As if Icon’s motorcycle riding gear wasn’t edgy enough, for 2012 the company introduced the Icon 1000 collection, upping the ante on its already stylish riding outerwear. The finest leathers, textile and armor are used in every Icon 1000 garment, and the women’s Federal Jacket, the only women’s outerwear item in the Icon 1000 collection, is no exception. The jacket’s pattern is hand cut and machine sewn (not your average factory garment here), so it has the appearance of a custom jacket.
The Federal Jacket is made of a midweight Brazilian cowhide that’s tanned for a soft and supple feel. This jacket feels broken in right away. The black color has a refined matte finish, while the red jacket has a waxed leather finish.
The Federal Jacket looks pretty snazzy, but it’s also meant to be a functional piece of riding gear—and it is, to some extent. On the plus side, the jacket has soft-sided CE-approved armor in the shoulders, elbows and back that does not restrict movement. All the armor can be removed if you so desire. The precurved sleeves make it easy to lean forward toward the bars without the sleeves riding up. The two-way front zipper allows you to unzip at the bottom when you’re seated, flattening out the extra material that gathers when the three-quarter-length jacket conforms to your seated position.
Function is compromised for style somewhat in that the neck flaps must be secured when riding. They dont get in the way too much at slow speeds, but the flaps need to be secured at highway speeds. You should do this before you take off because two hands are needed to secure the flaps—a button on the collar needs to be unbuttoned to free up the hole for one of the flaps, while the other flap tucks inside the jacket. Personally, I don’t think buttons have a place on motorcycle riding jackets, but Icon is fond of buttons. I have an Icon jacketfrom a few years ago called the Rogue (its no longer in production) that I love because its made from an aged brown canvas material—brown’s my favorite color for a jacket because it matches my motorcycle. The jacket closes with buttons and a belt, but I overlooked that because the jacket is so cool-looking to me.
Speaking of belts, the Federal Jacket has one that accentuates your curves when cinched around the waist. However, a belt is time-consuming to fasten, and this one easily slips through the loops when not secured, so I kept having to grab it before it slipped off the jacket as I manhandled the six-pound monster onto a hanger.
Yes, this jacket weighs six pounds. Does that seem heavy? It should. In comparison, my Harley-Davidson FXRG Jacket with a full-sleeved liner weighs five pounds. Despite the high number on the scale, the leather on the Federal Jacket feels thin, with the jacket falling into the midweight warmth category.
The bright-red silk of the liner feels just as luxurious as it looks, but it’s just a vest (not a full-sleeved liner) and is thinly insulated. I needed an extra layer underneath to keep me warm on cool mornings.
I’ve found Icon’s jackets to be true to size. I always wear a size medium because I have long arms, though I find that, for me, a typical medium-sized jacket has extra room in the chest area because I’m “small” in the bust relative to my frame. Such is the case with the Federal Jacket’s sizing. Icon’s sizing chart will direct you to your size, and it should be right on.
So what does all this functional style cost? Well, remember that Icon 1000 is the gear manufacturer’s high-end line, so we’re looking at a $600 price tag. Practically speaking, yeah, that’s high, especially when the jacket is lacking other features like vents, an action back, and waterproof or water-resistant fabric.
But I put this jacket in the category of “It’s so cool that I just gotta have it—no matter the price.” No matter how financially strapped you are, once in your life (hopefully) you’ll have an opportunity to say, “What the heck,” and buy that jacket or that motorcycle or whatever you want that you know will set you back. But you don’t care and you go for it!
Indulge me for a moment here: I did that (went for it!) in 1996 when I was living in Los Angeles and scraping by on a meager salary. I had to have this fringed elk-skin jacket I saw hanging at one of the vendor booths at the Laughlin River Run. I nearly fell to my knees when I glanced at the $700 price tag, especially since the jacket was 100 percent style with zero motorcycle functionality. I hemmed and I hawed and with the excuse “you only live once” playing in my mind, I paid for the jacket with a credit card that ending up taking me months to pay off. Do I regret that decision years later? Heck, no! I love how that jacket makes me feel every time I wear it, I love reliving all the memories I have that go along with it, and I love looking at it hanging in my closet all these years later.
To learn more about the Icon Federal Jacket, visit Icon1000.com.