A trench coat made for motorcycling

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Available with armor for the elbows, shoulders and back and made from a very dense, windproof cotton weave, this Rider’s Trench from Japanese motorcycle clothing label Max Fritz is a perfect example of how functional motorcycle clothing can also be stylish. Details like metal stud vents hidden inside zip pockets, the tall collar and its clasp and the anti-abrasion leather patches on shoulders and elbows are the kind of functional details fashionistas go gaga over and that should make the jacket work on the road. Think of this as the antithesis to a metallic gold Dainese one-piece.

Before the conventional wisdom police show up and are all, “But this isn’t as safe as wearing full leathers !!!!!1!!! ATGATT!!!!!111!!!” Let’s explain why jackets like these appeal to guys like us. You see, back when we were in our early teens, we discovered a type of human being called “the woman” and soon learned that the more attractive of the breed look awfully good with their clothes off. When, a couple years later, we discovered that there was a certain parts compatibility between us and them, a lifelong love affair was born that even rivals the one with have with motorcycles. Ever since that time, we’ve endeavored to exploit said parts compatibility at every possible opportunity. Somewhere along the way we figured out that the opportunities to increase the attractiveness and numbers of the women that let you see them with their clothes off were proportional to how often we showered and how well we dressed. Suddenly, we were willing to sacrifice some safety under certain conditions in order to look good.

You probably don’t want to come off a bike above about 45mph wearing a jacket like this or jeans like our Iron Hearts, but this jacket and those jeans and stuff like it will do a reasonable job of keeping you comfortable and keeping you safe below that speed. As an added bonus, you won’t look like a color blind gimp when you show up at a bar.

The best thing about this Max Fritz jacket? It’s affordable, about $520. Before you ask, of course it isn’t available outside of Japan, but you can head over to Goggle (sort of a Japanese Collette) to ogle even more functional, stylish riding gear.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Wow, that is a nice jacket! Of course, I’d be about an XL in Japanese sizes, but hey. More gear that doesn’t make me feel like an ass would be very much appreciated. Especially riding in the city, where I never get out of 3rd gear.

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    You can wear all the gear in the world as long as you show off extravagant wealth. The trump card in parts compatibility exploitation. Keeping compatible parts around for the long term is a different game entirely that, in certain cases, this trenchcoat may ruin.

    Gear nazis are going to pipe up whether you preempt it or not. Screw disclaimers.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      When I finally lock down a highly compatible part, screw it; I’m wearing full leathers everywhere. Even in my car.

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        Maybe I should try that. I’m sure she’d get a kick out of it.

  • pauljones

    Meh. Since most of my riding is down around town, where the speed limit is never above 40, this would do just fine.

  • 400lb. Gorilla

    Definitely appreciate the head’s up on new gear. In fact, I’d like to make a suggestion you have more of it, a lot more. Not just the unusual or trendy stuff, but a lot of the products that come down the pipe. None of the other blogs do this. Just a suggestion.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      Agreed. #ThisIsRelevantToMyInterests

      Not many people buy a new bike every year, or even every three years. But I’m always on the lookout for gear, and its damn near impossible to tell good from bad on a website. Some expert opinions would help.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We actually try to feature as much new gear as possible, but, believe it or not, it’s really hard. Alpinestars seems to be the only company competent enough to actually take some pictures of its new products and give us a heads up when they come out. Companies like Shoei won’t even return our emails.

      Gear companies, are you listening? It’s easy to get coverage in front of hundreds of thousands of young people interested in motorcycles: just freakin’ email us, it’s really that easy.

    • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

      I don’t know that it would help HFL avoid their growing negative image.

      “So, here are forty items released this week. Leather jackets, some jeans, a few helmets: all gaudy over-compensating crap.”

      Just joking. Webbikeworld.com does a lot of gear testing. I love gear reviews and HFL seems to do what they can, but the insatiable urge for more must be satisfied. As with this hunt for compatible parts.

      • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/motorcycle-reviews/2011-harley-davidson-forty-eight-review/ DougD

        Just checked out Webbikeworld again and remembered why I don’t visit it regularly. They do have an impressive volume of info/prods, though.

  • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

    Woman? What is this “woman” of which you speak?

    Seriously, the Shibuya motorcycle scene has always been lightyears ahead of western markets for gear and accessories. They, unlike us, even have those same said women riding around in large numbers.

  • cityag

    Sweet coat, it will go great with my pipe and jodhpurs.

