Date reviewed: September 2018 | Tested by: Simon Hancocks | Price: £229.99 | www.oxfordproducts.com
I’ve been using the Bladon jacket for about three months and have covered roughly three thousand while riding cruisers, sportsbikes, nakeds and my long-term Multistrada 1260S.
The outer construction is 100% cow-hide with triple-stitched, hidden seams. It’s available in three colours; black (shown here), brown and racing green. The arms are detailed with double white pin-stripes finishing in a zipped cuff. Fastening at the front is taken care of by a single YKK zip with a placket (leather flap situated behind the zip) for protection from the elements.
I think the styling of this jacket is probably the best I’ve seen; it mixes old-school details with a more modern, slim-fit design that makes it useful on more than just retro café-racers and classic bikes. The leather is soft and from the first day riding it felt comfortable, unlike some leather kit that feels stiff for the first few weeks.
The leather collar of the Bladon is perforated and soft, making it pleasant to wear even with a few days of stubble.
The Bladon has CE-approved shoulder and elbow protection that’s quickly and easily removed for washing or if you want to wear the jacket down the pub. The jacket itself has not been tested to CE standards.
From April 21 2018, all motorcycle clothing sold in the UK 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.
I’m 5’7” and about 12 stone, and this medium (size 40) is perfect. I’ve ridden quite a few bikes while wearing it and only found it restricted my movement when I was on a Ducati Panigale; its head-down and tucked riding position meant the leather was stretched over my shoulders and upper arms, and while it didn’t make riding impossible, it would reduce the distance I could go in one hit.
Another factor affected by the styling is that the cuffs require the zips to be undone when taking off the jacket or putting it on – which is fine and a good safety feature. The problem is, even when undone, you still have to wriggle about quite a bit to get your arm out! It’s not an issue really and I suppose it makes the jacket more secure should you come off.
There are four exterior pockets – two smaller upper and two larger lower – that are all lined and secured with YKK zips. The two chest pockets are fairly small and the opening is quite tight meaning they’re mainly only good for carrying small amounts of change and receipts. The two lower are what Oxford call ‘hand warmer pockets’. I’m not sure what that means as they don’t feel particularly warm and are lined in the same cotton and polyester mix as the rest of the jacket.
There’s a small pocket inside the left-hand-side of the jacket, which is designed to carry sunglasses and is secured with a Velcro flap. There’s another larger pocket on the right-hand-side that’s big enough to carry your phone and wallet, although this does make the front of the jacket quite tight if it’s overfilled.
There are no hidden pockets built into the lining of the jacket, which is a bit of a pain as I find them really handy for storing receipts.
The lining of the Bladon is fairly thin with no thermal layers and although warm enough for every ride I’ve done so far, I can’t see me wearing it much later than the middle of October , at least without a thermal under-jacket anyway.
There are three main things I look for in a jacket; protection, styling and functionality. The Oxford Bladon does them all. It’s a very well made and styled jacket that I can use in a number of different situations and still feel comfortable and protected. Yes, some of the pockets are a little small and the addition of a thermal liner would extend the use by another month or so but in truth, good quality fleece liners can be picked up cheaply and would do the trick. A hidden inner pocket would also be nice but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
I also think the Bladon is extremely good value for money – under £230 for a jacket that works on scooters, sportsbikes, cruisers and nakeds is great, especially one that looks this good.