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Motorcycle jacket - do you ride?

mensimageconsultant

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Motorcycle jackets seem to be gaining popularity, at least on this forum. Somebody in another thread claimed that 99% people in motorcycle jackets don't ride. What do you think? Do you have one and ride? It seems like the more authentic-looking jackets are more likely to be worn by real riders, but that's merely an educated guess.
 
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Tsujigiri

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Real riders tend to use composite protective gear now. With the advances made in the past few years in rider protection, biker jackets are moving away from their original purpose and into the fashion world, like the M65, trench coat, pea coat, etc.
 

johng70

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It depends on how you define "motorcycle jacket". Leather jackets as a fashion choice are definitely on the rise. But not every leather jacket was influenced by motorcycle riding. To another poster's point, today's jackets that are actually designed and marketed for actual riding isn't the same as mass-marketed jackets inspired by past styles. For example, I have an Aero Highwayman. While inspired by the design of a riding jacket from decades past, that style of collar isn't very practical for riding.

And, let me also say this - even among riders there is often a huge difference. Most of the riders I know aren't "real" riders - they take their bikes on the occasional poker run and may go out for an hour ride here and there. To them, a leather jacket is more an accessory than a necessity - vs. the "real" riders whose bike is their primary source of transportation (at least when season allows). You will often see very different choices in leathers between these two types of riders.

Another way to tell the difference? Who rides their bike to Sturgis and who trailers it there :)

So, in general, I would say the vast majority of people wearing leather jackets don't ride at all. But few of them wear a style of leather jacket worn by today's hard-core rider. Does that make sense?
 

evilmrb

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I ride, I have been since I was 18. My jackets are definitely riding jackets: built in armor and other protection. I have one textile and one perforated leather that I wear regularly. The composite gear protects for one crash, maybe two. The real leather keeps going and going- I wouldn't wear anything but full leather on the track. The leather also has room for an extra layer or two underneath for when it gets cold enough.
RS-taichi, Dianese, and a couple other brands make real riding jackets. The riding jackets I trust are not stylish as you would deem them, so I see someone in a "motorcycle jacket" ... I automatically assume they don't ride unless I see other accompanying signs like helmet, motorcycle, boots, etc.
 

Salad

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For me, it's safety first so I only ride with an armored jacket. Both my jackets are by Rev'it. I wouldn't never wear either casually because they are heavy and have armor. I do, however, want to get a casual jacket like a Schott Perfecto or Cafe.

If you don't ride but want to wear a mc style jacket (Perfecto, cafe, etc.), wear what you want. It's a jacket like any other jacket. Plenty of guys walk around in A1 bombers and varsity jackets. Pretty sure they weren't all A1 pilots or athletes.
 

double00

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ever read Hell's Angels by H Thompson? iirc the riding uniform he describes is a levi's trucker with the sleeves ripped off. a lot of those guys equated leather at all to fetish culture and didn't mess around with it. while he was embedded thompson chose to ride a bsa and wear a sheepskin jacket

motorcycle cops wear pretty traditional leather jackets. seems to work for them. i think a lot of it is not about when you're in a crash but when you're just riding around what is comfortable for you. where i live a leather jacket makes a lot of sense cause it's often clammy and windy as hell. you see a lot of em in the winter. i like a good moto jacket and i don't ride (but i'm considering lessons)
 

LA Guy

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The MC style jacket (double breasted, black) has been a fashion staple for many seasons now. Many seasons. At least the past five years. Cafe racers have been popular as civilian gear for years.

No, I don't ride. It seems insane to me. I know a few professional/semi-pro racers, and they all have multiple, often serious, injuries. You can never beat the road.
 

mensimageconsultant

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It took a while, then some great replies.

It's not an argument against non-riders wearing motorcyle jackets per se. Okay, probably no serious, technical jacket for someone like that, but the real issue is not being fake. As in wearing a motorcycle jacket without having any stereotypically manly hobbies or hanging out in somewhat of a biker bar while wearing a jacket that's never used on a motorcycle. It's a little different from other specialized types of jackets because actual motorcycle riders aren't rare and athletes from team sports often are built differently from non-athletes and sometimes varsity jackets are for school spirit anyway.
 
