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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…

Bullet points

Near St. Bride's Major, Wales –– 15 June 2013
Here's a collection of various thoughts I've had since getting a motorcycle:
  • Great googly-moogly, lane splitting is awesome. Nothing better confirms the awesomeness of owning a motorcycle like filtering through a mile-long traffic backup.
  • So, this is my life now? I am destined to always have chain grease on my hands and under my fingernails.
    • I suppose I could get some latex gloves for when I'm working on my bike. Thank goodness for the internet that I can have those sent discreetly to my house rather than having to go into a shop and explain why I need loads and loads of latex.
  • Everyone stares at you when you're on a motorcycle. Everyone. Sometimes the looks are of disdain/annoyance, sometimes the looks are of envy, sometimes the looks are of approval. But everyone looks. This must be what it's like to be a sexy lady.
  • Is it just my bad luck, or are BMW riders jerks? What's wrong with saying hello fellas? Harley riders get a bad rap, but all the dudes I've encountered have returned a nod, and if they were to roll up next to me at a motorcycle shop I suspect they would respond to my saying hello. The same cannot be said for the BMW riders I've come across.
  • Why does so much of the gear for motorcyclists have to look so stupid?
  • Riding a motorcycle really makes you thirsty.
    • I have yet to come up with a particularly good means of carrying water.
    • I want Kriega bags.
  • I wish there were a way to transport my cowboy hat (that does not involve a top box).
  • I am still nervous as hell going into bends; I have watched way too many motorcycle crash videos.
  • There is something therapeutic about washing a motorcycle. My favourite part is covering the exhausts and lower frame with GT85.
  • That whole riding with two fingers covering the brake thing? I cannot figure that out. When I try to do it, I feel terribly unsafe.


  1. Great post!

    Carrying Water: I hear Camelback systems (and work-alikes) are awesome. Personally, I just keep a bottle of water or two in my tank bag/backpack, and drink when I stop.

    BMWs: I haven't noticed snobby behavior from Beemers, but I have noticed there are differences in motorcycle culture based on geography. For example, no one here on the middle coast wears a helmet. There weren't helmet laws in Phoenix, but almost everyone there wore a lid.

    Grease and filth: yep, that's your life now. Gloves help a little, but you'll still want to invest in some Lava soap and a fingernail brush.

  2. Yeah, I don't do that two-finger thing, though I've found it useful on the clutch lever when going from 1st to 2nd.

    As for BMW riders, it was BMW that really defined the sport-touring concept, and ever since the other brands, particularly the Jap bikes, came out with their own versions, the Beemer riders always refer to them as copy-cats. Metric cruiser riders get the same thing from Harley riders.

  3. Agree with Lucky above about the Camelbak system.

    Although I normally just through a couple of bottles of water in my cooler, put it in the top box and away I go.

    What's wrong with having a top box by the way?

    1. I'm not necessarily against having a top box but for the fact that:
      a) They're expensive
      b) It seems to me they'd catch the wind
      c) For all that cost and bulk they don't really hold all that much weight (When I looked at one last week I was told it would not hold more than 8 kg).
      d) I think they spoil the look of some bikes (Not all, though. Indeed, some bikes look odd without a top box).

  4. Nice post. I'm sure all those thoughts have gone through the minds of many a rider.

    In Canada, I find it is the opposite between BMW riders and Harley Riders. BMW waves and Harley riders don't.

    As for motorcycle gear I tend to agree with you. You can either look like a leather freak who just stepped out of a dystopian future or a ultra safe fluorescent banana. I wish they made gear you could wear into an office and not have to explain. I think gloves are the worst. I have yet to find a nice pair of gloves.

    1. Personally, when I update my gear, I'm going to go for the ultra-safe leather freak Mad Maxian banana look. Because screw anyone who doesn't like it. ;)

      I like the look of most motorcycle gear. It's purpose-built. You're not supposed to stand there looking cool in it. You're supposed to ride in it.

      I've found some nice gloves in the past, but they're always a big investment. Right now I've got a pair of $40 gloves. They seemed OK in the store, but have proven themselves to be torture devices while riding. For my next pair I'm going to bite the bullet and spend whatever it takes to get the right gloves.

      Also, walking into work looking like you just came off the set of Mad Max starts a lot of conversations with people who otherwise wouldn't talk to you. But I like talking to people. And the office I rode to was exceptionally tolerant of flying freak flags (Diversity for the win!). YMMV.

    2. You my friend have obviously never owned a pair of Watson skin gloves. es. They only set you back $35 and it makes your hands feel like they are being touched by 1000 baby angel butts.

  5. Chris,

    I have wished for a way to carry my good black cowboy hat on this trip so badly! But I've had to settle for my crappy hat that folds. :(
    Good list! But I don't grease my own chain. I can always find a nice man for such things!
    Lastly, you think people stare at you!! Try being a chick on a bike! I feel 16 again with all the stares! :)

  6. Chris:

    Top boxes for me, are a necessity. I need a safe place to lock my helmet, put my camera (for easy access). I worry that someone is going to cut my helmet strap and steal it, then I won't be able to ride home.

    then there is the idea of having a larger footprint in front of other cars to make you more visible. We have many large pickup trucks here and if they come behind you, the top box makes you stand out more.

    I agree that most top boxes are mounted high and look funny, but when you balance it out with side cases, then it looks right

    Riding the Wet Coast


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