A lot of value wrapped up in a great package…
I have to be honest, I love leather.
No, cancel that – I love GOOD leather. You know, the kind that smells good, feels smooth as butter, and keeps out the wind, the cold, and maybe even a little rain?
Yep, I’ve got a closet of the stuff, for riding, for cold mornings when I have to look nice to meet a client, and for crummy days when I have to do some work outside but don’t want to feel how bad the wind is blowing. Anyone who rides a bike likely has at least a few leather pieces, whether it was chaps, or a vest, and everyone I know that owns a bike has a leather jacket – usually in black.
There’s just one problem with really good leather – it usually comes with a price tag that requires you to hide the receipt from the Old Lady – or scrape together the funds over a month or two to make sure that you can get it.
Nonetheless, I started getting that urge this Fall for a new jacket, but rather than going with the normal black that everyone on the back of a bike seems to love – or the wild colors that the import crowd seem to favor, I wanted to see how brown looked.
Yeah – I bought a brown leather jacket.
Even better? I got one that looks cool, feels great, and didn’t require a loan from the bank.
First of all, I really like the look of the coat. Like any good riding jacket, it’s snug to keep from “puffing” on the road but when I’m wearing it, I don’t feel like I’m stuffed in it.
Next, Viking has reinforced or armored all the spots that you are likely to hit if you had to lay down a bike – the back is internally plated, the elbows are reinforced, and the overall feel of the jacket is that it is ready to take a hit.
Another thing I really liked – and I’m picky, I know – is the stitching. Taking a closer look at how the jacket is actually assembled shows me that it was put together to stay together. The thread used is heavy-duty, seams that needed to be reinforced have been double-stitched, and just as importantly, those seams are properly tied off. Pardon the pun, but no loose ends.
As most of you guys know, I live in the South and that means that the weather can vary wildly just in the course of a day. You might start the ride with temps in the forties and by the afternoon, you’re seeing the mercury hitting nearly 80 degrees. Viking Cycle planned for this by building ventilation into the jacket – zippered vents in the front and below the shoulders allow you to stay zipped but have great airflow through the jacket at any speed.
The Very Good …
What I really liked about Viking Cycle’s Warrior Jacket is that it can be had for a fraction of the cost of some of the competition. Even with shipping and handling, the sales right now can get you into this jacket for less than a $100 US and based on how it has performed so far, you can have a well-built, good looking coat for the price of a night out.
This part is going to sound silly, but I also really liked the overall color. Yes, brown is brown, but it’s such a dark brown that you aren’t going to have to run to the cleaners if a little bit of dirt or oil gets on a sleeve. I was actually picking up some other leather pieces I had to have cleaned the other day and the dry cleaner gave the Viking Cycle Warrior Jacket a “thumbs up” based on the construction and the quality. I figure he’s seen more leather than me, so that’s always a good sign if the expert likes it.
The Not So Good …
Okay, here’s where I have to get nitpicky… when I was ordering my jacket, Viking Cycle was in the process of restocking from their factory. A minor annoyance, but a real one. We live in a global economy and any company that sells internationally is going to have those moments. As it was, it certainly didn’t take long to get my order – actually less than a week, but I noticed that they had several really great pieces of gear on the website that were out of stock.
Overall, after having worn this jacket in a variety of weather and circumstances, I really like it. Fit is great, functionality is perfect, the pockets have all the room I can use and, even better, I’m into the coat for a fraction of what I’ve spent on similar quality jackets. Whether you are looking for a “spare” for odd circumstances or thinking about retiring an old coat, I think that Viking Cycle has designed and built a great one in their Warrior Jacket.