  • DougD

    This jacket looks great, but I’m more in the market for a stylish leather jacket featuring full armor. There are plenty of leather motorcycle jackets w/ gobs of style, but I’m not finding any w/ armor (yes, because I’m a dork who values safety). Any suggestions?

    • pauljones

      They are damn near impossible to find.

      The closest I can really find is the Vanson Armored Comet. They have a couple others that will accept CE armor, like the Sturgis or the Modern Classic, but that’s about it.

      Those are the only high-quality, armored leather jackets I can find; at least, the only ones that I can find from a company that I know to be reputable.

      Vanson will also make you a custom jacket, but if you’re looking for something like the old Marlon Brando-esque jackets, they tend to caution against putting armor in them, as they say they don’t turn out well. I’m not sure why they don’t turn out well, but I trust their word.

      If anyone has any other suggestions, I’d also appreciate it.

      • DougD

        Awesome. The Armored Comet photo is broken at the Vanson website.

        Thanks for the tip, though! I’ll get to the bottom of this.

        • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

          While there’d be a safety compromise, you could go with a leather jacket like something from Schott and wear an armored jacket underneath. I believe Alpinestars, Bohn, Dainese, and possibly a few others make armored underjackets.

          • DougD

            Keep track of two jackets when I have to take them off? Groan …

            • pauljones

              I would guess that you’d be wearing the leather jacket as a normal piece of clothing when you get off the bike. The armored underjacket can be stuffed into the saddlebag/panniers/tank bag, etc. When you’re not on the bike, so you’d still have only the one jacket to keep track of.

          • pauljones

            Do you know to what extent the safety compromise is?

            Note that I ask not for the sake of being a jackwipe, but rather because I really just don’t know.

            You still get great abrasion resistance in the form of a heavyweight leather, and you get the impact resistance from the underjacket. Is having the protection in two separate layers less effective than having it all in one?

            • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

              I imagine the compromise would likely be in the stitching. The seams of most motorcycle jackets are stitched specifically to resist bursting in an accident – I don’t know that any fashion leather bothers with such measure. If anyone does, though, I’d expect it to be Schott. Wouldn’t be surprised to be wrong, though.

              Wearing the armor separately is arguably better, as it’s held in place properly. Often in jackets, depending on the cut and your choice in sizing (and particularly with mesh/textile), armor can shift around a significant amount.

              • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                Schott stuff is stitched properly and made from tough leather, but yeah, most fashion leather isn’t. We’ve tried talking them into offering armor in some of their jackets, but they weren’t into the idea. Depending on sizing, cut etc, armor might not fit under one of their jacket unless its very thing stuff like D30 or Hein Gerick Hiprotec or Forcefield.

                Wearing a separate armor jacket underneath is a pain in the ass. The idea with building it into a jacket is that you can easily take that jacket off, wear it unzipped etc.

                • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

                  I’m sure it is a pain in the ass, just like the knee armor I wear underneath jeans from time to time. But it’s an option when you want the fashion with minimal safety compromise.

                  Note: if anyone sees the separate armor jacket underneath, you’re back to square one of looking like a turd.

                • pauljones

                  I’m not necessarily talking about fashion jackets, but rather something like the Schott Perfecto, which is their flagship jacket. Or, as another example, the Vanson Thunderbird. The Thunderbird is made with the same heavyweight leather as the armored Comet, but seems incapable of having armor installed in it.

                  I trust them on their word for that, but I just wonder what makes them less suitable for built-in armor than something like the Comet.

                  Ideally, I would like something like the Schott Perfecto or the Vanson Thunderbird fitted with armor. I know that a lot of people here don’t care for the look at all, but it reminds me of the jacket that my grandfather wore when he rode. He always kept that jacket and passed it down to my dad, who would have passed it down to me were it not destroyed in a fire.

                  I want another jacket like that, but at the same time, I want the protection offered by modern armored jackets.

                  It seems, though, that I am SOL in that respect.

    • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

      I realize these are probably not available in the US directly, but you can order them online, or on your next european vacation. Both Furygan and Bering make very high quality jackets, fully CE armored and reasonably priced. I have crashed in mine twice, ride in the rain and sleet constantly, and in 9 years it has never popped a stitch. And they look good. Just a thought.

      http://www.bering.fr/
      http://www.furygan.com/

      • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/motorcycle-reviews/2011-harley-davidson-forty-eight-review/ DougD

        Just peeped the Furygan website/learned what European company Scorpion is trying to imitate with its marketing.

