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Leather jackets

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
I saw a mention of Schott cafe racer jackets and I know they are 'in' right now, but I am also considering getting a motorcycle. I can't get this 1961 BMW r69s out of my head. Although I don't know how to ride at the moment and won't be buying such a nice bike for a while, I was thinking of getting a good functional cafe racer style jacket. I looked at Schott, Vanson, and some other brands on the web. I also looked at Wilsons and there are a couple that don't look bad. Does anyone have experience with these brands in terms of real functional use for riding? Obviously I want it to look good too but I don't necessarily want to spend $500+ on a jacket if a Wilsons one will work just fine. Some of the more expensive Wilsons jackets actually look like they are good leather. My computer is overheating right now so I'll finish later. Discuss.
post #2 of 59
Honestly, if you fall off a motorcycle, good leather jacket or not, you're gonna get f'ed up. Anyway... Schott does make a thick leather, and the stitching is very durable. That's why you see so many of them being sold decades later.
post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 
Depends how fast you are going. I remember falling off my bicycle going maybe 10-15mph and getting really scraped up right through my jean knees but if I had been wearing good leather I would have been basically unscathed. Of course at 60 or something the leather isn't so much the problem as deceleration trauma. But for around town and the scuffs you might take a thicker leather will hold up and a crap one will scrape right through. Check out this Vanson: I'm dying to try on one of these real ones. I went up to Wilsons just now and most of their stuff is either crap leather or too heavily insulated/lined. And they are out of medium in almost everything.
post #4 of 59
Whoa... Now THAT is a badass jacket. Is that Horsehide? I'd spend the extra cash and pick it up; it will last a lifetime. Probably save you a few scrapes and brusies along the way as well. And, yea Wilson's Leather is crap, don't even bother. Stick to Schott or Vanson.
post #5 of 59
Echoing Mike C., that jacket looks fantastic - in addition to being, in my opinion, pretty timeless, so you could wear it forever. I'm adding it to my 'want list'... US$449 seems like a pretty good deal to me - I paid about the same recently for a comparable jacket in brown (albeit one with a turned-down collar). Why are they called cafe racer jackets?
post #6 of 59
Thread Starter 
That's the Vanson Model A, $449 in either cow or steer (doesn't say). They do have some horsehide jackets though that look awesome: Comet - $510: Enfield - $710: JH - $795: And of course, "Bones" (not horse): Don't think I could pull that one off...
post #7 of 59
Thread Starter 
'Cafe Racer' is a term used to denote a sort of motorcycle following that began in the 50s in London of young people who just rode them from cafe to cafe looking cool. The Schott jacket takes the name for the very simple tab collar model, but Vanson uses it to describe some classic snaps-n-zippers types. It also refers to a style of motorcycle, apparently, but I can't figure out exactly what that entails.
post #8 of 59
Quote:
'Cafe Racer' is a term used to denote a sort of motorcycle following that began in the 50s in London of young people who just rode them from cafe to cafe looking cool.
Thanks for the clarification, J. My own jacket is nigh-identical to the 'Comet' jacket you've posted up there, but I like to think that I'm slightly less goofy-looking than the guy modelling it...
post #9 of 59
Thread Starter 
I'm sure you look less ridiculous than Toothy McGee in his badass coat. What brand is yours and how do you like it?
post #10 of 59
Mine's by Politix, which is an Australian (Sydney-based, I think) streetwear brand. Can't find a website, unfortunately. I dig the slim, hip-length silhouette, and I chose a mid-brown color to distinguish myself from the army of clones wearing cheap black leather. I picked it over a similarly-priced jacket because of the superior detailing - zippered chest pockets, zippered sleeves, etc. It's pretty fine leather, though - not exactly fall-off-your-motorcycle worthy. I don't think you can go wrong with this kind of jacket - Peter Fonda still looks pretty cool in Easy Rider. I'm eternally grateful the classics are back, and we don't have to deal with massive, double-breasted, pleated shoulder jackets in brown tortoiseshell leather...
post #11 of 59
Quote:
I saw a mention of Schott cafe racer jackets and I know they are 'in' right now, but I am also considering getting a motorcycle. I can't get this 1961 BMW r69s out of my head. Although I don't know how to ride at the moment and won't be buying such a nice bike for a while, I was thinking of getting a good functional cafe racer style jacket. I looked at Schott, Vanson, and some other brands on the web. I also looked at Wilsons and there are a couple that don't look bad. Does anyone have experience with these brands in terms of real functional use for riding? Obviously I want it to look good too but I don't necessarily want to spend $500+ on a jacket if a Wilsons one will work just fine. Some of the more expensive Wilsons jackets actually look like they are good leather.
