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Aero jackets worth it?

Damon141

Practically Family
Messages
766
I guess from what I gather that the quality is there for the price but the fit and comfort can be quite bad for many.

And with the return policy at Thurson Bros you are kind of stuck with store credit if it does not fit though they seem to be good people willing to get you a custom that might be acceptable.

For a bit more cash some stores offer better return policies on Japanese brands and a few are lucky enough to live close enough to stores they can try them on in house.
 

TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,166
I would never buy one new again because there's so many readily available in barely worn condition. I think Guppy is right on this one. People just give up on them. But they are excellent jackets generally speaking. I think in the $700 range for slightly used, there's not much better. They're certainly a step above most of Schott (barring a few models using special leather, etc.) which new are pushing $900+ now and even at $500 for used Schott, I'd say for most part you're better off spending a few more bucks for nicer leather with Aero.

The other reason I wouldn't buy new again is because of the fit issues. Whether certain models are for certain body types or certain models for just riding or maybe some normal human error in constructing the jackets, it's too much of a hit to risk rolling the dice. If you buy one used for $7-800 and it doesn't fit, you can catch and release for maybe the price of shipping. But if you buy one new for $1200, you're going to take a hit if you don't like.

My sample and model size has been small-- a cxl Sheene, a cxl cafe racer, a vic ridley, and a cxl ridley. Oddly enough the one I bought new (the Sheene) has given me the most trouble. The Ridley has a dream pattern. No fit or comfort issues, at least for my body type. The cafe racer is also really good and comfortable. Even though the Sheene is based on it, the CR just feels better. The CXL is lighter I think and the jacket has gussets which I think help in the comfort area.

But the Sheene was a pain. I broke in the CXL pretty well I think but had horrible crease lines and very uncomfortable feel with the neck pulling effect. I'd go so far to say it felt better before being broken in. I also didn't like how the hand warmer pockets were flaring out because they didn't have zippers. I added some shoulder pads and it transformed the comfort level and reduced the creases at least 50%. Once I fixed that, I decided to spend a little more money to add zippers to the hand warmers. I can't tell you how close I came to selling that jacket many, many, many times. But the broken in brown CXL is like nothing else.

Aero shearling on the other hand is top top top. No issues there at all. My ToysMcCoy is clearly better in materials and construction, but not 3x better. I'd have no problem buying shearling new. But most of that is because you don't see as many used as you do the leather jackets. Coincidence?

At this point in my acquisitions, I think the only jackets i would buy new are Lewis Leather and Field Leather. Everything else can be gotten for great discount and it takes out a lot of the risk in case it doesn't fit you like you thought. But if I snagged a properly fitting, comfortable Aero for $700-850, I'd be ecstatic.
 

Finn Vigorous

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
I had one of their Cafe Racers in CXL and it was the most uncomfortable jacket I've ever experienced. It's cut so that it's most comfortable if you're on a bike and in the riding position. But it's otherwise terrible. There's a curve to the back of the neck and collar that make it great for riding because it's designed to hug your neck while your hunched over, so wind doesn't get down in there. But if you're standing upright that curve hangs right on your neck joint, and you feel the weight of the jacket in that one spot. You know when you hang your jacket on a hook? Well imagine that hook is your neck joint and the entire weight of the jacket is hanging from it. That's what it feels like after an hour or two. When I wore mine out I couldn't wait to get home and take it off LOL.

The Board Racer does not have that issue, however, it has another one...the sleeves are cut at such a curve so that the jacket feels best and most natural with your arms up holding handlebars. But again, if you're not riding and have your arms down at their sides, the curved sleeves create an uncomfortable pull to the shoulders and upper chest.

This is nicely described what also others have told me about the fit/comfortability of these particular models.

I own currently two CRs and one BR in CXL, and have relatively thick neck. When fully broken in, all three are comfortable to wear off the bike. But I can anyways feel the effect you describe when focusing on it, esp. when wearing them fully zipped when not riding. This becomes more obvious when comparing them to my HWM which is way roomier on the sides, armholes and shoulders.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
Messages
1,517
The Board Racer does not have that issue, however, it has another one...the sleeves are cut at such a curve so that the jacket feels best and most natural with your arms up holding handlebars. But again, if you're not riding and have your arms down at their sides, the curved sleeves create an uncomfortable pull to the shoulders and upper chest.

