Nothing says bad-ass like a leather motorcycle jacket. But aside from its appearance, there are several other benefits that leather jackets offer. We all know leather is tough. When it comes to withstanding a spill it offers some of the best bang for buck abrasion protection. Leather is also inherently waterproof so it’ll keep you dry in a downpour. And, unlike tech fabrics, it has the unique ability to change shape over time and tailor itself to your body shape.
UK riding gear brand Enginehawk is a big fan of leather. This is why it plays a big part in their 2021 range of riding jackets. Amongst the styles on offer is the Hawkeye UV a classically styled leather motorcycle jacket that’ll look right at home on just about any bike.
Who the hell is Enginehawk?
If you’re unfamiliar with the Enginehawk name it’s because the brand has only been around since early 2021. I’d find it hard however to believe any self-respecting motorcyclist wouldn’t have heard of them. In the lead up to and after the launch of their inaugural range Enginehawk were popping up everywhere online. All the big websites, moto-vloggers and Instagram accounts were raving about them. This was thanks to some clever marketing and a strong connection to the motorcycle scene.
Interestingly this isn’t the companies founders first foray into motorcyclist riding gear. They are also the crew behind the helmet brand Ruroc which produces a range of motorcycle helmets called the Atlas. During the development of those helmets, they noticed a hole in the market for motorcycle riding gear that held form and function in the same regard – and thus Enginehawk was born.
The Enginehawk Hawkeye UV jacket
After falling victim to the Enginehawk’s enticing marketing, slick photography and rave reviews I got my hands on a Hawkeye UV leather jacket to see what all the fuss was about.
The Enginehawk Hawkeye UV jacket features a 90% full-grain leather outer. The only area not covered by leather is the underside of each arm. There you’ll find a nylon and polyurethane material designed to allow airflow. The Hawkeye UV jacket closes using a single, two-way YKK zip at the front and has a press stud collar at the neck. Behind the main zipper, Enginhawk has included a leather flap that helps to prevent the wind and moisture from getting in. Zips on the sides of the torso offer the ability to adjust the fit while a zip on each sleeve can be opened to allow more air in.
Internally the Hawkeye UV features a 100% polyester mesh liner designed to wick moisture and keep temperatures in check. To extend the Hawkeye UV’s use into the cooler months the jacket is compatible with Enginehawk’s optional Thermo Bomber or Thermo Vest. These can be purchased separately and are attached using a zip fastener that runs around the inside of the jacket.
As for storage, the Hawkeye UV features a total of 5 pockets. There are 2 zippered external mesh-lined pockets that can be left open to encourage air ingress, 2 internal stow pockets on either side of the stomach and one vertical closure internal pocket at the chest for stashing valuables.
Any garment that is labelled motorcycle apparel should offer some form of rider protection. For Enginehawk, keeping riders safe is a top priority which is why the Hawkeye UV is AA CE approved. To achieve that rating the jacket underwent strict testing to ensure it conforms to the latest safety regulations. The resulting AA rating is partly thanks to the use of highly abrasion-resistant leather, but there are other factors at play here too.
During the development of their products, Enginehawk teamed up with Europe’s biggest manufacturer of PPE CE approved armour, SAS-TEC. As a result, the Hawkeye UV jacket ships with a complete set (elbow, shoulder and back) of SAS-TEC level 1 shock-absorbing armour.
Enginehawk has also integrated another safety feature into the Hawkeye UV that’s designed to increase your presence on the road. Running along each bicep are 2 ‘Carbon Black’ stripes. During the day the stripes look simply like a design feature, but when a light is shone on them at night they glow a bright white/silver.
What it’s like to wear…
As explained in Enginehawk’s fitment video the Hawkeye UV jacket fits true to size, so I went with a medium. They call the jacket’s cut a ‘functional fit’ which they went with in order to achieve a PPE (personal protective equipment) AA safety certification. I’m 5″11′ and weigh around 83kg and I’d describe the fit as slim with a slight taper around the waist. As expected the jacket fits me well, but I opened up the torso zips to give my current “dad bod” a bit more room to move.
On the bike, the jacket sits nicely over the waistline of my jeans. This will keep your kidneys out of the cold but it’s not so long that it bunches up when your feet are on the pegs. With arms outstretched, the sleeves sit just above the cuff of my short gloves. I expect over time this gap will close up when the accordion panels on the shoulder blades relax with use. Motorcycle jacket collars are often a point of contention for me. With some jackets, I feel a bit like I’m being lightly choked or the sits uncomfortably against my Adam’s. Thankfully the Hawkeye UV has plenty of room to move and the press stud colour prevents the zip from jabbing at my throat. To make the collar even more comfortable Enginehawk has sewn a band of neoprene material along the back of it. It’s just enough to soften the touch of the collar where it sits on your neck and is something that riders in more aggressive seating positions are sure to appreciate.
Thanks to Enginehawk’s choice of soft leather the break-in time of this jacket is very short. I found it comfortable from the get-go thanks to the stretch panels on the back and expansion zips on the torso. I haven’t experienced any real restriction in movement wearing the Hawkeye UV. The nylon/polyurethane material on the underarm also stretches so with your arms outstretched there’s no pressure on your armpits. I have noticed that in a t-shirt you can feel some of the seams behind the mesh liner. It’s not enough to be uncomfortable however and will likely lessen with use.
One thing I’m not keen on is the use of the double zip for the main entry. No matter how many times its purpose is explained to me I have never had to unzip a jacket for the bottom for any reason. The extra zip puller also tends to make it more difficult to initially fasten and I see the lower puller as a constant threat to my fuel tanks paintwork. That’s no deal-breaker, but I’d definitely prefer a standard single pull zip myself.
The SAS-TEC armour that comes with the jacket has also proved very comfortable. Similar to D30 armour it has a very low profile and moulds to your body when the jacket is on. All the armour is stored within easily accessible pockets inside the jacket so removing and installing it is very straightforward. While this style of armour may not rate the highest when it comes to impact absorption, it still confidently satisfies CE level 1 requirements. These days this is the only style of armour I ride with because it’s simply the most comfortable for everyday use.
When it comes to style there’s no denying that the Hawkeye UV is a good looking jacket. Although it has the classic tuck and roll panels on the shoulders I feel it has more of a modern look. For that reason, I think it’s best suited for riders of modern classics, sports bikes and even cruisers.
Enginehawk has used restraint with the application of branding on the jacket which is something I always welcome. You’ll find a gel-filled embossed logo on the back at the base of the neck and the Enginehawk wording across the lower back. The text is quite large but the typeface is slick and I feel it adds to the overall finish.
My favourite feature of this jacket is the reflective twin stripes on each arm. At night they really do light up when you’re in someone’s headlights so you’re very hard to miss. That kind of added visibility on an all-black jacket rates highly with me. I would have liked to perhaps see another reflective detail on the back (maybe the EH emblem?) but that’s really just me being picky.
Overall this is a great jacket from a company that is essentially new to motorcycle apparel manufacturing. If you’re in the market for a slim fit, classic-looking leather motorcycle jacket the Enginehank Hawkeye UV certainly warrants consideration.