Rock & Roll
Riding for 46 Years
- Local time
- Today, 19:39
- Jan 5, 2006
- Port Elizabeth
- First Name
- My Ride
The Bike EXIF team can never agree on how much gear is enough—but we do agree that looks, quality and protection rate high. So this week, we’re each profiling top notch pieces from our individual closets: Icon 1000’s Airform helmet and REV’IT’s Drifter 3 glove (Wes), and Aether’s Expedition jacket (Chris).
Let’s dive in…
Icon 1000 Airform helmet There’s a plethora of retro-style helmets on the market right now. But there are also a few ‘modern’ lids with styling that’s subtle and neutral enough to fit any bike—even a modern classic. The Icon 1000 Airform ticks that box… and it’s massive bang for your buck, too.
The full-face Airform has just a hint of sportbike styling to it, but it also has a low-key automobile racing vibe (in the same vein as Bell’s Eliminator, or the new Arai Concept-X). Contoured, without being too aggressively angular, it features a wide, dropped jaw area, and a raised cutout at the back to make room for your jacket collar. Aesthetically, it goes just as well with a Triumph Street Triple as it does with a Harley-Davidson Low Rider S.
You get a polycarbonate shell (with a claimed weight of 1.65 kilos for my XL lid), DOT and ECE certification, and a standard-issue D-ring strap. The Airform runs true to size too, albeit a little snug.
Icon have pulled some of the Airform’s features from their higher end helmets, but skimped on other details to keep the price reasonable ($139 for solid colors). So you get an internal drop-down sun visor, along with Icon’s very effective ‘Hydradry’ removable moisture wicking liner. But ventilation is dead basic; one operable vent up top, two slits on the jaw that are always open, and one exhaust vent out back.
The ventilation works in some ways, and lacks in others. I’ve never felt stuffy in the Airform, but it isn’t the quietest helmet on my shelf by a long shot (there’s no chin curtain to keep wind out either). Icon have used their proprietary anti-fogging shield instead of adding the ever-popular Pinlock system here, but the helmet is fog-free in all but the muggiest of conditions.
The drop-down visor flips into place with a solid thwack that’ll catch you off-guard the first time, and the rubber trim along the bottom is harder than it looks. But the rest of the Airform is surprisingly refined for its price point. The visor lock mechanism is rudimentary, but works a treat, and the optical clarity on both the primary and drop-down shields is flawless
The Airform comes in white, gloss black and matte black as part of the Icon 1000 range, and in a whole hit of whacky liveries in the parent brand’s more street-hooligan focused range. Branding is delightfully minimal, and there’s a range of different color shields and internal shields—and even color-coded rear spoilers, if that’s your thing.
Tested by Wes | Images by Devin Paisley | More
Aether Expedition Jacket As you can imagine, we get a lot of gear passing through EXIF headquarters. Most of it is good, or at least ‘fit for purpose.’ But I always find myself gravitating towards a handful of key pieces that do the job in style, and are built to last.
In my wardrobe, two jackets get more wear than all the others put together. One is a five-year-old ICON Beltway—a classic four-pocket design with a zip-in quilted liner and excellent armor. It’s heavy, but it’s also warm and waterproof, making it my go-to for bad weather riding.
My other favorite jacket is the Aether Expedition, which I’d describe as a three-season jacket. The construction is immaculate, using 3-layer Japanese field nylon and a full suite of D30 armor to protect my back, shoulders, and elbows. The styling is minimalist, eschewing trends but absolutely on-point.
I’ve had this jacket for a couple of years now, and its appeal has endured. Mine is black, but doesn’t warm up too much when riding in heat up to 30 degrees (85°F), thanks to ample venting. Chest vents run from the shoulders to waist, and there are sizeable back vents, plus pockets on the forearms with mesh liners.
I’m 176 cm (5’9”) tall and weigh 75 kg (165 pounds), so I wear Aether’s size #2. It fits me like the proverbial glove and the armor is in all the right places. There are ample pockets for my phone, Leatherman tool and a scarf, and the lower side pockets are slanted, so you can tuck your hands into them for warmth when off the bike.
After two years of use, the zips still work as new, and although there’s a little color fading and softening of the material, that’s to be expected given New Zealand’s stratospheric UV radiation levels.
If there’s any downside, it’s the price: $750 is not cheap. But the Expedition is still cheaper than many offerings from brands like Klim, Dainese and Rukka, let alone fashion-forward gear from the likes of Belstaff. And that makes it excellent value in my book.
Tested by Chris | Buy
REV’IT! Drifter 3 H20 glove The Drifter 3 H20 glove fits into a very specific niche; it’s a waterproof glove for warmer weather. That means the Dutch company has thrown a smorgasbord of their proprietary materials at it, to make it both waterproof and breathable.
On the outside is a drum dyed goatskin chassis with a water repellant finish, with a 500D stretch textile fabric up top. Protection is by way of a lightly padded accordion knuckle, foam strips on the fingers, and a foam pad on the side of the thumb. On the palm you’ll find a strip of REV’IT!’s own abrasion-resistant ‘PWR|Shield’ material, and a puck that uses the same ‘SEESOFT’ armor their jackets and pants come with.
The Drifter’s an all-black affair, with a barely visible logo on the forefinger, and the company’s triangle motif in a 3D plastic effect on the wrist. It’s a longer, touring-style glove, with dual adjusters at the wrists—so it can run either over or under a jacket sleeve, depending on your preference.
The fingertips are touchscreen compatible too; like most ‘touchscreen’ gloves, they work most of the time, provided you can find the sweet spot. My one niggle is that I would have loved to have seen some reflective detailing up top, since these are designed for rainy weather, when visibility is generally poor.
Inside is a ‘Hydratex’ liner that’s both waterproof and breathable. It works too—on very hot or cold days I’d reach for something else, but the Drifter’s perfect for those ‘tweener days when wet weather looms. And the liner’s waterproofing holds up well.
The Drifter’s sizing is spot on and it’s comfy out the box, without the bulky feel of some other foul weather gloves I’ve tried. But the separate Hydratex liner is noticeably present, and can bunch up a little if you yank the gloves off too enthusiastically. So I quickly got into the habit of holding the fingertips in place while taking them off, and have had no qualms since.
At $99.99 the Drifter is excellent value, and a killer option if your rainy season is also a warm one.
Tested by Wes | Buy