Angled sleeves are something every single riding jacket has, though, including those popularly worn by non-riders like Schott Perfectos. People are welcome to have issues with Aero or any other maker, but this isn’t an ‘Aero thing’.
 

moktabe

One of the Regulars
Messages
158
Location
UK
Not an Aero fanboi as such but now have a 4th on the way.

Fortunate enough to live in the UK so paid a visit rather than order on-line or over the phone. A visit was great as I could discuss exactly what I was looking for and to find out if it could be done. Mails are ok but face to face is much better.

I have broad shoulders and a slim waist and my initial order was for a Sheene in Tobacco Badalassi in a 44" (tried the 42" on and needed help to get it off my shoulders!! ) and a Windward in CXSH in a 46"and when they arrived the fit was perfect apart from the waist on the Sheene. Aero had it back and changed the side panels to reduce the waist by 2" to 3" and now it's perfect.

3rd one was a J-106 with a KOTR back in Black Badalassi in a 44" and, seeing as they had my sizes and knew my requirements the fit was spot on. 4th one is a Hudson in Cordovan CXSH in a 44" with a couple of minor alterations to it and have every confidence it'll fit spot on.

As someone mentioned further up I definitely believe the fit and feel of a jacket from any maker really does depend on the wearers physique and expectations. I just regard myself as fortunate that none of my jackets sit awkwardly on me nor do the feel as though they put any pressure on the back of my neck and shoulders.

Re the earlier line of not being an Aero fanboi, it's more of a case of me being happy with the fit, the quality and the pricing so it makes sense for me to stick with them.

Worth noting that my Aeros are either a 44" or a 46" whereas if I was to buy a suit a 42" fits perfectly.
 

Bfd70

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,553
Location
Chicago
This may not be in the spirit of creating discourse on the forum but like, ymmv, or that’s just like your opinion man. The op only allows for subjective response. Why not just cut to it and start a “why do you love your Aero” or “why do you hate Aero” thread. “Is it worth it” is a question only you can answer.
 

moktabe

One of the Regulars
Messages
158
Location
UK
This may not be in the spirit of creating discourse on the forum but like, ymmv, or that’s just like your opinion man. The op only allows for subjective response. Why not just cut to it and start a “why do you love your Aero” or “why do you hate Aero” thread. “Is it worth it” is a question only you can answer.

To state the obvious that can be gleaned from my post.....Yes, they're worth it.
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,458
Full disclaimer, I have a few Aeros, and they represent about a fifth of my leather hoarding pile. So if I am bias towards the brand I am only biased 20% or less.

Aero is worth every penny on the sale page, and then some. When they finally deduct VAT for international customers I think they would offer the best bang for the buck. Period. Custom Aeros are also worth it if you know what you are doing or get lucky. Better to stick with the Aero special styles for customs. There is no point getting the basic patterns at custom prices, unless you want the special leather/lining. This is really the case with all makers.

I think it's safe to say Aero has the deepest selection leather and lining options. I also don't think Aero has a pattern problem. It has more to do with sizing than the pattern. But yes, wrong sizes are less forgiving compared to others.

The only problem I have with Aero is the lack of free horizontal inside chest pocket. The only brand that does this is Lewis, all the Scottish brands (Aero and its two off springs) sucks at the FREE horizontal chest pocket. It's a jacket after all. Horizontal chest pocket is kinda a must.
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,795
Location
Iowa
All depends on what your interests & priorities are. My screen-name indicates a lot of love to this company. However, in the many posts and years I have been part of this forum, I have gone through quite a few Aero-Leathers. I only have one now, an Indian Ranger in FQHH.

As for cost/depreciation, etc - bear in mind that at least in North America inflation is very high right now, suppliers are having a hard time keeping up. Costs have jumped. That said, anytime you take a tag off a jacket - thereby rendering it "not new" you just watched a minimum of 20% of the jacket value drop off. About the same as driving a new car off the dealer's lot in your name. The way ebay sales go, might as well take 35% off that price, as it most likely will not sell for even that close to new price. I have learned this experientially.

Hope this helps - it is like the discipline of metallurgy - often the science of "it depends". :)

This is one rather expensive hobby.
 

Peacoat

Bartender
Bartender
Messages
5,904
Location
South of Nashville
I notice a common theme in this thread is, as might be imagined, problems with fit.

With my first Aero, a Highwayman, I went through the company. The fit was tight through the chest. After working with it for several weeks, it finally relaxed, and was comfortable to wear.

