Today, Black Brand launched its line of motorcycle gear aimed squarely at the V-Twin/Cruiser market, and you might be wondering why you should care. Well, when developing the line the folks behind Black Brand did their due diligence and found what they think is a huge hole in the cruiser gear market. Anyone on the cruiser scene is aware of the 800-pound gorilla of the V-Twin world, and the Harley team does a pretty good job of dominating its corner of the market with well-made clothing with its name emblazoned all over it.
What about the riders who don’t ride that brand or the lifers who do but have almost nothing in common with the weekend warriors who sport the exact same gear? Then there are the riders who are looking for the absolute cheapest gear they can find. You know, those pop-up no-name displays that populate parking lots near rallies.
Black Brand is stepping into that void and plans to fill it with gear that ranges from bargain-priced quality items to the high-end riding apparel that many aspire to. What you won’t see, initially at least, is any motorcycles in their advertisements. The reason is either insanity or genius.
Since riders tend to be kinda tribal in their motorcycle choices, if you have Brand S or Brand Y, odds are that you associate with other riders of that brand and possibly that model. (MO’s parent company runs web forums affiliated with hundreds of niche markets that cover just about every model of motorcycle. You can see the list here.) So, Black Brand doesn’t want to muddy the water by showing a particular brand of bike in their advertising. Instead, Black Brand is selling attitude and fun and fashion with its introductory line of gear featuring riders who embody how we see ourselves as motorcyclists.
Recently, Black Brand gathered motojournalists together to unveil a cross-section of the gear that will initially be offered to the public and to give a look at where the brand is heading. With jackets ranging from value-priced textile construction to high-end technologically advanced leather or high fashion, Black Brand appears to be coming out of the gate at full throttle. As all too many startups know, getting the initial product out the door – though quite difficult – is the easy part when compared to actually getting established in the marketplace. Black Brand has the backing to get it from the initial unveiling through the potentially lean time of establishing itself as a quality brand thanks to the distribution and financial depth of Tucker Rocky. So, we’d expect Black Brand to be around for a good long while.
The selection of gear displayed by Black Brand ran the gamut from gloves to helmets to jackets. While the gloves were nicely appointed cruiser fare, the helmets and several of the jackets had notable features.
First though, a list of the standard jacket features because they illustrate the thought that went into their construction. All zippers are YKK items. Jacket liners are easily removable and installable. The hang straps inside the jackets are sizable and reinforced by rivets to keep them from breaking when hung on a hook. Leather jackets feature a six-year manufacturer’s warranty and textiles get three years. Finally, while this may not be an actual feature of the jackets, a donation will be made to Homes for Our Troops for every jacket, vest, and chaps sold.
An example of the type of thought that went into Black Brand jackets can be found in the men’s Fahrenheit KoolTeK and Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated. Constructed of top-grain leather treated to resist the sun’s heat and remain about 20° cooler than traditional leather, the jacket has a lot going on beneath its clean, minimalist style. It utilizes D3O armor for protection and reflective trim in the back panel. The removable, full-sleeve liner is windproof and packs small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. In addition to the aforementioned features, the Fahrenheit KoolTeK Perforated has, as you might expect from the name, perforated leather throughout the jacket.
On the women’s side, the Sheared Beaver Jacket shows how Black Brand is looking to the luxury fashion world for some of its inspiration. The sheared beaver in the name refers to the soft underlying layer of beaver pelt, which is utilized on the neck and wrists of this jacket. The rest of the jacket is constructed from top-grain sheep leather for its suppleness. The front, back, and shoulders are embroidered and include diamond-shaped rivets. Pockets for optional armor are included. The jacket utilizes hip zippers to prevent it from riding up while sitting on a bike. A beaver-free jacket of the same cut but with different embroidery and studs will be available under the name of Brazilian Waxed.
The above jackets are examples of the premium, limited-production Platinum Series that may not always be in production. For a more price-conscious example, the Street Team Jacket is a casual-looking item that offers the protection and functionality of a true motorcycle jacket. Available in brown or grey, the textile jacket offers D3O armor and discreet reflective piping for safety. Comfort is addressed by the zippered vents and sleeve length, and the easy to stow, removable liner. The exterior polyester has undergone water- and UV-resistant treatments.
Black Brand will also be entering the helmet market with its Cheater Series of DOT-legal head protection that looks like the fake beanies 1-percenters often resort to wearing. (Yes, we at MO are aware that full-face helmets offer better protection, but if BB is selling DOT-certified beanie helmets, we’re behind them because they will provide more protection than a fake plastic one.) Black Brand has found a way to make the Cheater helmets fit compactly, not making the rider look like a mushroom, while still providing protection. The secret is using a different shell size for each helmet size and then using Composite Fusion Technology to connect the shock absorbing liner directly to the shell. Cheaters will be available in half and three-quarter options and will have smaller sizes to accommodate women. The three-quarter helmets will also feature snaps for visors and bubble shields. Expect them to be available in June 2016.
Just this smattering of products from Black Brand has us hopeful that we’re witnessing the birth of a new motorcycle-oriented clothing line that expand the options for riding gear. The Black Brand products look well thought out and the company is supporting a veteran’s charity with its sales, so we’re happy to have them as options for our apparel. To find out more about Black Brand, go to the company website, BlackBrandmc.com.