you’re going to want something that provides good overall protection and high visibility. White helmets in particular provide excellent contrast and make you more visible on the road. Full-face helmets are always your best bet because, well, teeth are nice to have. At the very least you need to have a DOT -ated helmet, but ideally you should look for something with additional safety rating certifications — Snell M2010 or ECE 22.05.
For more information on making an informed helmet choice check out page three of the Stylish Motorcycle Gear Guide for Men in 2014.
We all know jeans are a lousy choice when riding a motorcycle. Why bother including jeans in this list you ask? Well, like it or not, jeans go hand in hand with a retro aesthetic and now they are a whole lot safer.
Deth Killers Style 105
The Deth Killers Style 105 is a straight-legged jean woven with Kevlar. It is abrasion and heat resistant, which, in theory, should help prevent road rash during an accident.
What It Sets Out To Do: A common problem with abrasion resistant jeans is that they are weird looking compared to traditional jeans like Levis. The 105s are classically styled and afford more protection to the wearer than traditionally crafted denim.
Modern Innovations: Woven with 16% Kevlar, these jeans are abrasion and heat resistant and can protect from road rash in accidents up to 70 mph (as claimed on the Deth Killers website).
When you go down, your hands are often the first things that hit the ground. Palm protection is something you want to pay attention to as well as the overall durability of the glove material.
Icon 1000 Beltway Gloves
Beltway gloves are understated and afford overall protection for your hands while maintaining a simple, classic look.
What They Set Out To Do: These gloves provide you with the protection your hands need without drawing any unnecessary attention. You’ll be protected without looking like a robot.
Modern Innovation: While they may have an unassuming look, the Beltway has D30 armor in its knuckles, abrasion resistant premium cowhide and a pre-curved finger and palm design.
Iron & Resin Buffalo Bobber Glove
Iron and Resin is a small goods company based in Ventura, CA. Their Buffalo Bobber gloves are a no frills riding glove made out of bison hide.
What They Set Out To Do: The Bobber gloves are about as straight forward as you can get. Heavy duty bison hide provides abrasion resistance while keeping your hands reasonably warm.
Modern Innovation: No frills safety.
Stylmartin Indian Boots
1. Stylmartin Indian Boots
Italian footwear company Sylmartin combined classic styling and modern protection in their Indian lace-up boot. A versatile boot that is great for riding and casual everyday use.
What They Set Out To Do: These are motorcycle boots that do not look like motorcycle boots. Don’t let your eyes deceive you, these bad boys come with all the features you need.
Modern Innovation: Indian Boots come equipped with anti-slip rubber soles, a breathable and waterproof membrane, internal side protection and a fast lace system.
Aerostich Combat Touring Boots
As you can probably tell from our overwhelmingly positive review, the Aerostich Combat Touring Boots are definitely worth checking out. These elegant and seemingly simple boots can take whatever you throw at them.
What They Set Out To Do: These versatile boots are tough as nails. Aesthetically they aim to keep it simple while making sure you have the best foot protection and support money can buy.
Modern Innovation: The Combat Touring Boots include a replaceable sole by Sidi, an old-fashioned lace up system with micro adjustable arch buckle, and are completely waterproof.
When choosing a new pair of boots pay attention to the sturdiness of their construction, the quality of the material and the level of support they provide.
For more on choose the right boot check out How To Choose The Right All-Around Motorcycle Boots.
What new retro gear introduced in 2013 caught your eye? Is there any gear you are particularly looking forward to in 2014?