New Harley Rider: Smart Gear Tips From American Iron Magazine

When you first start riding a motorcycle many new riders are not sure where to turn for advice on the best gear to buy and use, especially on a Harley. The editors of American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine, and Motorcycle Bagger, have a simple list of best riding gear for new riders of Harley motorcycles.

Motorcycle Helmet.

    We are not going to go into the discussion of helmet laws, but rather focus on what is available and the pros and cons of your motorcycle helmet choices. The first rule on motorcycle helmets is buy a new one. No matter what the quality when new, a motorcycle helmet has a limited life and then the become less effective in the case of impact or other serious accident. Also make sure you buy a DOT approved helmet and not a cheaper, less protective “novelty” helmet. Helmets come in full, 3/4 and half helmet designs. The full helmet will be the most expensive and heaviest option, but it will offer the best protection from the weather, road debris and impact.

    Motorcycle Boots.

      Yes, you can wear any kind of over the ankle boot for protection when riding your Harley motorcycle. The American Iron Magazine Harley editors recommend wearing a high quality over-the-ankle boot that is comfortable to wear and has a strong rubber sole that will not slip on wet road surfaces.

      Motorcycle Jacket.

    Once again, you have many choices in a good motorcycle riding jacket. These include traditional leather or lighter, high-tech fabric. And colors are a personal choice. Whatever you chose make sure it is comfortable and covers you arms all the way past the wrists, and is long enough to protect your waist (front and back). The choice or protective body armor is up to you. In some motorcycle jackets this is available at the elbows, shoulders and spine.

    Motorcycle Gloves.

      You can use any kind of full finger gloves (we do not recommend fingerless riding gloves) when riding your Harley. Ideally, you need to make sure they are comfortable, especially when gripping the handlebars. They come in choice of leather or textile, and in short (to the wrist) or gauntlet in light, medium and heavy weights. Many experienced motorcycle riders carry more than one set of gloves on the road so they can swap them out based on thew temperature or weather conditions (wet or dry).

      Motorcycle Raingear.

Roland Sands Design Ronin Motorcycle Jacket

0800-06L0-0002-RONIN-JACKET-2RSD_RONIN_JKT_BLKI don’t often review products, but once in awhile something catches my eye and I put in a request. That was the case when I saw the new line of Roland Sands clothing, particularly the Ronin jacket. I sent an e-mail to Chris (AIM‘s editor) asking that I be considered to review the Ronin riding jacket if we were contacted by RSD. To my surprise, moments after sending the e-mail, Chris walked into my office holding up a jacket from RSD and said, “Ya mean this one?”

The Ronin jacket is cut a bit smaller than my other jackets. I usually wear a large, but with the Ronin, the extra large fits like a glove. The arms are nice and long, perfect to wear while riding. The shell is made from soft, hand-waxed leather that looks vintage and worn, like you’ve owned this jacket for years.

Under each sleeve, from the armpit to about the elbow, is a perforated sleeve vent specifically placed to let in a nice breeze while in a riding position. There are four zip-close exterior pockets, a small change pocket on the right sleeve, two side pockets, and one pocket on the left chest. Each outside zipper pull has a good-sized leather tag allowing you to access exterior pockets while wearing riding gloves. The interior is made up of soft, gold satin poly lining, and there are also armor-ready pockets for shoulder, elbow, and back protectors.

The style of the Ronin jacket is what attracted me in the first place. It’s a subtle vintage café look available in three colors: Tobacco, Smoke, and the one I chose, black. There’s no glaring logo or slogan on the front or back, just a couple of small RSD logos on the collar snaps and a small Roland Sands branded under the left sleeve. It’s simple and elegant.

This is a well-constructed, well-fitted jacket with classic style and vintage appeal. Even with a $590 price tag, you definitely get what you pay for. AIM


SOURCES Roland Sands Design,

2012 Roland Sands Design Apparel Collection

Trying to define the 2012 Roland Sands Design apparel collection is a study in contrasts. In fact, it’s almost easier to say what it’s not rather than what it is. RSD outerwear is not over-embellished, over-branded or over the top; instead, it is more about giving the wearer a tasteful and selective option while keeping him protected. RSD riding and casual wear offers a positive spin on the spirit, history, and design of motorcycling. It’s riding style that you can actually ride in. Info: Roland Sands Design,


Back in the early 1970’s, I built my first chopper (a handshift 45 flathead) and bought my first real riding jacket, a black horsehide one. Both were simple and clean in design. I wore that jacket for 25 years, until I couldn’t zip it closed anymore. By then that jacket company was gone, so I had to get cowhide though horsehide is much more durable and tough. Rain mostly just rolls off horsehide unless it’s a heavy downpour. However, horsehide is stiff as hell until it breaks in, which seems to take forever.

You can speed things up by folding the jacket into a foot-by-foot square and sitting on it whenever you drive a car. Your body’s constant movement loosens up the leather much faster than wearing it; about 5,000 miles should do it!

Legendary’s Thoroughbred Horsehide Racer motorcycle jacket (#6045H/$619.95) is almost the exact same as my old jacket, but with improvements! It’s made of premium Italian, front-quarter, heavyweight horsehide. One main steel zipper in front ends at a banded racer collar with snap closure. Each sleeve also has a steel zipper to seal it.

