Thursday, November 15, 2018

Caveman's New Jacket!

One of the perks of being 'Caveman' is that I'm often asked to review a product every now and then. Working on and modifying bikes, and riding all over hell and creation (my mother used to say this expression a lot, go figure.) pays off.

Usually it works like this, "Hey, Caveman can you do a product review and say nice things about our product?  We will give it to you for free!"

Sounds good don't it? Except in a few cases the 'product ' is something I have already used. And they sucked. So, NO.  I will not endorse your shitty product. My Brothers and Sisters deserve more respect than that.

However, there are times when a great product is offered (Or at least I think it will be). Such is the example I'm now writing about.

Having had quite a bit of use of my Viking bags I have found that the item is always better than the price would suggest. I have a roll bag that the zipper just finally gave up the ghost after 5 years of use from hot dry AZ to muggy-ass FL. And truthfully it only broke because as usual, I way overstuffed the thing.

So Viking called and said, "How about a jacket?"

Ok I'll bite. Send it. But if it sucks, I'm gonna burn it on all platforms Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc. You asked me, so I don't feel obligated to lie on your behalf, nor would I.

They responded, "We agree."

Ok deal me in and send me the jacket called 'Enforcer'.

Being a textile jacket with lots of pockets, it would be just the ticket...if it was any good.

OK, so here is my experience with textile type jackets so far...
Ten years ago I went to Virginia not expecting cold weather and didn't bring a proper jacket. I ended up paying way too much for one at a stealership.  But at least it was from a 'reputable' line of clothing and should be worth the price...right? Well, yes and no.  I liked the textile fabric's wind resistance, durability and the fact that it was light-weight.

However, within a week the damn zippers on the sleeves broke. So, mixed reactions especially for the price - damn near 200 bucks. I still use it as my go to jacket when out and about. Or at least I did, until a a couple weeks ago when Viking sent me theirs...

Well, damn!  I wasn't expecting all this in a jacket. Especially for the advertised price of 125 bucks.
Plenty of storage pockets, smaller purpose-built pockets for a knife and earphone storage with a pass thru to your cellphone stored safely in a lower pocket (Actually double that as it's on both sides of the lapel so your choice of left or right....or two knives.)

Shoulder, elbow, and back pads for cushion and shock resistance are all removable and replaceable with other types, if you wish. WITHOUT looking like some 'sportbike wannabe' or 'Joe Rocketeer'.

Durable zippers, (I yanked them up and down many times with pliers just to be sure.) A removable liner which is pretty much standard these days. However, this one has a great feature: buttons that hold the sleeves in the jacket so that every time you take your arm out, the liner don't come out with it.

A zippered pocket on the left sleeve with a small band and clip fastener to hold your debit card or keys and such, for easy access. Black reflective stripes for extra visibility at night, yet almost invisible during the day. Two large cargo pockets in the front. Three inside pockets of good size and a sort of hidden zippered 'gun' pocket inside also. (Or in my case the ever present diet Coke bottle.)

Ventilation vents that seal well and yet let wind pass thru quite well when needed. A zippered pocket across the backside to place gloves, etc. Velcro straps on the sleeves and sides to adjust for comfort.

The fit was excellent (a little snug on the middle-aged belly but not too much). The weight was between a jean jacket and a leather, about medium. Not too heavy to wear yourself down after a long day of riding. A little stiff but that's to be expected before breaking it in. Range of motion even new is unhindered. From previous experience with textiles, this will improve even greater with time.

On the top in the middle of the back is an embossed logo that just says VIKING.  I'm Norwegian, so perfect! On the shoulders, a smaller Viking Cycles medallion..not overly obtrusive or garish.

Not really any. It's a damn good jacket. Perhaps some side-entering front pockets so you can just slide your hands in. But truthfully, just use your pants pockets for that as I don't know where you could add another set of pockets to this jacket. Perhaps a little instruction sheet for some of the features for adaptability. (It's got a zippered attachment on the inside lower back, possibly for a larger back pad?)

The main problem with jackets of this type is that you can end up looking BMW-utilitarianish
or weekend tourer. But the old military 'Eisenhower' style tailoring (Google it) allows it to be a good look. I would have no problem riding with 'one percenters' while wearing this jacket.

All this for 125 bucks! Color me impressed!