Any motorcyclists into Vanson motorcycle jackets? Recommend me one.

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Andrew Putnam, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Andrew Putnam

    Andrew Putnam Familiar Face

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I have a Vanson Drifter with white sleeve stripes. Love the jacket... now want another Vanson- but which one? I'm thinking about either Hurricane or Stallion, fully perfed, with armour. Probably go a two tone on the Hurricane.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,478
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    You could say that... I've had a few Vanson jackets.

    Union Garage V7
    C2
    Gambler
    Raider
    Clubman
    Enfield
    MK2 ProPerf
    Comet (since sold on)
    Model F (since sold on)
    Model E (since sold on)
    CHP MK2 (since sold on)
     
    dannyk likes this.
  3. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,815
    Location:
    London
    dannyk likes this.
  4. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    12,668
    All Vanson jackets are great for riding (except R'n'r IMO) but the best ones, and by far, are from their Sport Rider line.

    https://vansonleathers.com/38-mens-sportrider-motorcycle-jacket-collection

    I've had a 6 or so but for serious motorcycling, MK2 Challenger SportRider would be my first choice. Most brilliant, comfortable, perfect motorcycle jacket I've ever handled.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon Practically Family

    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    Ireland
    I'd only buy Vanson jackets these days, after years in the Force I've grown wiser, like Yoda, to whom I sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance. I really should have grabbed that horsehide Rock and Roll you pointed out to me @Monitor , it was last year but it still haunts me :rolleyes:

    I know only buying Vanson is BS but they seem to do it better than everyone else, maybe it's the fit, but one of their older comp weight jackets is as good as it gets, and they pop up on ebay every once in a while.
     
  6. Bfd70

    Bfd70 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,216
    Location:
    Chicago
    I really like Vanson for the design, quality, amd price point. For on the bike i think many of their non rider (re armored) models fall a bit short (ironically because they are long) i couldnt ride in my model b because it was longish and lacked a 2 way zipper (which eould have fixed everything and made the jacket an absolute 10).
     
    TREEMAN, dubpynchon and Monitor like this.
  7. Bfd70

    Bfd70 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,216
    Location:
    Chicago
    83610BA2-96C0-4206-9D88-79547E280340.jpeg BECD9184-C0C2-46EF-B8FD-9C72764387C4.jpeg 1CE489EC-B812-416E-95F7-2FDA6E6C43F6.jpeg
     
    dannyk, mtrlr, Spiney and 7 others like this.
  8. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,230
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    I second monitor choise
     
    Monitor likes this.
  9. TMP

    TMP New in Town

    Messages:
    44
    I had a Sportrider, although I don't remember if they were called that back in the late 90s. It looked like this:

    vanson.jpg
    Brilliant jacket. Two ventilation zips under the arms. No armor but thick leather. No pockets on the outside. It is not superficially dissimilar to the models you're considering. I do remember I had the waist narrowed a bit by Vanson. I no longer have the jacket, but I can't say a bad thing about it. It was tested once when I hit some sand on a corner and low sided. The jacket only had a slight grey scuff on the shoulder. Unbeknownst to me until years later I broke my collar bone, but that's another story. :rolleyes:
     
    dannyk and Monitor like this.
  10. Schambach

    Schambach New in Town

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    NYC/Hudson Valley
    @Monitor I've got that very same Vanson MK2 Challenger. I acquired it in a trade fairly recently. I haven't had a chance to use it on the bike yet due to the cold weather in NY, though honestly it's a bit tough to wear off the bike. It hasn't been worn much, so it's not broken in at all. Did yours get more comfortable with time? And have you fitted a back protector? Mine fits very close, as it should, but there doesn't seem to be room for much else! It's beautifully made though, and has me considering another Vanson to wear off the bike.
     
    Monitor likes this.
  11. Schambach

    Schambach New in Town

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    NYC/Hudson Valley
    @Bfd70 is that the model B in the last photo? Lovely jacket.
     
  12. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,527
    I been through my fair share of Vanson. Love them. If you go cross-zip, the E is great but not perforated (though they will make one for you in the perf leather). I love the Force. I have the perforated version with armor. Can’t be beat for riding.
     
    dannyk likes this.
  13. Bfd70

    Bfd70 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,216
    Location:
    Chicago
    It is. Really great jacket at the price.
     
    dannyk and Schambach like this.
  14. M Brown

    M Brown One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    N Tx
    pick your style, pick your size. it will last forever.
     
