It's official: ICON is making the best moto-video content on the interwebs.
Motorcycle video content used to be good. Wes and I were on the right track with the RideApart vids and Jamie Robinson's MotoGeo had all sorts of fun adventures. Now, Wes writes about camping with his dog and Jamie has turned MotoGeo into a giant Ducati commercial, leaving the arena wide open for the ICON guys to knock one out of the park.
Their previous attempt, "Lords Of Atlas - Mexican 1000" followed Ernie Vigil and crew down to Mexico to race the Mexican 1000. It was like some sort of stunt video/Dust To Glory mashup and had me glued to my seat for its duration. This latest video, "Lords Of Atlas - Alcan 5000," is a huge step forward, and might be the best motorcycle video I've ever watched. The riding is incredible, the story is interesting, and the characters are fun. Ernie is a great lead and has grown immensely on camera, no longer coming off as just some stunt dude, but a really solid rider and personality. I'd love to see the powers that be bring along a second strong character, though it's fun to watch Johnny Scheff from Motoworks Chicago (one of the bike's main sponsors) try to keep up and save face in the process.
There are some pretty glaring attempts to push the products and services of the sponsors, but if they keep turning out content at this caliber, I sort of don't mind. Hopefully this video does well and all the parties involved find it worth their hard-earned money to keep making 'em and we see the series only get bigger and better.
I love that they let Ernie do his thing on the bikes, love that they're largely unedited and full of cursing, and love the general spirit of adventure. I hope to see the camera work and angles improve slightly, and am pretty sure they should just send me on the next adventure as Ernie's co-conspirator. I'm great at making bad decisions. That part about the guy riding out and getting stuck in the mud reminded me of a similar mistake I made on our Arizona trip.
On a side note, I didn't ride to Alaska, but I was inspired by the video to put on my new ICON Raiden DKR jacket and head to lunch in the rain. The light rain turned about as hard as we get here in Southern California, but the jacket kept me completely dry on my 45-minute trip. Wearing just a T-shirt underneath, I was a bit cold and the rain hurt as it hit, a result of the jacket being pretty lightweight, but I was very impressed at how not a single area showed signs of leaking.
One person who commented on my Instagram asked if it would be good in a place like the tropics, and I said I thought that environment was perfect for the new Raiden gear. It's great in hot weather and stood up well in a quick downpour, but I might look for something a little heavier as my main outer layer if I were riding in the Northeast.