Merlin clothing have been making uber-cool ‘heritage’ motorcycle kit from their Midlands base since 2011, but they’ve recently turned their attention to the travel world, with some interesting results.
They’ve just released their new ‘Explorer’ collection and stock has started to roll out to retailers worldwide. It’s certainly a departure from what we now consider more traditional ‘adventure’ riding gear, but here at Overland we think that’s no bad thing if it makes it possible to blend-in a little more when you travel.
The perhaps predictably named ‘Explorer’ range sits alongside their existing ‘Heritage’ and ‘Leisure’ offerings and provides riders with durable adventure gear designed with Merlin’s signature style.
Merlin claim that as motorcycles become ever-more versatile, so riders need their kit to be more versatile too and they’ve tried to ensure this new range covers every eventuality, which of course would be perfect for riders like us who need gear to do a little bit of everything.
The quality of the Merlin gear that I’ve experienced to date cannot be questioned, so it will be interesting to see how the claims of versatility stand up, as we are yet to test any of the new Explorer range, which includes boots and gloves. What I can say now is that they’ve combined durable materials such as Cordura®, D3O® armour and their signature Halley Stevensons® waxed cotton and really majored on the style using incredibly classy muted colours.
The waxed cotton Expedition jacket (£329) has leather elbows and edges to pockets and areas which may rub, and inside there’s a zip-out Reissa® Active waterproof membrane and 125g Thermal Liner as a single layer which can doubtless be used a useful jacket in its own right. There are internal and external pockets galore but until tested I won’t claim their resistance to water. The combination of waxed cotton outer and Reissa® inner though, should render the main jacket resistant to even an Irish summer. What it may suffer from is limited venting for the heat, but again, that’s yet to be seen.
The ‘Chigwell’ jacket, a hundred pounds cheaper at £229, is a combination of technical wax cotton and mesh so will definitely provide more airflow and is fitted with the same thermal, waterproof liner. The ‘Nomad’ jacket at £339 is called a touring jacket and is lighter weight materials with fewer pockets, but there are many variations on a theme from which to choose.
Merlin already produce some overland equipment such as the Mojave Adventure Boots, if you’re one who likes to stay off-road, but if your travelling isn’t quite as extreme then having a single pair of boots like the Merlin Bandits (£149) to wear on and off the bike, might be more suitable.
Then there are the Ranger gloves constructed using a combination of 12oz waxed cotton and leather, with D30 knuckle protection, a Sympatex® waterproof liner and thermal insulation. I can’t say I’ve ever seen waxed-cotton gloves but watch this space for a review!
The complete Merlin range, with technical information, options and prices, can be found here www.merlinbikegear.com