Those who know us, know how much emphasis we put on not just wearing gear but wearing top quality gear. High end gear isn’t just about a brand name, it really is made from better materials using better, safer craftsmanship. But what if a $500 riding jacket is completely out of your budget? Is it better to wear a cheap riding jacket or not wear one at all? To satisfy our own curiosity, we decided to check out a couple of Viking Cycle brand jackets from motorcyclehouse.com. An $80 leather jacket sounds too good to be true so we wanted to see what the catch is. Here is what we found.
Despite the humorously large “Genuine Leather” tag on the jacket, the interior tag describes the jacket as “100% Polyester Real Leather” which is a bit confusing and I’m still not sure whether the jacket is leather or “pleather”. The material does feel pretty convincing but for that price, it’s hard to believe we’re dealing with real cowhide. The jacket has no armor, which is one of my biggest gripes, and the styling isn’t exactly what you’d find in a Vogue fashion magazine. It’s very stereotypically styled as a Harley “biker babe” jacket so if that’s what you’re in the market for, you’re in luck. So basically to me this jacket is no different than a faux leather “motorcycle” jacket you can buy at H&M or Forever 21. It does have a thermal liner so I imagine it’d at least protect you from cool weather but as far as actual crash protection, I would not trust it.
I actually like this jacket a lot more than I thought I would. Considering the price, the jacket is fairly well made and does come with armor in the shoulders and elbows. The armor is made by an unknown manufacturer but it is stamped with a CE safety rating so I’m assuming it is actually CE approved. There is a back armor insert as well but it seems a bit too soft and small for my taste so I would recommend getting that upgraded. The mesh pattern is very largely weaved so I could see the jacket getting a ton of airflow. It also comes with a removable thermal liner for cooler weather. The front of the jacket looks very simple and clean which I really like but I’m not crazy about the gothic looking straps on the back although they are pretty functional when it comes to synching the jacket down to make it look more fitted. Again, the level of quality and craftsmanship is not the same as a higher end brand but overall, it’s a decent riding jacket considering it’s under $70.
So with gear options such as these on the market, you really have no excuse not to gear up when you ride. Sure you may not be able to afford a quality jacket at first but while you save up to get something really nice, a $70 Viking Cycle jacket can hold you over and is definitely better than not wearing any gear at all.
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10 months and over 40,000 miles later, Henry stopped by Beach Moto to chat with me about his experience. Planning an adventure like Henry’s seems impossible. I mean, where do you even begin??