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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…

I'm just a dude who loves motorcycles

Not too long ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to be practical and save up enough money to buy a new bike outright.

Or rather, a new-to-me used bike. Because my practicality was borne of the realisation that saving up all the cash needed for a brand-new version of most of the bikes on my What I Want list would take several more years than I'm willing to wait. I realised I would instead need to settle for a bike that was, you know, OK.

A motorcycle that is good enough (a).

So, I went about the process of trying to convince myself that I would want the Suzuki GSX1250FA -- a bike that is more than two decades long in the tooth, reportedly feels quite heavy (I've never test ridden one, so I can't speak to that personally), is visually unexciting, and has less than impressive fuel efficiency (roughly 39 mpg, according to Fuelly). However, this process of self convincing was instantly abandoned when Jenn's father described the Suzuki he once owned as: "The low point of my motorcycling career."

Thoughts of the GSX1250FA were killed extra dead when I spotted that it has stupidly frequent major service intervals. 

Meanwhile, when I look at the bikes I can afford to buy right now it is a reminder that I am still really far away from being able to get a bike that is, you know, OK. Unless I think the 63,000-mile 1983 Honda VF750S I found for £780 on BikeTrader is OK.

Well, actually, if I had the mechanical know-how to keep it running, I would think that Honda is OK. More than OK. But let's hold that thought for a moment.

My point is that recently I have been warming to the idea of financing. With my current bike and the money I've saved up, I could put down a decent deposit on a number of really, really nice motorcycles. I don't necessarily see myself doing this until after I get back from my European adventure, but my brain has already taken to the task of figuring out what bike I should get.

And from there, almost immediately my thoughts morphed again into the old question of what sort of "guy" I am.

I mentioned in my previous post that I have a long-standing desire to be a BMW guy. But if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you'll know that I have also at various points expressed happiness in being (by default) a Honda guy, and a desire to be a Harley guy, a desire to be a Triumph guy, a desire to be a Victory guy, a desire to be an Indian guy, a desire to be a Moto Guzzi guy, a desire to be... well, you get the point.

Honestly, if there's any brand of motorcycle that I haven't expressed a desire to own, it is simply because I have not yet heard of that brand. And as soon as I do hear of the brand I will probably swoon for it, too (b).

Take that MZ TS250 I mentioned a few weeks ago. I had never heard of Motorradwerk Zschopau; now that I have, I would love to own one. As long as it weren't the only bike I owned. Which takes me back to what I was saying about the Honda VF750S. Were I the money and space, I would gleefully take on all kinds of bikes. Of all ages, of all genres.

Because, y'all, motorcycles are awesome. I'm not any sort of a "guy," apart from a motorcycle guy. I feel that at its core every motorcycle is more than OK. Yes, some bikes are better suited to certain real-world applications than others, but they are all inherently desirable.

My Honda CBF600SA is pretty OK

And perhaps the thing that gives me the most stress in thinking about financing a new bike is the thought of "marrying" myself to just one machine. I am afraid of committing to one style, one set of applications.

But that is a good attitude to have, I think. It helps me remember that all motorcycles are fun. Including the one I already own. It is going to take me some amazing places this summer and even though it's not a Harley-Davidson Street Glide or a Triumph Trophy SE (two bikes I've been daydreaming about this week, despite the fact they are totally out of my price range), I am still going to have a whole hell of a lot of fun. So, there is no rush to get a new bike. I may want one -- and that's perfectly fine -- but I don't need a new bike. It's not a race; there's no deadline.

I can take my time to try to find the bike with which I connect the most.

Equally, when I consider owning a different bike I don't need to get too worked up over such and such feature or specification. Whether I end up choosing a Royal Enfield Classic 500 (though, it's unlikely I would) or a Kawasaki Z1000SX (equally unlikely), the odds are incredibly good that I'll have fun on the thing. And regardless of whatever I end up with, it's a given that everyone on everything else will still be getting an enthusiastic nod or wave from me as they pass.


(a) "Good enough" is admittedly a nebulous concept here and speaks as much to my emotional reaction to a bike as its performance attributes.

(b) The only exception I can think of is Boss Hoss. No. Just, no.


  1. I like this exercise...

    I think I mentioned it before, but I got a R1200GS for Xmas. It was a 10K mile bike, in pristine condition. I love that motor.

    Now, that I'm love with boxers, there's a R1200R that's sitting on my garage... I don't need it, but I want it.

    Boxers are fun. And the bike has 5K miles...

    I don't need more than one bike, but with the exception of the American cruiser, I have 3 unique bikes... the one that's truly missing on my stable is a Yamaha WR450F

  2. Stumbled across your blog this morning -- in the great state of your birth (and I will forgive what appears to be a Longhorn t-shirt in your profile picture!) -- and can relate all too well, though I'm probably 30 years older than you and one who came to motorcycling late in life (4 years ago).

    Started with a Shadow 750 that I bought from my son when he moved up to an XL1200 (and thanks to him for infecting me with this disease!) and currently riding a 2010 Thunderbird. I really enjoy it, especially as it is not that common of a bike in Harley-land. And, referencing one of your earlier posts, as one who is already a grandpa I do appreciate the aesthetics of a cruiser!

    But from time to time I DO long for, in no particular order -- either a Trophy, Street Glide, F800GT, or -- the latest -- an FJ-09 ("poor" man's version of the F800?). What to do...?

  3. correction - just read some of your early posts and realized I'm only maybe 20 years older than you; definitely worth correcting as I'm not that eager to advance my age!

  4. I would like to ride the Boss Hoss once, just to do it, but I would never own one. I enjoy all sizes and types of bikes. All have pros and cons. Keep looking and you will find the bike right for you at this point. Your "short list" is a good one.


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