~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Extraordinary Scale Model Motorcycles


I ran across the Italian site Scale Racing Models and was astonished by the detail of the 1/12 scale model racing bikes shown.  Long ago I used to own a hobby shop and know something about model building or thought I did.  I wouldn't even begin to know how to build a model of this caliber.  There are model builders out there who go beyond hobby and their creations rise to the level of art.  The SRM site is short on info and long on pictures and in Italian but I can say the builders' work shown there has my total admiration.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Product Review: VikingCycle Leather Jacket


I tapped my buddy Dave to model the jacket for the pics.  He's a real person,
not some GQ cover boy so you get an idea of how the jacket might actually look on
a normal rider.
Sometime back the folks at on-line retailer Motorcycle House wrote to me.   In their line up of products Warrior model black leather jacket.  They offer some budget priced leather jackets under the VikingCycle brand and thought a man of my prestige and near Steve McQueen-like looks would look good in one of their jackets.  Okay, I might have exaggerated on part of that but they did offer to send me the jacket for review.  So shucks, who am I to turn down a free leather jacket, especially since I lost 50lbs in 2011-2012 and shrunk out of my old one I've been wearing since 1999?

I've wanted a new leather jacket but spending a lot of money on one is hard to justify when you live somewhere with weather that makes it usable only perhaps four months out of the year.

The Warrior jacket is an economy motorcycle jacket priced at an amazingly low price of $99.  A premium leather jacket like one from Schott or Vanson will dent your wallet for something past $600 so I was curious and a little dubious that VikingCycle could offer anything worth wearing for such a low price.   As you might expect, a $99 jacket isn't going to be equal to the very best stuff out there but if you're on a tight budget and want leather it is a way to get a piece of cow wrapped around you for very little money.



Fitment for a man.
 My first question was "How does the leather feel?  Is it too thin?  Too stiff or plasticy feeling?   When the jacket came and I opened the box I was pleasantly surprised to note that the leather feels quite soft and supple and conforms well to the body.  I can't tell about the thickness of the leather, it doesn't seem as thick as the leather on my old jacket and leather that is too thin won't give you the best protection in a crash, but then you don't get premium cow or horsehide for $99.  In this case the leather to me seems fine for a budget jacket and I suppose I'm betting my own hide that it's as good or better than the textile jacket I've been wearing.

The jacket is vented front and back with zippered slash vents and they work well.  My old jacket had zero vents and with our variable weather here I missed being able to get a little airflow through the thing without unzipping it half way.   Wearing the Warrior I've ridden in temps from 48° to 75° and opening the vents kept the jacket comfortable at the higher temp.

Zippers are all the standard YKK brand and seem sturdy and appropriately sized to the duty.  I like the traditional look of the jacket, there is no armor in the modern sense, just padded panels at the elbows, shoulders, and kidney area just like my old jacket.  Fitment around the waist is good and uses the traditional leather side laces, something that allows the jack to be well fitted around the middle, much more so than merely having snaps or Velcro adjustment straps.

There are two snapped inside chest pockets for whatever suits you, cell phone, wallet, etc.   The zippered side pockets are there but not as deep as I'd like.  My Motorola Maxx smartphone in it's protective case barely fits into the side pocket.

The jacket was warm enough in the cool weather, a sweatshirt or long sleeve t-shirt and the big Gold Wing fairing left me plenty warm at 48°.  The vent zippers on the chest and back leak a bit of air and some sort of wind flap would be nice.   The collar is a competition style collar and not as wide as it appears on the product page and while it has two snaps, can't be snugged up on my 16" neck.  A higher collar would be good, the low collar lets cold air in and makes some sort of neck scarf almost mandatory.

The jacket has a "quilted" zip-out liner but it's not worthy of the name.  It's little more than a two pieces of cloth diamond stitched together as an inner vest.  It provides no extra warmth whatever and I finally took it out entirely and relied on the leather and my sweatshirt for warmth.   All that is sort of a round about way of saying this is a cool weather leather jacket but not a cold weather leather jacket, at least for us Arizona types.


I tried to get Kate Upton and her bikini to model but could only afford Dave and his Road King.
In summary, the Warrior jacket from VikingCycle is a heck of a bargain at $99.   It's not going to give you the same features and protection in a crash as a traditional, heavy, horsehide leather jacket or modern ballistic cloth and armor jacket will.  If you worry about crashing and feel you need a high level of protection you should pony up the big bucks and buy what you feel you need.  VikingCycle does sell more expensive jackets and based on what I've seen of this item they'd be worth a look too.   For me, living in Arizona where most of the year a leather jacket is superfluous, the Warrior works well, fits well, gets the job done, and has the traditional styling I prefer.

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A side note about reviews here at 40on2:  I get offers periodically of products for review.  Mostly I've said "No thanks" because I don't want, or need, or up front don't like, what they offer.  In the case of Motorcycle House, I was quite candid, I'd review their jacket but I won't do a fluff piece just to get a free jacket, goodies are not that important to me.  I told them I'd say what I like about the item and what I don't like.  I reviewed a book on those terms one time, I didn't like the book and said so, and have never heard from that publisher again.  Oh well.  Motorcycle House bravely sent the jacket so they get some brownie points for believing in their product.

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence



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