Over the past few years, we’ve seen fewer options for sturdy, reliable motorcycle jackets and pants at a mid-range price. From the 1990s through the mid-2010s, there were several brands offering off-the-rack gear that offered basically the same high quality as hand-made stuff, but at a much more modest price.
In the past five years or so, that’s changed. There are exceptions for sure, but the market seems to be stratifying into more bottom-grade stuff, and more high-grade stuff, with less in the middle.
Gary Cuzner and his family are looking to change that. With their new line of Gryphon Moto gear, they’re trying to once again offer riders reasonably-priced quality, by combining their business sense of the Canadian market (Gary’s a longtime insider of Canada’s moto scene) with offshore manufacturing. The gear is manufactured in Asia and shipped to Canada, where Gryphon employees go over every piece of kit before shipping it out. In other words—there’s considerable hands-on quality control.
Cool. You know this gear has been carefully checked out before you buy it, then.
When I found out about it, I was keen to see how well this gear worked, and asked Gryphon to ship me a Vancouver jacket ($399.95-$466.95 CAD) and Indy pants ($269.95-283.95 CAD) for testing over fall and spring. Here’s what I found out:
This is a waterproof 3/4-length jacket that’s best-suited for spring and fall riding, although you can certainly use it in the heat of summer as well, if you open the vents. It’s fairly heavy, as it’s made of 600D nylon material, with 1680D patches in slide zones, where you’d land in a crash. There’s also a breathable, waterproof REISSA membrane built-in, which means you’re weatherproof without having to add a rain liner or shell, but it also adds to the jacket’s weight.
The weight and features of the Vancouver jacket mean it’s best-suited for touring, commuting or general street riding. You could press this into adventure bike duty or dual sport riding, but it would be very hot in the summer. Going for the white-coloured jacket would help here.
Gryphon ships the Vancouver with CE2-rated armour in shoulders, back and elbows; combined with the heavy nylon construction, I think this would offer about as much protection as anything else on the market in this price range.
About the vents I mentioned earlier—Gryphon calls these its High Volume Ventilation System, with large drop-down panels in front and vents in the rear. These high-volume venting systems have been around on various jackets for a while now, and if you’re moving, they do add a lot of cooling. If you’re at a stop, not so much, so that’s why I said this is best-suited for riding in fall or spring. Especially when you add in the puffer-style jacket liner, which is one of the nicer liners I’ve seen shipped with a mid-priced moto jacket. It has synthetic fill, not down, but it looks good when you wear it on its own. However, it does come with one disadvantage; it’s so bulky that your jacket is going to be a bit oversized to fit it, which obviously means you’ll have extra space in the jacket when you’re not wearing the liner.
Again, if you’re wearing this in cooler temperatures, that’s not a problem anyway. In the summer, I just cinched up the jacket’s adjusters (Gryphon built in a six-point adjustment system) and it was fine.
That’s generally my assessment of this jacket: It worked just fine. With plenty of practical pockets, lots of adjustment, decent weatherproofing (although I didn’t ride in much rain), I’d feel confident in wearing this on a cross-country trip. With proper YKK zippers used without, I wasn’t worried about the closure system suddenly crapping out.
I thought the added quilting in places added a nice aesthetic touch, especially for this price point, and generally, this jacket avoids the garish colours and trim that so many lower-priced jackets have. Overall, you’re getting good value for your dollars here. The only thing I didn’t really like was the jacket’s collar; I found that once I zipped off the included neck gaiter, the collar tended to dig at my neck a bit while wearing the jacket last fall. However, I haven’t had the same issues this spring, now that I’m wearing the jacket while riding again. I can’t explain that, but it’s how it worked out.
In summary: If I was buying a jacket for general street use, or touring, I’d consider this option, if my budget fell into the price range. The Vancouver jacket comes with a one-year warranty, and coming from a small business, I believe the owners will treat you right if you have questions or an issue. Find out more details here.
Indy riding pants
The Gryphon Indy riding pants have similar two-layer, waterproof construction as the Vancouver jacket, including large vent panels, including waterproof/breathable REISSA membrane, 600D nylon fabric with 1680D fabric at the knee, and some pretty decent-looking trim, including accordion stretch panels at the knee and back of the pants. CE2 kneepads also come standard, as well as hip pockets and cargo-style thigh pockets.
The waist is highly adjustable, and holds a zipper you can use to attach the pants to the jacket. There’s a large opening at the bottom of the pants, and I never had any issues sliding them over my boots (although sometimes the internal liner would get a bit tangled, but that was easily sorted).
Sounds like just the setup for a pair of serious touring pants! Unfortunately for me, the Indy pants didn’t quite fit my body shape—it might have been OK if I was riding a cruiser or some other bike with a low seat, but when I swung my leg high over my WR250R’s saddle, the pants would always bind up in the crotch; I think the gusset wasn’t quite large enough to allow such a range of motion. As such, if you’re looking for pants with these features, I will say that these come in at a good price and well-designed generally, but I’d want to try them on to make sure they’d suit your needs.
It’s great to see a Canadian company putting an emphasis on value, when so many riding equipment companies have aimed at quick-buck turnover at the low end at the expense of quality, or high-end, high-performance gear that’s outside the price range of many riders. I think Gryphon’s kit does a good job of filling up that space in the middle, and if you can get the fit right, it is worth checking out.