Date reviewed: April 2022| Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £379 | goldtop.co.uk
Goldtop was originally formed in 1951, making horse-riding kit that was used by the Household Cavalry. It was the boots of that era that made them most famous among bikers when the company branched out and started supplying motorcycle footwear to various police forces.
Joe Cullen and his dad bought the rights to the name in 2012, and the Goldtop ’72 Easy Rider jacket on review here is an homage to the original of 1972. Have a look at the range of jackets, boots and gloves and you’ll understand how passionate the pair are in creating timelessly-styled kit while meeting the modern safety standards; “We want to focus on the brand’s original motto of ‘known and recommended everywhere’” says Joe.
I’ve been wearing this retro-styled jacket for around 500 miles on the Yamaha MT-10 launch in Spain, as well here in the UK on the Tracer 9GT, my S1000XR and my Grom.
The original Goldtop jacket from 1972
When the production team of the 2021 film ‘Venom: Let there be carnage’ wanted a jacket for the star Tom Hardy to wear, it was the Goldtop ’72 Easy Rider that they chose. Google ‘Tom Hardy jacket Venom 2’ and you’ll find loads of copies, but the Goldtop is the real deal.
Of course, that’s not to say that you have to be a fan of the film to like this kit, but the production crew clearly had good taste as I think it looks stunning.
It’s also, by coincidence, a perfect match for the cyan detailing on the new Yamaha MT-10, but it looks just as good on anything else, including of course the Ducati V4S Tom Hardy’s character, Eddie Brock rides. And it looks stunning off the bike.
Made of 1.4mm-thick analine cowhide, the Goldtop ’72 Easy Rider is exceptionally soft to the touch, and thanks to its vegetable tanning, the colour runs right through the hide, unlike chrome tanning, which can have a tendency to look cracked and worn-out over time.
Where this jacket really excels is in the details, with a stunning blue quilted lining, suede inside the collar and cuffs, as well as stainless-steel poppers and YKK zips throughout. These should last a lifetime, and the main Aero-branded YKK zip is even hand-polished to keep it smooth-running.
While I doubt you’ve noticed, Tom Hardy and I have slightly different physiques, and although some might think he looks better in the jacket than I do, I’m very happy with the fit. I did go up a size to ensure it was comfortable with the optional back-protector in, but as with anything, fit is entirely subjective.
My only negative here is that the double-layer of leather used behind the zips of the cuffs tends to bunch up if they’re fully closed. It softens a bit over time, but I still find this a little too bulky. I’ve worn a watch under it, so it’s not too bad, but I’d prefer to see single layer leather here.
My only small reservation in the construction is that the red stripe on this jacket has a slightly rougher trimmed edge than the black one, though this is very likely to be a one-off.
Too often, classically-styled and retro kit seems to have a relatively low certification of A or AA under the EN 17092 regulation, so it’s great to see that all of Goldtop’s jackets are rated to the top AAA standard for abrasion and tear resistance, as well as seam strength. It’s ironic in a way that it’s often the small, family-run businesses that seem to achieve the top ratings (and 17092 is not excessively tough).
CE Level 1 armour is fitted at the shoulders and elbows, while a back protector can be added for £39.99, with your choice of Level 1, or the more impact-resistant (but thicker) Level 2 that I have.
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
There’s a pair of zipped pockets at the waist with plenty of room for keys, wallet and phone, along with another on the right of the chest. Inside, there’s a zipped and open pocket in the lining.
The stainless-steel zips on the outer pockets really are very well finished, and the unusual ‘ball and chain’ toggles are easy to operate and give it a more unique style.
The hand-polished stainless-steel main zip has a large toggle that’s easy to grab, and it looks very much like a quality piece in keeping with the jacket’s style.
There’s no real protection on the front, so if you’re laying over your bike’s tank you could scratch it, but full-on sportsbike riders are unlikely to be in this kit; on the kind of motorcycles this gear is going to be worn on, it’s not a problem, and from my Grom to my S1000XR and of course the MT-10, I’ve put no marks in the paint.
The waist has a leather strap on either side with a stainless-steel buckle to draw it in a little, though there is a lot of leather behind it to bunch up. I haven’t changed the position on mine.
Like most classic leather jackets, there’s no ventilation built in. I’ll keep this review updated, but so far around 20°C is the warmest I’ve been in. I do expect this to get pretty hot due to the quite thick quilted lining, though I understand that Goldtop is looking at some alternatives for those wanting something thinner inside.
10°C rides are very comfortable in this jacket thanks to the truly gorgeous-looking lining.
Of course, this isn’t designed for wet rides, but if you do get caught out in the rain, always let any leather dry naturally, never over a radiator.
Goldtop offers a water-repellent balm that can feed the leather and keep it supple while resisting light showers. This should be applied in multiple thin layers over time, not one thick smear. Besides looking nasty, letting any thick treatments build up on seams can cause dirt to collect and form a grinding paste that can eventually damage the stitching. Goldtop’s balm can also be warmed up then brushed on as an oil, and another version with a dye is available for very old, heavily worn jackets.
There are lots of classically-styled leather jackets available. Here are just a few we’ve tried…
Visit the Goldtop store in Bishop’s Stortford and it’s obvious that this is not just a bid to make a fast buck off an old name; the quality of the kit on sale is exquisite, and the relaxing atmosphere (like a mini BikeShed) has no sales pressure. Enjoy a proper coffee, browse the two floors of new kit sat among a museum of original posters and clothing, and try some gear on if you want. They even offer support and repairs, from replacement zip pulls and poppers if needed that can be done in-store, to larger work on even the original Goldtop gear.
What’s ultimately important though is that, while not quite perfect, the Goldtop ’72 Easy Rider is stunningly well made with some outstanding details. The fact that it was chosen to be worn by Tom Hardy in the Venom movie will mean nothing to some, and everything to others. I’ve not seen the film, but the jacket looks great on a range of bikes, and gorgeous when left open and wandering around town. And if it’s not the right style for you, there’s a range of different designs to choose from.
All credit to Joe and his Dad for resurrecting the brand while meeting all their legal requirements for CE certification; to have such a huge selection of kit – at what I think are very reasonable prices – is very impressive. If you’re in the market for a classically-styled jacket, I definitely recommend checking Goldtop’s men’s and women’s ranges out.
Do you have a Goldtop jacket? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell everyone what you think of it…
BikeSocial members can save £25 on any AAA-rated Goldtop jacket with this offer.
It’s well worth a visit to the Goldtop store (below), though do check the opening hours.