Five hundred miles in and it still hasn’t form-fitted as other leather jackets do — the leather is stiff, thick and boxy. There are no vents — for warm weather relief — to speak of and the liner won’t keep me particularly toasty in the cold. The collar rides high when I’m in the saddle, and the clasp puts pressure directly on my Adam’s apple. But I don’t care about any of these things because the Toga72 jacket from Dainese is just so damned cool.
Designed to pay homage to their very first set of racing leathers, the Toga72 is properly retro. Instead of being just another pre-patina-ed, “authentically” styled brown or black leather riding jacket, you need to work this piece of kit into submission to develop its character. As such, it feels built to last far longer than I will. Every seam of the Sol cowhide is double stitched, and zippers seal the chest and each of the three external pockets. The shoulders and elbows are equipped with Dainese’s proprietary Pro-Armor, offering CE levels of impact protection, and there is a pocket that will accommodate a back protector as well.
But it’s that red-on-white colorway that makes this jacket so special. It nails the racing aesthetic of the seventies and suits the build and cut of this coat perfectly. Zipping up to head out for a ride, I feel like the man behind the helmet could be Mike Hailwood, Barry Sheene or Paul Smart. Now if only I could score a run on one of those legends bikes.