Leather comes in two basic "grades" -- competition grade and fashion grade.  At least it used to.  Only competition-grade leather offers suitable protection to a motorcycle rider.  Fashion-grade leather, which is what most street-wear jackets are made of, actually offers less protection than heavy denim.  To be sure that you are getting a true competition-grade jacket, I would go to a motorcycle dealer and ask, rather than going to a clothing store, which might try to sell you a jacket as competition-grade just to move product.  I know that Wilson's, for one, does not offer true competition-grade. A couple of additional points to consider: make sure your riding jacket fits close to the body.  Loose leather is three to four times more prone to tearing than taut leather.  Get good gloves.  The body part that loses blood the fastest in case of injuries is your hands.  I once heard of a guy who died because he bled too fast even though he sustained no other life-threatening injuries in his motorcycle accident, only because he was not wearing gloves. I would look into Kevlar if I could swing the money, gloves or even jackets.  I haven't priced them; I hear they are outrageously expensive.  They have a high-tech racing look, which I suppose won't go too well with your vintage Bimmer style-wise, but I would want to live to tell about it if I were in your position, especially when just starting out, and especially on a vintage bike without modern safety features. I hope this helps. Regards, artdeco73
post #12 of 59
Quote:
Depends how fast you are going. I remember falling off my bicycle going maybe 10-15mph and getting really scraped up right through my jean knees but if I had been wearing good leather I would have been basically unscathed. Of course at 60 or something the leather isn't so much the problem as deceleration trauma. But for around town and the scuffs you might take a thicker leather will hold up and a crap one will scrape right through. Check out this Vanson: I'm dying to try on one of these real ones. I went up to Wilsons just now and most of their stuff is either crap leather or too heavily insulated/lined. And they are out of medium in almost everything.
That is a very nice jacket. Nicest of the bunch I think.
post #13 of 59
Thread Starter 
So.. I went up to my local BMW motorcycle dealer and tried on the Vanson Model A pictured in the thread. A 42 with included polartec type liner fit me tightly, and I am usually a 40 in jacket size. So tightly in fact that it bent my sunglasses that were in my pocket at the time. It was $479 and looked ultra badass. It doesn't have underarm ventilation and I can see this one getting hot in the sun but damn does it look good. They didn't have the Comet or anything by Schott. Unfortunately the 4-5 people there completely ignored me and didn't ask if I needed help in the 15 minutes or so I was in their small showroom, so they will not be getting my business. I always wonder why salespeople would do that. Chances are I will be buying not only a jacket somewhere in that range but a motorcycle that will need parts and accessories etc. and they just lost my business for that if I can help it. Maybe they thought I looked too young or too newbie to spend money in their store. Whatever. I also went to another store called Cycle Barn which is a sort of superstore. Asked the counter guys if they had Schott or Vanson stuff. They looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. Uh.. you know guys, the Schott Perfecto? The original, first, most popular motorcycle jacket of all time? Dumbasses. I looked in their other section and they had a few Vansons but not my style and the people at that desk didn't know what a Schott was either. Am I taking crazy pills here? I just want to try one on for crying out loud. Then I went to the crap place up the street called Bent Bike, a partsyard and ostensible dealership although their bikes provide the explanation for their name. Most had duct tape on them or at least rust and missing paint. Blegh. I went in and found a couple of Schotts on closeout but they were the snap-n-zipper kind, not what I was looking for. The guy there just barely remembered hearing of such a company. He said boy, that's some expensive stuff. Yeah, but it's worth it from what I hear (and I am expecting to pay quite a bit). Do you not want business selling expensive stuff? Christ, what is with these people. Long term amotivational syndrome in my nonprofessional opinion. Lay off the bong and start carrying some quality stuff instead of rack upon rack of Chinese crap jackets that never leave the store. So my quest continues. Mainly I need to know what size of Schott I need. I am leaning toward just buying one on ebay and then selling it if it doesn't fit.
post #14 of 59
Quote:
So.. I went up to my local BMW motorcycle dealer and tried on the Vanson Model A pictured in the thread. A 42 with included polartec type liner fit me tightly, and I am usually a 40 in jacket size. So tightly in fact that it bent my sunglasses that were in my pocket at the time. It was $479 and looked ultra badass. It doesn't have underarm ventilation and I can see this one getting hot in the sun but damn does it look good. They didn't have the Comet or anything by Schott. Unfortunately the 4-5 people there completely ignored me and didn't ask if I needed help in the 15 minutes or so I was in their small showroom, so they will not be getting my business. I always wonder why salespeople would do that. Chances are I will be buying not only a jacket somewhere in that range but a motorcycle that will need parts and accessories etc. and they just lost my business for that if I can help it. Maybe they thought I looked too young or too newbie to spend money in their store. Whatever.
Have you thought about buying directly from the website? That's my solution for rude salespeople - try for size in the store, buy online...
post #15 of 59
Thread Starter 
Yeah, but the Vanson is a hell of a lot more money than I want to spend. It's really nice, but the Schott is almost as nice, has ventilated armpits which I want, and is only somewhat more money than I want to spend. I think I'll just stick with checking ebay for one.
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