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Buyer's Guide: Casual Cruiser Gear For Everyday Wear

Chaparral Motorsports
August 25, 2016
Last Updated: October 8, 2020

We've seen it a hundred times now, the typical leather cruiser jacket with its stiff leather chassis, thick main zipper, and shiny studded buttons. It's a classic look, one made famous by a pouting Marlon Brando and in The Wild One, but has been rehashed over and over by motorcycle jacket manufacturers for decades. Now there's nothing wrong with the traditional style motorcycle jacket but not everyone wants to wear the same thing or wants to look like a stereotypical "biker". Thankfully there are plenty of companies that are designing and making nontraditional looking motorcycle apparel and using materials other than leather.

Many of these new designs and styles are great because they look equally good off the bike as they do when on the bike. Below are some casual cruiser gear options that you could wear around town without looking like an AGATT fiend, but still provides the protection and features you expect from traditional motorcycle gear.

Flannel Flashback

Speed and Strength have brought the 90s back in a big way with their Rust and Redemption Armored Shirt ($119.95). Made from a cotton poly blend, this plaid flannel shirt isn't just a nod to the grunge look, it's actually built specifically for motorcycling. You'll find removable Vault, CE approved armor in the shoulders, elbows, and spine. Additional impact protection is incorporated in the shoulders and elbows which have been reinforced with DuPont Kevlar® Fiber Thread. To keep the shirt from flapping around at speed there's a heavy-duty YKK main zipper along with a snap down collar. To retain the button up design of the traditional flannel look there's a snap panel to cover the main zipper.

Back in Black

If busy plaid isn't your thing and but you're still a fan of the shirt versus jacket look then Speed and Strength's all black, Last Man Standing Armored Shirt ($129.95) should fall right into your wheel house. The Last Man Standing has all the same features as the Rust and Redemption shirt but instead of flannel is comprised of a cotton poly blend that's like a soft denim-like material. Aside from the armor and reinforced elbows and shoulders, the Last Man Standing and Rust and Redemption both have snap-down chest pockets and large hole, mesh liners that make it easy to slip the shirts on and off while also allowing for ventilation.

Little Miss Riding Hood

Hooded jackets have become very popular as of late and Speed and Strength Serves up a sweet setup for female riders with its Fast Times Hooded Denim Textile Jacket ($149.95). A mix between a hooded sweat shirt and denim jacket the combo looks casual but provides plenty of two-wheeled safety with removable C.E. armor in the elbow, shoulders, and spine protector. Subtle reflective trim helps riders stay visible to others on the road during night rides and a lock down, adjustable waist adjuster allows for a tailored fit. The jacket also features belt loop snaps to help keep everything in its place when in a tucked riding position while a zipper main section will keep the jacket securely closed. The jacket is available in either black, brown, or blue denim with light grey, white, or dark grey hoodies sewn in.

Keep the Fleece

Even though Alpinestars' ]Northshore Tech Fleece Jacket ($219.95) is motorcycle a jacket, it looks like you could have just as easily walked off the golf course. Actually it would probably be a rather comfortable jacket for the casual duffer with its soft outer shell, windbreaker membrane, and fleece lining. The windbreaker is laminated between the two outer materials making for a relaxed and comfortable fit. The elbows and shoulders have polyethylene foam that can be removed and upgraded with Alpinestars' Bio-Armor. This jacket is tailored for riding with a longer tail and shock cord waist adjustment, and multiple zippered pockets. If the hood annoys you at speed it can be unzipped and removed.

Your New Favorite

Everyone seems to have that one favorite sweatshirt that they always wear. Well, after spending a day or two in Speed and Strength's United by Speed Armored Hoody you'll be in love. Soft, flexible, and extremely comfortable this riding sweatshirt will feel like second skin-with the benefit of heavy-duty armor in all the key areas. While it looks like a standard hoody it's made from a cotton poly blend so it's a bit stronger than your average sweatshirt. Outfitted with removable, C.E. approved, shoulder, elbow and spine protectors this hoody is unlike any other riding jacket you've ever owned. The hand warmer style pockets feature zippers to keep your possession in place and thumb cuffs at the sleeve ends keep the sleeves from sliding up when at speed. This piece of riding gear is best for use on those spring days when it's a little cooler in the morning but you also want high flow ventilation for warmer afternoon riding.

