How to tell what leather this Vanson jacket is?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by estranged, May 16, 2021.

  1. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    I just picked up a used Vanson model B. Owner said that they got the jacket back in 90's. After I bought it I found out that Model B comes in both competition cowhide and thinner Firenze leather. Is there a way for me to find out what leather is actually is? I am planning to use it for motorcycle riding so would be nice to have the thicker version.

    The jacket itself is very well broken in so feels quite soft and flexible, but also quite heavy, so I can't really tell what it is.
     
  2. Monitor

    Monitor

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    13,335
    Jackets made of Firenze leather usually have label like the one below. Usually.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  3. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    Ah did not know! My label is like this below. Is that safe to assume it is the comp weight leather then?
     

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  4. Monitor

    Monitor

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    It is, yeah. There's no reason it wouldn't be Comp. Weight hide if it's got a regular Vanson label. Though Firenze isn't really even considerably thinner, just softer. But it's still hefty leather by any definition.
     
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  5. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    How much does it weigh ?
     
  6. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    Ok I see. This jacket is quite soft, but again, it's really old so perhaps it's just really broken in.

    I don't have a precise scale but weighting on my food scale it seems it's around 2.8kg which is 6.17lb.
     
  7. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    My guess is it's comp weight - and you'll be fine on your bike with it. Enjoy your new (to you) Vanson! :)
     
  8. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    That’s good advise .. just enjoy it. Post pics when possible ....
     
  9. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    So I just borrowed my brother's new Model B in comp cowhide to compare them. Old one is so much more comfortable and pleasant to wear but the new one has much more patina already. The old one seems quite smooth and soft for touch, so I do wonder if they get softer/smoother with time or is this actually Firenze leather.

    I also saw pics of Model B here below and they have so much patina compared to mine. Wonder if just different type of cowhide can have such a difference even though it's same type of leather:
    https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/why-should-i-buy-a-vanson.104065/page-5#post-2807039
     

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  10. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Both jackets are what Vanson classifies as Comp. weight leather so there's no doubt about it. They're most probably made from leather sourced at different tanneries, that's all. The new jacket does indeed look closer to what they're using now (or have been using at the time I last saw a brand new Vanson jacket which was some 2 years ago). Firenze neither looks like that and what I said earlier, jackets made out of it have different label.

    Vanson has changed a large number of tanneries throughout the years. Comp. weight leather isn't all same; It's just hide spec'd with certain properties like specific thickness, weight, finish, etc. Your jacket is indeed old - It's a pre-revision Model B, provided I am not mistaken - so you can't expect it to look exactly like the currently produced jacket.
     
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  11. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    Alright, thanks for assurance! For me it's less important the looks but more important that I am getting the thickest leather for crash protections. That's why want to make sure it's not Firenze.

    Regarding tanneries, that makes sense of course.

    Is their new or old stuff considered better nowadays? Of course in my case I am comparing two jackets which have very different usage/break-in times so it is not really a fair comparison. But looking at the leather itself it feels like new one could withstand more considering how rough it is. On the other hand I heard that they produced better stuff back in the day.
     
  12. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Earliest jackets Vanson produced under the white label, were near lightweight. I'd draw a Brooks comparison but I'm not sure it would mean anything to you. Once they came up with the Comp. Weight leather concept, things became interesting and while it wouldn't be fair to say the older leather was better as technically speaking, it had always been true to certain specifications that make Comp. Weight what it is; It was, however, much more beautiful (more natural, less plasticy finish, uncorrected grain, etc.) and sometimes insanely thick. This stopped being the case in the past decade as the leather they've been using since the 2K's has remained fairly consistent in every aspect.

    Which is why older Vanson jackets are held in such a high regard on this forum and possibly elsewhere and that's why they have all but disappeared off the market.

    So it depends how you define better. Old or new, Comp. weight fairs equal when it comes to riding & protection and slight variation in thickness or stiffness won't provide considerable difference when it comes to safety. And again, Firenze is just as good at spills as Comp. weight as those few Firenze jackets I've handled were still thicker than anything Dainese, for instance, which makes riding gear that's well within safety standards.
     
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  13. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    Neither one appears to have much patina yet .Also how old is the old one ? And how new is the new one ?
     
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  14. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    All clear, also about protection, that's reassuring to hear.

    That's what I find interesting - this jacket, according to seller, is 28 years old, yet does not have imho very impressive patina or looks of the leather itself. Perhaps it's as you said it depends on the tannery or just matter of taste. It looks quite smooth and not so rough, while I assume most people want their jackets to have some rough patina.

    The new one was bought brand new 3 years ago. The old one I checked with the seller and they said they bought the jacket back in 1994 in Vanson factory. Perhaps it just wasn't used that much because there is some nice patina on the arms and lower part of the jackets (where most wrinkles happen) but not on the chest and back.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  15. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

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    Different batches look different...
    I have 5 or 6 Comp Weight jackets ranging from the 90s to now and not two look alike.

    1992 Comp Weight:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    2002 Comp Weight on the left, 2016 on the right:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And 2020 CXL Horse, both come from the same batch of Horween CXL:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    What do you mean by "patina"? Because i don't think it means what you think it means...
     
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  16. estranged

    estranged New in Town

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    You are right actually. I checked what patina actually is and that's not what I meant. How do you call that visible grain type of thing on the jacket. The one you got a lot going on the "2002 Comp Weight on the left" jacket. This is the type of stuff i love, but unfortunately the old Vanson i just got barely has any.
     
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  17. Monitor

    Monitor

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    13,335
    Grain is right. :) Lol, there's no official name for it I guess but we say grain, yeah.
     
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  18. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    Model B America
     

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    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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  19. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    A few more of Comp Weight
     

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    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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