How do you launch a new collection of moto-oriented clothing and equipment?
If you’re Filson, you team up with motorcycle publisher META and put together a short film that kinda-sorta answers the question: Why do we ride?
The film is a mash-up of footage from six friends riding in the Pacific Northwest, a six-day trip that started northeast of Seattle and ends in the Columbia River’s gorge. Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles is along for the ride, so you kind of know what sort of footage you’re going to get. It’s not energy drink-chugging bros, it’s Instagram-worthy scenery, that looks like it’s been run through an Instagram filter. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. It snowed three out of the six days they were on this trip, so you can’t exactly accuse the riders of being social media dilettantes.
And in it all, we get the question “Why do we ride?” answered. Sort of. That reason is different for different people, after all.
The Filson Alcan line
So what’s Filson bringing out for the moto-oriented Alcan line?
There’s some clothing, mostly along the lines of traditional American workwear. This is, after all, what Filson is best-known for, and while you’ll pay for it, that’s the cost of buying American-made. Here’s what the line has for now: Alcan canvas cruiser jacket and vest, Beaver, and Stag T-shirts, Outfitter long-sleeved T, the Alcan quilted jacket, and double-front pants. The canvas vest and jacket are waterproof,
For protection on the road, you get a Filson-edition version of the Bell MX-9 adventure helmet (we’ve reviewed the MX-9 before, and found it pretty decent). The helmet comes with MIPS technology, meaning your brain gets added protection from rotational forces in a crash. There’s also a set of leather gloves, made by Washington-based JRC. JRC’s been making gloves since the 1890s, with a history roughly parallel to Filson itself, getting a start by outfitting Yukon Gold Rush prospectors. These gloves are made of deersking, with stretchy rib-knit cuffs for easy on-and-off action. Filson says the knuckles are padded, although there’s no hard armor.
Finally, Filson also made a tool roll out of its famous waterproof Tin Cloth (a waxed canvas, imported from the UK, that Filson’s been using for ever), and a riding backpack. These look like they’d be pretty functional. The tool roll will cost you a fair bit, but it looks like a good way to keep things sorted on the road, and it should last you a lifetime. With individual zippered compartments to keep wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, etc. in their place, you’ll be able to fit anything necessary for a on-the-bike mechanical first-aid kit. If you want to lighten the load, two of the four storage pockets are removable.
The Tool Backpack also comes with tool storage in the rear compartment, if you wish to keep tire irons or other longer tools sorted. There’s a larger main compartment for a rainsuit, or even clothes or camping equipment, and exterior MOLLE straps and D-rings allow you to pack even more equipment. Internal storage capacity is 37 liters; the interior is nylon-lined, for easier cleaning. Adjustable waist, sternum and compressions straps will help you get the fit just right.
For full details on the Filson lineup, see the whole collection here. It’s an interesting new direction for Filson, best-known for making clothes for outdoors workers and adventures: miners, loggers, and so on. Combining Cordura ballistic nylon reinforcement with its already-tough materials and designs will make this equipment more suitable for moto use. Note that none of this gear includes any padding, but there are new options (like soft Forcefield body armor) that you could wear underneath. And also remember, dual sport riders and adventure bikers wore waxed cotton for decades before turning to synthetic material. Going all-synthetic may have its own perks, but you don’t have to worry about taped seams coming apart on a waxed cotton jacket. And, maximum airflow isn’t necessarily a great thing when you’re riding through foul weather conditions, like the four motorcyclists in the short film above.