There are a couple very distinct philosophy of motorcycle gear.
One idea is to keep prices down by constructing helmets or jackets with just the right amount of armor or protection to appeal to budget minded riders — and just enough to be legal on the road.
The second concept is to use the best materials with aesthetics well in mind — with cost acknowledged as the literal price to pay for quality.
Icon Motorcycle Gear out of Portland, Oregon lines up firmly behind that second theory — consistently putting out some of the best made and best looking items in the biker world.
I had the opportunity to try out a wide selection of Icon gear covering from head to toe – from boots to rain pants to jacket to gloves to multiple helmets. We'll start at the bottom and work our way north.
The majority of Icon's boot designs are racing or sport bike inspired, reenforced with steel shanks, metal fasteners and protective plates. Since side impacts or dumps often threaten the ankles, Icon put their all into providing maximum lower extreme protection.
Icon's pants and outerwear selections obviously keep an eye on both the road and the weather. The company's heavy leather selections provide MotoGP level assurance. The synthetic, rain-proofed gear provide warmth in addition to total water resistance.
The jackets offer varying levels of protection — from Field Armor certified to tactical levels of high tech fiber mesh worthy of a bulletproof vest. More impressively, Icon's jackets are meticulously styled to a point where non-riders would be proud to where them. I imagine owners selecting their Icon jackets as their preferred outerwear, on or off any bike.
The extension selection of gloves is also racing inspired, with contoured fingers and padded knuckle joints reminiscent of marshal arts grappling gear. The collection of colors and styling guarantee a fit for both hands and wardrobe.
Finally, Icon helmets use a polycarbonate design for a protection level equal to international regulations. The external styling is aggressive across the line, with themed models aspiring to be standalone works of art when they're not guarding your dome.
For Icon's level of design savvy, material sophistication and protection certainty, the company's creations aren't cheap. They shouldn't be. They're not made "cheap." While not on the absolute high end of motorcycle gear prices, Icon items settle north of many more common, mainstream products.
But, Icon hasn't taken the shortcut or the path of least resistance. They stick to the principals of racing gear design, bringing that theory of maximum protection to consumer riders — all while making sure those riders look good as they cruise safely away.