Iron Heart IHJ-54

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Bfd70, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,906
    Location:
    Chicago
    Soooo, I got a black leather jacket. The story played out like a TFL cliché. "I don't need a jacket, I'm gonna wear what I have more, maybe next year." Let's just browse the forums a little.... I hold several of you responsible. Lotta good looking posts in the WAYWT thread in the past few months. The itch started. My personality doesn't really do a mosquito bite itch, more like rolling around in poison ivy. I jumped in.

    Ok, I'm going to buy a jacket but which? Let me think.

    Color: Black, definitely black. Why? Well, I've got a Dark Seal 1930's half belt from Aero that I really like and don't get to wear as often as I like. It's a nice shade and plays tricks in the light. Sometimes it looks egg plant. Not a brown always brown but I think it covers the base. Side note: about 3 years ago when I discovered TFL I told my wife I was going to buy a leather jacket. I asked her if I should buy brown or black. She replied "Brown, you're too old for a black leather jacket." I'll show her!

    New or Used: Hey, I like to save money! A used jacket that doesn't work is a $150 try on. A new one can easily be $400.

    Style: Double Riders are out. The J-24 is my favorite style to look at here. Maybe in descending order I like the LW, RMC, Aero, and Eastman, but I like looking at them all. But I mostly like looking at them zippered up. I don't like the way the leather meets at the chest when the jacket is unzipped. Also, I just feel a little self conscious wearing them. I considered a car coat. The 1/2 belt is a great jacket for late spring and early fall. I knew this time out something I could wear in a cooler temperature range was a priority. Car coat would certainly handle that. Read LW description of the Hemi. Hyperbole? Sure. But it certainly reads well. Still, in the end, the car coat suffers from the same shortcoming as the double rider. I'm just not that guy IRL. The jacket would wear me. Ditto for anything with too much of a military vibe. I determined that while not the most exciting a classic center zip waist length jacket was the correct choice.

    Features: AKA things I like. Not all total deal breakers, but the sum needs a passing grade. Must have a collar (not mandarin). I prefer button cuffs. Hand warmer pockets. Zipper substantial enough that I can zip in the dark when I'm leaving for work. Finished hem. That's probably it.?.

    Custom or Stock: I have no design eye. My favorite self deprecation is that I see things like an eight crayon box not the sixty-four. Remember that thread a while back "The collars of Aero" they really all looked the same to me. I couldn't pick one from a picture on the screen to decide which I would prefer. I would literally need two jackets in front of me. Because of this I think it makes the jacket OCD more acute. When you design a jacket with choices and you're 85% happy with it, you keep thinking "man if only I'd..." When a jacket is off the rack, or pre-owned that doesn't bother me. It's just the way it came. OCD takes a nap. I also appreciate that if a stock jacket arrives and I'm not in love with it I can just send it back. Therefore I'd strongly lean towards stock.

    Sourcing: "If a stock jacket arrives and I'm not in love with it I can just send it back."
    However, at what cost and effort? Freewheelers has several offerings I like. However, I'm not willing to deal with the shipping from Japan to the U.S. only to find that it's a size too small and then send it back at great cost and watch the tracking not move for three weeks. It would need to be something with a local presence or a label I've had positive previous experience with. As a side note I can't believe several of these brands don't have more of a US presence. I know that' typically egotistical thinking but the US has a large population. I think there is a market. Anyone want to start a business?

