Gear: Icon Overlord jacket

Dailies, Galleries -

By

Two weeks ago, Ashlee and I stopped by Berts Mega Mall in Azusa to figure out her sizes in a few different kinds of gear. Just for kicks, I threw on an Icon Overlord jacket. After wearing the ARC Mesh, and trashing it for its short baggy torso and long arms, I wasn’t expecting much. Slip the jacket on, and the first thing I notice are snug fitting sleeves of the perfect length. Nice! At least they got one thing right. I pull the bottom of the jacket together to line up the zipper and to my surprise, the jacket comes together around my torso. No excess material or odd proportions, just a good fit. Zip it up, and it’s the same story. Snug all through the torso and arms. Flex panels in the shoulders that let you move your arms freely. I had to remind myself this was an Icon jacket. I’d never worn anything that fit this well.

Ashlee took a picture to confirm that it really did fit as good as I thought. A quick email to Icon and less than a week later, I’m opening a box with my very own Overlord jacket and matching pants (more on those later). My first ride in it is 35 miles or so down the 405, 73 and 55 to Costa Mesa on a Z1000. Ventilation is amazing. It’s over 90º and I’m not even sweating. A quick detour to HFL’s super-secret top-speed test spot reveals that 1) the Z1000 has a redline-limited top speed and 2) the Overlord doesn’t ride up, flap around or do anything at all to make me uncomfortable.

I can’t get over the fit; it’s like a perfectly tailored leather vest that’s had arms added. That sounds weird, but it’s a good thing. The way the shoulders are designed, there’s only a 4-inch section of leather sewn directly to the main body of the jacket. The rest of the arm is connected by an accordion leather stretch panel, an abrasion resistant stretch panel that bears a striking resemblance to Schoeller Keprotec and a thin strip of perforated leather that’s got stretchy mesh on one side. All this stretchy stuff makes it possible to move your arms any way you need to without the kind of binding that you would expect from an armored leather motorcycle jacket. That explains the vest-like feel, your arms are just totally free to move.

Just like a Perfecto, it’s got lots of different textures and complex panels, but all of it is balanced well enough that it doesn’t look busy. That comparison may sound odd, but each jacket is composed of many different panels and textures; considered individually each detail stand out, yet in person, as a whole, the whole thing just seems to unintuitively flow together.

On Icon’s website, it’s easy to be tricked into thinking the Overlord has too many logos. Sure, it’s got logos on the chest, arms and back, but there aren’t many motorcycle jackets that don’t and when you see it in person, especially the all black stealth version, they just blend in.

Unlike a Perfecto, the Overlord has serious protection in the form of CE certified protectors in the shoulders and arms. The dual-layer foam back pad isn’t quite as robust, but it’s much better than the cheesy thin stuff that comes in most jackets and, for $350, I wouldn’t expect anything more. A CE approved Stryker back protector insert is available for $90 and there are rumors of a D30 insert on the way.

In the Overlord Prime review, Al said it was too flashy with all the logos and “bright fucking Ziggy Stardust silver.” $100 cheaper and with three fewer logos and five fewer pieces of plastic, the basic Overlord in stealth is the answer to that.

For fun, I’ve been showing non-riding friends this Icon and a new Dainese Greyhound Pelle jacket (more on that soon too) and asking them which they think is the nicer, more expensive item. So far, none of them have answered “Dainese.”

Al also criticized the thinness of the leather used in the Icon’s construction, comparing it unfavorably to the crazy thick stuff used by Vanson. But while thick leather like that used on Wes’s Vanson AR2 is incredibly reassuring, it’s also stiff and hot. This Overlord isn’t and it’s still very strong and safe. Its 14oz Brazilian cowhide is of the same quality and thickness that’s used by European manufacturers in one-piece race suits, where it passes CE abrasion resistance tests.

Purpose built for riding, good looking and $350, this jacket is a winner. You’d be hard pressed to find something better fitting and more functional, even for double the price.

  • Roman

    That’s a seriously nice looking jacket. Icon logo still sucks though…

    • Gene

      Yeah, but you’re always going to get a logo, so at least it’s not obtrusive. BMG & TourMaster have gotten pretty obnoxious lately.

      • Roman

        I get what you’re saying, it’s just that some logos are more equal than others. I dig the stealth option though, every manufacturer should offer something like that.

  • Steve

    I was hoping this was the jacket covered with chrome skulls. That would almost be worth the shock value.

    • Sean Smith
      • superbikemike

        You see what they are asking for that jacket?

        • Sean Smith

          The high price and limited edition are a good thing. Less people running around in jackets bedazzled with chrome skulls is a good thing.

  • Artful

    I send emails and get free rolls of print media and vinyl. You send emails and get free gear.

    No fair.

