Roland Sands Design Barfly Jacket Test | Café and Cruiser Ready
One of my favorite knock around gloves for urban rides is the Barfly from Roland Sands Design. Fully leather, with a hint of retro design, the Barfly gloves look good with whatever I’m riding. The same can be said for the companion piece, the Roland Sands Design Barfly jacket—it’s wear-anywhere, on-anything gear.
Made of top grain cowhide around a millimeter thick, give or take a hair, depending on where on the jacket you’re measuring, the Barfly comes with an already broken-in feel that becomes one with on its initial ride. You can feel that coming as soon as you take the jacket off the hanger, as it has an indisputably premium feel, along with the intoxicating aroma of oiled and waxed leather.
As you prepare to slip it on, you’re likely to be distracted, as I always am, by the gold satin-poly lining. The satin extends down the arms, so if you aren’t wearing a long sleeve shirt, you can feel the luxury directly.
There is a perforated portion of the liner, under your arms and down the sides. This corresponds with perforated leather under your arms, allowing for airflow where you most need it to keep the jacket smelling more like leather than anything else.
The Barfly works as a multi-season jacket for urban rides. The waxed leather helps if there’s a bit of moisture in the air, and the underarm venting, lightweight leather, and thin lining means you can wear it in warmer conditions. If it’s a cold night, slip on a base layer and everything will be fine around town. Regardless, when I show up at my destination, people admire the Barfly and often tell me so. Inspired by classic vintage dirt track racing apparel, it looks that universally good.
From a practical riding standpoint, it’s pure Roland Sands Design philosophy. RSD builds some radical custom bikes that seem to be only for show, but the racing background of Roland Sands means they are actually rideable machines. So, too, with the Barfly jacket.
Arriving without armor, the Barfly flies in the face of the ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) convention, and it does provide abrasion protection in a fall, but you’ll have to do without impact resistance. However, there are pockets for shoulder, elbow, and back protectors, so you can dial in exactly how much safety you feel you need for the risks you’re taking on.
From a practical standpoint, there is a single zippered interior pocket for your smartphone, and two hand pockets (with the same gold satin lining) that both feature a zipper with a stylish leather pull with an RS rivet detail. There are two large cargo-carrying stretch mesh pockets inside the jacket, but they don’t feel secure and I can’t think of anything I’d actually put in them. Besides, if you filled them, the Barfly would start to look lumpy.
High-end and reflecting a commitment to excuse-free stylishness, the Roland Sands Design Barfly jacket is an essential piece of apparel for the well-dressed urban rider, regardless of mount.
Photography by Kelly Callan
Roland Sands Design Barfly Jacket Fast Facts
Colors: Tobacco; Black
Roland Sands Design Barfly Jacket Price: $300, closeout (originally, $520 MSRP)