    Fit and Function: I would like enough mobility to be able to scratch my head or hold a phone without feeling like I went to the gym. It doesn't need motorcycle mobility but it would certainly be a bonus. It needs to fit in such a way that I can wear a heavy shirt underneath. Ideally this will be accomplished without appearing too much like I'm wearing a jacket 1 size too big when I just have a tshirt on. It should have some mobility. When I wear my half belt with just a tshirt the fit is spot on perfect for going for a walk or leaning on a pole watching the world go by. I don't hold the wheel at 10 and 2 when I drive but I couldn't in this jacket if I needed to. It's too tight at the top of the arms.
    This segway's into a brief near miss story. I sourced a used FQHH premiere highway man. I REALLY liked the jacket. I thought it looked boss. It pretty much checked every box feature wise. With a t-shirt the fit was again great but the sleeves were 1.5" too short so I moved it on. I could replicate that jacket.To fit a sweatshirt some numbers would need to be played with. This is where I got nervous. Messing with inches in one area but not the other can throw the ratio off. I've been here long enough to have read the "fails." "I added 2" to the chest but took the shoulders in 3/4" while tapering the waist to the square root of PI...." I fear the Frankenjacket.

    Wow, I'm really rambling. Let's get to it. I took all of the above, spent too long online, threw it all in a blender. Out came an Iron Heart 54. Let's talk about what I love about it, like and what I can live with.

    Leather: Horsehide "super soft chrome tanned horsehide from a tiny tannery in Himeji." Love it. Deep black with a nice initial shine. Teacore (which I like) per the forums. Soft doesn't begin to describe it. It's considerably softer than significantly used Horween I've handled (which I also do like #Chicagoproud). Huge grain potential.

    Style: Like. It is a bit moto. I was not necessarily going for this. It's not overwhelming but if I could make a few tweaks like deleting the pocket and sleeve zippers I would. I prefer the aesthetic of a more plain back but have ultimately decided that the trade in mobility is worth it. I never see the back of the jacket anyhow.

    Workmanship: I'm not a big stitch count guy and can overlook a few wobbles but this appears to be quite good.

    Zippers: Like. YKK. They function well. The main is a tad big in the moto style but prefer a tad big to vintage correct small. The fact that it's a two way zipper is a HUGE win. I know it's a moto thing but more jackets should consider this. I wore this horsehide jacket for the first time in the car and with the two way undone to mit stomach there was zero push up. Total game changer. On second thought let's change this to a love.

    Pockets: How can they appear regular sized on the outside and yet be so roomy inside? Bending the laws of space and time. Love.

    Sleeve: Like. Vansons are too big at the bicep. These are much trimmer and look better. They are SLIM at the forearm. May be an issue for some. For a higher end jacket I'd think that someone would start to think about using a thinner leather at the gusset.

    Lining: Nothing to see here folks. Sufficient but pedestrian. At least use a contrasting color. Can live with.

    Function: Love. Off the charts. The m.c. design provides shoulder room for functional mobility but also has the added benefit of allowing layering room. The m.c. design in this case also features side gussets. The waist on this jacket is trim. in a size small opening the gussets gives you nearly 3" extra room. Again so key for layering.

    Purchase: Love. I dealt with Iron heart directly. They promptly answered my many questions. They offer fast free delivery and free returns. Their website posts all the necessary measurements and they measure the actual jacket they are sending before they do and let you know of any discrepancies from what is posted. Highly recommend.

    Pictures.
     
  2. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,906
    Location:
    Chicago
  3. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,783
    Location:
    SoCal
    Well done!
    Looks fantastic! Almost got a 70s vibe... cool.
     
    ton312 and Bfd70 like this.
  4. sweetfights

    sweetfights Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,425
    Location:
    Canada
    Fantastic- Love the fit and love the leather. 2-way YKK zippers are excellent and look great.
    Some do not like the side waist zippers but I simply think they are functional and look amazing.
    That jacket is a complete victory.
    Congratulations.
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  5. VestCoast

    VestCoast One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    203
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Can't wait to see how this evolves. The IH forum pics of this jacket and the brown version are incredible. Very nice pick up!
     
  6. Tom71

    Tom71 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Europe
    Congrats. Looks great!

    I take this to be the collared version of the IHJ-35, which I ordered Last fall after seeing Powerband’s pictures. No regrets, and I second all your points re leather, fit and function.
    Wear and enjoy in good health!
     
