The new ICON 1000 MH1000 jacket

Road tested: Gear from ICON 1000, Knox and Rough Crafts

New motorcycle gear recommended by Bike EXIF.
One of our favorite custom shops—Rough Crafts—has just released its first helmet. So we put it through its paces, along with an armored undershirt from Knox, and new boots from Icon 1000. Get the low down before parting with your cash.

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
Rough Crafts Revolator helmet We’ve been swooning over the bikes that roll out of Winston Yeh’s Rough Crafts shop for years. The Taiwanese whizzkid has now turned his attention to gear, with the ‘Revolator’ helmet. Winston’s been working on the Revolator (yes, that’s how you spell it) for two years now, so I’ve been itching to get my hands on one for quite a while. And I have to say, I’m pretty smitten.

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
Like most Rough Crafts bikes, the Revolator blends classic and modern touches. The design’s reminiscent of retro MX helmets, but Winston wanted as clean a look as possible—so there are no snaps for attaching a visor. But there is a large, wide eye port—spacious enough for fitting goggles as big as Winston’s favorite pair, the 100% Barstow.

The shell’s made from carbon fiber, with two shell sizes covering five helmet sizes (S to XXL). There’s an EPS lining, with a luxurious looking (and feeling) inner liner that combines an anti-bacterial material with synthetic leather touches.

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
I thought it was genuine leather at first, but Winston explains that a synthetic fabric handles heat and sweat better. The helmet latches down with a D-ring system, with a small snap for stowing the strap end, and a genuine leather pull-tab on the D-ring. And the whole thing is ECE approved too.

Winston’s a stickler for quality, and the Revolator doesn’t disappoint. Everything’s top-notch, from the paint job on the scalloped design I picked, to the contrast stitching on the liner, and the multiple embossed logos that you discover as you dig deeper.

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
The carbon fiber ‘air vents’ on the jaw are a killer design touch too, and Winston pointed out that they’re lined with the same air filtering material you find in air masks. Even the included carry bag is a touch fancier than normal.

The only QA issue I could spot was the bronze ‘Rough Crafts’ emblem on the right side, which was peeling up a touch on the front. Winston explains that the curve of the helmet is too extreme for the adhesive used. So he’s shipping the Revolator with a spare emblem in the box, and talking to the factory about pre-curving the logo on future runs.

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
I’m scoring the Revolator high on comfort too. My head measures 62 cm, which makes me an XL in Rough Crafts sizing. The helmet fits well straight out the box—not quite as snug as some XLs I’ve worn (since the size chart reads 62 cm / 63 cm for XL), but not too loose either. And it’s maintained that fit after a fair bit of use.

Sunglasses and goggles fit without hassles too, but that wide eye port does have a down side; like most retro full face helmets, the Revolator does little to block wind noise, so grab those earplugs. On the up side, the carbon shell makes it the lightest helmet on my rack (Rough Crafts claims roughly 1,100 grams).

Tested: The new Rough Crafts Revolator motorcycle helmet
The kicker? On price, the Revolator weighs in at $699 for solid colors, and $780 for graphics. That’s similar money to the carbon Bell Bullitt, but without the benefit of a visor. But if you’re willing to spend that, you’re getting a well made, comfy and extremely good-looking lid. [Buy]

Tested: the Knox Urbane armor motorcycle shirt
Knox Urbane Armor Shirt In a crash, a decent motorcycle jacket protects you from two things: abrasion and impact. The leather jacket you inherited from your granddad might be okay for a little slide time, but it won’t soften the blow if you hit the deck hard. If you must still wear it, you should check out the Knox Urbane Shirt.

The British company Knox is considered an expert in the field of armor, supplying OEM protectors to other brands (such as RSD) while also offering their own line of gear. The Urbane is part of their armored undershirt range; it’s designed to be worn under Knox’s own bike jackets, or with your favorite abrasion-resistant outer layer.

Tested: the Knox Urbane armor motorcycle shirt
It’s a refreshingly simple—but highly usable—piece of kit. (And at £160.00, it’s pretty affordable too.) Basically it’s a tight-fitting shirt made of a stretchy mesh fabric, with pockets for elbow, shoulder and back protectors. A tough YKK zip seals it up at the front, plus there’s a handy chest pocket, and soft fabric details at the neck and cuffs.

