Seems like the experts are always purists.
The idea of removing the belt does appeal to me since I don't plan to use it much if at all. However, the belt loops would be a good place to attach a carabiner to. Having them attached to my pants belt loop like I do now means that whenever I walk around my car keys keep hitting me in the... you know. And as for the pockets, I probably would use a lot of them. I'm thinking by moving the snap ones to the arms I could avoid piling up too much bulk in the front of the jacket, and it would make the jacket more unique. Then again, unique isn't necessarily better.
That jacket is made using a "heavy" horsehide (Horween I think). It is VERY thick and heavy. If you ride and seek additional protection, the thickness and weight serve a purpose. If not, you may not like the additional thickness/weight. I know more than one person who was surprised and displeased by the thickness/weight of a jacket made using Aero's "thick" HH. If you are not familiar with the weight of this HH, you should get a sample beforehand. I think Thurston has sample jackets available. I suspect Aero can make the same design using a HH that is not so thick.
Thanks for letting me know, I hadn't considered this. After doing a little research, though, it seems like the horsehide gets softer after it breaks in? It might be better to use a corduroy fringe on the bottom to protect the lining instead of a leather one if it's that thick, though. It looks like that was an option before at least, not sure about now.