    • The other Joe

      Don’t feel too bad, I don’t get anything for free.

  • The other Joe

    I don’t mind the logos, they seem to blend well. Pretty sharp looking jacket, nice proportions. But I guess Sean already said that.

  • JonB

    I have a Dainese Greyhound, which I adore. I think that the whole point of that specific jacket is that it doesn’t look like the rest of Dainese’s overwrought fanboy nonsense. So ultimately people thinking the Icon is more expensive is probably a design execution win from both camps.

    • Sean Smith

      Ha, funny you mention the Dainse Greyhound. I have one over here too and when I put them side-by-side, people invariably choose the Icon as being more expensive even though the greyhound is more than double the price.

      • Wereweazle

        Sean… you said all that in your article. Is your memory ok these days?

        • Sean Smith

          Ha, Wes added that part in and I didn’t see it until now. Oops.

          • Jon B.

            For a second I thought my reading comprehension was at an all time low.

  • Chris

    great looking jacket. not sure it’s a great design for my more well rounded mid section, doesn’t look like it would fit me the way it does you. my alpinestars jacket is only a season old anyway so not time to replace.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    nice. still wearing their original strongarm leather/denim jacket from 6 years ago, before they added skulls, decals and glitter. if it ever wears out, I’ll get another Icon jacket.

    How would this jacket do in cold riding? Does it have a zip-in liner?

    • Sean Smith

      It’s got a zip in vest that helps out. With a nice thick fleece layer, I don’t see any reason it couldn’t be worn down to 40º.

  • Wereweazle

    I REALLY like the feel of Icon’s leather. It’s nice and thick yet light. It almost felt rubberized to me. It’s almost exactly the type of material I was looking for in a jacket. I don’t like the really thin, flimsy leather that most leather jackets come in.

    • Sean Smith

      Most of that comes down to conditioning and leather treatment. I use a mink oil and bees wax paste on all my leather (except gloves; makes them too stiff). It looks good, adds water resistance and strength, and makes leather last damn near forever.

      • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

        That works nicely for genuine top grain leather but PU-coated leather like this is resistant to it. You could clean this stuff with WD40 and it would have the same effect.

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    …tabs to attached to universal pants?

    Zips for the matching-set pants is nice, but it’b nice to be able to snugly button it to a belt loop on a pair of jeans for commuting/quick trips.

    • Sean Smith

      The Overlord fits tight enough that I’m not all that concerned with it riding up in the event I end up sliding down the road on my back, but a belt attachment would be nice.

      There aren’t a lot of jackets that offer that. One that does is the Alpinestars JD-1. You’ll look a little cop-like and I don’t think it’d work so hot in the winter, but it’s got good protection and attaches to any pants.

  • Steven

    now you have to hire a guy who is exactly my size so that I can tell whether it’s a good jacket for me.

    • Sean Smith

      One of the neat things about Icon is that damn near any that Parts Unlimited dealer that carries gear will almost certainly have some Icon stock. Just about every major shop I’ve been in has this jacket sitting in a showroom, ready to try on.

  • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

    What kind of pants are worn in the photos?

    • Sean Smith

      Raw grey Levi’s 511s. Standard issue for hipsters on a budget. They provide acceptable protection for 8mph XR100 wheelies.

      • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

        Here I was, thinking they were Kushitani Country leather jeans or something.

        • robotribe

          Kushitani Country Jeans are…THE…SHIT…HOTNESS.

          I’ve owned and ridden with a pair of regular leather (cold months) and perforated ones (for the hot) going on six years and they are the last pair of riding pants I will ever need. Machine washable leather. They look like regular jeans. They’re cut straight, not like fat-dad (sorry, I’m skinny-jean dad) “relaxed fit” Kevlar reinforced jeans.

          Sorry to digress on the otherwise nice-looking jacket, but had to share my love for the Kushitani goods since it was brought up.

          • Sean Smith

            They’re fucking awesome. They also cost upwards of $500 depending on exchange rate and whether or not you want perf’.

            • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

              I actually have a pair too, and I didn’t notice the red tab in one of your photos. I’d love to have a closet full of Kushitani everything.

            • robotribe

              Word; cheap they’re not. When I purchased mine years ago they were “only” $400/pair.

              Still, barring a crash, they’re the last and only riding pants I think I’ll ever need.

      • Jon B.

        Dude… you and the gang should really check out the Levi’s Commuter Jeans. Totally targeted at hipster bicycle world, but I think a lot of the seams/stitch placements translate really well for daily motorcycle duty.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Oh yeah, those are cool. Thanks for the reminder.

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

          Holy cow, I did not know about these Levi’s! I have two shelves of bicycling-specific pants in my closet (some that are home-made alterations of “regular” pants — sewing machines are great to own (and I’m not referring to my “Singer” 690 Duke (a lot of KTM owners think that the Duke sounds like a sewing machine (but I digress (but at least I brought it back to motorcycles))))).

