Visit to Mission Workshop Mothership

On a holiday trip to visit in-laws in California, I had a chance to go by the Mission Work-Shop in the Mission in San Francisco. Very appropriate location, i.e. continues-to-be-funky neighbourhood, side-alley, warehouse.

I do have to say that only price tags and some internal wrestling kept me from leaving a major amount of cash here.

The backpacks with their Arkiv rail system are very clever and surprisingly light. When I picked up one of the acccessories, it seemed quite heavy because it has two metal strips that meet the rails on the pack, but the pack itself was surprisingly light. The Rambler hiking pack was also very attractive. However, I wasn’t terribly tempted by either since I’m really much happier carrying stuff on the bike in panniers given the reduction of back-sweatiness without a pack, and I would probably turn to Arc’teryx for a new hiking backpack.

Speaking of Arc’teryx, some of the Mission Workshop jackets are produced in the same facility that Arc’teryx used in the past in Vancouver. As I tried on some of the jackets, the most attractive one was the Trigger, a new softshell they have. Fancy Schöller fabric – of course -, snug fit, thumb loops, a nice collar. This is a very nice softshell bike jacket.

It’s biggest drawback – that I also discussed in regards to the Orion rain jacket – is the lack of visibility. Black isn’t my colour at all and even less so on the bike. At least the Trigger has some reflective piping on the sleeve and on its bottom seam, but black really doesn’t make sense. I mentioned this to the folks I met at Mission, so if you feel the same way, please do mention it to them as well, maybe they’ll put some more visible colouring in their offerings in the future.

I saw a reference to a limited edition light blue version of this on a website, but this seemed to be just a rumour… As soon as the Trigger comes out in a more visible colour, I will certainly be taking a very serious look at it.

All the Mission Workshop products have a feel of quality and substance to them that justify high prices in my mind. I would be very surprised if these are all not products that are truly built-to-last and will also prove their worth in terms of design and material details.

Certainly a fun excursion, and I learned that the main people behind Mission Workshop used to run Chrome which is where I was off to next.

Mission Workshop Orion

I recently had a chance to try on the Mission Workshop Orion jacket. Obviously toward the hipper end of the bike jacket spectrum and, accordingly, on the expensive side.

I had heard about Mission Workshop in part because my favourite Vancouver bike clothing store (otR) carries them, but hadn’t seen any of the products.

The first impression was that the Orion jacket was _really_ light and fit quite well right off the hanger. Second impression, very few reflective bits, what a silly idea!

Yes, I do appreciate somewhat fashionable, but also bike-practical clothing, and yes, I’m even willing to spend quite a bit of money for the joy of having items in that category, but no, I will not sacrifice safety and visibility to hipness. I kind of see that the visibility paradigm could really cramp a designer’s style, but there you go. I live in a city that is rainy for a third of the year and while we’re not that far north, most of the rain coincides with shorter days, so visibility is a real concern.

Having said that, the Schöller fabric used for the Orion sure felt nice in its lightness and suppleness and the jacket overall seemed quite nice-looking while sensible, though I also disagree with the apparently fashionable insistence on a hood.

The cut and look is generally less athletic than comparable jackets that cater to more of a racing posture. It’s also pleasantly understated, i.e. doesn’t scream bike jacket in a way that might inspire all the riders around you to challenge you to a race off the green light.

By the look and feel of the jacket, quality seems terrific and lots of details are very well thought-through.