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jglenn777

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My thoughts are that much of the trend can be traced back to Hollywood. Think of Marlon Brando in the Wild One, Travolta in Grease, Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, each had a signature looked that featured very masculine perfectly broken in leather jackets. These jackets not only appeared be buttery soft but also gave the signature character and really cool masculine look. In more modern frachises, I think of Brad Pitt in Fight Club, Hugh Jackman in Wolverine. Even in the Dark Knight, what did Bruce Wayne wear when he wasn't in the bat-suit, a leather bomber of course.

Perhaps a great example would be Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen in Arrow. He always wears racing style jackets that fits perfectly and hugs the body like a glove. His jackets are made by Danier which is a Canadian fashion jacket line and is no way designed for actual riding. All of these characters feature signature leather jackets and the public takes ques from their look having a big effect on style and trends.

The sad thing is that there are so many absolute terrible low quality jackets out there these days. It seems that every major label has an assortment of leather options and most won't last more than a few seasons. A quality leather jacket will generally pretty expensive, will take some time to break in and of taken care of will last a lifetime. A friend of mine wears an amazing MA-1 style leather jacket. This thing is well worn, broken in and looks like it's straight out of a movie. When I asked him about it I found out that it's an original horsehide jacket that he inherited from his grandfather. This jacket is literally an heirloom piece. Such a great story. It just goes to show that if you it's worth it to invest in quality and maybe pen day it can be passed on to the next generation.
 

gnatty8

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I wear work boots and seldom, if ever, engage in actual work. Well, at least not the kind that requires work boots. Wear what you want and what makes you feel good about yourself. I have ridden motorcycles going on 20 years and have never worn anything even remotely more protective than a Schott Perfecto and in recent years, RRL leather more often than not, which is not technical gear by any means..
 

Austin Tremblay

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Motorcycle jackets fall into one of three categories:

Fashion: Thin jackets typically made from hides cut thinly and sewn weakly, which break in easily and would offer little to no abrasion resistance for a get-off from your bike. Wear one of these and you'll look right at home in Hollywood, but any rider would know you don't ride. Think Fiorenza, contemporary Belstaff, some Schott models.

Practical/Safety Conscious: Thick, armored jackets with heavy duty stitching and a 2–3 oz. leather weight (or some kind of brightly colored, abrasion-resistant fabric). Wear one of these on your ride and you'll protect yourself from impact and road rash much more during an accident, but you'll also likely look like a Power Ranger or like you're wearing football pads. Think BMW, Triumph, Honda, Aerostich, Alpinestars, Dainese, etc. Show up in one of these, and it's obvious you ride.

Unarmored Riding: These jackets are typically high end and feature great stitching and heavy, dense leather at 2–3 oz. weight. Think Aero Leather, Langlitz, Lost Worlds, some Schott models. Show up in one of these and it's likely you ride, but no one will care because you will look so badass due to the leathers used by these makers.

I've been riding for some time. I liked leather jackets before I started, but I never wore one. I don't care if people wear moto-inspired jackets if they're not a motorcyclist. There's a common phrase used on a lot of motorcycle forums to indicate that it's all subjective and whatever works for you is what works, as gnatty8 said: Ride your ride. So, I reckon, wear your wear is my opinion on non-riders wearing a Cafe Racer.

Leather jackets have long been associated with cool because of the connotative badassery of motorcycle riders, Hollywood (as has been pointed out), and the beautiful patina actually riding many miles develops. A true riding jacket will look incredible because it will have earned its patina, rather than the faux "distressed" J. Crew or whatever. Also, riding jackets need to fit properly in order to be comfortable on the bike, so they're often fitted. Fashion has developed a skinnier fit in the past decade. Naturally, lots of guys want to compliment their slim jeans with a streamlined Cafe Racer. And riding jackets lend handy details to fashion jackets. No matter whether you ride or not, things like a bi-swing back and zippered external pockets make wearing a leather jacket even more comfortable and convenient.
 

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