No matter what you ride, you need to have the proper gear to feel comfortable on your motorbike. Whether you’re hitting dual track off road routes for the first time, or taking a trip down to your local coffee shop… you’re going to need a jacket that offers warmth, weather protection, and space to carry all your stuff. You’re also going to need elbow, shoulder and back armour to protect you against everyday road hazards and crazy drivers that could bring you down (but hopefully don’t). And if you’re anything like me you’ll want to avoid the horrific fluorescent design monstrosities that plague much of the motorcycle gear genre. This classically styled jacket, designed after old school military gear, is a good example of fashion and function working together for once.
How do I know this? I’ve taken it through wet Pacific Northwest forest mud puddles and it’s accompanied me on many trips through town this summer as well. It’s not a technically a summer jacket, but Portland weather can be rather mild (and I can be rather stubborn when it comes to trying new gear). It’s served me well through the beginning of fall with blasts of rain and thunder seemingly coming out of nowhere.
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The first time I wore it was on the Touratech Adventure Motorcycle rally June 27-30th in Plain, WA on my very first real off road adventure. When I climbed out of the Suburban in the morning, it was overcast and slightly muggy but seemed the perfect conditions for testing the Akorp’s waxed exterior. I took off on the Husky TR650 with my buddy Chris and we found some old forest access/logging roads for me to get comfortable on before the group rides later. The many pockets of the Akorp, inside and out, made it rather ideal for adventuring and I opted to take it on the group rides later. This is when we found some pretty exciting ruts, sand patches, and mud puddles. The day heated up, and the jacket needed to change… but covered in bugs and splattered in dirt… it seemed happy to have performed such service and awaited it’s next opportunity to shine.
The Icon 1000 line tends to highlight more classic styles of motorcycle fashion, with function also clear in the gear’s intent. This jacket is no different- five pockets and industrial closures combined with a long tailored cut make it fit snugly to lady curves as well as give you access to all the items you need at your fingertips. It’s “trench coat” style cut makes it longer than most jackets which has it’s benefits and downfalls depending on your usual riding position and torso length. The bottom edge of the bodice ends below the average lady’s hip bone, so if you are especially folded up on a smaller bike with a tight position (say because of clip ons and rear sets) it could mean the jacket folds around your abdomen and comes in contact with your tank. This all depends on you and your bike, though.
There’s a pocket just inside the zipper closure along the chest that provides some protection from weather conditions, and inside stash pockets for paperwork and other treasures are only the tip of the iceberg for places to put stuff. The two outer pockets have large buttoning flaps (super cool fixtures that are still usable with gloves on!) to keep all your goodies safe and secure. You can fit quite a bit into those two pockets, trust me…
If you’ve ever encountered the baggy-waist scenario wherein your whole figure disappears for lack of tightening strap, you’ll appreciate the reinforced cross panel across the middle back. The strap has two different snaps for tightening past it’s resting position. They’re nice riveted metal snaps too, so they don’t come undone when you bend over off your bike to pick up a dropped glove or what have you. It’s nice I tell ya, real nice. A similar and matching strap closes the jacket across the neck at the top of the zipper with two different buttons to keep out the elements and avoid annoying zipper rub. Hell, it looks pretty nice too.
Ergonomics of apparel is something often overlooked for ladies in our daily dress, and even more so in the more casual style riding gear. This is not an area in which this jacket is lacking, which honestly there are not many. The lower external pockets are positioned so that they don’t jam into your body even when they’re full up. The trench coat cut, as earlier mentioned, has a longer overall cut (sleeves and body) so it covers your crack and wrists even if you lean forward. The cut is most ideal for more upright positions like that of a Triumph Bonneville, BMW GS, etc etc… but the rather timeless design means it won’t look silly from one bike to the next.
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I’d classify it as a moderate temperature piece of gear, best suited for those middle times when it’s not too hot or not too cold, though without a torrential downpour and a little extra thermal I’d be more than happy wearing it almost all the way through the winter. The waxy surface is rather easily cleaned, patinas quite nicely as you wear it, and sheds rain rather well. Icon doesn’t call it a rain jacket, but it kept me pretty dry when I got caught in the bipolar Pacific Northwest weather. Heck, it took the muddy rooster tail off the Husqvarna like a champ too. It wasn’t until I got off the bike that I noticed the splash back evidence left up the butt of my riding pants and on the edges of the jacket around the back protector. Add some spit to a handkerchief and scrub it a bit to give it a decent clean on the go, sit down with some wax and the right tools to give it a good deep clean.
When it comes to safety the Akorp is pretty well equipped right off the shelf- D3O impact resistant CE rated armor for your back, shoulders, and elbows is included. This type of armor is flexible, which means it hardens upon impact not while you’re walking around… making it way more comfortable than the more traditional hard armor inserts. Oh yeeeeah, it’s fully removable too.
While no one has yet figured out how to make perfect gear- like Marty’s self drying jacket in Back to the Future- we can be hopeful that one day we’ll have bionic transforming robo-clothes that sense our body temperature and automatically cool or heat us accordingly. In the mean time, we find the most functional and form fitting jackets for our needs and body style. The Akorp jacket has earned itself a spot in my closet of go-to-gear, leaving little to be desired besides some zippered vents in the underarms (seriously, it’s nice to be able to air the pits out sometimes)!
Special thanks to the talented photographer Gregor Halenda, click here to see more of his incredible work.
All images by Gregor Halenda – Copyright 2013 – all rights reserved.