Icon 1000 Retrograde JacketEditor Score: 79.5%
Leather is nice. Leather chairs, leather interior, leather underpants (some chafing may occur). You name it, it’s good in leather, especially riding jackets. They’re classic, classy, and typically a high-quality piece of equipment that will keep the skin on your back.
Icon, may be more typically known for their more affordable neon colored pieces you’ve seen on the man doing a handstand wheelie down the 405, describes its 1000 line as a blend of retro styling and modern technology, which I would say describes the Retrograde jacket pretty fittingly. Retro in its classic looks and mostly plain brown, copyrighting alert, Selectgrain™ leather, it gets its modern luxuries in the form of some triangular accents on the shoulder area where you will also find some external “Icon 1000” alloy plating to keep your dainty shoulders from boo-boos, and flexible but tough CE certified D3O armor padding throughout the jacket that provides protection in the shoulders, elbows, and back. All of which are removable and replaceable in case you want to throw something a bit more sturdy in, but be sure it fits the pocket first. You’ll also find some delightfully perforated leather on the inner arms and a slim section of the sides, and an “attack” cut that won’t have the neck bunched up into your helmet on bikes with spicier riding positions.
The perforated leather on the inner arms and sides has been a treat for this toasty Orange County summer; it allows plenty of airflow to come in and wash away the stank, but Icon claims this is a cool to mild condition jacket which I disagree with. Sure, it comes with a zip-in removable vest liner, but it isn’t much. On those colder evenings it got pretty chilly in the arms so I opted for a sweater or long sleeve layer.
The medium fits nice on my childlike 6-foot tall, 155-pound frame, and not bad but more snugly on my 5’8, 165-lb paterfamilias. My previous Icon jacket, the Vigilante, which has a less aggressive cut and a textile chest region, gave me some troubles by bunching up in the torso and pushing the neck up into my helmet, but the cut and material on the Retrograde has been a big improvement and fits the riding position of the bikes I’m typically on much better. The leather is nice and flexible right out of the box, and while form fitting, allows that D3O armor to sit where it needs to be. Highway speeds are achievable without being inflated a la Nutty Professor.
Icon stuffed a couple little nifty features that make you do a “Hmm” the first time you notice them: There’s a sewn-in Saint Christopher charm for the Catholics among us and a patch reminding you to “Stay Frosty” in the inner chest pocket, perforated “Ride Among Us” logo down the zipper inseam, stretchy-bits in the back-shoulder area, plenty of pockets in various sizes, and quality stitching and finish throughout.
That barbaric dried cow skin comes in your traditional black as well as a nice brown. I went with the brown when it came selection time, and it’s developed a nice patina over the last several months from folds and scrapes, and just looks less Village People in my book.
Icon has been known for keeping things affordable, but this one’s $650, which is just about twice the price of my previously mentioned Vigilante. That price throws it right into the deep end of high-end motorcycle jackets. If you can swing it, live in a climate like mine that stays fairly warm year-round, and would like a retro-ey, stylish leather jacket with plenty of protection and ventilation, Icon’s Retrograde jacket is an excellent choice – but it might not be an easy choice if you’ve got that kind of money to spend. Good for you, and good luck.