H-D Silk Thermal Wear

story by Don Crafts, Created Jan. 09, 1996
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By now you've noticed that Harley-Davidson has jumped into the apparel business big time.

Harley's Motor Clothes division now produces everything from boots to boxers. And while old die hards may moan that the modern day Harley dealer looks nothing like the dealer of 10 years ago, who says this change is bad?. In fact, for the customers who actually ride Harleys, most of it is good.

Cold weather can really ruin a ride. Take an idyllic fall morning. Not a cloud in the sky and the roads are as dry as two year old firewood. The only problem is that it's cold. Not frostbite inducing cold, but cold enough to sap all the enjoyment out of a ride. A few minutes spent in preparation, dressing in warm layers, can make the difference between a 4 hour cruise though the fall colors or the cold ride from hell. Harley-Davidson's Silk Thermal Wear is a good choice for that all important layer.

Silk underwear is nothing new. It's been around forever and is available in most outdoor recreation stores. Now it's alsoThe first time you put it on it actually feels pretty weird. It's too nice. It almost feels too luxurious for motorcycle apparel. available at your local Harley Dealer, and man is it nice! Just imagine having your body wrapped in silk underneath all the denim and leather. The first time you put it on it actually feels pretty weird. It's too nice. It almost feels too luxurious for motorcycle apparel.

Luxurious or not, as the first layer of clothing, these silk thermals are hard to beat. They are so thin they exhibit none of the bulkiness associated with standard long underwear. The idea with layering is to trap pockets of air between layers to act as insulation. Silk thermals allow you to maximizing the number of layers while minimizing the bulk. Functionally they work like standard long underwear or it's high-tech cousin polypropylene. They'll keep you toasty warm. Silk is not polypro though. It doesn't insulate as well and it doesn't wick water away from your skin. But it is a natural fiber and feels a hell of a lot better than any synthetic fabric. It's the difference between a cotton and a polyester T-shirt. Another benefit to the natural fiber is that it won't "pill." That phenomenon where loose fibers ball up on top of the fabric.

The fit and finish of the thermals is excellent. If there's one thing Harley knows, it is that the average Harley rider is not average in size. I normally wear an XL in T-shirts, but the size medium long sleeve turtleneck fits perfectly. The stitching is strong and the fabric is uniform and blemish free. Like most silk items these were manufactured in a shop a little closer to Bangkok than to Milwaukee. A few quick calls to various outdoor shops also reveals a 30% premium for the Harley-Davidson label. If you can live without the H-D label you can save yourself some cash by visiting the local outdoor sporting goods shop instead of the Harley boutique.

Silk thermals are an excellent addition to your cold weather riding gear. The combination of function and luxurious feel can't be beat. Harley's version of this staple of outdoor apparel is well made and equal to any on the market. Five stars out of five for the product, three for it's price. Overall: four stars.

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