By Graham Field
“Viking - Made in Pakistan”, so about as Scandinavian as a chapati.
But that’s ok, being influenced by a horde of ancient seafaring warriors from the frozen north is surely going to produce a hardy garment.
Now, at just about every bike show I attend in the UK I see the inevitable stalls of Asian imports. They always seem to be well attended by the bargain hunters, whom I assumed, were generally the sports bike fraternity. The riders who, with their fast and powerful ways, would pick up something petite and pretty to adorn the pillion seat. At the Asian import stalls, they could cloth their latest accessory with colour coordinated protection from their delicate little toes to their pretty little faces for under £300, and then rush them home to ride ‘em harder than a borrowed Hayabusa on a track day.
But then what did I know, it was time to find out. Well first impression was my Hulk-like transformation when I put it on. Those shoulder protectors had me looking somewhere between a character out of “Dynasty” and an American football player, my girlfriend approved of the look so it’s a winner on that level. The designers seem to have gone bit over the top with the specifically labelled pockets, I've got one for a knife, a phone, penholder, sunglasses… Still it’s all useful if your phone is a nostalgic Nokia and your sunglasses have flexible frames.
Designed for those who like speed, it said in the description. OK then, I got on my Thruxton R and rode over a mountain pass to my favourite omelette restaurant. It was warm, the weather, not the omelette, well that was too. So, I took out the liner for the ride back, yeah seems ok. I expect the manufacturers who gave it to me to test and review were hoping for a little more, so I got off the Thruxton, onto a Tiger (not an Asian one) and rode 5000 kms through Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, then back. Here’s what I thought:
Well I have to say I have worn more prestigious and expensive outer bike clothing; I've worn used and useless too. And for the price of £70 I don’t have much to complain about, it seems most needs have been realised and addressed. I started off in pissing rain, I didn’t take the liner with me as it’s June and in such areas, even at the top of the Carpathian mountain range, any precipitation was going to be warm. The jacket maintained its waterproof qualities. I didn’t give it an all day soaking as the storms were intermittent, and I had a screen too. The rain passed or maybe I passed it and with barely a moment of transition the temperature went up to mid-30’s° Centigrade and stayed there for t