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The right wardrobe for your Bullet

The Royal Enfield gear is about safety and style without compromising on comfort

Veenu Sandhu 

Keep your bike in good repair; motorcycle boots are not comfortable for walking,” goes a wise biker saying. Iconic motorcycle maker, Royal Enfield, is, however, tweaking that saying to show that besides being protective and stylish, biking gear can also be comfortable. Inside Enfield’s gear store in Khan Market in Delhi that looks like a biker’s den and is one of the seven in the country, the gear — jackets, trousers, shoes, gloves and bags — comes with a twist. A lot here can pass off as casual daily wear — stuff that can be worn, say, to a café or a pub. But look closely and the clever biker-friendly designing reveals itself. The jackets and trousers, for example, have inside pockets at the elbow, shoulder, back, hip and knee into which “armours” shaped according to the body part can be slipped in. Created by German company SAS-TEC, these protective pads can also be bought separately. The material isn’t hard, but on impact, it becomes so. “On a long, arduous journey, you would wear a technical riding gear,” says Samrat Som, head of Enfield gear. “But in the city, you might not want to look as purposeful a rider and yet need something that would protect you in case of a fall.” Among its top-of-the-line riding jackets is the three-layered Dracha. Created in collaboration with Dutch brand Rev’it, it comes with an outer protective layer, followed by a water-resistant rain liner and a thermal layer. It’s a heavy jacket, to say the least, and more suited for a Himalayan tour. In the city, where winter isn’t as severe and where it pours when it rains, it might not make sense to carry all that weight around. The Kaza jacket, designed keeping Indian conditions in mind, takes care of that problem. This too is a three-layered jacket, but each layer can be worn independent of the other and can be bought separately.

Even lighter is the Raven — a simple, water repellant field jacket that protects from a drizzle. “Before waterproofing technology came into play, all traditional motorcycling jackets used to be coated with beeswax,” says Som. Now, the coating is more contemporary. Ribbed, stretchable elbows add another flexible dimension to the jackets. Regular high-ankle sneakers, ideal for everyday wearing with jeans, also come with subtle protective layers of leather at the toes, heel and ankle so that when you kick-start or shift gears, canvas isn’t all that meets your feet. The gloves too have knuckle protection, are water-resistant and perforated for ventilation, besides being touch sensitive so that you don’t have to pull them off to operate a smart phone. Whether it’s the jackets, trousers, helmets or bags, the designs explore materials that have been used in an old-school way, but while keeping in mind the demands of today. And so, just like the Enfield, there’s a timelessness about these designs. The helmets also retain the classic shapes without the unnecessary details. Among the finest in the collection is the fibre glass Shiro helmet, a Spanish brand with removable insides and impressive visor mechanism. There is also the time-honoured Lewis Leathers helmet, and a denim one. In the bags too, whether it is the satchel, the everyday duffle bag, the backpack or the messenger bag, the focus is on classy functionality, complete with the extra belts and straps, loops for the bungee cord and magnets that will secure the bag to the bike’s tank. There is also a small — very small —segment of lifestyle gear (T-shirts mainly) for women. Women bikers, with their numbers on the rise, could do with more.

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First Published: Sat, July 30 2016. 00:26 IST
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