Black Brand’s The Charmer Women’s Motorcycle Jacket Review
The Black Brand Charmer women’s motorcycle jacket exudes cool and turns heads, and makes a statement even when you are nowhere near your two-wheel ride. The non-technical jacket is cut from top grain goat leather and let’s you relax right into it on first wearing.The classic Mandarin-style design has been kicked up a notch with distressed seams throughout the jacket that provide an eye-catching contrast to the black leather. The layered shoulder work and extra sleeve panel add low-key stylish detail.
In keeping with the understated look, the only branding you’ll find on the Charmer is the black on black embroidered name on the cuffs of the jacket. (If you want to make a bigger statement, The Mantra by Black Brand has you more than covered.)The hip-length Charmer has an easy fit that flatters without restricting your movements on the bike. There is no tightening across my shoulders when grasping the bars, just a graceful drape of the leather across my back.Five-inch zippers can be found at the hips. They serve the same function as a two-way front zipper, allowing you to ease the lower fit of the jacket when astride your bike, avoiding that pooched silhouette that comes from a slightly hiked jacket.There are five generously sized pockets in the Charmer, giving me plenty of space to stash my iPhone, WoJo wallet, office keys, and NoNoise earplugs case, with room to spare.The four exterior pockets all have smooth action mid-gauge YKK zippers on display, nothing hidden discreetly in seams. The pulls are large enough that I can operate them without removing lightweight gloves.The upper chest pockets are nicely angled at the top of the chest, adding a softer look to the generally no-nonsense vibe of the Charmer. A solitary interior pocket is a deep Napoleon, and is not blocked when the liner is installed.A long-sleeve, quilted liner easily zips in or out, and two loop-and-snap attachments on the lower sides of the Charmer keep the liner tacked down. The sleeves have a set of loop-and-snaps at the wrists.They’re not color coded, which I always appreciate as it ensures I don’t install the liner sleeves twisted. Fortunately, the sleeves have ‘comfort zippers’ at the cuffs, so it’s not hard to fish inside and make the correct connections.Living in Southern California, I rarely ride in severely cold weather, yet I do appreciate a full liner over the vest alternative. For those who live in colder climes, the casual cut of The Charmer leaves room for adding an extra layer, even with the liner installed. This also gives enough space for air to circulate; I found that even with liner zipped in for a chilly morning ride, by opening the two vertical back vents as the day warmed up, the jacket flowed air and kept me comfortable.There are a few small details that add to the enjoyment of The Charmer. I like to hang my jacket on the back of my office door when I get to work, and The Charmer has a leather strap riveted to the inside back collar for just this purpose. Yes, I have a heavy duty hanger—it doesn’t look as cool.I also like the Black Brand skull logo seam tape along the interior perforated nylon liner. No one sees it but me, but it makes me smile. There’s also a leather pull with the company name stamped in tiny letters on the rivet—a tiny detail that adds to the enjoyment of The Charmer.Disappointingly, there is no impact protection in The Charmer, nor pockets for installing any optional armor, CE-rated or otherwise.In a nod to after hours riding in the otherwise night-blending black jacket, there is reflective trim integrated into the shoulder panels. It’s unnoticeable in daylight, but decently effective at night.Do note that sizing is quite large. Even though I used the sizing guide on the Black Brand website and ordered a Small—my usual size—it was much too large for my 5’ 6”, 115-pound frame. Even the XS was a tad bit roomy.The Charmer is a great looking casual riding jacket that works on or off the bike, and will be comfortable in all but extreme weather conditions.In addition to looking good in your Black Brand jacket, you can feel good about it, too—a portion of your purchase goes to support Homes For Our Troops, a non-profit organization that helps severely injured post-9/11 veterans.Action photography by Kevin Wing
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.