ICON 1000 VARIAL COLLECTION
Undercover kit that covers the bases
WE THREW ICON’S Varial Collection at the Utah and Arizona deserts during our supercharged Kawasaki throwdown. With temperatures swinging from the mid-40s to the upper 80s, the kit had its work cut out for it.
Our feet got a pair of Truant 2s, a sort of unclassifiable moto shoe. With a hightop upper and a moccasin lower, they don’t fit into any easy category. They are comfortable, though, and offer a D3O ankle plate. We had our doubts about those laces, but the thick cordage stays tied even after a long day of riding. If there’s a drawback, it’s in the stiff upper, which can dig into your lower shin at a full tuck.
The Varial pants with their Cordura denim and stout leather knees wear well, though we wouldn’t mind a closer, more European cut. There’s not a preponderance of ventilation or adjustment, but large pockets and a discreet design make the slacks a winner.
Likewise, the Varial jacket looks more like a casual bit of everyday wear than a piece of bike gear. Icon calls it a “modern jogger silhouette.” That’s nice when you’re off the machine, but the design comes with some compromises. At a good clip, the hood flaps and whips around your neck. It’s easily solved by tucking the thing in, but we’d prefer the hood to be removable altogether. It does look like a million bucks, and ventilates fairly well with chest intakes and a large back vent.
The stars of the class are the Axys gloves. The two-tone leather is gorgeous, with soft French cowskin outers and tough goatskin palms. D3O knuckle protectors help keep your bones in one piece, and the accordion panels allow for a snug fit that doesn’t limit circulation.
The Airflite helmet with Fliteshield visor finishes off the collection. With a mirror finish, the thing can’t help but make you look like a henchman sent from the future to suffer through traffic, but there’s some logic to the design. It’s surprisingly quiet, thanks in part to the fact that there’s nowhere for air to get around the visor. A second, hidden dropshield does away with the need for sunglasses, and the Hydradry interior liner handled our sweaty scalp without turning into a swamp.