          Anyway, I just finished checking the Levi’s website, then called my local Levi’s store to see if they stocked them… and now I’m hopping on my bicycle to go try on some Commuter pants.

          Thanks Jon B for the recommendation!

          • Gene

            Heh… my sewing machine is a Husqevarna and the saleslady couldn’t figure out why I went squeee! when I saw it.

            • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

              LOL!

          • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

            I bought 1 each out of the Levi’s Commuter line, and I’m wearing the crop pants now. As Jon B mentioned, I can totally see how the hipster motorcyclist would find value in the special features of the Commuter jeans.

            The fabric is stiff, but it stretches just enough so that it’s comfortable with your legs/knees/hips bent in riding position — and the pants still look like skinny, perfectly bunched-up hipster jeans even when you’re leaned over in a tuck.

            The pockets are surprisingly useful (and quite deep) for skinny jeans. It’s easy enough to reach all the way to the bottom of the pockets. (The stretch fabric helps.)

            The fabric repels water.

            Antibacterial treatment supposedly prevents the smellies. One of the hipster store tellers (who looked like a 19-year-old version of Sean Smith, actually) told me that he’s washed his Commuter jeans only once in two months, and he hasn’t had to freeze them to kill the bacteria (a trick I first heard about here on HFL). This teller supposedly bicycles to work, but he must be a fair-weather rider because the khaki Commuters he was wearing didn’t have a single stain on them.

            Anyway… sorry for the hijack.

      • kidchampion

        The Glory motorcycle jeans are pretty great. I read a blurb about them on Selvedge Yard while on a flight to LA. Extra heavy denim and a great fit and finish.

  • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

    So, you guys wear anything besides Alpinestars and Icon??

    • Sean Smith

      As a matter of fact, we regularly wear Dainese (I’m also currently testing 2 pairs of gloves and a really nice jacket), Gaerne, Fulmer, Nexx, AGV, HJC (Ashlee still has hers; I got a concussion in my old AC-12 carbon a few years ago), Kushitani, Shoei (Grant has one), Arai (I was wearing my Vector when I crashed my GSX-R), Bell, Scorpion, Aerostich, Vanson, and Schott (Grant loves his Perfecto).

      Alpinestars and Icon are industry giants. They have giant catalogs, are always coming out with cool new stuff and they’re all too willing to send it our way to be tested and reviewed. That said, when you see Wes, Grant and I out riding, it’s likely we’re wearing some pretty strange and obscure gear. Type gear into the search bar or go here to see more gear stuff.

      The site you link to, smartcycleshopper.com, doesn’t appear to advocate or review safety gear at all. Do you guys just wear t-shirts and skid lids?

      • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

        Yeah, it’s just for motorcycle reviews. Pretty sure all the photos there are of responsible riders in jeans, jackets and helmets ‘n’ the like.

        I guess I just forgot for a few minutes that I’ve seen other gear reviewed here. The bulk lately seems to be coming from Astar and Icon, that’s all.

  • Dan

    If you’re still lookin for gear for Ashlee, it’s worth a trip to Beach Moto, the Rev’it store in Marina. Thats where i wound up when looking for gear for my GF. – the owner is great and they have nice stuff.

    As hard as it is finding something that doesn’t look stupid for guys, its much worse for girls. Literally all she asked for was something “that looks nice with no stupid logos and I don’t want it to make me look like a boy” – and that was enough to sink every bit of dainese/astars/etc. gear we tried. Revit stuff looked really nice, had a feminine silhouette, and had a lot more features (separate zip out water and insulating linings) or the price than dainese. Plus the Kushitani store is right down the block when you’re done.

  • robotribe

    Oh man…Bert’s Mega Mall.

    Every time I’ve walked into that place since the housing bubble burst, I’ve wondered long and hard how they keep the lights on in that place.

    Fishing boats! Dune buggies! ATVs! Gixxers! Goldwings! DUCATIS!!!

    Oh, the overheard conversations between sales-boys and those credit-deficient future defaulters….

    …tragically entertaining.

    That said, they’re clothing selection is exceptionally diverse. Nice jacket.

  • Tommy

    You may have talked me into one of these when i was over last week. I wanna try yours on. As you have seen, my jacket needs replacing.

    • Sean Smith

      “You may have talked me into one of these when i was over last week. I wanna try yours on. As you have seen, my jacket needs conditioning.”

      • Tommy

        If you say so. It doesnt fit me that well either. I’m still in the market for something new.

        • Sean Smith

          Good point. Come over some night and I’ll show you how to spend hours rubbing mink oil and beeswax into it. It’ll make it look 30 years older and you’ll be able to use it in the rain after that. All the scuff marks should disappear too.

