When most motorcyclists think of top-quality riding gear, they think of the big-name brands — brands like Alpinestars, Dainese, Joe Rocket, Vanson, and many others. Sure, most of the big motorcycle manufacturers sell ‘branded’ gear, but it most often appeals to those who own that particular brand of motorcycle, and want to advertise their brand loyalty. I’ve rarely heard any motorcycle OEM’s clothing brought up in any conversation regarding the best gear on the market.
When Harley-Davidson’s apparel designers dreamed up their new FXRG line of riding gear, they didn’t want jackets, pants, and accessories that would appeal only to H-D owners. They wanted gear that lived up to the name “Functional Riding Gear”, and they deliberately kept the H-D branding small and unobtrusive, so as to broaden their appeal beyond H-D loyalists.
When I initially got my hands on the FXRG leather jacket, I was impressed by the quality of the leather. Although it’s as thick and heavy as that of any other jacket I’ve worn, it is by far the softest and most supple. The flexibility of the leather makes this the most comfortable riding jacket I’ve ever worn, and also enhances the looks. This is one jacket that’s certainly comfortable and good-looking enough to serve in nearly any social situation, short of a black-tie dinner. The fit is excellent as well, tapering down at the waist to give a tailored appearance
Notwithstanding its good looks, the FXRG jacket is a very functional piece of protective gear. Beneath the leather you will find flexible but sturdy impact armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back. The jacket also features an attachment system to zip on to the matching FXRG pants, giving the option of building a complete protective system.
One thing you should know about the FXRG leather jacket is that it isn’t what I’d call ‘warm weather apparel’. Although there are two zip-down vents running vertically down each breast, and a large zip-open exhaust vent crossing the lower back, this wouldn’t be my first choice for weather over 80 degrees (fahrenheit). Below that line, however, the FXRG jacket is quite flexible. With both vents open, it’s comfortable at 75 degrees, while snapping in the removable, quilted Primaloft liner and zipping up the vents makes it warm enough for, well, as cold as it gets here in Southern California.
Beyond all the properties described above, the FXRG leather jacket is packed with innovative, useful features. A built-in (removable) back support belt wards off back pain on those all-day rides, and that removable liner doubles as a lightweight windbreaker when you remove it from the main jacket. The inside of the right breast features a small, velcro-closure pocket intended for a cell phone, while the left breast features a similar pocket, but lined with non-scratch material, this one for storing glasses or sunglasses. There is also a larger, general-purpose pocket in the same location, perfect for a wallet.
Overall, the FXRG is by far the most comfortable and well-thought-out riding jacket I’ve ever worn, and it certainly lives up to the “Functional Riding Gear” name. Like most moto-journalists, I have a whole closet full of riding gear, but this has quickly become my “go-to” jacket for all but the warmest days. I never thought I would give such a glowing review to any piece of apparel, but in all honesty, I was blown away by the comfort and functionality of this jacket. Before you conclude that I’ve merely been somehow bribed or influenced, take the time to ride down to your local H-D dealer and try one on for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be more than impressed.
The FXRG Leather Jacket carries a suggested U.S. MSRP of $595-$640, depending on size, and is available at your local Harley-Davidson dealership. For more information, check out the official Harley-Davidson site.