This is the review I have been putting off writing. Not that I didn't want to write it, I just didn't want Andrew (from Pipeburn) to read it. You see, one morning a few months ago I received a knock on my door and there's a FedEx dude holding two large boxes. I quickly signed for them and opened up the first one and there in all its glory was a brand spanking new leather jacket from ICON. It's probably a good time to mention that ICON are a sponsor of this site but we pride ourselves in giving unbiased reviews - just check out the last Icon product review). Anyway, after pulling out the jacket I instantly knew there was a serious problem - there was only one of them. The problem being there are two of us that run Pipeburn so when it comes to products like new leather jackets it can cause problems. I had two options. Don't tell Andrew that I was sent the jacket and always wear my old jacket when we go for rides together. Or the other option was just to tell Andrew and see what his reaction was. I chose the later. So I text Andrew and he replies faster than Marion Jones on speed. "I want it!" he says. "you have a cool jacket and mine is shit". He had a point, his jacket is ugly as sin. But this was going to be a hard one to hand over. So I try the jacket on and it fits perfectly. Then my wife walks in right on que. "wow! nice jacket" she says. The last time she said that was on our wedding day and I was wearing a very expensive suit. Seriously. This was a keeper, plus it was pretty much second hand now. Couldn't give Andrew a second hand jacket could I?
The first thing that hits me when I look at the jacket is that it doesn't look like it's made by ICON. Well, not the brash ICON of old that used to have a fondness for wizards, skulls, dragons and trolls. Sure, there's a place for mythical creatures but I prefer to see them in the latest Peter Jackson film, not on my helmet or leather jacket (but each to their own). It's not until I inspect the jacket closely that I realize ICON haven't lost their sense of humour. Which is a good thing. Inside the jacket are a couple of neat details. Like a vintage styled 'Gentleman Prefer Icon' label (below) and also a subtle knuckle dusters pattern in the silky red lining of the jacket which is a tip of the hat to the early 90's UK streetfighter scene.
The second thing I notice about the jacket is its super soft leather. It almost feels too soft for a motorcycle jacket. It feels like a jacket I've had for years not months. I decided to email Kurt Walter, ICON's Design Guru who is responsible for the complete 1000 collection about the leather and whether it was a case of fashion over function. He responded saying that the leather used in the 1000 jacket proved to be the single biggest challenge in developing the product. They eventually sourced the best cowhide they could find in Brazil. "Our leather requires incredibly high-end hides, devoid of the usual defects found in most hides (barbwire scars, bug bites, branding marks, etc). But the sourcing headaches and costs are worth it - it's the finest riding garment leather I've ever seen." says Kurt. That's a big call from a guy whose been designing leather jackets for a long time. I now feel even more guilty that I claimed the jacket for myself, especially knowing that only 1000 will be made. Each jacket is numbered and mine has the number 26 of 1000 on a metal tag hidden inside the jacket. I asked Kurt if their will be numerous batches of 1000 but his answer was not what I expected. "Production will be much less than 1000 actually" he replies. "The goal is to to keep the line unique and fresh with small scale production runs."
The ICON 1000 jacket also has some safety features up its sleeve - literally. The D3O CE approved impact protectors obviously cover all the major contact points, like the shoulders, elbows and back. All I have to say is motorcycle jacket armour has come a long way. You no longer have to feel like you're carrying a couple of extra pounds. Don't get me wrong the jacket still weighs quite a bit but that's because of the leather and lining, not the armour. The armour is hardly noticeable at all. They feel light and are very flexible with my bodies movement. You could even get away with wearing this jacket out for a night on the town - the only thing giving it away are the ICON patches on the sleeves.
I'm told it took around six years to design the ICON 1000 line. Or more specifically it took six years to bring it to market. "I did the original concept drawings for the line while on holiday in Norway in 2006" Kurt says. "Cold rain, hot coffee, and bundles of grey market cigarettes where used to fuel the design fire. The concepts were resigned to my sketchbook for years as the timing wasn't right from a market standpoint." The Chapter jacket is available with two finishes. The black and grey colorways feature a drum-dyed antique leather with a matte finish. Then there's a brown one that features an aniline-dyed natural grain treated with a hand-applied waxed leather finish.
Some other details that might be worth mentioning are the custom made oversized black YKK zippers which seem very solid and tend to do as they are told - which is what you want in a motorcycle zipper. Also there's a removable vest liner that provides some warmth without making you look like you've eaten too many pies. It also has loads of handy little pockets, zippers and compartments to stash all your goodies.
To be honest, there's not much I don't like about this jacket. The sleeves on my medium jacket are an inch too long, but I think I have to blame my parents for my not-so-perfect proportions, not ICON. Also if I was going to be really picky I would lose the patches on the sleeve and probably would have black on black but that just comes down to personal taste. Overall the jacket is super comfortable, loaded with safety armour and stinks of brazilian leather. Actually I've never had a jacket that smells so, um, leathery. So much so people comment on how strong the smell is. It's almost like I'm wearing a generous splash of the latest Calvin Klein Cowhide Cologne. The ICON 1000 Chapter jacket is definitely Pipeburn recommended - just make sure you stay away from PETA protests.