Do Work

If you've been paying attention to what the younger riders are wearing when they ride you may have noticed more and more people with work boots on their feet as opposed to motorcycle boots. If you like the tan work book look but want something with technical features and better protection than the standard work boot then check out the Super Duty 4 Boots ($140.00) from Icon. Shorter than the standard motorcycle boots, the SD4s are a 3/4 design that come up just above your ankle. This provides some ankle stability without being too constricting. Additional ankle protection is offered in by padded inserts. For secure fitment the boots feature a lace up design with a single ratcheting buckle over the top of the foot. An axial steel shank offers a solid footbed while slip resistant soles will keep your feet planted on oily surfaces. If you don't like tan the boots are also available in black or brown.

High Tops for Him

Not a fan of biker boots or work boots? How about a set of high tops from Speed and Strength? The Black Nine Riding Shoes ($99.95) are your classic high tops but have a few moto centric features. First of all, even though it's a lace up, it features a double lace system with traditional eyelets which are easily spotted, but then on the underside of the eyelet runners are stitched eyelets. This allows you to either run your laces traditionally or hidden behind the lace runners so that nothing is exposed and reducing the possibility of something getting caught up on a loose lace. Additionally there's extra padding in the ankles, anti-slip soles and molded toe, heel and ankle reinforcements. The Black Nines are available in Black, Charcoal, and Tan.

High Tops for Her

Don't worry ladies we've got some footwear for you as well. Seen here are Alpinestars' Stella Josey Waterproof Women's Riding Shoes ($179.95). Available in either shiny black or grey/pink these riding shoes are loaded with comfort features such as reinforced poly-foam padding on the tongue and ankle, a footbed that's been anatomically engineered out of PU (Polyurethane) foam to specifically fit the form of a woman's foot. As for protection the internal toe box and heel counter have been reinforced to offer strategic support and impact performance, there's also dual density ankle protectors on the lateral and medial sides. To protect against the elements the outer has been wax treated and the inside has a waterproof membrane lining to keep feet dry.

Dinner Date

The Cassidy Textile Jacket ($320.00, part# 594-0801-0226-0052) from Roland Sands Design (RSD) feature such clean and formal lines you could throw on for a dinner date or a night out at the club and most people would never suspect it's actually a motorcycle jacket. Comprised of a water-repellent, breathable, heavy canvas, cotton chassis this jacket is armor ready padding in the key areas. Designed for comfort when on the bike the jacket has rotated, pre-curved sleeves, a slightly extended tail, a snap down collar, and leather flex gussets in the underarm area for easy movement. The Cassidy is loaded with zippered exterior and interior pockets and is available in either black or brown.

Keep it Classy

You're going to need some sharp looking trousers to go along with that spiffy RSD jacket Mr. Fancy Pants. The RSD Dalton Riding Jeans($225.00, part# 594-0807-0500-3752) might cost more than any other pair of pants you ever purchased, but that's for good reason. They look better than any other riding jeans or regular pair of jeans you'll typically come across. Sure they don't offer impact protection, but they are made out of a 70% Cotton /30% Denim made with DuPont Kevlar® fibers to provide abrasion resistance. The fit and finish is top notch and are more in line with designer jeans but still designed for riders with reinforced triple stitching on the inseam and back rise.

Lady Leggins

Finding the right pair of women's riding jeans that look good, are a comfortable fit, and can be worn on a dinner date or to a casual work environment can be really tough. The Kira X Riding Jean from Motto Wear ($145.95, part# 960-1041) offer all of the above benefits plus more. Made from a light, stretchy denim, the pants are designed for a women's figure with a comfortable yet form fitting look. While these pants do feature a stylish low-waist cut, they have a stretchy cotton to pull out that can be used when riding to keep your higher waist warm and help maintain your modesty. Besides an easy fit, the pants provide plenty of protection as they are lined with soft DuPont Kevlar® materials in the hips, backside, thigh and knee area and also feature removable / adjustable high-tech SAS-TEC CE knee protectors. For all out safety the pants can be outfitted with Knox hip protectors. The boot cut legs offer a stretch fit to easily fit inside or over riding boots.

DuPont and Kevlar® are trademarks or registered trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

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