Date reviewed: September 2020 | Tested by: Steve Lamb | Price: £439.99 | www.spidi.co.uk
I've worn this Spidi Garage Jacket for around six-months and have racked up just over 1000 miles on a large variety of bikes from scooters including a Suzuki Burgman 400 and Honda SH125i, retro lightweights including the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, Moto Guzzi V7, Kawasaki W800 and my own Ducati Scrambler 800, as well as cruisers including Harley Davidson Fat Boy and the Honda CMX500 Rebel.
Available in four colours – black, brown, leather (tan) and titanium (dark green) – the Garage jacket is a retro styled leather jacket designed to reflect the traditional 'biker jackets' of the 60's and 70's.
I normally take a size 42UK and have been wearing a 52 Euro which according to the Spidi sizing guide covers UK chest size from 40 1/8 to 42 1/2. This doesn't feel quite right as the Garage jacket feels a bit bigger than this, allowing me to wear a light mid-layer under the jacket. While it's not overly large, it just stresses the importance of trying items on in your local store to see how they feel.
The length of arm is very good for me, though those with longer arms might feel they are a bit short. If you workout regularly, you may find the forearms a bit tight, but (un?)fortunately for me, it wasn’t too much of an issue. The back of the jacket is also a little longer than the front, which gives some additional draught protection to the kidney area.
The Spidi Garage is certified to PrEn 17092-3:2017 Class AA and includes EN1621-1 Level 1 "Warrior Lite" armour to the elbows and shoulders. There is provision for either a Level 1 or Level 2 "Warrior L2" back protector from Spidi, but these are priced at €50 for level 1 and €60 for level 2 adding a substantial amount to an already premium jacket.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
While it may look like the Garage jacket is blessed with more pockets than you could need, the top two are in fact vents. The two waist level pockets are a good size but with a near vertical zip, there is a risk that keys may fall out if left unzipped.
There's one inside pocket which is set quite low in the liner, meaning that the jacket has to be undone quite a lot to access the pocket. I would have preferred a phone pocket in the placket of the jacket, but the inside pocket is nice and deep meaning that even large smart phones are securely held.
The main front fastening is an unbranded metal zip with a nice large Spidi branded toggle – ideal for grabbing with gloved hands. The zip was quite stiff at first, and hasn’t loosened off much in the thousand miles that I've been wearing it, but does feel secure and is trouble free.
The collar is fastened with a single large popper, though there is no adjustment here as there is only one fastening position.
Sleeves are fastened with both metal YKK zippers and press poppers, but again there is no adjustment to the cuff.
As above, while the collar and cuffs offer no adjustment, there are two waist tabs, giving two positions of adjustment and allowing the waist to be cinched by around 6cm or 2.5 inches. There are areas of the jacket around the shoulders, arms and lower back, which would at first sight appear to be stretch panels, but these provide no additional movement and are a styling feature only.
Don’t be put off by the lack of adjustment though as the jacket is very well tailored and flatters even the most lockdown-enlarged frames (...ahem!). Right from the off I found the Garage jacket to be comfortable and supple - helped by the soft leather outer.
The two top vents are fairly small with an opening length of just 9cm, lined with perforated leather and open to the inside of the liner meaning that there is no direct airflow through the jacket. On warmer days, when leather jackets typically get a bit muggy, that meant that there was no noticeable cooling effect from the vents, even when riding naked bikes.
Thankfully, even when fastened, the collar is quite loose, meaning that more airflow comes this way than through the vents.
Leather jackets are never very warm in colder weather (now I remember why I moved to textiles!) and the Garage is no exception. Despite the 70% cotton/30% poly liner acting to trap air, and the lack of ventilation, you will need a mid-layer as soon as temperatures drop below the mid-teens. On a recent day filming with the Royal Enfield and Kawasaki, I started the day with a gilet liner from another jacket and only by midday in 20+ degree sunshine did I feel warm enough to remove the liner.
Spidi do market the jacket as a summer jacket and have made the jacket compatible with their own thermal (€50) and waterproof liners (€80) with tabs in the jacket inner to interface with the liners. Just remember that when using the waterproof liner, you might stay dry, but your jacket will be soaked through and will need careful drying to prevent long term damage.
The two-part lining comprises smooth, slick sleeve sections and a more grippy waffle weave body meaning that it's easy to slide your arms in (even when wearing long-sleeved base-layers) while providing an insulated snug feel to your trunk. There is a large pocket to the back of the liner for the optional back protector. I would have liked to have seen more internal pockets, but the overall feel the liner is great and reflects the relatively high price point.
The Spidi Garage is a nicely styled retro jacket with a premium feel that reflects its premium price. While marketed as a summer jacket, the option is there to add additional elements to extend the range of the jacket into colder weather and wet weather use though the addition of a back protector, thermal liner and waterproof liner would add another €200 to the already high purchase price.
There is no denying that it looks great on or off the bike (to the point where I often wear it when nipping to the shops in the car or by foot), but ultimately, beyond the looks, there is little in the way of extraordinary features to justify the premium price, especially when you consider the lack of back protection as standard.