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Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510)
It’s likely you’ve never heard of 55 Collection; the Barcelona-based leather goods company is relatively small and has only been on the scene for a few years. So, allow me to introduce you to a company that’s making some of the best-looking and unique motorcycle jackets out there at the moment.

Adopting the “non serviam” nonconformist attitude that seems to run through a lot of Spain’s motorcycling culture (check out the crazy/beautiful custom works of El Solitario MC, for example), 55 Collection’s jackets may split opinion because of the company’s willingness to make jackets that are fashionable – that is to say, jackets that have a strong fashion element. The old dudes will decry hipsterism or some such thing. And indeed, I’ll admit that when company founder Aitor Gonzalez offered me a chance to try out one of his jackets I naturally defaulted to the most conservative of his offeri…

Love for Cleveland CycleWerks

If I were still in the United States and in the position I'm in now of wanting to get back into motorcycling*, I think one of the bikes - if not the bike - I'd have my eye on at the moment would be a Misfit from Cleveland CycleWerks. OK, technically the bike's name is Tha Misfit, but that's just silly. Who's going to say: "I ride a Tha Misfit."? The word "misfit" is questionable enough, as far as I'm concerned. It brings to mind thoughts of Spike from Degrassi Junior High.

But just because I don't like the name doesn't mean I don't want one. I really like the look of the bike and I love the philosophy behind it. The other day I watched this piece about CCW and felt kind of inspired by what Scott Colosimo and his company are trying to do, which is provide cool, affordable motorcycles. That's something no one else seems to be willing to try in the United States - a fact that was part of the reason I never bought a bike when I lived there.

Yes, CCW bikes are built in China and with a good number of Chinese parts, which the company is upfront about. The China aspect seems to be a sticking point for some people and I can't help sensing a bit of racism/xenophobia in their criticism. As I said in my last post, the motorcycling community is like any other in that it has its accepted truths - things people "know" to be true simply because they are oft repeated. The poor quality of Chinese products seems to be one of those accepted truths.

iPhones are also made in China, my friends. As is just about everything else you own. A Chinese product is good or bad not because of where it is made but because of the steps taken to assure its quality. What I get from CCW is a strong desire to provide a quality product

"It's all about finding the right partners, people who understand quality," Colosimo said in an interview a few years ago. "Our manufacturing partners build under ISO standards and know how to trace a defect back to its source. We are extremely serious about producing high quality, extremely affordable bikes and strive every day for improvements."

"The U.S. was built on people dreaming," says Colosimo in the video I linked to.

And I think that's what makes the bikes American. The spirit of having an idea and making it happen by working really hard is American, and that seems to run through what CCW does. Plus, they design cool-looking bikes that aren't trying to be something they're not.

I just wish these things were sold in the UK.


*OK, let's be honest. Just because I have a motorcycle endorsement on my Minnesota license doesn't mean I'm wanting to "get back into" motorcycling. I'm wanting to start.


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