Review: Icon Hella 1000 Jacket

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Icon Hella 1000 Jacket

Icon Hella 1000 Jacket Review

The premium Icon 1000 line brings back a classic textile in the Oildale and the Hella 1000 jackets. His and her versions of vintage-inspired, waxed-canvas motorcycle jackets. If your upper lip is snarling right now, I know what you’re thinking. The 1000-line may be Icon’s premium stuff, but the phrase “waxed canvas” sounds anything but. Until you see it and then ride in it.

I didn’t know much about waxed canvas before writing this article, but I know one thing now…I’ll be wearing this jacket all summer.

After exhausting my Nikon and whatever the web has to offer, I’ve come to the conclusion that no photograph can accurately convey the visceral appeal of this textile. Maybe it’s the the warm shade of cocoa-brown, or the way it’s sort of pre-beat-up, but the Hella 1000, with it’s heavy-duty black oxide hardware and black leather accents has a vintage, almost Hemingway-esque, vibe that begs for a cigar and a mojito (I know, Hemingway was a daiquiri man. Barf.) at the end of a long ride.

I had no experience with this unique fabric before taking the Hella 1000 for a ride, and frankly, didn’t know what to expect from something that was invented by poverty-stricken ancient mariners who’d sew together pieces of discarded sails from clipper ships, messaged them with linseed oil, and wore them as ponchos.

The British navy replaced flaxseed sails with oiled canvas sails the mid 1800s, later replacing linseed oil with wax, and in 1920’s, English companies Belstaff and Barbour started cranking out jackets for motorcyclists made of the stuff. In the ‘30s, Barbour introduced the International, a jacket specifically designed for the International Six Day Trials. You see where I’m going with this…waxed canvas has been proven through nearly a century that it can take a proper beating.

Icon Hella 1000 Jacket Interior

My next pleasant surprise is how comfortable the Hella 1000 is to ride in. It’s extremely light and breathable, and feels more like a long-sleeved shirt in. The removable satin liner (dig that silvery shade of blue) kept me warm in the morning, and zipped out easily to accommodate for the predictable hot Phoenix afternoon commute home. In 90-degree weather with a bumper-to-bumper traffic maze to weave yourself through, the long-sleeve-esque comfort and breathability were a welcomed luxury.

The Hella 1000 comes with a full set of D30 impact protection (shoulders, elbows, spine); light, flexible, and CE-approved. The finish on the canvas is from a proprietary coating that doesn’t drip or come off with age. You’ll see that some manufacturers recommend annual re-finishing, but Icon’s blend is intended to last five or six riding seasons, at which time a do-it-yourself reapplication with any wax coating is recommended.

Other attributes include plenty of pockets with brawny hardware and leather pull-tabs (easy to grasp with gloved hands), ballistic nylon in stretch-needed areas (underarms and side panels), and zippered vents (which I did not need to use).

Don’t even bother to take it off when you get home; your mojito and cigar will just taste better.

  • katesy

    Any pictures of it being worn? Looks like it could be kind of short. I really like the look of it though.

  • Clint Keener

    Can you guys take real life shots of it?

    • Kr Tong
    • Heather McCoy

      Yours truly, on her way to a mojito.

      • Nemosufu Namecheck

        Looks really good – for some reason I thought it would look western because of the material.

        • Joseph

          It looks stiff like a duster – I wonder i it is.

          • Heather McCoy

            Totally not.

      • Jesse

        Nice, with the Chantilly Airmada.

  • Dustin Edwards

    Is there a men’s version? I can only find the women’s on Revzilla.

    • Ben W

      Yes, the Oildale featuring even less abrasion resistance.

  • Heath Collins

    Icon’s quality control was hit or miss in the past. Is there recent gear consistently of good quality?

    • Ben W

      The Icon 1000 stuff is pretty solid. My wife got a helmet (Sauvetage), jacket (federal), and gloves (Catwalk). The only disappointment is the gloves. We had the first set replaced due to poor stitching and the second set is still spotty but good enough. The helmet is great and the jacket astonishing.

