Everyone likes to look fashionable, and that extends to our brothers and sisters who ride motorcycles. But many riders often choose riding jackets based on appearance at the expense of crash protection, and this is a mindset verified many times over by apparel manufacturers.
We like to look fashionable, too, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the emergence of 55 Collection, a small apparel manufacturer based out of Barcelona, Spain, that builds highly stylish motorcycle jackets that look almost as if they could be a fashion item.
“Our idea from the beginning was create a leather apparel brand that manufacturers motorcycle jackets that you can use in any scenario,” says 55’s proprietor Aitor Gonzalez. “We don’t produce the typical Robocop motorcycle jackets. Our jackets can be used like fashion jackets but with the protection of a motorcycle jacket.”
After browsing through 55 Collection’s lineup of classically styled cafe-racer-esque jackets made from Italian leather, I chose the Bene for its clean lines and subtle exterior styling. Like all 55’s jackets, the Bene includes quality D3O armor, YKK zippers and a silk lining.
When it arrived, I initially thought I might’ve been sent the wrong jacket, as it felt and appeared as if it came from Nordstrom rather than a motorcycle retailer. Its rich brown leather (“cherry,” says 55) is far more supple than traditional jacket offerings, despite the 0.8-1.0mm Italian cowhide construction. But, sure enough, reasonably thick and protective armor was found placed inconspicuously in the shoulders and elbows. The only external visual cues this is a motorcycle jacket are fine-drawn quilted shoulders and dual stripes around the bicep area.
I was pleased to discover the size Small jacket I requested was an excellent fit for my 5-foot-8 and 145-lb body. Sizing ranges from XS to XXXL. In addition to the two zipped exterior hand pockets, the Bene has an exterior chest pocket and two large interior pockets for ample storage. A zipper along the side of each hip allows sizing flexibility, and zips along each sleeve cuff securely close off air. A double-buckle closure above the main zipper seals off the neck area. A bronze-colored silk lining feels luxurious against skin.
The Bene feels as good on a motorbike as it does off one, with a comfortable drape across shoulders and arms. The jacket’s armor is placed where it feels unobtrusive.
There are two caveats with the Bene: You’ll have to strap on your own back protector if you deem one necessary. And there is no ventilation, so the jacket is unsuitable for riding in really hot weather.
The final drawback to a 55 Collection jacket is that you can’t try it on before you order it. On the plus side, the company offers free shipping and worldwide delivery with every order.
Such craftsmanship and quality comes with a considerable price, but it costs less than you might think. Retailing at 470 euro, the current exchange rate converts to about $560 USD. For a jacket that looks and wears as well as the Bene, that sounds surprisingly reasonable.
And for a limited time, 55 Collection is offering a 15% discount to MO readers, including its new Custom Works service (see sidebar), dropping the price of the Bene to just $476. Readers can input the code MOTORCYCLE_COM until November 1 to receive their discount. It takes 12-14 business days to have a jacket made and delivered from Spain.
Overall, I’m highly pleased to have added the Bene to my closet. It’s a terrific-looking piece of kit that frequently gets pulled out, and I’m also proud to don it as casual wear.
55 Collection is a small company, so its jackets are truly handmade and production is limited. This allows the Spanish enterprise to have the ability to create bespoke jackets to its owner’s customized design, essentially creating a 1-of-1 jacket unlike anything else on the road (or in the nightclub). The Custom Works design team works together with its customers to fab up almost anything that could be dreamed up.
55 Collection says it will build exactly what is specified and the jacket will include the name of the owner and a serial number, as well as the date of production. It costs more, of course, but surprisingly not as much as we would’ve guessed. Just 600 euro ($714 at the current exchange rate), which includes worldwide shipping, and Gonzalez says there is no charge for further changes or customizations.
|55 Collection Bene Leather Jacket|