I never really know how to approach the myriad branded gear press releases that show up in my inbox. TMO is definitely not the place to be if you want regurgitated press releases, but, at the same time, some of the stuff is kind of cool.
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Last week, for example, Ducati sent me a release about its new Scrambler 1100 line of apparel. I decided not to share it, but then sat there for half an hour clicking through the pictures, thinking: “Hey, I kinda like that Sebring leather jacket. That helmet looks pretty cool, too…”
But since I’m only looking at the product, rather than testing it, I’m not sure what the point of doing a story about it is. Effectively, all I can do is sit here and say: “Oooh, look at this cool branded gear.”
By and large, I don’t tend to talk about gear I haven’t tested. I mean, how is that £450 Ducati jacket better than, say, a £280 Oxford Hampton? I don’t know. And I work myself into even more of a tizzy over branded gear I haven’t tested. The thing with branded gear is that you kind of have to already want it.
Take my beloved Indian Spirit Lake boots, for instance: I think they’re awesome and high-quality, and I highly recommend them. But would I have shown interest in them if I weren’t a fan of Indian Motorcycle? So, I’m inclined to believe that when it comes to learning about branded gear, the people who are inclined to be interested will find out about it on their own by going to that brand’s website.
All that said… Oooh, look at these cool Harley-Davidson-branded helmets. The Milwaukee-based brand sent me a press release Tuesday and although I definitely wouldn’t wear one, I really dig the look of the Cherohala B01 three-quarter helmet.
Named after a scenic byway that runs from Tennessee to North Carolina, the US $200 helmet (or £148 if bought from H-D’s UK site) has “distressed” graphics, leather trim, snaps for shields and visors, and a back goggle strap. I wouldn’t wear one, because I’m a full-face helmet kind of guy, but I certainly wouldn’t disparage anyone who chose to.
I’m also a fan of the sure-looks-like-a-Bell-Bullitt-to-me Vintage Stripe full face. At $395 (or £316 from the UK site), it costs nearly $100 more than a Bell Bullitt without Harley branding. Which leads to one of the fun games to play when it comes to branded gear, the game of “Who Actually Made This?”
Some brands are happy to let you know, of course. Indian is proud of its partnership with Red Wing for the aforementioned Spirit Lake boots, and Triumph its association with Alpinestars. Other times, though, it’s a guessing game. That said, the Mason’s Yard Sun Shield helmet sure looks a lot like the markedly less expensive Shark Heritage helmet.
Anyway, lovely stuff. I have no idea if it’s any good. Though, it’s probably not awful. As you were.