Mark Reynolds has been a motorcycle rider for most of his life, Starting out on motocross bikes; riding around his parents’ property, and then graduating up to road and adventure bikes. He’s had over 40 years of experience on two wheels.
In all that time of riding, Mark has gone through a lot of gear – especially jackets, jeans and wet weather clothing. Anyone who’s ever purchased motorcycle clothing will know that it’s generally very expensive and all too often, the quality doesn’t live up to expectation, from zippers that don’t last, jeans that wear through, pockets that fall apart, and jackets that just don’t keep you warm.
Mark recently decided to take a stand against poor-quality clothing and teamed up with Mallee Bull Clothing Co. in Armidale and created Fjellskinn. Together they designed and tailor made a range of motorbike clothing that is made by people who ride, for people who ride, with quality, comfort and affordability as their highest priority.
Mark, what does Fjellskinn mean?
Fjellskinn is Norwegian for mountain skins. The New England Tablelands has such a large variation in temperature, I wanted to name my business something that encapsulated the idea that this clothing is as rugged as the environment it comes from. I’ve always had a love of Norway and its rugged extremes, so if anyone had a single word that summed it all up, it would be the Norwegians.
Why did you decide to go into motorcycle clothing?
Due to the fact that I ride all year round, I wanted to create clothing that I could wear every day, whether I’m working, in a social situation or just out on the bike – something that was flexible and robust for my lifestyle. It needed to have a particular look about it, fashionable but safe for wearing while riding, with options that are suitable for wearing in winter or summer.
I was unsatisfied with the existing clothing on the market. I could never find something that ticked all the boxes. By collaborating with Mallee Bull, together we were able to design clothing that fulfilled all the criteria. Fjellskinn was born through me trying to achieve all the things I wanted from bike clothing that I couldn’t find elsewhere.
What makes Fjellskinn clothing different from everything else on the market?
We use top quality, Australian made materials wherever possible, except for the Kevlar, which is the only thing we’ve had to import. We sourced high quality, 100% Kevlar woven material. In my experience, a lot of other Kevlar products I have used have not been up to standard.
A lot of care goes into making the clothing. Seams are triple stitched. They’re reinforced in areas that are prone to wear. In our jeans, the pockets are made out of the same material as the jeans themselves, so it’s the same quality throughout. There’s always a lining between the Kevlar and your skin for extra insulation, comfort and protection.
What was the development process?
After the initial collaboration of design for our products, my partner and I headed off on a 5,876.4 km motorcycle journey down to and around Tasmania and then heading back along the Great Ocean Road and back to Armidale via inland Victoria and NSW. We were wearing a full test range of Fjellskinn gear between us, that included regular jeans, lined winter jeans, hoodies, denim jacket and waterproof Oxford jacket.
Throughout the trip we encountered temperatures that ranged from -1.6°c to 39°c, from heavy rain to dry hot winds, across terrains from well-paved highways to gravel mountain roads. The Fjellskinn clothing was all we wore throughout the trip. It gave us the ability to see what we were doing right and what needed improvements for comfort and functionality.
We came back with a list of adjustments to make sure that this gear would be as high quality and adaptable as possible. We improved things like ventilation in the jackets for warmer days, longer sleeves on the hoodies, and adjustable straps where necessary.
What do other people who have tried out Fjellskinn say about the gear?
We’ve found that it’s more than just motorcycle riders who have embraced the clothing. Farmers and horse riders love the stuff, because they help protect from burrs and thistles. We’ve had a lot of female customers come to us who are sick of the range of jeans on the market, due to the fact that they don’t fit well, are too blingy, or find that the Kevlar isn’t in the right spot for them.
We appreciate the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes. Standard clothing sizes don’t fit everyone, and for that reason, we can custom fit clothing for no additional cost, so you know that Fjellskinn will literally fit you like a second skin; that’s been a big drawing point for many customers.
Where can Fjellskinn clothing be purchased?