With my next two, a Sheene and a ThunderBay, I went through Thurston Bros. Carrie sent fit jackets, and we were able to tweak it to a perfect fit. Removed all the guesswork.

So, my obvious recommendation, if one is in the US, is to work with Carrie and Wade. Takes the worry out of ordering an expensive jacket.
 

Cyber Lip

Practically Family
Messages
709
Location
Seattle
Angled sleeves are something every single riding jacket has, though, including those popularly worn by non-riders like Schott Perfectos. People are welcome to have issues with Aero or any other maker, but this isn’t an ‘Aero thing’.

I should have emphasized that the curve to the sleeves on Aero's Board Racer is much more pronounced than the curve to the sleeves of a lot of other jackets with curved sleeves. For example, between their Board Racer and Cafe Racer, the Board Racer had more of a curve
 
Messages
15,328
Location
Chicago
“Worth it” is a totally personal question. I’ve pondered this question so many times. It spans the entire approach spectrum of this hobby. Having owned maybe 20-30 Aeros over the course of my collecting history (I don’t own one now) I would say they absolutely are. There is nothing quite like a brand spanking new Aero. It’s an education when you open that box.

Best to know yourself. I never had a single fit issue on a custom Aero. The used ones are a different story. You need to find a used jacket that you would personally spec. Not impossible by any means but requires some degree of patience and a rather precise knowledge of your measurements, particularly with CXL, which is unapologetically unforgiving in the wrong size.

I wonder if it’s “worth it” to restore vintage pieces. Trashed liners, busted seams, crusty, often smelly hides… Do that a time or two and you’ve well eclipsed the cost of a new repro. Is that really worth it? For me it is. For others it’s probably an absolute waste of time and money.

I would say if you are passionate about this hobby, truly enjoy it to the point where you are committed to learn about the process behind the production and the history of these garments, the makers, etc you will find the worth extends far beyond the actual jacket itself.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
Messages
1,517
I should have emphasized that the curve to the sleeves on Aero's Board Racer is much more pronounced than the curve to the sleeves of a lot of other jackets with curved sleeves. For example, between their Board Racer and Cafe Racer, the Board Racer had more of a curve

I can’t speak for anyone else, but that would be a plus in my book. I’m a writer, and tend to wear mid-layers (like sports coats or leather jackets) during the day. The sleeve pitch of a writing (riding, I meant to say, but perhaps the typo was a Freudian slip) jacket pairs well with my keyboard.
 

jimmer_5

Practically Family
Messages
648
Location
Oregon
This thread has been an enlightening read. I'll start by answering the OP's question. In my mind "worth it" is another way of saying "does Aero offer enough bang for the buck"? I think they do.

I can speak from personal experience to say that it is very difficult to achieve an excellent fit. Fit is also extremely subjective. I've spent years buying and selling jackets, and it took most of that time for me to figure out what a "good" fit is. On top of this, even with the most accurate measurements, I can still be surprised with fit issues. Two jackets that measure exactly the same can fit differently because of variations in pattern and materials. Nothing will ever truly replace trying on a jacket, which is why there is such high turnover in this hobby. The measurements can all be perfect, but somehow it still doesn't feel right. Aero makes a beautiful jacket, but I do feel that their fit can be inconsistent from one machinist to the next. Leather is not very forgiving, and I think there will always be an element of luck in buying a leather jacket.

The most interesting thing for me is to hear that other people have had the same discomfort around the neck and shoulders when wearing Aero's Cafe racer. At one point I had one that put uncomfortable pressure on the back of my neck, and I thought it was just a fluke.
 
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El Marro

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3,241
Location
California
Just curious. What is an "entry" custom leather jacket?
I'm just trying to wrap my head around that. A beginner buys some product like Aero, and then when with learned experience, becomes some sort of expert by trading their money for another type of leather jacket that was somehow, inaccessible to the beginner? No disrespect, but I don't think such a thing exists.
Aero was certainly my entry into the world of custom leather jackets.
When I bought my first Aero it cost at least twice as much as I had spent on a jacket before, and yet still much less than many custom makers charge for their jackets. Aero has a very good reputation on this forum and that made me feel more comfortable putting down so much money for something I had never even seen in person before.
I had to wait three months from placing the order until I received the jacket, and although it seemed an eternity at the time, it was much shorter than the wait time for many other makers. Another reason that Aero is a good introductory jacket, relatively short turnaround.
I see your point but I would argue that many here (including me) have grown through their Aero phase and gone on to purchase jackets from other makers who are more obscure and more expensive. This doesn’t take anything away from Aero but it’s just how it is for some of us.
 

jimmer_5

Practically Family
Messages
648
Location
Oregon
Just curious. What is an "entry" custom leather jacket?
I'm just trying to wrap my head around that. A beginner buys some product like Aero, and then when with learned experience, becomes some sort of expert by trading their money for another type of leather jacket that was somehow, inaccessible to the beginner? No disrespect, but I don't think such a thing exists.

