Sometimes in life you want the best of both worlds – and bike kit made from a combination of leather and textile can offer just that.
Held’s Hashiro 2 jacket has leather in the most critical impact zones around the shoulders, outer arms and either side of the torso. Then there’s high-breathing textile mesh down the front and back of the body.
Add in abrasion-resistant stretch fabric for the inside of the arms and plentiful amounts of accordion stretch panels and there’s impressive flexibility.
The mesh material works well at allowing air to flow through, which has kept me cool on some hot days in the saddle.
And if the needle on the temperature gauge gets giddy there’s the option to use Held’s ‘air dam’. This involves fastening a second mesh section that lives behind the main zip, then leaving the main zip undone so air can pass through more effectively but the jacket is still fastened.
Clever use of materials inside also helps maintain a comfortable temperature, mainly thanks to the 3D bubble lining around the back. This textured material helps air circulate across the skin to stop excessive heat build-up, especially important around the back.
The air-circulating material is most effective if used with an optional back protector insert in place rather than wearing a strap-on back protector as that sits between liner and rider, negating the benefit.
As well as the air-flowing mesh on the front and back, there are zipped vents at either side of the chest, though in reality I found these didn’t add noticeably to the amount of air entering the jacket.
Best to think of this, though, as a leather jacket with textile bits rather than the other way around as there’s no waterproof liner as you’d expect with an all-textile jacket.
The cuffs are racing-style neoprene stretch arrangements with a zip on each side to draw them tight around the wrist. I found this made it tricky to wear a chunky watch underneath the jacket, though this is a common issue with sporty leather jackets. I had two workarounds for this: 1) wearing short leather gloves so my watch could sit between glove and jacket or 2) putting the watch in my rucksack.
Where the Hashiro 2 deviates from pure sports leather jackets is in the practicality stakes. Pockets abound, with the customary two at each hip being joined by a pair of internal wallet pockets, a Napoleon pocket at the right breast and a neoprene pouch for a phone on the left breast.
There’s a connection zip that joins up to Held’s corresponding Takano 2 jeans, which I tested at the same time, and the pair create a good combination.
There’s no thermal liner as standard, but use of Held’s Clip-In Technology loops means a variety of thermal, windproof and waterproof liners can be bought as options and fitted inside.
Clip-In Technology also means an airbag can be fitted, either a high-tech eVest with motion sensors that predict a crash and inflate to protect the rider or the more old-school vest with a lanyard release that inflates if rider and bike part company.
Fitting an airbag inside would demand some attention to sizing, especially for those riders who like to wear their jackets tight. Held say the rule of thumb is to make sure there’s enough room to get a clenched fit inside the jacket at the chest and back to leave enough space for an airbag to inflate.
After just over 2000 miles of riding in warm to high temperatures with the Hashiro 2 I’ve been impressed with the way it combines performance and practicality. It’s a welcome relief to wear something that’s flexible and ventilated when the temperatures hit their heights.
Fit is true to size, though the sleeves are quite short and in smaller sizes the elbow armour extends almost as far as the wrist, meaning glove cuffs will have to go over even more material than usual.
Everything worked well for me during this test and the ventilation made the jacket comfortable to wear in conjunction with the Takano 2 jeans.
It uses the right materials in the right places, including abrasion-resistant stretch panels at the inner arm. More information on the jacket’s status under the CE testing standards would be welcome.
I can’t argue with Held’s efforts here. After over 2000 miles the Hashiro 2 could pass for a new jacket. Even copious quantities of splatted bugs cleaned off the white leather easily. Held’s customary attention to detail is plain to see.
Some light-reflective trim, a standard back protector insert and a thermal liner would be helpful.