Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Gear News: Fuel Downtown jacket

The main problem about stylish gear aimed at café racer/scrambler/bobber riders is that in order to have The Look you need to compromise on protection. Which is a bit silly, really: you're just as likely to have a moment on your "built, not bought" machine as you are on a high-tech sports roadster (or any other kind of bike, for that matter); and from my own personal experience, road rash is painful. Motorcycle jeans have been around for a few years now, as have casual and more formal footwear options. Motorcycle jackets however, have lagged behind when it comes to combining chic with protection. But with many European countries contemplating legislation making it mandatory to wear proper protective clothing when riding a powered two-wheeler, manufacturers are starting to get the hint.

Helmet? Umm yeah, whatever!

Enter the new Downtown jacket by Barcelona-based Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles. When this handsome garment was brought to my attention by Constance Diaconu of Codi & Co. and Barcelona We Ride fame, my first question was "does it have body armour?" Yes, I admit it: as I get on in years I'm becoming more and more of an ATGATT* bore. When Constance replied that it did have body armour, I decided it was time to take a closer look.

Front view

The Downtown's cut recalls vintage flat-track racer jackets. It is extended in the back to avoid riding up when you lean forward to grasp the low-set clip-ons of your café bike. The front features four pockets: two slash cut lower pockets, a breast pocket closed by a flap with snap studs and a and another breast pocket closed by a waterproof zip. The main zip (all zip are solid YKK items) is covered by a weather flap closed by snap studs and the cuffs have zips and snap studs. The mandarin collar has two positions, as do the waist adjustment tabs in the back. Inside the jacket there is a mesh liner that features a zipped inner breast pocket.

About turn!

The outer shell of the Downtown jacket is made out of 12oz indigo denim that is waxed to make it water-repellent and windproof. This denim is lined with anti-abrasion and anti-perforation para-aramid layer and features level-2 body armour at the elbows and shoulders, as well as a level-2 spec back protector. I presume the body armour elements are removable for washing the jacket and for when it's being worn as a casual jacket off the bike. The Fuel Motorcycles Downtown jacket will be retailing at 365 € (£ 324, give or take a few quid).

Insider information

I really do like the look of this jacket, and I hope to bring you a hands-on review of it in the near future.

*All The Gear, All The Time

Note: I am informed that the motorcycle in the arty photos is for sale. So if you feel like owning a Ducati Scrambler customised by Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles, drop them a line.

All photography by Fuel Motorcycles

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