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Ladies Classic ’92 by Joe Rocket

When it comes to riding gear, we’ll admit to a certain level of vanity. While utility and safety are always our most important criteria when choosing our gear, we’re not immune to wanting to look good when we’re riding. That’s often easier said than done, especially for the price conscious among us who simply can’t afford some of the more seriously nice top-shelf gear. But as we discovered, sometimes you can have it all.

Joe Rocket Ladies Classic ’92

First up is Joe Rocket’s Ladies Classic ’92, their latest in a growing list of gear for women, and a jacket that looked ideal for my 23-year-old daughter. Up to now, Madeline didn’t have her own dedicated gear, instead using various pieces that had accumulated in the household over the years, including her mom’s old gear. But it was time to find something just for her, and this sharp, retro-styled leather jacket looked like it would fit the bill.

Made of drum-dyed cowhide, the Ladies Classic ’92 has the classic good looks Madeline was looking for, while also providing the protection she needs. Leather is an excellent first line of defense, but there’s no arguing the additional impact and abrasion protection of CE-certified armor and the Classic ’92 has pockets in the shoulders, elbows and back for optional armor. Bought together the armor will set you back an additional $70, money we consider well spent.

The leather’s 1mm-1.2mm thickness puts it at the thin end of what’s considered best from a safety perspective (1.2mm-1.6mm is generally considered best), yet while thicker is better, a thinner cut also means lighter weight, and in this case it translates to a very soft, supple and comfortable jacket that doesn’t feel like it’s weighing you down, even with the added optional armor.

The downside to a lighter jacket is often warmth, or lack thereof, but the Ladies Classic ’92’s zip-in quilted liner features full sleeves (most are just vests), and with the liner installed the jacket’s proven perfectly comfortable in temps down to the lower 40s. Its functional design extends to little things, like a 1.5-inch storm flap behind the main zipper to keep out the wind, along with snaps at the waist to adjust the fit and zippered cuffs. It also has plenty of pockets, with five on the inside for stashing small items and another five on the outside, including two breast pockets, two hand pockets and a small zippered pocket on the right sleeve that’s perfect for stashing ear plugs.

After following Joe Rocket’s online sizing guide and taking their suggested measurements (bust, waist and hip), Madeline ordered a medium. Cut specifically for a woman’s body, the Classic ’92 presents a tailored fit that compliments the wearer, and Madeline’s Classic ’92 fits her perfectly.

The riding season’s still young, but so far the Ladies Classic ’92 has proven to be a well-made, comfortable, good-looking three-season jacket at a reasonable price that’s ready to deliver years of service. Available in black/white (shown) or brown/cream. Price: $299.99. — Richard Backus