      • Heather McCoy

        That Federal jacket is the bomb. The Catwalk gloves, well…

        • Ben W

          Agreed. They’re the only gauntlet style gloves she’s been willing to wear, though. I hope they act as gateway gloves. They match the helmet, though, so there’s that.

    • the antagonist

      Only anecdotal evidence, but I’ve had a few Icon jackets over the years (two leather, one textile), and they’ve all been top-notch quality and construction, particularly the leather ones. On the other hand, I’ve tried two pairs of Icon gloves, different models in different production years. Both blew out on me for no apparent reason.

      So, personally, I trust their jackets, but will never buy their gloves again.

  • 2012Ninja650

    Looks like that photo is of the Women’s Icon 1000 Hella jackets. This jacket seems to be the men’s equivalent (Icon 1000 Oildale)

    • Heather McCoy

      Dude, it’s like the first sentence in the article!

  • fletchty

    Waxed canvas is not going to do much good in a slide…. These jackets (waxed canvas) always look great, but why no leather reinforcements (even if hidden) at impact/abrasion zones?

    • ICON Motosports

      Unlike other jackets in its segment, the Hella 1000 features stretch ballistic nylon on the side of the garment, and full grain leather accents in the primary crash zones. The Canvas is also a heavyweight denim, and speaking from experience, holds up well in a crash.

      • Ben W

        Thanks for the clarification. Definitely not the right material for safety nuts, but it looks great.

      • Davidabl2

        Kudos. Any jacket that you’ll actually wear in warm weather is better than any jacket than you won’t… if the weather is warm.

    • Heather McCoy

      The jacket I tested not only has a full comliment of CE-approved D30 armor at said impact/abrasion zones, it’s got leather reinforcements at the elbows.

  • Campisi

    So… What’s wrong with it? Nothing is perfect.

    • Heather McCoy

      Brad Pitt’s phone number was mysteriously absent from the inner pocket. That’s about it.

      • eddi

        D@mn! I just sprayed soda all over the place.

  • Paul Cypert

    I love wax canvas jackets, but these get a miss from me visually. No idea if they’re safe or function well as a jacket, but in style alone it looks pretty horrendous. Glad to see early 90′s is the new “retro” LOL

  • Blake Bryce

    Get articles. I would love to find a waxed canvas in a traditional motorcycle jacket style.

  • Vincent T.

    Great article. Love that you Photoshopped out the size! haha

    • Heather McCoy

      I so did not do that! Pics were added by editorial staff. I’m not that talented!

  • Moritz

    I had an Icon Accelerant for years – love it. Bought the new Vigilante Droupout recently and highly disappointed of the quality and feel. I love the brand and what they do stylewise so will give them another shot. Also have some Pursuit gloves – great! But the Rimfires feel horrible with the stitching on the outside. It’s day or night with Icon products I think.

  • Zachary Laughrey

    Heather, I know you said in an earlier article that you live in AZ. Is waxed cotton a reasonable alternative to mesh jackets? Will I die in PHX wearing one of these in the summer?

    • Heather McCoy

      Au contraire, Zach; I wore it on a ride from Tempe/Mesa border through Fountain Hills to N.Scottsdale last week when it was 90-degrees at 5 in the afternoon, and the jacket felt absolutely great! I much prefer the weight and feel of this to nylon! Now, if I could keep the Duc from roasing my leg…

      • Zachary Laughrey

        Thanks. I will def check these out. Mesh jackets really lack a certain style.

  • NextTurn

    Does it come with a way to attach to riding pants (zipper, loops, etc…)? One of my wife’s favorite part of her Joe Rocket jacket is the attachment to the pants that keeps the jacket from riding up even just a little in a potential slide.

    Before I get the Joe Rocket hate comments… She likes it enough to wear it, and it was all we could afford at the time. Best off – it protects her. I know its not the best, but it is better than nothing.