I love surprises. I’m sure you do, too. Christmas; birthdays; when someone leaves a present and I have no idea what is inside. When my Amazon package arrives and I cannot wait to open it, even though I ordered the product myself and know it is a simple extension arm for a helmet chin mount for the GoPro to help capture those magical videos for my vlogs.
I get equally excited about motorcycle gear… clothing, helmets, boots, backpacks, panniers… the list is endless. It is not often these days when I see a particular item of clothing and don’t think… that’s nice. But then there is the occasion when I think… now that’s REALLY nice. That happened when I received a notification and images of a new jacket from Weise: the Axel.
As you know, I am one of those lucky buggers who, amongst other things, works as a gear tester, receiving product that I can wear on the bike and offer you honest feedback, good or bad. Hopefully, this is one product that I believe you will like, too.
When the delivery man knocked on the door, I thought at first he was handing over a helmet due to the shape of the box. I was wrong. It was the Weise jacket. When I opened it up, immediately I was taken aback by the jacket’s weight and thickness. It was certainly heavier than I had first imagined, but then it did come complete with elbow and shoulder armour, and back protector. I had ordered a sample in an XL, which in real terms is a 46-inch chest. When ordering product, it is all too easy to take a chance on sizing and I have been known to get it wrong and request an exchange, either for a smaller or larger size, due to fit, obviously. When I popped the jacket on, my first thought was, ‘Ah, this is tight,’ but then I was wearing a T-shirt and thick hoody. Removing the latter, the Axel, once zipped up, still felt slightly constricting, but then any motorcycle jacket needs to feel that way so if you happen to meet the Tarmac, it shouldn’t move.
Constructed of a 600D polyester softshell outer with a fixed waterproof breathable membrane (that’s right, it’s waterproof, too), the Axel is CE Approved AA, and comes complete with CE Level 1 back armour, and CE Level 2 shoulder and elbow armour. The jacket features a fleece-lined removable hood, reflective detailing, has a ribbed cuff and hem, and is available in two colours, blue and green, in sizes Small to 5XL. Oh yes, it also comes with the Weise two-year no quibble warranty.
Now, I must point out at this stage that if you are having a rummage around t’Internet looking at some product specs, one site mentions that it has a ‘removable’ quilted liner. They must be talking about a different jacket. There is no removable liner, although the one in the Axel is constructed of 75gsm puff quilt material. What it does have inside is a Velcro closure pocket for a phone; two zipped closure pockets; and a small zip for attaching to a pair of Weise trousers. The fleece-lined hood has a small press stud which can marry up with the stud on the back of the jacket to stop it flapping around in the wind. Alternatively, you can remove the hood via a zip if you don’t fancy keeping it in situ. I do believe this is the first time Weise has featured such a press stud offering.
It seems like the brand has thought of everything in this true urban-styled jacket. If versatility and casual styling is your bag, then this could well be the one for you.
The polyester textile softshell outer certainly looks robust and should hold up well in a spill, plus, as I say, you’ve got the added benefit of the armoured protection. In the early days of my testing softshell products as an outdoors writer, the material was certainly windproof and very comfortable, and offered a lovely, tactile feel, but as to the waterproofing nature, it would only withstand light showers. Things have certainly moved on since then, as Weise claims the waterproof membrane should help shield your base layers should you get caught out in a rainstorm. The membrane is microporous, which means it consists of microscopic holes designed to prevent water from permeating past the membrane, but large enough to allow water vapour (sweat) to escape, leaving you feeling fresh when you reach your destination.
I chose a fresh (cold), breezy day to check out the jacket. I was wearing an appropriately snugly baselayer from Zerofit and the Axel on top… that was it, so this was going to prove to be either a game-changer or a bloody chilly ride.
Happily, I was cosy from the outset. With the cuffs neatly tucked inside my gloves and the zip fully up, I deliberately left the hood on but snapped in place, should I happen to dismount at any time apart from the obligatory café stop and wanted to keep my head and ears warm. A good half-hour’s ride took me to the old RAF station at Hemswell, renowned for its antique shops, car boot sales area, and the splendid Faun café, which happened to be full of bikers, which was great to see as it was late January. In fact, it was the first decent day we had had in over a fortnight to get out and about.
Interestingly, I received a couple of comments about the Axel, saying how nice it looked, so I was happy to tell them that it indeed worked a treat at keeping me warm and comfortable.
I then rode on to Market Rasen and the café at Willingham Woods where even more riders were hanging around. After a brief stop for a hot cholocate (a bacon roll previously had been devoured at the Faun!), I headed across country and back home. Whilst en route I noted a constant tapping on the right side of my helmet. What the hell! I thought at first my chin strap had come loose, but the double-d ring was still in situ.
Rather than do the sensible thing and stop, instead with my left hand I tried to discover what was causing the noise and, lo and behold, I found it was the plastic drawstring toggle for the hood! Clearly, I hadn’t done up the jacket sufficiently to keep it out of the way, but I learnt a valuable lesson. The next time out I removed and stashed the hood whilst riding (no, not actually removing it whilst riding at the same time, but you know what I mean), just in case the toggle issue occurred again. A minor issue, no doubt of my own making, and apart from the original woody woodpecker tap-tapping, full marks to Weise for producing a lovely, simple, but exquisitely-styled urban jacket that does everything you ask, and expect, of it from such a renowned brand.
- Weise Axel Textile Jacket | £179.99 | www.weise.co.uk