Icon Hella Crossbone Apparel Review
Flattering and functional gear for women
So you wanna get your best gal set up with some fresh riding kit, eh? No problem. Those hi-viz yellow banana suits are ever so practical, versatile and all the safety-conscious rage this year. Heck, if you’re at a stage in your relationship with your sig other where you celebrate her birthday with an un-wrapped box of refill sequins for her Bedazzler, and then stay up late till 9:00 sipping Twinings tea and watching Huell Howser on PBS, then she’ll probably love it! By all means, go ahead and press that “purchase now” button on the ballistic textile day-glo potato sack, I dare you.
Ha! Didn’t think so! Good call, Brother.
Trust me, if you like the frying pans in your house to be used for frying things other than your freshly harvested Rocky Mountain Oysters, then you’ll be wanting to take a stroll through the Icon aisle of your local motorcycle mart. I don’t know who “Mr. Icon” is but I can definitively tell you that he has a far greater appreciation of the female form than the average textile suit manufacturer. Hence, therefore, and thusly, I give you the latest in his fine line of fashionable motorcycle gear (or is it motorcycleable fashion gear?), the Hella Crossbone outfit.
While most little girls dream of growing up to be pink princess mermaids or some such thing, my particular dream girl spent her formative years wrenching on hot rods and painting her fingernails black. And it is at the perfect intersection of sexy and badass, with a forced genuflection towards functional protection that this newly minted Icon gear resides. And by “sexy and badass”I mean the good kind, like Uma Thurman’s ultra-slammin’ yellow leathers in “Kill Bill,” not the craptacular fringed leather, conchos, and turquoise “motorcycle Mama” kind.
Airframe Crossbone Racer Helmet
Since Motorcycle.com will be doing a full review of the Icon Airframe Helmet ($330 MSRP) in the coming weeks I won’t waste valuable minutes of your employer’s time reviewing it here just because this version has a “Crossbone Racer” graphics treatment. It is worth a side note, however, that in a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates measuring overall customer satisfaction with their new helmets, Icon posted an impressive third, besting such senior dome designers as KBC, Nolan, HJC, and Fulmer.
The Crossbone Racer edition of the Airframe sports a unique “Rubatone” treatment that feels, well, “rubbery” to the touch and provides a flat finish reminiscent of the shaker can matte-black styles favored by today’s “rat biker” crowd. The cartoon skull design softens and feminizes the familiar biker iconography, and the thick red stripe, race plate number 13, checkered flag motif, and faux scuff marks give it that “elbow jousting veteran of the race track” cred even as it off-gasses fresh out of the box.
Hella Crossbone Racer Jacket
Perpetuating the theme, the $395 Hella Crossbone Racer Jacket replicates the aforementioned “soft skull” on the chest, and a defiantly unlucky number 13 on the back and sleeves. My wife, Jackie, liked the look because, “It’s cute, but not cheesy cutesy, and the skulls look hardcore but not in an old man biker way.”
The cut and silhouette are all fashion runway, sculpted to protect and promote your lady’s cunning curves. The leather jacket is tailored with reinforced seams and a set of buckles at the waist that allow for some minor fit adjustment. Jackie claims, “The leather was very pliable, soft, and comfortable from day one, and they did a good job with the darting in the elbow armor to make it flexible even before break in.”
Cooling ventilation is provided by zippered intakes at the shoulder, and exhaust vents at the rear of the hips, combining with a red perforated leather strip that runs from the waist along the sleeves. Mrs. EBass reported that, “The ventilation was adequate for warm days, but clearly it’s not a hot weather garment.”
A removable insulated liner with a notebook-sketch inspired “Live, Love, Ride, Icon” motif adds some thermal protection on chilly days. Jackie really liked the cuffs, “The liner cuffs are super soft around your wrists and elasticized to keep out wind. Much better than just a vest liner or partial sleeve.”
Built-in pockets hold the removable armor in place, including a dual-density foam back pad and CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders. According to Jackie, “My previous favorite riding jacket is also made by Icon, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Icon really knows how a woman is shaped, and how to make products that both fit and flatter her figure. The jacket is shaped like an hourglass and not a 'V' like a man’s cut.”
The matching $55 Hella Gloves are also designed with a woman’s hand in mind. Their slender fit and pre-curved palm and fingers avoid a clunky appearance and clumsy dexterity. Okay, so they probably wouldn’t pass muster on the MotoGP circuit, but meaningful protection is provided by a padded knuckle panel and goatskin leather construction. Jackie’s assessment: “The fit and finish is very good, the quality of the leather is top notch, and they’re stylish. Basically, they’re a great lightweight, light-duty alternative for times when you don’t want or need a bulky glove and would be otherwise tempted to go without.”
Hella Leather Pant
Now that your special lil’ ray of sunshine has her upper half covered, the girl’s still going to need some pants. That is unless she’s going for the Daytona Bike Week badonkadonk-on-parade look. In which case, she won’t be needing the jacket, gloves or helmet either, and you’re probably just reading this review at the office with a fake-ass look of intense concentration on your face as if actually engrossed in an important task effected as a subversive ruse in order to kill time at work without actually, er, um, working.
Don’t worry, Sparky. Your secret is safe with us.
Be that as it may, in the event that your gal pal is the shy demure type who generally prefers to wear clothes while riding, the $210 Hella Leather pant will flow stylishly with the rest of the outfit. Jackie says, “The relaxed cut and flexible expansion panels in the knee and waist areas really allow for improved comfort in a tuck position compared to other leather pants I’ve tried.”
A silky perforated liner extends from the waist down to just below the knee, and a low-rise beltline keeps the snap from pushing up into her tummy when hunched over. Perforated leather panels run in a thin strip along the outside of the leg, and also the inner thigh, providing some breathe-ability. The flared cuffs are designed to easily accommodate a riding boot and can be easily trimmed to your lady’s preferred length with a pair of scissors.
Mrs. EBass felt that, “The pants have room for hips without looking baggy or old-woman-ish. The cut-to-fit cuffs were nice because I have long legs that most pants just aren’t made for. Getting on and off the bike posed no problems, and as a bonus my ass crack didn’t show for a change, although if your gal likes showing a lil’ whale tail she could easily scoot them down.”
Icon also offers Hella “boots” of a sort to complete the outfit, but apparently Mr. Icon went deep-sea diving in a bottle of tequila when he designed them because these ridiculous kicks have 3-inch high heels that would challenge even the most veteran pole dancing professional. Since Jackie refused to test them as anything other than oversized ninja throwing stars, I thought it best to just not bother requesting them for review. In case you’re curious, though, feel free to check them out on Icon’s website. It’s a snazzy looking portal and not only provides images of all their gear, but also a handy product filter that helps you find what you need and even suggests matching items for the fashion-challenged among us.
In summation, Icon’s Hella Crossbone line of gear for the gals does a fine job of crafting poseur-wear that makes a reasonable nod to function (excusing the boots) and references biker/racer iconography in a feminized youthful way.
So if you want to dazzle your gal with an amazing display of borderline metrosexual fashion sense and Alan Alda-esque sensitivity to her delicate self-image, you may want to forgo the nuclear yellow HazMat suits and stretch-mark-showcasing hag wear in favor of the Hella Crossbones kit. Then again, if you’re feelin’ lucky you could always take your chances vs. the frying pan. It’s your call amigo, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For more information on the Icon Hella Crossbone gear, visit RideIcon.com.