Is it coincidence that the first time I slipped on my spanking new Strongarm-Fate jacket from Icon that I jumped on the Electra Glide and promptly logged a 2,000-mile trip? Perhaps, but that journey over mountain passes, across the high desert, and through weather that included cold thunderstorms, hail, and temperatures bumping the 90-degree mark gave me ample opportunity to test this stylish jacket’s multifaceted features.
Let’s address the “S word” first. Style, or the “Do I look cool in this?” factor, is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. But, with the handsome combination of a 14-ounce denim body and sturdy black leather sleeves, Icon has pulled off a real coup with the Strongarm-Fate jacket: It just plain looks bad-ass. The upper denim patch pockets with metal buttons and the skull front zipper pull are nice touches. And, from the jump, it has the lived-in, road-proven look we want in any motorcycle jacket. The tattoo-inspired red skull designs laser-etched into the sleeves spell it out: This is real rider garb; posers can look elsewhere.
However, pretty is as pretty does, and the Strongarm-Fate jacket is meant to be worn while actually riding a motorcycle (as opposed to fashion parading at the Sunday gathering spot), and often under a variety of circumstances. So it is an array of rider-friendly features that are this jacket’s, well, strong point. Firstly, the Strongarm-Fate’s cut is rider-correct: The body is shorter in the front and longer out back to cover the shirt-to-pants gap. The 1.2mm to 1.4mm leather sleeves (heavy gauge but not too heavy) are appropriately long to eliminate any gaps between the cuff and one’s gloves.
Any given ride can start with a chilly morning and conclude in the heat of the day. The Strongarm-Fate’s removable insulated vest can help ward off the cold (something it proved while I was being pelted with hail and lightly dusted with snow). When things warm up, the liner easily zips out and stores in a corner of the saddlebag. If the heat is really on, the zippered vents front and back facilitate airflow. And, while no one plans to take a spill, it’s good to know that the Strongarm-Fate comes equipped with CE-approved, removable armor in the elbow and shoulder areas.
The Icon folks have yet to ask my advice on their designs, but there are a couple of features I might change in the Strongarm-Fate. The jacket’s denim stand-up collar is too short to offer any real wind protection (in fact it just rubs my neck) and the metal button fastener is a real pain. A softer, slightly higher collar with hook-and-loop might be better. So too the metal buttons on the sleeve cuff are hard to fasten and the bulk makes it a struggle to slide gauntlet-type gloves over them. Zippered sleeves would be better. But the truth is, even with these minor gaffes, I’d still select the Strongarm-Fate, for its combination of style and function.
Icon has a head-to-toe line of riding gear with design themes that are both contemporary and edgy. This includes jackets, pants, footwear, and gloves. They even have helmets and “women-specific” selections (which range in inspiration from pretty in pink to get out of my face).