    • MartinCron

      You’ll either love or hate the style of the Corazzo Leather 5.0, but it it fits your “leather, style, armor” criteria.

      http://corazzo.net/mens-5.0-leather-jacket

    • cdsv

      Corazzo gear is cool. You might also like this one from Shift: http://tinyurl.com/2c4m7h9
      The “dark vintage” colorway is especially good.

  • Kevin

    Would love to see more practical gear for city riding that would not force stares in and around the workplace. It’s hard not to dress like a pirate or power ranger and still have a moderate level of protection.

    • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

      Absolutely agreed.

    • seanslides

      http://www.alpinestars.com/NYC_Jacket/pd/c/121/np/121/p/310228.html

      http://www.alpinestars.com/Kinetic_DRYSTAR_Jacket/pd/np/538/p/320700.html

      Those two are readily available, and tend to blend in pretty well. Most people (read: girls) don’t ever realize I’m wearing motorcycle gear when I’m walking around in the kinetic jacket.

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        I’ve got a pair of the Alpinestars kevlar jeans. They look normal, but they are definitely, um…Italian fit. I wear tight jeans, so its normal for me, but the inseams are really long.

        • seanslides

          I’ve got a pair of their ‘skinny’ axiom jeans. I’m totally fine with the long inseams, the fit is definitely wonky though. High waist, and super tight through the hips. Weird. Also, they won’t sell you armor for them. I bought a pair of T-Pro protectors that work pretty well, it’s just a pain having to measure and test fit stuff.

  • MisterGone

    It’s really nice to see more practical looking gear coming out these days and not just the sporty or piratey look that not everyone enjoys.

    also

    Go Go Gadget riding gear!

  • MartinCron

    Maybe not quite as…dapper…but the Corazzo Tempeste is pretty handsome, seriously armored, available in the US, and reasonably priced. If I didn’t already have a nice jacket, I would buy one of these today.

    http://corazzo.net/mens-tempeste-jacket

    You mostly see the corazzo stuff on Vespa guys (like myself) but I’m starting to see more and more motorcyclists opting for “mod hipster” over “power ranger”, especially on cafe bikes.

    • Kevin

      Thanks for the link Martin. I love the Tempeste. Just ordered a black one from the site.

  • ForgottenOne

    Pay $520 to look like Inspector Gadget? Pass me another power ranger outfit please!

    • ForgottenOne

      Crap, somebody beat me to it!

      • Scott

        Bears repeating: “… It’s affordable, about $520.”.
        How is that affordable for limited use jacket?
        Oh, mabye I’m so old “chick magnet factor” isn’t high value; enough.

        • s0crates82

          it reall isn’t affordable. one of the reasons punk-ass 20 year olds with bikes wear letterman jackets and stuff from the thrift store is because that’s all they can afford.

  • Liquidogged

    Alert: super cool, hip, edgy, urban, young, badass image of HFL now in peril due to identifying $520, only moderately effective trenchcoat as “affordable”.

    I love that you guys review gear, and I agree that it shouldn’t all be “power ranger style” but $520 for a jacket that won’t protect me in a crash over 45mph? Honestly, I think that’s seriously out of touch. And genuinely weird considering all the bitching that goes on around here about overpriced, oddly styled, boomer bikes. Similar markets if you ask me. I see a lot of adult kids of shamu riders buying this to try to look different from dad when they ride their dilapidated, but oh so cool CB750s through “cool” neighborhoods in the city.

    Anyways, if you’re pursuing women who aren’t interested because it so happens you’re wearing gear that saves your ass in a 55mph lowside, then you have more problems than can be solved by this cute little garment.

    I’m done with women who aren’t into me because they aren’t into the bikes and/or the gear I ride with. To hell with them. Real women dig confidence anyways.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      $520 for a really cool jacket from a tiny Japanese designer? Most similar things would put a zero on the end of that. Sorry, we don’t dress ourselves at WalMart.

      • s0crates82

        really cool? sure. tiny japanese designer? awesome. $520 affordable? no, man. sorry. can’t justify it.

        if i were a lawyer riding a triumph or vespa, then sure, why not, but doctors and lawyers have the cash for such frivolity.

        • The Lawyer

          As a Lawyer, I would agree.

          I only wear full leathers on the track with the best protection money can buy. It’s much cheaper than a surgery. Also, you never go over 40 mph in Manhattan unless you have a death wish.

          Also, I know many a starving artists in Brookyln who spend more than $500 for coats that do not protect you from anything. And don’t even get me started on how much suits and shoes cost.

