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:
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.
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
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.