New bike – new kit. It follows, eh? So in keeping with the new long-term Triumph I went on the search for a lid that would hopefully combine retro looks with modern performance – and came across the Trophy from Premier. Premier were originally a US manufacturer who found favour with the likes of world champion road racer Phil Read back in the 1970s but are now designed and manufactured in Italy (rather like the Bell story). They offer a range of helmets from retro street and scrambler models through to thoroughly modern off-road and sports offerings.
Having one of those heads that sits between an L and XL depending on brand and style I opted for an L and while being a snug fit at first it felt like the right choice after a couple of days riding. With the squaredoff chin bar (that mimics the style of the 70s Premiers) the Trophy is always going to feel close fitting in that area but it doesn’t take too much getting used to. The Trophy is nicely finished inside and out, with a plush faux-leather lining and a period-correct button-down visor and is light, weighing in at just 1290g. Despite this it still achieves a 4 out 5 Sharp rating (Sharp being a British government run helmet testing facility), safety of course being the most important aspect of any lid. It also comes with a five-year warranty if you register your purchase online. With some similarly styled retro lids being offered at some frankly ridiculous price points the Trophy comes in middle of the scale – reasonable coin for a very nice product. It wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for long distance touring but that’s not what this model is designed for. For blatting round town and short Sunday afternoon blasts this is a sweet looking and well made helmet that looks so right with my Triumph.
Richa Bonneville Jacket
Contact: www.richa.eu www.nevis.uk.com
When Alex turned up for the Scrambler test in his Richa Scrambler jacket I was kind of jealous. I really liked it, it’s a great looking jacket but in the back of my mind I knew I didn’t want it, short-cut jackets (bumfreezers) are just not for me. Generally, I like my lower back to be covered (I’m pretty sure that’s an age thing). So when I discovered Richa made a similar but longer jacket (like, ahem, the Belstaff Trialsmaster), known as the Bonneville, I was in. So I now have a Bonneville jacket, in green (although it’s almost dark-brown, if you ask me).
It features the same British Millerain waxed-cotton as the Scrambler, but with a cut and detailing that Sammy Miller would be proud to wear (and would have worn back in his heyday). What I like is that Richa have updated this classic with some modern features without sacrificing the classic (or is it vintage/heritage?) look. There’s a waterproof and breathable membrane under that wax-cotton, then there’s a removable quilted liner (for the cold days) and under the final checked lining you’ll find a five-piece CE-approved set of armour (back, shoulders and elbows). I especially like that the armour sits pretty well concealed, so the jacket can be worn casually, making the wearer look beefier but not grid-iron. Now Richa are a Belgian firm and this jacket is manufactured in Pakistan but it wears a small Union Jack on a breast pocket – one day I’ll figure out why.
The performance of the Bonneville so far has been impressive, especially given the modest price point. It’s snug and warm, ideal for winter riding, and was waterproof in an hour of rain. Arm length is good for 6’0” me (I wear the XL size), and I like the traditional corduroy collar and pop-stud pocket fasteners. It looks almost as snappy as the Scrambler but the extra bulk means it’s not quite so edgy (but neither am I). One criticism, though: the waist belt buckle is a weak point and it has come undone twice without much provocation.
This needs to be to a stronger specification. Altogether I’m loving wearing this jacket. Like those TCX Fuel boots, it allows me to ride in comfort and with adequate protection but not look like a textile Teuton nor leatheredup weekend warrior (my alternative looks!). JB
TCX Fuel Waterproof Boot
£199.99 / $279.99
I’ve been looking for a low profile boot for a while. I have a garage full of armour-plated robo-boots, but what I’ve been needing is a pair of boots that I can wear like ordinary shoes, for those more casual rides, kind of a ride-to-work boot. I thought my Alpinestars Tech-Ts might do, and they’re close to what I need, but they’re still a competition motorcycle boot and walking into someone’s house or office they’ll still raise an eyebrow or two.
Then along came TCX with this great boot from their Vintage Series. Sure, it’s still more of a boot than a shoe, but it’s super-stylish in that, yes, vintage way, and so they’re definitely casual. I also very much like that this is a waterproof boot, that’s a level of functionality that should come standard in a road boot. Also it’s just so simple: full grain (oiled) leather, replaceable commando-type sole and a zip up the calf (protected by a flap on the inside to maintain the waterproofing). The simplicity means you can walk around in all-day comfort. Obviously this means less crash protection – but, given the layering of the leather and the ankle-protecting soft inserts there’s a lot more than if you rode in shoes or non-motorcycling boots. They look the part, but aren’t ostentatious, especially work under jeans. So far I rate the comfort (almost zero break-in required), the feel (your foot isn’t isolated from the controls) and the look (smart-casual?!); and after an hour in rain my feet were still dry. I’ll check back in with a further used and abused report later.