    El Marro, Peacoat and JMax like this.
  15. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    12,668
    I bought my jacket used, though it looks/feels/smells near new. Somehow, while regularly heavy, leather this jacket is made of is very soft. It's like clay; Doesn't drape of course but it's pliable thus very comfortable and really super easy to wear. Even the armored bits don't get in the way. I think it must've been a batch like that because I can't think of anything you could do to an otherwise stiff Vanson Comp. weight that'd ever make it this soft.

    I haven't fitted a back protector and neither did my friend who's actively riding wearing this jacket. I don't really ride anymore so I lend it to him but no, no protector. But yeah, no clue how it fits.
     
    Schambach likes this.
  16. yellowfever

    yellowfever Familiar Face

    Messages:
    90
    TL/DR I agree Vanson is an excellent choice for a riding jacket. I’d also agree that something from the sport rider line with body armour fitted is probably the optimal choice from the Vanson range for comfort, safety and practicality, though it obviously will depend on your personal preferences and the kind of riding you like to do.

    For my (lengthy! Sorry got carried away...) personal experience riding motorbikes with a Vanson sport rider jacket, read on.

    I have had a competition weight CSRX jacket (from the sport rider line) from new in 2002. It was my first decent leather jacket (bike or street) and I (luckily) chose wisely. It’s been my main riding jacket for nearly 20 years which at various times has involved touring Europe, commuting year round and just riding for fun (and the odd track day). The jacket is still going strong now. The Velcro adjustable sides on the waist are handy and work well for layering and it maybe helps it to still fit if your weight fluctuates (a bit - it’s a snug jacket). In my opinion it’s also a nicer and cleaner look than side laces and gives more adjustment than buckles. It’s a good form fitting jacket design, short at the front with a dipped back, long pre-curved arms to reach the handlebars and a nice secure tank-like feeling when it’s on, but well designed to be comfortable on the bike with decent mobility despite the heavyweight build quality. No outside pockets gives a clean look, two zipped inside pockets will fit small things in only. If you ride in warm places then a vented version would be a good option. They do an adjustable vented version (the Hurricane I think it’s called) which may be the best of both worlds as you can have more or less venting as needs be.

    A few years back I got hideout leathers (bespoke motorbike leather makers) in the UK to put in a couple of zipped chest vents on my CSRX jacket for me which, with the already existing zipped rear vents, give enough airflow for typical summer weather here. I originally had the Vanson GP armour fitted to elbows, shoulder and back and it was comfy enough and did its job in my one crash (see below), but over the years I’ve upgraded the armour (twice) to the latest CE rated body armour from forcefield as it tends to come top in independent lab tests whilst being comfy enough and not too thick... I also bought the vanson snap in streamliner vest, but I wouldn’t bother with this now as any wind proof motorbike gillet will do just as well (or better) for less money, or you can get a heated vest if you ride when it’s properly cold.

    I find the mandarin collar strap snap on the CSRX too tight (for me) especially when wearing a neck warmer so I leave it snapped back in it’s retainer (a nice and typically thoughtful detail) and have had a strap and snap added on the chest near the top of the zip. I’ve also had the main zip (a chunky No 10 vanson branded YKK) replaced once when the male pin got frayed after 10 years or so and the Velcro on the front of the waistband below the zip was replaced with four poppers when it wore out. I got some spare jacket to pant zips from Vanson to fit to my Kevlar riding jeans that I tend to use for lower speed/town riding so I can zip them to the jacket. I give the jacket a clean with a damp rag as needs be, plus use a specialist leather cleaner for motorbike leathers and then some Vanson leather balm once a year and it’s as good as ever. The jacket copes fine with light showers, but as it’s leather you need a rain over jacket over the top for any serious and sustained downpours. With careful layering (I’m a big fan of icebreakers merino wool base and mid layers) plus a wind proof gilet it’s warm enough for most weather I contemplate riding in here. And with the vents I added opened up it’s not too hot except on really warm conditions in slow traffic.

