"I really like the selection of styles and manufactures, and the owners are always very friendly and genuine."
I am just starting out with riding and don't have much experience with it. The culture, needs, and requirements to do it safely and successfully can be a little daunting. And expensive. Leather riding gear especially, you can need a lot to stay warm and protected and that adds up.
Leather is particularly a pain, since generally it is altered to fit and isn't easily returnable...so getting the wrong thing will make your life miserable and expensive.
I shopped around a little in Salem to get an idea of what I was going to be spending. My mind was swimming with the extravagance of cost. And though I got some pretty detailed help at the Harley-Davidson shop, the prices were pretty big. Other stores just kind of let me cruise around. I tried various things on and it was alright, but I felt a little out of my depth.
Then I strolled into Hawg Haven, upon suggestion of a friend. The shop is dark and very biker-esque. Almost felt like I had walked into the clubhouse of the Sons of Anarchy. Helmets, chaps, gloves, and all sorts of add-ons lined the walls. In the back of the place is a full leather alteration shop, right next to a large array of leather jackets and vests.
The staff was immediately helpful, but since I was just looking, I kind of waved them off. I checked the prices before trying them on. Where other stores had set their prices around $300 and up, most of the jackets I found at Hawg Haven were of similar quality, and went for $150-$300. Having to buy everything else at once, I didn't want to go all out on my first gear, and I actually found a pretty damn good jacket on clearance for $100. I tried it on, it fit pretty damn good, and I took it up to the counter and left it there to go and look at some other stuff.
When I got back to the counter, with a new bandana in hand, the amazing lady there (I'm pretty sure she's one of the owners) asked me if the jacket fit good. I said it did, but she looked skeptical and asked again, stressing how too big a fit can get air up under the surface and cause problems. I offered to try it on and she took one look at me and told me it was too big. She then went and got the same style jacket, but a size smaller, and told me to try it on. I did and the fit was very much different, and exactly what she said I was supposed to look for. It was also the same price...no upsale here!
She then eyeballed me and told me exactly the size of chaps I would need, when I was ready for them. She told me their shop will alter them to fit perfectly as well.
This person clearly, CLEARLY, knew her business if she could pick out at a distance that I was getting too big of an item. And she got me the exact thing I needed, saving me future misery. And she threw in a head cap complimentary, to go on under my helmet. And all with me buying a bottom-of-the-line, entry-level clearance jacket from Pakistan.
Wonderful. Simply wonderful.
When I upgrade my jacket, and get the rest of my gear, I will not bother going to any other joint in Salem. Nay, in Oregon. The people here obviously love riding, they love bikers, and they absolutely know their stuff. And it's a local business, not a chain.
Don't bother checking any other place out...this is the place to be. Absolutely.
"Awesome shop for motorcycle leathers! Excellent selection of jackets and chaps. The owners are so friendly and their customer service is the BEST!!"