Most of the riding jackets in my closet are dark but incorporate some reflective piping or fabric. But there are times when I want even more visibility. Like when I’m standing on a range on a dark, rainy day, signaling instructions to a dozen student riders, most of whom have never been in control of any kind of motorcycle before that day. Do I want to be as visible as possible? Heck, yeah! Or when I’m riding home from a long day at the office on one of Harley’s latest Dark Customs, and the only thing separating me from the pitch black yonder is a dim bulb.
The folks at Icon caught wind of my worries and sent me one of their bright orange Mil Spec mesh instructor vests. (The only difference between the instructor version and the regular one is that the large reflective Icon logo is replaced with the word instructor splashed across the upper back; I wonder if that impresses the drivers behind me?) If orange or yellow aren’t bright enough for you, the giant strips of reflective material adorning the front and back will do the trick.
There’s a shallow, zippered inside pocket; a large outside pocket on the small of the back; a removable, Velcro ID holder on left front panel, and a wallet-sized, zippered pocket on the right. And just in case you have a suspicious-looking face, printed on the pocket are the codes for all four military branches, proving that the vest meets the proper requirements. (For those planning to ride their motorcycles onto a military base, this vest, as its name implies, passes military hi-vis regulations.) Available only in regular or super size, the elastic that binds the panels together makes the fit versatile for use over a variety of jackets.
If ever there was a way to make DayGlo cool, Icon’s done it with this vest. Oh, and none of my students have run me over yet. RB – Tricia Szulewski
Hard Data: Icon, Mil Spec Mesh Vest, $55, www.RideIcon.com