Saturday, October 4, 2014

Product Review: Viking Cycle Ironside Jacket

The white is actually the reflective piping on the jacket.

I want to thank the good folks (especially David Jackson) at Viking Cycle ( for giving me the chance to review one of their products: The Ironside Motorcycle Jacket. It is a mesh/textile jacket and can be had for the incredible price of $69.95. Compared to most other jackets, that is at least half the price. For the most part, their product line is geared towards the cruiser style/market but their textile jackets have a bit of racing look so this one caught my eye as something to investigate. A few things to keep in mind as I review: I ride a middleweight sport bike (Kawasaki Ninja 650R). I'm about 5'8" and weight about 165 pounds. I prefer looser fitting gear (for movement) and tend to sweat a lot so staying cool is huge for me.

First Impressions:
This is a sharp looking jacket that would be considered sporty for a cruiser rider but a bit subdued by sport bike standards. I think for any type of rider, this look would work. It is a mesh jacket so air flow is going to be very good on it. There is no need for vents on the jacket. One interesting thing is that the liner is quilted so my feeling is that it will be a very versatile jacket being able to be used in hot down to cool temperatures. One thing I liked was that this was a lightweight jacket but didn't feel either flimsy or unsafe. Living in a humid climate, summer riding can take its toll on you physically so anything that makes riding time more comfortable is appreciated. Finally, the biggest feature is the price. I can't state this too often: the price point for this jacket is almost unheard of.
I had two friends check the jacket out and they concurred with the above comments. We all agreed this is a nice looking basic featured jacket.

Without the quilted liner, it was very comfortable. Roomy in the right places and had a lot of venting for warm to hot days. With the liner in, the shoulders and sleeves were a bit tight. This is to be expected with the quilted liner so it was more of a minor annoyance. The cuffs of the jacket are very tight and required some getting used to in terms of getting in and out of the jacket. This is because of the insulated cuffs that are sewn into the jacket. Also, it doens't have a zippered cuff which I tend to prefer. On the plus side, most of the gathers are velcro and a few are snaps. I personally like the velcro as they are more adjustable and they are easier to use with gloves on. A huge plus is the felt like material on the collar which makes it very comfortable. I also like that it is a lightweight jacket which will be very nice in the hot months.
The stiched in cuff. Nice for comfort and keeping wind out but made it really tight getting my arms in and out of the sleeves.

This is a surprisingly well made jacket with quality throughout the product. The stitching looks solid. The main enclosure is a YKK zipper. The CE armor is removable. Nothing looked shoddy in the product.

My standard for a jacket is if it will help you survive one crahs, and of course without actually crashing is a best guess. It has removable CE armour, Denier along the impact areas, reflective piping and the stitching looks and feels solid. Given my parameters this looks like it passes my protection standard.

This is a very basic jacket. I would compare it favorably to another mesh jacket I owned: the First Gear Mesh Tex II. There are the usual set of pockets, good venting with the mesh exterior, and a zip out liner. What stands out is the liner is quilted which allows this jacket to be used in a larger temperature range. I rode it in 50 degree weather and did OK in it. I would say it is useful from cool to hot weather. Perhaps its best feature is the price. This is a great deal for someone on a budget. Value is quite high considering the quality that you are getting out of  this jacket.

I would describe this as a subdued but still a somewhat stylish. This is based on me riding a sport bike. I could picture just about any rider wearing this jacket and feeling good about how it looks. Obviously, this is a subjective rating so look at the picture and decide.

On the bike:

Final thoughts:
This is a basic featured, quality jacket that is fantastic for the price.The styling is nice and it is useful in a wide range of temperatures and will likely save your skin in a crash. I would give it a thumbs up!