    So overall a really great jacket. Stylistically i really like it, though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I guess some may find it a bit utilitarian and plain and too 1990’s in its styling. There’s no nods to the past like side laces, lancer front, plentiful zips/pockets or belts and buckles, no epaulettes, no padded quilted areas and no big statement W collar. Nor are there any more modern touches like Kevlar stretch comfort panels on the insides of the arms or round the neck, no plastic or metal elbow and shoulder sliders, nor (god forbid) an aerodynamic back hump. But personally I think it’s the perfect ‘tool’ jacket (ie its form follows its function) and that is exactly what gives it its (in my clearly biased view!) cool factor. It has what it needs and no more (OK, being picky, a zip out washable lining would be nice, like the sport rider pants have). It’s the 1960’s Rolex Submariner dive watch in motorbike jacket form, only a lot cheaper than that would suggest! And you can find them for even cheaper on eBay too as it doesn’t attract the street jacket crowd so much... and of course, if you’re sacrilegious like me, you can add a few patches related to your motorbiking adventures over the years to personalise it/make it visually more interesting (or, as others may put it, ruin it!)

    As to my crash testing of this Vanson jacket (and my Vanson sport rider pants) I did this by falling off at over 100mph on a Silverstone track day. Everything held up well and I walked away uninjured (pride - and bike - aside) though I was very sore afterwards from all the rag-dolling and knocking myself out. Thankfully Silverstone has huge run off areas and little to hit. No seams on the leathers came apart anywhere. Remember it’s not just the leather quality/thickness that matters - it’s the construction. For instance the type and placement of seams, the type and amount and spacing of the stitching (eg hidden stitching, triple stitched seams etc), the type and thickness of the thread used. This is one reason real motorbike kit does not have the high stitch counts/inch of some more fashion related high end leather jackets, as too many of these stitch hole perforations can weaken the leather too much. I did manage to wear a very small hole in the right shoulder, going through both layers of the old competition weight leather. I think this it where I touched down first (along with my head - thank you Arai helmets!) though the vanson GP armour under that meant no injury to me. And I welded the pocket zip on the sport rider pants shut and damaged some stitching here and there (thank goodness for hidden stitching and triple stitching). Hideout leathers checked the leathers over and did the necessary repairs to retain their crash resistance. Other that that, the only damage was just a few minor scuffs to add patina and some rather cool high speed distressing of the cloth Vanson ovals on each shoulder (I apparently did a lot of tumbling and sliding on my shoulders...).

    OK it’s a sample of one crash, so not exactly a scientifically valid sample size, and I guess I had some luck too. But I’m not planning on falling off more just to get a more valid sample size! Let’s just say I was very glad I’d chosen Vanson and even with all the import costs I had to pay to get the jacket to the UK back in the day, it’s been a very cost effective purchase given the use I’ve had from it and the injury they’ve helped save me from.

    Well I’ve clearly got carried away and written a novel, but I was glad to see these under appreciated Vanson sport rider models get a mention and hope some of you found my ramblings of interest!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  17. yellowfever

    yellowfever Familiar Face

    Messages:
    90
    A couple of pics - look away now if you don’t like patches on jackets!
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    12,668
    Great read, @yellowfever and the way you describe CSRX is exactly why it's my second favorite looking leather jacket after the cross zip. It's the utilitarian look, that tool or equipment vibe, alongside near perfect functionality that makes it so cool. And yours especially, with the patches and all the details.

    I never saw that one, though, with slanted pockets like that. Really awesome!
     
  19. yellowfever

    yellowfever Familiar Face

    Messages:
    90
    Hey Monitor, many thanks for the nice comments, glad it was of interest. The slanted ‘pockets’ are actually not original, they were added after the fact for me by hideout leathers in the UK. In fact they are primarily there for ventilation, though they can be used as pockets as they do have (mesh) pocket bags. I don’t use them as pockets much for safety reasons/as jacket is snug but they have been useful occasionally for eg stashing autostrada toll tickets when touring in Italy etc - it’s no fun being stationary too long in that heat with a bunch of Italian drivers stuck behind you, so useful to have an outside pocket for a fast stow and go!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  20. regius

    regius Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    New York
    a very timely thread. After a hiatus, I just ordered a new Vanson DominatorII (what happened to Dominator I), anyway, jacket is stock, compweight rayon lining, the box came today via UPS and it was a beatutiful box, nice paper taping. They used to just use plastic tape, but this one looks like an Aero box. The jacket in 44 fits spot on.

    I once lost faith in Vanson for that trying a stock jacket in store tore the lining, as the leather was so stiff, the thread and lining couldn't quite take it (on that particular jacket at least), and I thought oh no! critical flaw.... well, definitely an anomaly than norm (another bad experience was a Dom II had snaps/rivets popping out, again, leather too thick and stuff for hardware).

    This dom II is perfect.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.