          Still, for in shape guys that want a no bullshit motorcycle jacket, the Overlord is going to be hard to beat.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    It’s a great looking jacket. I love the contrast of finishes and textures and I’ve always liked silicone rear injected logos which are impressively done on this piece. Flat, single stitched seams are a subtle detail that gives it a high end look. I’ve used them too – coincidentally on an all black product. They’re everywhere on this jacket where leather meets leather and the consistency is great. But when it comes to the integrity of the garment it’s not desirable to have so many, and certainly not on the back which is susceptible to heavy abrasion. When it comes to the back, elbows, and shoulders, double stitching is a much safer technique.

    • http://www.rideicon.com iconmotosports

      Chris, our closed seam technique has been used on top level GP suits for years, it is great for abrasion resistance due to the flatness – with overlap seams, you will abrade the top layer off – including the tops of each stitch. With the flat seam, both edges ride evenly on the pavement and the stitch is safely tucked away in the middle. Also, ‘garment integrity’ has a great deal to do with sewing seams at proper tension, using strong thread, and having appropriate sections of the hide applied to appropriate areas of the jacket.

      • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

        Well, we respectfully disagree then. I understand your point about a flatter seam protecting the stitching, however overlapped double stitched seams have three layers of leather at the seams and are stitched together twice versus flat seams. Flat seams only stitch the leather panels together once with no overlap thus providing a lower burst strength. With a double stitched seam, you would have to completely wear away one layer of leather to get to the final layer of thread. Are you double layering the leather under the seams?

        Flat seams look nice and with a leather jacket will probably provide adequate protection for most get-offs. I certainly wouldn’t spec’ them on a race product though. Have you seen that on a race suit recently?

        • http://www.rideicon.com iconmotosports

          We do back our flat seams with taslan which increases the burst strength greatly. Strength of a jacket is measured in quite a few different ways, abrasion, abrasion/impact, cut resistance, burst strength…etc. The construction techniques we use yield garments which meet these qualifications. Yes, we have seen suits recently with closed/flat seams on the elbows, thighs and back – with multiple crashes – and they are holding up.

          • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

            Having learned the ins and outs of construction from a long time Alps Moto GP race suit pattern maker, it’s been my experience that this technique wouldn’t be found on their suits for the reasons I list above. But, they’re by no means the only ones out there. Again, agree to disagree. Your mileage may vary, etc.

  • Joe

    How about cool weather? Does it come with any kind of liner? I’d like to have a jacket I can wear into cool fall temperatures (i.e. now) in Chicago.

  • Az

    How about posting your height / weight / torso / arm length etc.?
    It’s great to hear that this jacket fits YOU so well, but I have found that “this ___ fits great” is way too generic a statement without knowing the dimensions of the person saying that.
    Otherwise, great review!

    • Sean Smith

      Check out the comments in this story for an in-depth discussion of my height and weight.

      • http://www.rideicon.com iconmotosports

        Have you eaten anything since then? – Glad you like the Overlord. Mine is more bug guts than jacket at this point.

        • Sean Smith

          Nah, eating is for pussies. I wanna dress up like Christian Bale in The Machinist for halloween.

          • Jon B.

            Gruesome.

  • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

    Article idea: leather motorcycle jacket care. How to care for it, what products work, etc.

    And please, please forgive me if it’s already been covered recently.

    • T Diver

      I use Kiwi mink oil. It sofens and protects. (Plus I like the idea of smearing dead minks all over my crap).

      • T Diver

        That’s for you leather, not your helmet.

    • http://www.rideicon.com iconmotosports

      We co-branded with Lexol for leather care. That’s because their stuff is the best. Just follow the instructions on the bottles. Dead minks are cool and all, but the folks at Lexol have been doing this for a while and they know how to brew a mean leather sauce.

      http://rideicon.com/product_details.jsp?category=3437&id=12172

      • T Diver

        I will buy it. You better give me a big Icon sticker though. (Black on Black though. These HFL people like “secret” logos)

  • contender

    The difference in the Accelerant and Accelerant Stealth jackets is more than coloring. I wish the Overlord Stealth lost the big emblem across the chest like they did with the Accelerant jackets.

    Accelerant in black: http://www.rideicon.com/product_details.jsp?category=3428&id=11936
    Accelerant Stealth: http://www.rideicon.com/product_details.jsp?category=3428&id=11938

    • Sean Smith

      Very similar to the Overlord Prime vs. the Overlord. Three logos and all the external plastic stuff goes away when you opt for the $100 cheaper Overlord.

      • contender

        If they’d lose the chest logo there’d be one in my closet. Till then, no dice.

        I would appreciate an article (or link to a how-to) on the mink-oil/beeswax prep you do to your leather very much.