There’s a chain-pull, steel zippered pocket and chest pocket on each side. There’s also a snap-close, vertical-entry chest pocket inside on the left and a smaller one on the right for a phone. The back is a clean, one-piece panel with  vented underarm gussets. The Thoroughbred also comes with a removable, zip-out, quilted lining. There are no decorative belts, chains, words, or trim of any sort. Like my old choppers, this union-made-in-US, lifetime-warranty jacket is stripped down and simple. When ordering, keep in mind the cut is “roomy.” I usually go with a 46, but a 40 fit me best. AIM

Sources: Legendary Products, 326 Tapestry, Dept. AIM, Exton, PA 19343, 610/363-7042,


As seen in the April issue of American Iron Magazine

WRN Review-Shift Riding Jeans & Jacket

Great combination of protection and style

By Genevieve Schmitt, Photos by Rene Bruce
I’m starting to feel naked these days, naked wearing my regular blue jeans, that is, when riding my motorcycle. As I add up more time and miles my desire to ride while wearing armored gear from head to toe is becoming stronger. I think it has something to do with feeling our mortality more as we age.  Read the full story on WRN

Black Hills Leather from LegendaryUSA

LegendaryUSA sent us some videos on gear we’ll be posting in the next few months…
[Read more…]

Motorcycle Jacket! Two From Harleys FXRG Line

Hello, my name is Joe Knezevic, and I am addicted to Harley-Davidson Functional Riding Gear. My habit began back in 1999 when I got an FXRG Series 1 leather jacket, and I have been strung out ever since. Through the years, the pushers on Juneau Avenue have expanded, improved, and updated the line, keeping me and other junkies on the hook.

These days my fix comes from two of the Motor Company’s most recent additions to this product line: the men’s FXRG Textile Jacket (#98366-09, MSRP $495-$515) and the men’s FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket (#98521-09, MSRP $625-$645). The beauty of having both of these jackets is that I can switch between them with relative ease. This has allowed me to continue my addiction with little or no side effects. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.

Both jackets have many similar features including removable, CE-approved,
lightweight body armor at elbows, shoulders and back; a removable kidney belt; and precurved sleeves that combine with the zippered cuffs, action back, and snap waist tabs to make these jackets very comfortable when riding. Other shared features include two outside zippered hand-warmer pockets and an interior pocket system that includes a zippered pocket, a cargo pocket, an MP3 player pocket, and an eyewear pocket with lens wipe.

Flipping between jackets is great because I have all the same creature comforts when wearing either jacket, but the different exterior skins make it less obvious that I’m hooked on what these jackets offer their wearer.

The FXRG Textile Jacket is very versatile and the one I get my fix from most regularly. It’s made from a lightweight, windproof, and waterproof Airguard nylon, and it’s abrasion and tear resistant. Four large vertical vents and a fixed CoolMax lining makes this jacket comfortable to wear in warm weather, while the lightweight and breathable Primaloft warmth liner allows me to stay satiated into colder weather.
For a familiar, but different, high, I go with the perforated leather jacket whose skin is made up of a large diamond-plate pattern reinforced with a Cordura-mesh backing. The combination CoolMax fixed lining and heat-deflecting, leather definitely keeps things cool on hot days, while the removable Gore-Tex Windstopper liner does a great job of extending the comfort range of this jacket when things get chilly.

Between the two, I now have almost every riding scenario covered. These jackets are about first-rate function, then style, which luckily is not gaudy. I just love having both at my disposal any time I need an FXRG fix. I suggest you try one of these jackets, but don’t blame me if you end up in FXRG Anonymous. AIM

Joe Knezevic as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.

See your local Harley-Davidson Dealer
800/LUV 2 RIDE

Scorpion Leather Motorcycle Jacket and Pants

Gen in Motorcycle Leathers

Scorpion started making women’s riding gear last year, part of its EXO clothing line. I tested the leather Elektra jacket and Haley pants. The thick cowhide leather jacket feels broken-in right off the rack. Even without the full-length liner zipped in, the jacket kept me warm on cool riding days. The medium jacket I tested was true to size, with several different ways to adjust the fit. Short waist zippers can accommodate wide hips. A thick mesh panel in the front runs parallel to the main zipper. It can be zipped for extra airflow or to expand the jacket. And leather laces on both sides of the jacket can be tightened or loosened to adjust for fit. Stiff, CE-approved armor is fitted into the shoulders and elbows and is removable. Leaving the armor in definitely makes the jacket tighter, with a more restrictive fit.

I was excited about the Haley pants because they’re cut like my preferred jeans — low waist, slim fitting, boot cut — yet they’re made of the same thick leather as the jacket. They come with a mesh liner throughout, with protective armor in the knee and hip areas. Women who don’t like low-waisted pants may not appreciate this type of cut. Laces run up the side of each pant leg to loosen or tighten for fit.

There’s a lot going on with this pant and jacket combo. Be sure to try them on before buying. The Electra jacket runs $329.95- $379.95, size XS-XL, 1W-3W. The Haley pants are $269.95, size XS-XL (waist 35-36, inseam 34). AIM

–Genevieve Schmitt as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.

Scorpion Sports USA