Supple style, sturdy protection

ICON recently dropped a ton of new gear into its 2014 Spring/Summer 1000 Collection, and among the new items is the ICON 1000 Vigilante Jacket, a leather and textile combination with a subtle look and plenty of vintage style. I got my hands on one in February and promptly started wearing it everywhere I went, whether on the bike or not. In that time temperatures outside have gone from below freezing here in Southern Oregon to the low-80s, and through it all the Vigilante has proved versatile and comfortable.

I was immediately taken with the supple, drum-dyed cowhide sleeves. I’m a sucker for leather to begin with, and these felt like a second skin even with the D3O shoulder and elbow protection in place. On the road they are impervious to the elements, but in my case, wearing short cuff warm-weather gloves, the wrist openings of the jacket allowed for a steady stream of air to flow up the arm. Nice for those warmer days, but while riding down the freeway in late February, it tended to get a bit cold. Zippered closures at the wrists do make for a more snug fit, and gauntlet-style gloves would have cured the issue completely. I was surprised at how well I was protected in colder temperatures with the Vigilante because it doesn’t have the extra insulation of a true winter-weather jacket.

The textile torso added to the Vigilante’s cold-weather performance, constructed of a herringbone nylon material that’s quite stiff in comparison to the sleeves but that’s also air- and water-tight. On the bike, the torso section’s stiffness was a nonissue, but there were times when I would sit down while wearing the ICON jacket casually and the collar would ride up into my neck under my jawbone and demand some adjustment.

The jacket is built in accordance with ICON’s sport-fit sizing, and while snug, it wasn’t too tight or restrictive. I generally wear a large shirt/jacket, and a large Vigilante fit very well. The base of the jacket stops right below my waistline (I’m 6 feet tall) and there’s a little excess material down the back for extra coverage while riding (still not a bad idea to tuck the shirt in though). The snap-back collar is made from the same drum-dyed cowhide as the sleeves and provides a secure, comfortable seal against the elements at the neck. The YKK zippers are sturdy and reliable, and the tabs are big enough to easily access while wearing gloves.

ICON has another version of the Vigilante available, the Vigilante Dropout, which features a handful of patches for riders looking to make more of a statement, but for me the subdued black and grey look of the standard Vigilante is the preferred choice. Two small ICON metal badges on the upper arm of either sleeve are the only markings on the exterior of the jacket. There’s also a Dark Earth option of the standard Vigilante, which comes with a drab green torso instead of grey.

Inside, the removable SatinCore vest-style liner is an eye-catching baby blue and adds a luxurious feel for the wearer. It’s slightly insulated and adds to the cool-weather prowess of the Vigilante as well. There are a number interior stash pockets and a large chest pocket that features a headphone cable port.

As the temps started to rise, I made full use of the two vents that reside underneath the arm and down the sides of the jacket. I did have trouble opening and closing the long, single-zippered vents on either side while wearing the Vigilante, however. It required a bit of contortion on my part, stretching one arm toward the sky while reaching over with the other, trying as best I could to grab hold of the zipper and then to keep that position as I pulled it down. It was best to just adjust the vents with the jacket off. Once open though, air circulates nicely. For really warm days I’d take the liner out as well and have a comfortable piece of gear for the summer. Leaving the liner in when temps get above 80 isn’t bad while moving, but there were a few times while sitting at a long light that I felt beads of sweat start to form.

The price is also a positive, with sizes S through 2XL ringing in at $285 and the 3XL/4XL options costing an even $300. Weather-treat the sleeves and other leather bits to keep them in good shape and the Vigilante can be a decent all-season riding jacket. Sure, for extreme weather, either winter or summer, there may be more suitable options, but the Vigilante is a great all-around jacket with cool styling that provides a lot of bang for the buck.