Last week, I had the pleasure of travelling with Eagle Rider Tours on a wildly entertaining motorcycle trip through the southwest. From Los Angeles to Palm Springs, then on to Laughlin, Nevada and eventually to Vegas, the trip was an immersive look at our generation’s rekindled romance with motorcycle culture. And yes full disclosure, I had never ridden a motorcycle prior to this trip.
I still can’t really say I am a moto-expert now, but I did at least pick up a few style lessons.
As in just about any endeavor in life, you should at least look the part, even if you’re bullshitting your way through it. If you have never been on a motorcycle, you are likely unaware of how the wind does an excellent job of pummeling you while you’re cruising down the road. In a car you are encased, on a bike you are truly at the mercy of the weather. That being said, this is a style moment where your attire must 100 percent coincide with the conditions of the activity.
Motorcycle culture seems to carefully balance an effortless display of cool with utility. Hence, we arrive at my seemingly utilitarian recommendations for motorcycle inspired style, with the goal of balancing style and function. H&M biker jackets that would be incinerated upon impact with asphalt not included.
BILT TECHNO BLUETOOTH HELMET
Let’s get to the facts: You are going to want to listen to classic rock while you ride a motorcycle. That combination is about as classic as red, white and blue. Or cocaine and cigarettes. Regardless, the desire to jam out on a motorcycle was something I immediately recognized and tried to make happen with earbuds underneath a helmet. It was uncomfortable. You want a blue tooth helmet so you can get your Credence fix in comfort. Also, check out that collapsible sun visor. Nice.
MEN’S EARTHKEEPERS ORIGINAL LEATHER 6-INCH BOOTS
It’s safe to say you need both durability and cool in equal doses. Motorcycles speak to the classic America, and what is more in keeping with that than Timberland work boots? These things are sleek and can take abuse, which is practically essential when making sure hot pipes don’t burn up your shoes. As you can see, I’m nearly an expert.
MEN’S GRAY PERFORATED ROUTE JACKET BY INDIAN MOTORCYCLE
$499.99, Indian Motorcycle
Most leather jackets that people throw on are an insult to the leather world. The main reason motorcyclists wear leather is that they provide a bit of defense against the concrete that could potentially rend your flesh if you happen to fall off. It isn’t going to right a broken collar bone, but it might help make sure your torso has more sex appeal in the hospital bed. Beyond that, dust and other coarse materials in the air are something you want a strong layer protecting you from. This Indian Motorcycle jacket is the real deal, with reinforced leather specifically designed for motorcycle hazards. It even has removable inner linings to change how insulated the jacket is. Peep those arm stripes; classy as hell.
SLIM STRAIGHT FIT POPLIN WORK PANT
$23.99 - $25.99, Dickies
Now, most bikers will have no regard for how milquetoast baggy pants appear. I seek to bridge a gap between modern style and authentic biker fashion. I can understand the need for durable pants, but at least let them be slim fit. No one said you can only have durability at the cost of looking like you are wearing a trash bag around your calves. So go for the slim straight Dickie’s work pants, so you can still remain attractive when you get off the bike.
A bandana, really? Let me tell you just how practical bandanas are in a motorcycle context. Had I been wearing one, I wouldn’t have gotten a bug in my mouth on route 66. Don’t be like me, wear a bandana around your face if you are rocking anything less than a full-face helm. Also, you can tuck that bad boy in your back pocket and look like a modern biker after you dismount. And it’s no secret bandanas are having their style moment in 2017. Just make sure that you maintain the illusion by not ever using the phrase “motorcycle pipes” to describe bike components.