          Like Wes, I’m not clad in Wal-Mart garb. Even if I were poor, I would find a way to be fashionable.

          If you disagree, go put on your Axe body spray and gold chains and head on over to a night club in New Jersey. You’ll be fine there.

          • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

            Its a quality/quantity type thing. I’ve been wearing the same boots and jackets and jeans and shirts for years, but they are all NICE. I’m certainly not poor, but after rent/car payments/insurance/food/band expenses in Cambridge, I’m not exactly swimming in it.

            Of course, looking at pictures of me three years ago is a bit like a time warp when I’m wearing the same shit now.

          • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/motorcycle-reviews/2011-harley-davidson-forty-eight-review/ DougD

            Fitting RT:

            @eddiepepitone Fav thing to say to rich people- your 100 yr old scotch and 7 houses can’t stop me from hating myself.

            • The Lawyer

              That’s an odd one. I would have thought it would be “your expensive crap won’t make you hate yourself any less.” But I like your version better. It’s a sense of independence I suppose.

          • Liquidogged

            By the way, starving artists with $500 coats are not starving. They are rich kids posing as starving artists.

            If you disagree, try pulling your head out of your ass. Smells better out here, no Axe required.

      • Liquidogged

        $520 fashion jacket…

        wal-mart.

        Aside from what a snide, elitist remark that is, there’s the fact that there’s a middle ground between the two. You generally seem to lean towards making things accessible… you like bikes that are cool but not too expensive, you like trackdays where you can actually learn something and don’t cost an arm and a leg, and yet when someone points out that $520 for what is essentially a fashion item is a shitty buy for real world motorcycling, your response is “we don’t dress ourselves at WalMart.”

        … seriously? Are you not seeing why this is weird?

        @The Lawyer: g’head, keep proving all those lawyer jokes right with that attitude. I’m sure you’ll make plenty of friends.

        You guys are acting like elitist pricks. Just because I’m not interested in this limp-wristed excuse for safety equipment doesn’t mean I don’t get the best gear I can afford. Honestly. What the fuck. What a pathetic couple of responses.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          Liquidogged, nobody is saying this jacket is cheap, because it isn’t. But if the craft on this jacket is up to what I’ve come to expect from small Japanese apparel and gear shops like Iron Heart and SugarCane, then the Max Fritz jacket is absolutely made to take a beating and keep going. As such, small-run clothing made with that kind of quality and attention to detail for durable non-leather goods usually costs at least twice as much, sans armor. Barbour’s limited editions included. Get the Italian version of this kind of garment quality and now we’re talking as much as 10 times more expensive.

          In that context, it’s affordable in the sense that any of us can actually save up and buy one, given enough time. And then you’ll have an amazing jacket that is timeless, will last as long as you do, and even protect you in a crash when that taxi cuts you off. With the usual European fare, this kind of ownership is not even a remote option.

          • Liquidogged

            Thank you Grant. Thoughtful response, good points. I agree that placed in the larger context of high-end clothing like this, it’s a good deal and it’s not entirely unattainable.

            That said, my current girlfriend detests this jacket, loves my beat up all black joe rocket armored leather, and goes to a fancy-pants school here in Chicago where she’s learning fashion design. So there’s that. Obviously to each their own, but given the original text of the article I think it’s worth mentioning. Frankly I don’t think I could approach any non-european woman in this jacket with a straight face, fine craftsmanship notwithstanding.

  • luxlamf

    reminds me of my Excellent Barbour International JAcket, belt and all.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    I am a lawyer and yet I couldn’t justify spending $520 on a jacket like this. I wear a Fieldsheer jacket I bought at shop near me for about $70. Am I stylish? Not even close. It’s not a priority for me.
    Pay $520 for a jacket? Not going to happen.
    However, I still want to see your reviews of all this stylish gear. That way, when I spend $70 on my non-AlpineStars boots and Ms.Brammofan says “you spent HOW much?” I can look at her and say, “Wes and Grant wouldn’t be caught dead in boots that cost less than $200. Be thankful you’re not married to either of them.”

  • Neducati

    You can buy the jacket online here: http://japan.webike.net/products/9360754.html

    What does being a lawyer have to do with anything relevant to this jacket?

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      I mentioned that only because @s0crates82 said: “doctors and lawyers have the cash for such frivolity.”

  • http://slum.net cdeforrest

    Reminds me of the Icon Rogue I just bought for my wife. http://tinyurl.com/28vccy7