The actual armor is Knox’s proprietary Micro-Lock armor; CE level 1 in the shoulder and elbows, with a generously sized CE level 2 back protector. The shoulders and elbows slip into neoprene pockets, with some extra fabric on the outside for reinforcement, and the back protector slots into a large pocket with a Velcro closure.

Tested: the Knox Urbane armor motorcycle shirt
The Urbane’s biggest drawcard is, without a doubt, comfort. My dad bod has trouble finding jackets that fit well in the arms, chest and gut, but the stretchiness of the Urbane’s chassis meant that an XL fitted me everywhere, without problems. (Think of it as the Spanx of moto jackets.)

Knox’s Micro-Lock pads are also extremely malleable, adding to the overall flexibility in a big way. The Urbane’s also cut a bit longer in the back for extra coverage, but I’d love to see Knox add some sort of loop for attaching it to your belt, to stop it from riding up. The soft neoprene pockets in the elbows and shoulders are soft against your skin, but since there’s no zip or Velcro to close them, I’ve had to be careful not to accidentally stick my hands in there when I put the shirt on.

Tested: the Knox Urbane armor motorcycle shirt
Since it’s summer here in Cape Town, I’ve been riding in the Urbane shirt with a mid-weight cotton canvas jacket over it, non-stop. Granted, that cotton outer layer probably won’t wear well in a serious crash, but the peace of mind from the armor (particularly that extensive back protector) is invaluable.

Especially when you consider that the Urbane’s skintight design should prevent the protectors from shifting in a crash. And if you’re the extra cautious type, Knox also sell a chest panel that attaches to a Velcro strip in front.

Tested: the Knox Urbane armor motorcycle shirt
The only downside is that, while the Urbane shirt’s mesh construction flows air really well when in motion, it can get stuffy quickly if you’re moving around a lot off the bike, in hot weather. The area under the back protector is the biggest culprit, despite its perforated design.

And when you do stop, stripping down involves taking off (and stowing) two jackets, not one. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Urbane (plus one) from being my current go-to jacket combo. [Buy]

Tested: Icon 1000 Truant II boots
Icon 1000 Truant II boot There’s been a trend in recent years to create moto gear that doesn’t look like moto gear. But Icon 1000 are bucking that trend in the best way: their gear is clearly made for riding, but with an aesthetic that draws half-and-half from the moto and casual worlds.

Take the Truant II boot. The Icon 1000 site describes it best: “Is it a moccasin? Is it a hi-top? Literally no one knows.” I don’t know either, but what I do know is that the Truant II is a pretty well thought out and good looking moto boot-slash-sneaker, with some rad features.

Tested: Icon 1000 Truant II boots
The Truant II is made from full-grain leather that’s supple, soft to the touch, and looks even better in the flesh. I opted for brown (they come in black too), and it didn’t take long for the leather to start breaking in and developing its own patina.

As per the description, the styling is part Red Wing boot, part hi-top sneaker, with cool touches like contrast stitching, perforation on the sides and embossed Icon 1000 logos.

Tested: Icon 1000 Truant II boots
Both sides feature a shifter pad for the sake of symmetry, and the laces are well protected so as not to snag on anything. Icon has also fitted D30 ankle pads, and extra protection in the toe and heel areas. The sole’s tough and grippy on the inside, and reinforced just enough to be stiff on the bike, but not overtly rigid off it.

Slipping the Truant II boots on is easy, thanks to a tough leather pull-tab on the back and the easy-to-use lacing system. I picked out my usual sneaker size, but given a second crack I might consider going a half size up. My advice: try before you buy, or buy from an online retailer with a solid return policy.

Tested: Icon 1000 Truant II boots
What’s really impressive about the Truant II is how low profile it is for an Icon boot. I’ve tried the first generation Truant on before, and it’s massive. The II is far more svelte, and I have no problem slipping it under my shifter.

It’s built tough too; I’ve even used it for some light off-roading, and found the subtle reinforcement in the sole strong enough for standing on the pegs for extended stints. They’re not waterproof, but I was surprised to discover that they held off rain for a quite a few miles before my socks eventually got damp.

And at just $150, there’s not many boots that look this good at this price. [Buy]

Location images courtesy of Devin Paisley.

Tested: Icon 1000 Truant II boots

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