Motorcycles make a man look cool. Stereotypical as it may be, it’s a truth that’s been proven by the likes of Steve McQueen, Keanu Reeves and Marlon Brando. But you don’t need to actually ride a motorcycle to harness that Rebel Without a Cause aura. With heritage motorcycle trends revitalized over the past few years, there’s a new generation of more wearable moto clothes and accessories that are attracting biking pros and novices alike.
“What you’re seeing is actually something contemporary, but with tried-and-tested materials and styles,” says Jonny Cazzola, who along with cousin Robert Nightingale, founded motorcycling brand Malle. “Materials like waxed canvas have been used for well over a century—featuring in films like The Great Escape or On Any Sunday —but they suit modern tastes. It’s a far cry from the Hell’s Angels or those leather Power Ranger suits popularized in the eighties. Being able to confidently cross a continent, or simply park your bike and step into the office without feeling ridiculous…that is real freedom.”
Of course, these clothes reflect the type of bikes people are riding today. Subtle, retro café-racers and scramblers are hugely popular, while Harley Davidson suffers under the weight of an outdated, road-hog image. Newer marques like Mutt are actually producing bikes to fit current trends, and not the other way around.
Motorcycling is a gentleman’s pursuit now (just have a look at the slightly controversial Gentleman’s Ride), with suited salarymen and #menswear devotees coveting, say, Belstaff’s Trialmaster as much any seasoned motocross rider. Like so many of the pieces that have spurred this resurgence, it has authentic biker chops but a broader appeal. Cazzola echoes this: “Our products sit at the intersection between function and style. It has to work as hard off the bike as on it.” Here are ten of the best biker-style pieces of the moment—classic rider-approved garments to be enjoyed on, or off, the road.