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Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510) Website:www.55collection.com
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…

What I want: Triumph Bonneville

I don't have very many riding hours under my belt, so each time I do one of these 'what I want' posts it's a good idea to take them with a grain of salt. As my riding experience and knowledge build my interests morph. New information changes what I pine for.

So it was with the Honda CBF600. I did the bulk of my training on one and prior to ever throwing a leg over the thing I had thought it might be a perfect candidate for my first bike. Used models can be had for as little as £2,000 and it is a bike consistently portrayed as being reliable and newbie-friendly. Not to mention it's sort of got the naked look that I like.

But then I actually got on one and kept thinking: "Where the hell is my right foot?"

For some reason I wasn't bothered about the left side, but on my right it felt my foot was too far back –– just hovering somewhere in space behind my butt. I never had the physical awareness of the rear brake pedal that I would have liked. I didn't feel comfortable hurtling toward the chaos of a roundabout this way.

Also, I wasn't so sure it was a bike that adhered to my friend Lucky's first rule of bikes: Go for the one  that makes you grin like an idiot. Or, as Sash so eloquently put it: "Buy the one that gives you a boner."

Then, Lucky suggested a Triumph Bonneville.

"They've got leg room, they're predictable and they're chick magnets," he said.

"A Bonnie?!" I thought. "But isn't that a bit big?"

Apparently not. Yes, it's 865cc, but a larger engine, it would seem, does not always mean a faster, more-difficult-to-control machine. In looking at reviews, the Bonnie is consistently suggested as a newbie-friendly ride. It looks really cool, is reportedly quite reliable and I've seen several affordable used ones online.

A few days after Lucky had put the idea in my head I found myself at Mission Burrito in Bath, Jenn and I drinking beers and looking out the window at traffic as it passed. She caught me turning my head, following each motorcycle as it moved past, and decided to humour me.

"What kind of bike do you want?" she asked.

"A Triumph Bonneville," I answered with speed reminiscent of Ralphie asking for a Red Rider BB gun.

"Ooh, I like Triumphs," she said with something akin to a purr.

Wait. What?! Had Lucky been right?

"Your wife will not be able to resist you," he had said.

But Lucky's not had a chance to meet Jenn yet. How would he know? I quickly brought up a picture of a Bonnie on my phone and showed it to her.

"Yeah," she said. "That's really cool. You'd look pretty sexy on one of those."

So, uhm, you know, a Triumph Bonneville is pretty much the bike I want now.

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