Reborn Classic

The trouble with most bike gear is that form rarely conceals function. Bulky armour, high viz and other features that are no issue when blatting down the highway are heavy, untrendy to non-bikers and just don’t look good away from the bike. Many are designed to work as protection first and foremost with aesthetic considerations bottom of the list. Then there’s cost. A decent leather top half can cost anything between two and five hundred quid, and not everyone can afford to pay that twice; once for a riding jacket and then again for something to wear to the pub

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There’s also practicality to consider – it would be nice to be able to ride to work, go out at lunchtime and then ride out later with your mates without having to change your entire outfit over and over again. With people working longer and longer hours, complicated clothes are out, and hassle-free are most definitely in. Clothes designers have responded to these needs, with multi-function, multi-feature apparel becoming more and more common, and biking is no exception.

Practicality combined with looks is pretty much the raison d’etre behind the new Thruxton jacket from Weise. The British firm has taken a classic WWII bomber jacket cut, added armour and a removable thermal lining, and then finished it in 1.2mm distressed brown leather for a relaxed, lived-in retro look. It works as a protective jacket, but is supple and light enough to wear casually. The lived-in Steve McQueenish style is also cold-coke cool .You won’t have to wear this, but you’ll want to.

What’s on offer

The Thruxton is made from 1.2mm leather, thick enough to offer decent protection in a spill, but distressed to give it that ‘vintage’ look. CE approved armour has been added to shoulder, elbows and back and it comes with a 100g removable waistcoat-type liner for cooler weather.

Colour is not quite the brown shown in the images though – its darker, more of a faded black really. There are four external pockets, one internal pocket plus a phone holder. There’s old-school -biker style quilting to the shoulders and modern stretch panels under the arms. The waist is adjustable using a simple popper arrangement and the cuffs can be worn open or closed thanks to zippers.

Sizing and Fit

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The sizing is frankly a bit odd. The jacket we tried was marked as a 50. We thought this might be a Euro size (which would equate to a UK 40 chest), but it turned out to be closer to a 43. In most size schemes that’s usually a XL or XXL.

The Weise size chart on most retailers sites for this one is not therefore of much use. If buying online, best to ask the store to actually measure the jacket you think may be right and then get them to sell you one that matches your size for sure. We’ve seen some discussion on forums about jackets being returned due to sizing errors.

The fit is fairly slimline, and the cut a tad short – although it does just about cover the back of the waist when in the riding position. Fine for the dry spring, summer and autumn use it’s designed for.

Protection

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Image: Key Collection

The Thruxton jacket comes with basic CE Level 1 protection in elbows, shoulders and back and its relatively robust construction for 1.2mm leather means that it should offer reasonable protection in a crash.

The cut includes a leather strip behind the flap (like a storm flap) that protects the rider from zip burn due to heat caused by the friction of a crash. Shoulder protection is pretty good, but the elbow protectors felt a bit thin and we’d have liked to have seen the same quilted padding there as on the shoulders.

The back protector is strangely too large for the jacket (a common forum complaint our research indicated) and we ended up replacing it with a narrower one. It wasn’t easy to get out as it’s a very tight fit in the retaining pocket.

Quality

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Here, once again, Weise have managed to square the circle, providing a quality item at a bargain price. Perhaps it’s because they are not burdened with the advertising budget of a higher branded item, but we wish other makers would follow their lead. The leather is strong yet supple – no breaking in required, it feels right from the word go. After several days it feels even better though – as it moulds to the shape of your body. Nice!

Zippers are quality YKK items in vintage brass. They look just right and are likely to be reliable. The poppers are good quality too, but the neck closure using these is very hard to get to work in practice and concealed Velcro, though less authentic, would probably have been better.

We liked the quilted liner – it’s just right for temperatures between of 10 and 20 degrees C (50 and 70 degrees F), which covers a lot of the riding year in northern climes. The fact that it is a waistcoat type is also useful as it allows some airflow, keeps the arms slimmer (and hence more like a normal casual jacket) and is lighter. It’s also possible to use it as a body warmer or mid-layer in other jackets.

Verdict

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Weise have hit the bull’s-eye with this jacket. It’s great as a useable bit of practical riding kit, is well made and will last years. But it also looks fabulous on or off the bike, and is equally as home in the pub as on the road (like you then, Ed).

Above all it’s a pleasure to wear – wonderfully comfortable, supple and reassuringly strong. The Thruxton has got that same comfy familiarity as your favourite old jumper. You won’t wear this because you have to but because you want to.

The Thruxton is an absolute bargain at £260, and shopping around can bag you one for even less. We say, go get it.

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Image: Key Collection