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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…

Patience is a virtue

You could have been mine...
I never really told the story of my almost buying a Bonneville, did I? Back in February, I took a test ride on the Triumph Bonneville and was instantly enamoured with the idea of owning one. Triumph's TriStar financing would have been necessary to make it happen. The sales guy drew up a quote for me and I went home to mull it all over. 

In my retelling of the test ride on this blog, I took a little literary license in expressing my enthusiasm. I would like to point out that, in fact, I had arrived at the dealership having already decided I would not make any buying decisions on the day.

Still, I did love the bike, and it took a while after I got home for me to get my head into a balanced state to really consider things. First off, there's that whole issue of financing; I'm not against paying for things on credit, but all those years I lived with a Mormon (they don't see debt as outright sin, but they're pretty strongly against the idea where it can be avoided) had their effect. Also there was the issue of no anti-lock brakes, and the Bonneville's rather stiff suspension. I waffled for days. 

Then it was announced that one of the people in my office was being made redundant ("laid off," for those of you playing along at home). My job, I was told, was safe, but I took the experience as a sign from Jeebus that it might be a good idea to hold off on big purchases for the time being.

A few weeks later, I took my trusty Honda in to have the brakes serviced. When I picked it up afterward, the mechanic complimented me on how well I kept my bike.

"Genuinely can't fault it, mate," he said. "You know, we kinda look for extra things to fix. This one's solid, though. You must tuck it into bed with you at night or something; she's like new."

This was, in a way, disheartening to me. Especially in the face of my desire to buy a Bonneville. I mean, yes, my Honda CBF600 is 9 years old, but it is in "like new" condition with only 11,000 miles on the clock. And, compared to the Bonneville, it is more powerful, it has better suspension and better brakes, and it has wind protection and heated grips. There is simply no good reason to rid myself of it but for the fact that I just really want to.

So, begrudgingly, I formulated a plan to put into a savings account the money that I would have spent on financing each month. Keeping in mind the nature of Hondas and my apparently excessive nurturing of mine, it is safe to assume that by the time my bike actually gets to the point where getting rid of it makes sense I will have saved up a deposit greater than the bike's present value. In other words, I should stick with the plan I had a while back of waiting until my 40th birthday to buy my next bike (I turned 38 last week).

Something worth waiting for?
Emotionally, I hate this plan. Me want new thing now. Me want buy new growly thing go BAHROOM! This is what I was trying to get at in my post about the Great Harley-Honda Dilemma. I think a lot of people read that I was pissing on a particular brand of motorcycle. No, the rules of this blog are that I will do my best not to piss on anybody's choice of machine (unless it's a Boss Hoss, in which case, you are everything that is wrong), and, in fact, there are many Hondas that I like. The dilemma is one of trying to come to terms with those conflicting emotions of wanting and not needing.

But there are some things that help me stay the course. Beyond simple financial sense, there are reasons to wait a few years, reasons to look toward the future. For example, from 1 January 2016, anti-lock braking systems will be mandatory on all motorcycles above 125cc in Europe. I know some readers feel I'm being silly in placing so much importance on that particular feature, but, well, I'm sorry. It's really important to me. And sometimes safety features have as much value in peace of mind as in actual use. Airbags, for instance. I have never had one deploy –– hopefully I'll never be in a situation where one would need to deploy. But that doesn't mean I'd buy a car without airbags. As Jesus is for the Doobie Brothers, safety is just alright with me.

With this in mind, as well as the knowledge/hope that I should be in better financial standing in two years, the imagination begins to stretch out a little. It mixes with emotion and delivers me again to the door of Victory motorcycles.

And as it happens, that company is giving me some good reasons to wait. I'll explain what they are in my next post...


  1. The problem with reading about the new features and technology that motorcycle makers are planning is that you're always waiting for the new models, and never actually buying one. But it sure makes for great anticipation.

  2. Your ABS obsession is spot on.
    The roads in this country are routinely covered with gravel, to somehow extend the life of the road (not for snow, it's 85F all year round here). Also, you have slow but thoroughly moronic drivers... and that's a recipe for a perfect disaster.
    ABS can't save stupid, but in a true emergency scenario couple with good technique, they have saved my bacon in a couple of occasions.
    I don't have to remember or care about locking the front or rear wheel. I just grab those brakes as hard as I can and any of my BMW will come to a halt without drama. Faster than any riding legend can do on non-ABS motorcycles.
    So, you're not silly. ABS is a must.

  3. Would it be pedantic for me to point out that ABS will be mandatory on NEW motorcycles from 2016. And even then, only from a selling point. Once the motorcycle is in the hands of the rider, an MOT will not cover whether the motorcycle has it working or not, at least not for a few years. Similar story to the emissions, They're not tested on a motorcycle in the UK therefore it doesn't matter if the owner takes the CAT off.


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