Portland-based Icon Motorsports traditionally makes in-your-face riding gear with a strong street hooligan vibe. But their Icon 1000 label walks a slightly different path. That apparel is much stealthier, riding the line between casual and aggressive—but always functional.
For this review, I’ve put some miles into Icon 1000’s big value Nightbreed range: a jacket, pants and gloves.
Icon 1000 Nightbreed jacket ($215) Styled very much like a technical softshell jacket, the Nightbreed is the stealthiest moto jacket in my closet. But it doesn’t just look casual—it feels casual too. Icon have used a stretch nylon for the chassis, which not only makes the Nightbreed really comfy to wear, but also makes it extremely flexible when you’re on the bike.
Even though it’s a light fabric, Icon claim that the stretch nylon is abrasion resistant—but they’ve also used a tougher, non-stretch nylon in key impact areas. Plus there’s removable D30 armor at the shoulders, elbows and back too.
Despite the added protection, the overall aesthetic is minimalistic and muted. Icon 1000’s branding is barely noticeable, and the only visible zips are the main closure, two hand warmer pockets and two zips on the chest. Those chest zips are actually vents, and there are sneaky two-way zippers at the ends of the sleeves that add extra adjustable ventilation. They work fairly well on hotter days—but a simple vent across the back would be a nice addition.
All the zips are tough YKK items, and most of them have spring-loaded pull tabs that snap back into place when you’re done using them. The chest zips even have little rubber pockets to tuck into, and they’re reflective (as is the Icon 1000 logo on the back). And there’s a handy little Napoleon pocket inside, complete with something Icon add to all their jackets: a small St Christopher medallion.
Icon were clearly out to make the most lightweight riding jacket they could. Other than a simple mesh liner, there are no extra liners inside, so it’s best suited to spring and summer riding. You could always layer up though, which is a cinch thanks to to the Nightbreed’s roomy fit.
I spent some time at Icon HQ recently, and their product development team told me they’d spent a considerable amount of time improving the fit of their entire range of apparel. And it shows on the Nightbreed jacket. The cut is relaxed without being overly baggy, with pre-curved sleeves and a drop tail design at the back to protect your modesty (and the eyes of the riders behind you).
I went according to Icon’s size chart and picked an XXL (which is what I wear in most tops), and it fit great right out the box. The sleeves feel long off the bike, but once you’re in riding position and they pull back slightly, they’re dead on with zero gap between cuff and glove. I have one gripe: the elbow armor sits a bit low rather than being dead center on my elbows.
The Nightbreed’s triple threat of comfort, style and protection has made it one of my favorite pieces of gear. And the fact that I can get off the bike and not look like a squid, is a bonus too. [More]
Icon 1000 Nightbreed pant ($185) Just like its upper body counterpart, the Icon 1000 Nightbreed pant hits the sweet spot for comfort and protection, all in a very understated package. It uses the same stretch nylon material throughout—but without the additional, tougher sections that the jacket has (a feature I would have liked).
I ordered the same pant size I would for a pair of Levis, and the fit was once again perfect right away. The pant fastens up with a traditional button and zippered fly, but there are no belt loops. Instead, Icon have designed a pair of waist adjusters that each use an elastic, metal hook and small fabric loops to fine tune fit. It’s a clever system that works really well.
There’s removable D30 armor at the hips and knees, with the knee slots accessible via external zippers (so you can ditch the pads without stripping down, if the situation calls for it). Just like the jacket’s elbow armor, the pant’s knee armor sits a bit low on my legs—but this might not be the case for all riders and sizes.
A few thoughtful touches round out the Nightbreed pant. The pockets are zippered, which is great for keeping your stuff secure, and the actual zipper sides are reflective. Lower down, Icon have added fairly sizable heat shield panels to the insides of the legs. (I ran those right up against the a high-mounted scrambler exhaust, and they work well.)
The Nightbreed pant’s fit is relaxed with a straight leg cut, but it doesn’t feel oversized or baggy. Zippers at the leg bottoms help get them over a range of boot shapes and sizes—even my bulky old adventure boots—but the fabric’s lightweight enough that you can tuck them in too, if that’s your thing.
My personal taste leans towards pants with tapered legs, so I would have liked a small press stud or strap to cinch the bottoms down. But that’s just me, and I can’t say that these flap around or get in the way at all.
Riding pants that are bulky and restrict movement are a deal breaker for me. But the Nightbreed’s stretch chassis, slightly raised back section and overall fit make it exceptionally flexible and accommodating. It might not be as casual as a pair of jeans off the bike, but it feels awesome on it. [More]
Icon 1000 Nightbreed glove ($45) The Nightbreed glove sticks to the same covert styling as the rest of the set, with an extra hit of tan on the palm.
It’s made from a synthetic fabric called AX Suede that feels supple and worn-in right away. It’s a thin fabric that initially had me worried about durability, but has held up okay so far—and the company that makes it claims a high level of abrasion resistance.
The Nightbreed’s a short cuff design, with a hook and loop tab to cinch it down. (It’s also lightweight enough to classify this squarely as a warm weather glove.) Neoprene panels on the back and fingers add extra mobility, and embossed logos keep things subtle.
There’s some extra material on the palm too, but it’s light enough not to get bunched up on the bars. The thumb and forefinger tips are touchscreen compatible; I’ve tested them, and they’re really effective.
D30 pads on the knuckles add a measure of impact protection. D30’s malleability makes it a neat way to add protection without bulk, but I would have preferred it if the pads were a little bigger. Right now they sit a little forward on my knuckles when my fist is clenched; more surface area would equal more coverage.
As with the rest of the Nightbreed collection, light weight, comfort and style top the list. And at $45, impossible not to recommend. [More]
Images by Devin Paisley
Published at Sun, 22 Sep 2019 17:01:27 +0000