That reminds me of an argument I had with someone a few years ago when he made a claim that some knife was a "beginners" knife as if there was a learning curve in order to use the more expensive knife, because it was somehow, more complicated to use, which was of course, not true. The only difference was the quality, the price, and the preference of the buyer.

Maybe I totally misunderstood you, could you explain what a beginner's jacket is, and what a jacket is for the more learned buyer? I really want to understand this concept.


I think he means “entry level“, and I do not consider an Aero entry level for most people. I started in the early 2000s with less expensive motorcycle jackets - my price range was $150-$300 or so, and it was a stretch mentally and financially. And just try and find a brown jacket back then - you could have any color so long as it was black! At some point I discovered the forums, but still couldn’t afford a new Aero, so I started buying used Vansons and Aeros on the forums and eBay. My first custom Aero was a 50s half belt, a size too big because that’s what Aero recommended. And I thought it was right because beginners tend to over-size leather jackets.

I went through a bunch of Vansons and Aeros over the last two decades, and I‘m finally finding that magic balance - trim enough to look sharp, but not too tight for a layer on the cold days. I still can’t abide a ‘t-shirt only’ fit in a jacket - where I live, jacket weather means long sleeves, and by the time it’s warm enough for a t-shirt, it’s too hot to wear a jacket 90% or the time. Or maybe I’ve just never lived in California where kids wear hoodies in 85 degree weather.

So anyway, I think it’s best to try some less expensive off-the-rack jackets (preferably second-hand to limit your financial losses) before investing in a custom Aero. These days I‘ve figured out that I need to go at least semi-custom to fit my long gorilla arms, and Aero, Vanson, and now Field Leathers have been great about helping me out at a reasonable cost.
 
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Carlos840

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,863
Location
London
Just curious. What is an "entry" custom leather jacket?
I'm just trying to wrap my head around that. A beginner buys some product like Aero, and then when with learned experience, becomes some sort of expert by trading their money for another type of leather jacket that was somehow, inaccessible to the beginner? No disrespect, but I don't think such a thing exists.

That reminds me of an argument I had with someone a few years ago when he made a claim that some knife was a "beginners" knife as if there was a learning curve in order to use the more expensive knife, because it was somehow, more complicated to use, which was of course, not true. The only difference was the quality, the price, and the preference of the buyer.

Maybe I totally misunderstood you, could you explain what a beginner's jacket is, and what a jacket is for the more learned buyer? I really want to understand this concept.

I never said the word "beginner" anywhere in my post...
What i meant is that untill 5 star came around Aero was the cheapest maker that allowed you to specifie leather choice and gave you the possibility to customize length and fit.
Every other maker i know of charges more than Aero does for custom specs. Lewis, Thedi, Vanson, Himel, LW, Diamond Dave, Schoot, Goodwear, Langlitz are all more expensive.

Aero was/is the cheapest way to get a custom fit jacket ie a good entry into the world of custom leather jackets.

Basically what @El Marro said.

Edit: thinking about it, it could be called "a good beginner jacket" if you mean that it is a good jacket to begin your collection with, but i don't mean it's only a good buy for someone who knows nothing about leather...

I just meant it was the cheapest way to get yourself into a custom jacket.
 
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oskar

One of the Regulars
Messages
154
Calling Aero overpriced is far away from the truth. You only see old aero jackets with a bad patina on eBay is because people will keep the jackets with great patina. ;)
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,737
Location
London, UK
Calling Aero overpriced is far away from the truth. You only see old aero jackets with a bad patina on eBay is because people will keep the jackets with great patina. ;)
I don't think OP was suggesting Aero themselves are overpriced, more stating an opinion that some eBay sellers have an inflated idea of what a second-hand one might sell for. Of course, that's true for virtually everything on eBay these days. The First Law of eBay is that most sellers feel entitled to a high price for everything, while most buyers expect to buy absolutely anything no matter what the value for nothing. Often not a happy mix.
 

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