Our team reviews understated jackets from Icon 1000 and Malle London. Plus a glove that blends retro style with Mad Max sensibilities.
Icon 1000 Upstate riding flannel I can geek out about gear for hours, but I’ve got hardly anything to say about Icon 1000’s Upstate riding flannel. Which is precisely what’s so great about it. On paper, it’s a no-nonsense riding shirt that blends style and safety—and in the real world, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
From the outside, the only things that give away the Upstate’s riding-specific nature are Cordura reinforcement panels on the elbows, and a subtle reflective stripe across the back. For the rest, it’s a piece that will blend seamlessly with your casual wardrobe.
Available in either blue or orange, the exterior not only looks spectacular, but has a fantastic hand to it too. It’s heavyweight in its construction, but soft to the touch, just like a proper heritage flannel. Inside you’ll find a mesh liner and a full set of D30 armor—including a generous back protector and two placement options for the elbow pads.
The Upstate is warm enough for mild to slightly chilly weather—and when it gets colder, the long and roomy cut leaves plenty of space for layering with a hoody or sweatshirt. (Plus it’s a godsend for dad bods like mine.) Size-wise, Icon’s chart is spot-on, so go with that.
A heavy duty YKK zipper does duty up front, covered by a wind flap that’s cinched down with press studs. The zipper is a two-way affair, so you can split the bottom open if the jacket’s longer cut doesn’t gel with your riding position. The collar’s secured with press studs too, so that it won’t flap around in the wind.
You also get two chest pockets, two zippered hand warmer pockets, and a Napoleon pocket on the inside, which includes Icon’s customary miniature St. Christopher medallion. The chest pocket flaps can be folded up and stowed in hidden recesses, revealing a pair of mesh air vents. It’s a clever idea, but it’s a bit fiddly to operate with gloves on, and doesn’t add a ton of airflow. Equal consideration’s been given to the cuff zippers, which have mesh gussets that allow air into the sleeves on warmer rides.
My only gripe is that the Upstate’s mesh liner can be itchy against my bare skin when I’m riding with just a t-shirt underneath. But it’s a minor niggle—and it hasn’t stopped it from becoming a staple in my gear closet.
Tested by Wes Reyneke | Love How it looks, fits and feels Could do without Unnecessary pocket vents Price $225 – $240 | Buy
Icon 1000 Outdrive glove The Portland-based gear powerhouse loves playing on nostalgic themes with their gear, and their Outdrive glove is a prime example of this. It’s a short-cuff design that takes cues from classic automobile driving gloves, and injects a little Mad Max-inspired style.
The real trick here is that the Outdrive is far more lightweight than it looks—without sacrificing toughness. It’s made from a synthetic material called Ax Laredo, which looks like aged leather while claiming excellent abrasion resistance. I thankfully haven’t crash-tested the Outdrive, but I have another pair of Ax Laredo gloves from Icon, and they hold up well against normal wear and tear.
Extra protection comes from an additional Ax Laredo panel on the palm, and a D30 section up top that’s hidden behind carbon-like knuckle protectors. The knuckle protectors add a modicum of rigidity to what is otherwise an extremely supple and comfortable glove. It helps that Icon have designed it with boxy pre-curved fingers, and a padded accordion panel on the back of the hand.
All of the Outdrive’s finer details are as stealthy as they are stylish. The perforations that are scattered throughout not only look good, but increase airflow, making this a great warmer-weather glove. And Icon’s branding is about as subtle as it gets.
Like most gloves I own, my pair had a little bit of overstitch here and there—but it was easy to tidy up, and nothing had come undone. That aside, the Outdrive looks to be well made, and the pull tab and hook-and-loop closure at the wrist have yet to show signs of wear. As for using a smartphone with it on, it’s a little hit and miss, and I’d love to see Icon throw touchscreen-specific fingertips into the mix.
I’m a fan of shorter gloves and of Icon’s neo-retro styling, and the Outdrive ticks both of those boxes for me. Add supreme comfort, extra knuckle protection and a reasonable purchase price, and there’s a lot to love.
Tested by Wes Reyneke | Love Stealthy style Could do with Better touchscreen compatibility Price $55 | Buy
Malle Racer Jacket Our pals at Malle London have struck a perfect balance of classic style and modern functionality in their Racer Jacket. I got mine in 2019 on the Great Malle Rally, where we rode 1,500 miles in five days from the southernmost point of the UK to the northern tip of Scotland. Rain or shine, my ass was in the saddle, and it’s these trips that have informed the design and function of Malle’s gear.
Made from British waxed canvas with a waterproof membrane, the Racer will keep you safe and dry. The British know better than anyone how important it is to be prepared for the inevitable soggy ride through the countryside.
The jacket features extendable sleeves, air vents, seven pockets including two interior pockets for your cell, and a headphone port so you can stay connected. For protection, there are two layers of abrasion-resistant Kevlar and a five-piece race armor kit from Knox in the back, shoulders, and elbows. The asymmetric front zipper is a nod to vintage café racer flair yet maintains a modern cut and aesthetic.
The fit is true to size but with the density and amount of materials in the jacket, it can fit snugly, so pay close attention to the sizing chart provided by Malle. Ultimately the Malle London Racer jacket is classy, functional, and the perfect complement to any café racer fantasy.
Tested by Gregory George Moore | Love Classic style and weather proofing Look out for Snug sizing Price £449 | Buy