I flew out to Rapid City a week ago with just a Bandit's Bedroll packed to the gills and a 5/8 Jack Shirt to carry me through our Sturgis Underhanded Run organized by Commander Edge from the Smoke Out. He plotted to organize a run to dodge the 75th Sturgis traffic, and it worked. The Commander wore a 5-Ball Special Ops jacked with removable sleeves. He was riding with his son, and Tyler Ludlow, Bikernet Contributing Editor, rode the Badlands with his dad, Mike. Another newbie, Rich Worley rode my new 2014 Indian from his sharp Charleston Dealership, American Biker. We performed the first Indian Chief cross-country run—at least we hope so, goddammit. After Rich slammed out three 600-mile days the Chief baton turned to me and I started to ride the Badlands every day while wearing the Jack Shirt. It's actually a helluva balance between a vest and a jacked. Then I straddled the Indian, strapped down my Bedroll and hit the road to complete my portion of the cross-country and peel to the west coast.
With just a set of thermal underwear and one fleece sweatshirt, I consistently straddled the stable Indian and peeled out at ridiculous times, like 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. Surrounded by 42-46 degree temps and once in storm-following high-speed winds, I was able to cut a dusty trail consistently and comfortably. I was surprised how well the “Jack” handled the road and brisk weather. I have one of the test models, but new units with two gun pockets will carry bunches securely, like pistols, cell phones, maps, bags of nutritional trail mix, you name it. This puppy was the shit, comfortable, warm and secure. As the sun blazed into the sky, I could strip off the fleece and I was good to go in the heat of the afternoon. Four days, 1650 miles, and a redhead waiting, and I rolled up to the waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. The 5/8 Jack from 5-Ball Leathers answered a lot of questions regarding a leather shirt capable of hot afternoons, or cold mornings. If you're going to ride multiple days under a scorching sun consider sunblock on your forearms, or a light long sleeve shirt. Let's cut another dusty trail.