When Editor-in-Chief Duke asked who wanted to sample a $250 jacket of questionable origin from a brand unknown to us a few months ago, all our hands did not shoot up as one. We MOrons tend to sashay about in premium gear as much as possible in the interests of both style and safety, things that don’t generally square with a $250 price tag. For the sake of science, though, I volunteered.
When the box showed up at my door a couple weeks later, I was impressed by both the heft and the apparent quality of the Enduro from First Classic, but in fact it seemed a little too hefty for August, and after a couple of quick spins it got shoved to the back of the gear rack.
When Weather.com said it was going to be in the 50s F for last month’s ride of the new Triumph Bobber in Madrid, it moved right to the front of the queue for a closer examination. This one’s made of serious cowhide, but unlike my favorite Vanson that’s still breaking in five years later, the First Classic is nice and supple right out of the box. It also came with a quilted polyester liner, complete with full-length sleeves, that zips right in. The main zipper is a sturdy YKK metal unit backed by a nice storm flap that goes all the way up to the mandarin collar snap. Nice and snug and well-sealed, in other words.
I’m probably as vain as the next MOron when it comes to gear, but I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to be seen in the First Classic even amongst my haute couture fellow motojournalists at an international bike launch; it also seemed like I was warmer than many of them on a day where the temperature never climbed above 48 degrees. I wear a 40 in US and a 52 jacket in Euro, and the size M First Classic with liner zipped in fit me just right over a Patagonia thermal top, T-shirt, and sweater. The sleeve zippers snugged right down over the gauntlets of my gloves for an airtight fit there also.
Snug and comfy though the jacket might be, an action back with sleeves articulated at the shoulders (see photo below) doesn’t restrict your motion in the least, and also makes getting this one on and off easier than some if a shoulder or two doesn’t move as freely as it once did.
All in all, I was surprised at how much I like this “cheap” jacket; it performed flawlessly in the cold (glad the rain held off), and now I realize I should’ve given it more of a chance while the weather was hot: I didn’t realize how many vents it has till I went to zip them all closed. The two front pockets are mesh-lined to let air in as well as hold stuff, and another six-inch long vent under each shoulder epaulet deal also zips open to let air in. Another zippered vent goes all the way across the upper back to let air out; it seems like the jacket would vent reasonably well.
Really it seems like all sorts of details have been sweated here. In addition to the handwarmer pockets on front, there’s another big zippered breast pocket just inside both sides of the jacket, and you can still get to them easily with the liner in place. The collar doesn’t chafe at all but fits snug. Your beard hairs don’t snag in anything. All vulnerable seams are top-stitched and seem plenty sturdy. Some ladies want to touch your arms. The black piping that runs across the back of the jacket and down each sleeve is actually reflective when headlights hit it…
This one’s made in Pakistan, and its importer claims to have a warehousing and distribution facility, showroom, sales and distribution, and design and marketing teams all in Oceanside, New York. First Manufacturing Company, Inc., also says it’s been cranking out leather apparel for decades “for big brand names,” and after spending some time in this garment, I find that totally believable. This is by far the nicest “cheap” jacket I’ve ever worn.
I count 26 men’s jackets on their website, 25 for the ladies – ranging from $150 to $300 – along with a shedload of also reasonably priced pants, vests, gloves, chaps, belts etc. If they’re all as nice as this Enduro, well, Happy New Year to all us cheapskates of the moto world.
First Classic Enduro
$229.99 – 249.99, plus $19.99 for armor
S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL (check the online sizing chart)