The surprising style of the unphotogenic ICON Akorp jacket
“I’ll get that helmet right out, and I’m going to throw something else in I think you may like,” was the e-mail I got from ICON after discussing the Airframe Ghost Carbon helmet.
I Google the Akorp jacket to see what he’s sending me and I’m thinking I should have just politely declined. It’s a hassle to ship stuff back and then there’s the inevitably awkward conversation about how it just wasn’t the kind of thing we wanted to highlight. A week later the package arrives and I immediately open it, wondering if I can find something nice to say.
Our next correspondence went something like this: “Holy shit, this thing is beautiful. You should fire your photographer. The material is incredibly nice in person and it fits far better than your photos make it seem like it would. That picture makes it look like a paper bag! P.S. The Packers still suck.”
As is turns out, I also had difficulty making the Akorp shine in photos, so I suppose the photographer should keep his job. None of that changes the fact that the ICON Akorp is one of the best pieces I saw in 2013.
The resin-coated canvas is much heavier than the typical canvas jacket. It actually feels like it would offer decent abrasion resistance and, when paired with D30 armor in the shoulders, elbows, and back, actually keep you safe in a crash. The “highland-coated” 12-ounce canvas (roughly the same as 650 to 800 Denier synthetic material) chassis is supported by 1.3mm Brazilian cowhide leather on the elbows. The same leather is also used as trim throughout the jacket for aesthetic purposes.
The Akorp comes with a quilted vest liner, which helps both with comfort and temperature management. It has a rear waist belt adjustment to help tailor the fit and give the waist a slightly narrower profile if desired. In front, the main closure and the flaps over the pockets are fitted with magnets inside the flaps to keep them closed.
The overall fit of the ICON Akorp is really good. I haven’t found a jacket yet that’s as thin as I’d like, but it’s only through that lens that I say it’s slightly boxy. The Akorp is one of the few jackets I can wear sans hoodie, as its sleeves are actually a decent length. The torso of the jacket is neither sport-fit short nor three-quarters long and falls right at the middle of my butt.
The ICON Akorp is stunning. So stunning I’ve taken the armor out and worn it for a night on the town. So stunning that when my roommate borrowed it to ride to a party, Brian Logan Dales of the pop band The Summer Set said he wanted to learn to ride motorcycles just so he could get away with wearing the jacket. The only jacket I’ve seen that may look cooler is some of the Deth Killers leather jackets that retail in the $1,500 range.
When I was writing for RideApart, we posted one of ICON’s crazy drift videos and a commenter mentioned that he wished ICON would spend less money on awesome videos and more money trying to make their gear not suck. When I found out we were going to be at the same event, I took the Akorp along to see if he would change his mind. After wearing it for a minute, he agreed it was one of the nicest looking and fitting motorcycle jackets he’d seen.
The bottom line: The Akorp is a well-styled, well fitting, decently protective piece of motorcycle gear. It’s worth every dollar of its $515 price tag, assuming all of those things are important to you and you’ve seen the competition.
What got ZLAonked
The ICON Akorp is not made of leather and isn’t reinforced with Kevlar, and is therefore not as protective as some of the other riding gear on the market, but I feel confident in its ability to keep me safe for 99 percent of the riding I do. Plus, while the resin coating will probably help repel dirt and moisture, Icon makes no claims of water resistance for the Akorp, so you’ll have to consider additional measures to protect both yourself and perhaps your jacket.
If we’re being nitpicky, the rare earth magnet idea is better in theory than in practice. You clearly wouldn’t want to rely on the magnets to keep the jacket closed when riding, but when you’re walking around and want the jacket open, the magnets sometimes manage to connect themselves. Buttons or snaps would give you better control over the jacket’s closure.
The ZLA verdict
Obviously, personal style and fit play a huge role into the desirability of a piece of gear like this one. However, if this jacket is on your list of possibilities, I highly recommend you give it some serious consideration. I think it's one of the nicest options available, not just for guys who care about style, for all riders, period.