Icon Motorsports at 20 Years [Longest-Term Test Results]

Icon 20th Anniversary - Tarmac Jacket
This Tarmac textile and leather jacket was my first Icon purchase. It is still in service, looks good, and is intact. The jacket is shown here with an Icon Alliance helmet (dressed up for use in competition at Bonneville) and Icon Twenty-niner riding gloves. The H-D patches were added to the jacket.

Most media coverage of motorsports is about the here-and-now of events and the latest products being offered. Even long-term reviews are rarely over a year in duration. That said, consumers expect riding gear to last much more than a year or two in normal use. In that spirit, we try to offer some true long-term, life-cycle reviews of a variety of Icon Motorsports products. This may be the longest term we’ve ever attempted, as my experience with the Icon product line goes back almost to the company’s beginning.

Icon Motorsports at 20 Years: 29er Gloves
The Icon Twenty-niner gloves are designed for warm to hot weather riding, but I’ve found they work well in cooler weather. The materials and construction have held up very well over the years.

Looking back on it, I don’t remember exactly when I got my first Icon product. I’m pretty sure it was in 2005 when I bought a Tarmac jacket from Vetesnik’s Powersports in Richland Center, Wisc. I liked the jacket’s sharp black-and-white contrasting color scheme, race-inspired brand patches, free-breathing heavy-duty mesh material, and impact protectors. I think it was the first armored mesh riding jacket I ever had.

I had never heard of the Icon Motorsports brand, as the company had only started in 2002. I had doubts about the Tarmac jacket’s durability, and the idea of zip-off sleeves struck me as a little strange—a needless feature that adds zippers that could fail. Regardless, I thought it looked cool and had features I had never experienced.

In the heat of summer, having a full-coverage riding jacket that promised even better protection than my old leather riding jacket and full-body flow-through ventilation was just too good to pass up.

The tiny medal attached inside the Napoleon pocket says, “St. Christopher Protect Us”. That was also new to me as an included feature, but apparently, it has worked. I’ve never put the Tarmac’s crash protective qualities to the test in all those years. Another plus is the chassis and lining are 100 percent polyester, so the thing can be machine or hand-washed in cool water before hang-drying.

Icon Motorsports at 20: Asphalt jacket
Nearly as old as the Tarmac jacket, the Icon Asphalt Technologies jacket has shoulder and elbow armor, ventilates well, fits comfortably, and looks sharp. Paired with the Icon Airform full-face helmet and Twenty-niner gloves, it still provides upper body protection. H-D patch added for personalization.

It turns out, I needn’t have worried. Seventeen years later, that old Icon Tarmac jacket remains in service. All the zippers, including those on the parting line of the zip-off sleeves, remain operational. Of course, I’ve only zipped off the sleeves once in all those years, just to check out how well it works. There have been no seam failures, no appreciable color-fading, and the tough-feeling mesh chassis is entirely intact—no fabric fraying or failures. The only part of the jacket that required replacement was the shoulder armor, which started to break into chunks after 14 years of service.

Icon Motorsports, owned by LeMans Corp., is in its 20th year in business, so I am among the relatively early adopters of its products. I didn’t realize until I took an inventory just how many of them there have been since that first Tarmac jacket. In more-or-less chronological order, here is my Icon closet:

Tarmac textile jacket. Once, when I was gassing up my bike, a rider approached me and asked where he could get a jacket like mine. When I told him how old it was and that it was long out of production, he offered to buy it from me right there on the spot!

Asphalt Technologies textile jacket. With its tough mesh material, impact protectors, and vivid white-on-black graphic elements, this jacket looks cool, fits comfortably, and has lasted like a jacket costing much more than I paid for it.

Icon Motorsports at 20: Overlord Prime jacket
High-performance leather and textile materials, sharp design, and color with attack fit make the Icon Overlord Prime—now 10 years old—a great jacket for nearly any type of riding when paired with Icon’s Airform full-face helmet.

Overlord Prime leather jacket. This jacket is now 10 years old and has seen a lot of use, yet shows very little wear. Don’t miss my review of the Icon Overlord Prime jacket.

Ti-Max Textile jacket. When I bought this jacket, I was told it was the most expensive textile jacket Icon had ever made. It includes one of the best full-sleeve, quilted-insulation zip-out liners I’ve seen. It is as good as most of my winter jackets for cold weather, despite being built on a mesh chassis. The only real drawback is the absence of hand-warmer pockets. The back features a unique series of external back pads that overlap in a fish-scale configuration.

Mil-spec Contra High-Viz jacket. This jacket includes an excellent full-sleeve zip-out quilted insulated liner and extensive reflective material. You can see it in action in my review of the 2023 Royal Enfield Scram 411.

Raiden Patrol jacket. Designed for the ADV market, with its full-sleeve, quilted insulated liner zipped in, the Raiden Patrol is my choice for winter riding, whether on a motorcycle or on my Sno-Runner. It’s about as weather-protective and warm as any snowmobile jacket I’ve owned, and has something they don’t—impact protectors and provisions for a hydration bladder. With its competition-inspired graphics, reflective design elements, and bright color scheme, it enhances conspicuity on the road or the trail.

Radien Patrol Jacket
Designed for the ADV market, the Raiden Patrol jacket’s full complement of impact protectors and insulated full-sleeve liner is perfect for cold weather work, even in the snow on my wild little Chrysler Sno-Runner.
  • Barrier pants. Although now faded, these pants remain intact and keep me warm on a chilly day.
  • ARC armored overpants. These pants feature impact protection on the knees and huge pockets down the legs. Worn over a pair of insulated jeans or the Icon Barrier pants, they are great for cold weather.
  • Twenty-niner riding gloves. These gloves go way back in my inventory and are still intact despite a lot of use.
  • Alliance full-face helmet. This gloss-white helmet went to the Bonneville Salt Flats with me and down the road for many miles since. The Hydra-dry comfort liner is intact, while the vent shutters and faceshield hinges continue to work fine. I have had to retire it due to it aging out—five years of riding is the maximum for a helmet.
  • Airform full-face helmet. I reviewed the Icon Airform three years ago.Icon 1000 Navigator Portfolio Review | Get your Stuff Together
  • Icon 1000 Navigator portfolio. Check out my review of the Navigator portfolio. This nifty product is still in use, permanently assigned to my Triumph Bonneville T214 Special Edition.

You may think the reason for such an extensive list is that all were provided by Icon for review. However, of all those products, only three came to me that way; all the rest were by my purchase, including the Twenty-niner gloves, which were the subject of a review when I wrote for Ride Apart.

How has Icon defined itself in the marketplace? Here’s what the Portland, Oregon-based company says about itself: “As a company of riders, we understand our kind, we know what goes on in our minds…and we’ve felt the pain when the inevitable occurs. This firsthand knowledge leads our inspired product design, industry-leading imagery, and top-notch service. Our core mission is protecting riders whenever and however we can, knowing that reckoning day is coming for all of us. Be prepared, ride smart, and ‘Ride Among Us.’”

The company has not let its 20th anniversary go unnoticed. It has created a limited edition—only 100 to be produced and sold out—jacket christened the Slabtown Memento. Indeed, the design elements of high-contrast color, vivid graphics, and multi-material construction that made me a fan way back when in that first Tarmac jacket are all there.

Over the years, I’ve gone from my early skepticism of a new brand with unknown quality and durability to a regular and long-term user of the line of products that has broadened, diversified, and proven to have high durability over the years. Given Icon’s 20 years in the business, it appears I’m not the only one.