For the last year and a bit, I’ve been wearing the Stockton jacket:
Before that, I had the Held Quattrotempi Imola:
The Held jacket was fine. Slightly too big as I bought it at the start of my biking life and thought I’d need 5 or 6 jumpers underneath in winter. I didn’t, so I did look a bit stupid in my swimming pool-vast jacket.
What annoyed me most though revealed itself on a group ride to Amiens in France. It poured it down apocalypse-style for a good hour, and when we finally got to our destination I was utterly drenched. The driest part of my body was probably my eyes as I’d cried all the tears of my body in the monsoon.
Let’s face it, any jacket would have been soaked, but somehow it really annoyed me to have paid so much for Goretex and all the jazz and find that it was just like a denim garment.
Yes it had a warm winter removable layer, vents, reflective strips, Cordura, adjustable this and that, various protectors and more. But met with the Flood it had called it quits. I don’t like quitters, especially when they cost so much.
Soon, I was looking for the best way to remedy this problem.
And strangely enough, it took the form of two new jackets. One was a cheap mesh jacket for hot day riding – for which the Held was very bad: Quattrotempi my ass -, the other the Triumph Stockton leather.
Until then, I’d always been dismissive of leather clothes. I didn’t like the image attached to them and I knew that leather was even worse than Goretex in the rain.
My problem though was that textile was not good enough in a downpour, and since I supposedly had one of the best textile jackets around, there was no point looking for an improvement down that road.
Reluctantly, I came to realise that the only way to be waterproof was… to wear a waterproof. Which conveniently came with the summer jacket.
So I was now looking for a warm-to-cold day riding jacket that didn’t need to claim to be waterproof.
It’s only out of thoroughness that I started flicking through leathers at Metropolis Vauxhall. Most of them were just too reminiscent of the image I had in mind: black, burly, stubborn, shiny, racing. Nah.
But then I came across the Stockton, and that was it. I tried to fool myself into thinking I might want another jacket, but in the end the heart prevailed.
I’m now converted to leather jackets. At least cool ones. The Stockton looks awesome, a perfect fit for the R1200R: understated chic, casual quality, aware of its worth but not shouting it, there to unconsciously impress the discerning eye, not the easily won-over. The Stockton is all style and substance. A George Clooney jacket.
Having said that, it’s also very good at everything else. I discovered that leather is better at wind protection than textile. That surprised me. I fitted a good back protector to it and it now feels like it’ll go a long way to saving what can be saved in a crash.
My 20mph lowside didn’t even scratch the jacket. Another good surprise.
The vents are generous, the pockets handy and well made, the stitching is so far flawless.
I got teased by a barman in Brittany for riding a BMW and wearing a Triumph jacket. It’s true the jacket doesn’t hide its branding, nor its nationality. C’est la vie, and I DO live in the UK after all.
I won’t be buying a textile jacket in a hurry now. Even if it means getting the waterproof out at the first sign of a raindrop.