Speed & Strength Motorcycle Gear
Although image isn’t everything in this world, the importance of managing a brand’s perception is crucial to a company’s success. Speed & Strength, a relative newcomer to the motorcycle apparel world, has positioned itself quite effectively, starting with its unambiguous name.
Speed & Strength’s latest collection – Rage With The Machine – taps into the revolutionary image of the not-coincidentally similarly named Los Angeles band that produced innovative music in the rap, funk, metal, and alternative genres in the 1990s and beyond.
Leading the way in the RWTM collection is the jacket. Primarily a textile jacket for warmer weather – there’s no insulated liner – the styling is bold and aggressive without the use of distracting graphics, yet the designers did not forget about practicality and adaptability.
Keeping with the warm weather focus, the sleeves of the jacket, which include CE-approved elbow protection, quickly zip and Velcro off, turning the piece into a vest. We don’t prefer to ride that way‚ even though the CE-approved shoulder armor remains on the vest‚ but it can be a convenient option at a summer stop.
Eight leather belt straps – three per side above your waist, and one over each shoulder – highlight the main portion of the jacket. These perform as unmistakable styling features, as well as having a functional side. Each strap is fully adjustable by length via a hook-and-loop buckle system, giving you a custom fit around your mid-section and shoulders.
This precludes hand pockets, though there is a single chest pocket with a ruggedly exposed zipper, plus a single zip-close interior pocket. This is Speed & Strength – ride light with little cargo. Also inside the jacket is a large zipped pocket for the included and removable back protector. The jacket attaches to RWTM pants, though we were unable to secure a pair for testing.
When the weather’s right, the jacket is extremely comfortable. The RWTM jacket isn’t vented, as S&S expects you to pull off the sleeves if it gets hot. So, check the forecast before venturing out. This is definitely a standout jacket, so don’t wear it if you don;t like attention or questions – people will ask where you got it.
Downy soft inside and rugged on the outside, the Rage With the Machine leather gloves are winners. Plastic knuckle protectors are vented, keeping in line with the jacket, and padding takes care of the tops of your thumbs and fingers.
The leather is thin on the palm and fingers, for excellent feel and flexibility when riding, with a bit of protection where needed, should you find yourself on your palms unexpectedly. Small flex zones make finger movement just that tiny bit easier.
Like the jacket, the RWTM gloves make a fashion statement with design, rather than graphics. The look is subtly tough, and the function of the gloves is outstanding.
Speed & Strength’s Rage With The Machine helmet is the odd man out in the ensemble. It’s a standard mid-range helmet that fits well with a comfortable liner. The mouth guard and visor are situated close to your face – some people like that, others do not.
As you often find on modular helmets, a plastic sawtooth chinstrap is used, rather than double-D rings. The advantage is that you can set the strap length and forget it – simply slide the plastic portion in the buckle until the right click is hit.
On the downside, the graphics are cartoonish. They replicate the buckles on the jacket, but faux graffiti seems out of place with the more purposeful look of the jacket and gloves. Taste is taste, of course, so your mileage may vary.
Speed & Strength is working on its niche in the apparel world, and the stylish and functional Rage With The Machine collection will certainly help establish a credible corporate identity.
For additional information on Speed & Strength, click here.
This story is featured in the 2013 March/April issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine—available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition, please visit our Subscriber Services page.