  7. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,906
    Location:
    Chicago
    Upon delivery i think the jacket is exactly the same with the addition of a collar. A trimmer fit than i expected but it works for my build.
     
    Tom71 likes this.
  8. Tom71

    Tom71 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Europe
    And it will losen up some and get better. Mine was really trim at first, but it works well now. Amazing freedom of movement, due to the underarm-construction and the gussets. IH may not offer that ultra-artisanship of the bespoke makers, but they sure know their job.
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  9. Colin G

    Colin G Practically Family

    Messages:
    929
    Location:
    Canada
    Real nice. It has a Langlitz Timberline vibe to me, which is probably why I like it so much.

    Personally I don't dig the side zips but they seem to be quite functional and really look the part on that jacket. Well done!

    Keeper.
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  10. Boyo

    Boyo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,539
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Looks Great !.. should be the cure for that poison ivy itch for awhile..
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  11. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,897
    Location:
    Chicago
    That is bad ass!!! The more I look at it it really reminds me of my Bates. Especially the shoulder gussets. Those are the best kind. Nice and deep so even a very trim fit still offers maximum flexibility. Sweet jacket!
     
  12. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,016
    Location:
    London
    Looks great, with that one you really need to grow the moustache back...
     
    willyto, Bfd70 and Torstein like this.
  13. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    10,584
    Looks great, sounds even better. The kind of garment that covers just about every aspect you'd want in a jacket. Style, fit and functionality, all the while looking completely badass. The kind that keeps on giving long after the initial fascination passes. But IH is great that way. They may seem a bit bland at first - I mean, they got that one shirt done in one million variants - but they know everything's already been done too times over and the reason we keep going back to the classics is what made it classic to begin with.

    And that's a great point on the "if only..." syndrome which is why I'm a lot happier the fewer modification options I'm given. IMO, I'd much rather just find the jacket I like enough than go through a tedious ordeal of modding the heck out of it only to end up completely unhappy.

    All in all, great jacket. Perfect fit.
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  14. jonesy86

    jonesy86 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,986
    Location:
    Kauai
    Thats a keeper! Great review.
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  15. red devil

    red devil Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,116
    Location:
    London
    This is a great jacket overall, and the leather should look really good afte rsome wear :D
     
    Bfd70 likes this.
  16. Powerband

    Powerband Practically Family

    Messages:
    676
    Damn, that looks fantastic... what a solid score. Wait until then cracks, grains and creases develop. It’s now hard for you to imagine how this Horsehide can get any softer than it already is, but the leather will feel even softer as it breaks in. It will feel like a heavy silk blanket draped on your body, yet not get in the way. Grab and go. My IHJ-35 Cafe, the cousin of yours, has been my absolute favorite jacket since 1985. It goes with me nearly everywhere like a security blanket.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  17. Powerband

    Powerband Practically Family

    Messages:
    676
    Here’s the Cafe version of your jacket, the IHJ-35, some months ago when it was only a day or two old (I’ll get some updates when it’s not 95 degrees out): 60F9FE41-EABC-4DFD-AD90-622DA4E450ED.jpeg

    A2E2E744-3575-4ED0-9330-091217F109BA.jpeg

    E16B14E6-8975-4C54-AB10-95C5A5FD0F66.jpeg

    F18E52B8-84FC-42E6-8725-94DA257F2A07.jpeg
     
  18. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,906
    Location:
    Chicago
    Yeah, 90 here too. Got it just in time
    When it arrived i immediately understood what you meant about sort of wanting to baby it. It’s just so damn nice.
     
  19. navetsea

    navetsea My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,783
    Location:
    East Java
    dual zip, and side hem zips, nothing better than those feature to sit with. congrats looks well fitting
     
  20. Powerband

    Powerband Practically Family

    Messages:
    676
    yeah, sort of like babying a $9K watch for the first few days, then you realize the damn thing is made to take a beating.
     

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