Lewis Leathers Steerhide/Horsehide/Sheepskin & 441T/402T/551T

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by coolruehl, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,539
    Even in my time I've stumbled upon countless copies of say, the Bronx or the Cyclone, Lightning, etc. and some were really, really good, with even the correct hardware. LL used to be huge in Europe. I mean, really huge. Back in the seventies here in the Eastern Europe, if you wanted to be a part of the motorcycle scene, you needed two things - a motorcycle of any kind and a Lewis Leathers jacket (but, Dainese and Alpinestars would do, too). But, neither were as simple to come by as they are today so there was a HUGE market that existed for the LL copies, most of which still float around. German ones are the best. In any case, I think that's why LL decided to keep the patch on their jackets. Some of these guys would make it to race internationally and I know people who got their first proper LL only when they raced in the UK.

    I don't mind the patch on my jacket at all. I think what most people don't understand is that LL is - or at least used to be - primarily a motorcycle gear maker, and it's a tradition for all MC clothing brands to advertise their logos on the jackets, racing suits, boots, etc. I see it being no different than wearing Alpinestars. Which is why it saddens me they're steering straight and fast for the exclusively fashion market today.
     
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  2. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

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    2,566
    Location:
    England
    You are spot on with the branding logo's, I have a Power Ranger suit with Dainese plastered across the front. As for Lewis being Thee brand to wear back in the 70s and 80s, I don't remember anyone saying "I must get a Lewis, there the best" or something similar. Some had them most didn't. If you had a stockist then riders would be more exposed to the brand than if not. Bike dealers sold all sorts of makes, mostly just black leather Lancer style jackets.
    If they were more into authenticity such as the A2 repro makers then they would probably be more fussy over historically correct details and leave the external labels off. As a modern bike jacket, compared to todays jackets Lewis are pretty rubbish protection wise, though riders are not really their priority as you say Ivan.
    I have two girl friends who went to lewis in Great Portland Street because they were one of the few who made women's jackets to measure. A mans jacket will not look right on a woman's figure unless almost boyish due to hips and bust variations.
     
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  3. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

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    8,539
    Oh, LL really used to be a thing here, in the so called central Europe during the late 70's and that's why there's quite a few of these jackets still floating around the local classifieds (how I managed to score mine) and since the brand is virtually unknown nowadays, you can sometimes find 'em for a dime, too. It hadn't much to do with LL being the best, but the local moto scene was mostly trying to emulate the British version, plus there were many professional racers whose idols were UK riders (EVERYBODY wanted to be Hailwood! Red Ducatis everywhere) that did wear Lewis, so... Lancer styles were actually least seen, with the racing types like the Phantom, Sportsman, etc. and full suits of course, being more common.

    The original rock scene though, the 60's one, it's something that's been skipped here altogether and appeared only during the revival, with the abundance of Bronx', Lightnings, Europas, etc. copies of all kinds and sorts flowing in to satisfy the demand. That's one of the reasons why I like the bi-swing/full action back so much, 'cause finding a jacket, even the Perfecto style, that has this feature is still not an easy task here. Even most Perfecto knockoffs, with the classic front, coin pocket and all, don't have it.

    Couldn't agree more. No doubt though that LL's out of the competition today when it comes to motorcycle safety standards and even on my 70's Phantom, I wouldn't really rely on those foam pads saving my ass in a spill. And I just realized they're really no longer making suits! That's one thing that hasn't changed all that much... Leather suits are still being used in professional motorcycle racing. That's where Vanson gets half their business from.
     
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  4. the loco

    the loco One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Montreal
    The Dominator is kinda cool. It's different then the HWM or a CR with shirt collar. The Dominator with the red quilted lining looks great. Lewis must the only brand that puts zipped pockets on the lower arm.
     
    Monitor likes this.
  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,767
    Location:
    London, UK
    Seems inevitable, really, given that bikes got bigger and faster..... and fewer of them on the roads. (What really makes a motorcycle dangerous, IMO, is not the motorcycle itself, but the simple fact that since the late sixties they stopped being the working man's transport, got rarer on the roads, and most car drivers just don't know how to drive round them safely.) Can't blame Lewis for hooting for the fashion market if the bike market wants something else.

    It's definitley a different beast. The original Rivett's of London jackets in that style were a slimmer cut - as reproduced in Aero's "Original 59er Highwayman". When Ken made the first Highwayman for Aero back in 82/83, he started from one of those original jackets, but altered the shape to make it boxier, influenced by American jackets from the fities. Rivett's were making a jacket of this type under their Highwayman brand (as all their jacket models were labelled) in the late fifties, before Lewis introduced the Dominator / Corsair / Plainsman models in 62. D. Lewis bought out Rivett's at some point in the 60s (I've never been able to track exactly when), and retired the brand. They did try to use the 'Highwayman' name again in the early 90s, I believe, but by that point Aero had legitimately established ownership, and so it was no longer available.

    On the matter of the forearm sleeve change pockets, Lewis introduced those across the range in 62, including adding them to the Bronx (around since 56), and the Lightning (around since 58). AFAIK, they never appeared on the Dominator and other straight zip / shirt collar models - at least, I've never seen one.
     
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  6. BobJ

    BobJ Practically Family

    Messages:
    602
    Location:
    Coos Bay, OR
    @ Edward "AFAIK, they never appeared on the Dominator and other straight zip / shirt collar models - at least, I've never seen one."

    They're doing them now:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Edward likes this.
  7. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

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    8,539
    It adds a lot to the jacket, the sleeve change pocket. I would definitely request it on my jacket - but with a beige zipper tape all around. Let's party hard!

    I wish they would just paint the logo on, though...
     
  8. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,051
    Location:
    London
    I don't think it is usual to have it on the Dominator, mine is from 2013 and doesn't have it. I think back then it was specific to a few styles. Mostly the double breasted jackets.
    It's weird because when i ordered mine, it was ok not to have the LL patch on the chest, but you couldn't have the sleeve pocket on the Dominator.
    Now, you can't omit the LL patch, but you can have a sleeve pocket. And unless specifically asked for their standard leather is horse, and cow is only available in black.
     
  9. kronos77

    kronos77 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    257
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Couldn't you just remove the patch, if you were so inclined?
     
  10. BobJ

    BobJ Practically Family

    Messages:
    602
    Location:
    Coos Bay, OR

    Yeah, but...

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. carl_c

    carl_c Familiar Face

    Messages:
    54
    great jackets, how would you rate comfort level for the steerhide and horsehide if the lambskin scores 100? I was planning to get a biker, I know horsehide looks best since it's stiff and will be in great shape after breaking in. I also heard horsehide jacket is very uncomfortable, how painful is that? will it get any better after breaking in?
     
  12. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,539
    Several members who have been to LL store and tried on both reported their horsehide to be noticeably lighter than steer-hide and not nearly as nice.
     
  13. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,514
    Location:
    Germany
    First, wearing comfort out of the box depends on the thickness of the leather and the way it was tanned, regardless of hh or cowhide. Next, steerhide usually breaks in faster (my experience). Third, once broken in, every leather is soft and comfortable to wear, horsehide too.

    If you want a biking jacket, you should not get a jacket in lambskin, unless you want to risk losing half your bodies skin in the scenario of a crash and slide over asphalt. Get 3 oz cowhide and you're good to go after a few weeks break in. Horsehide may or may not take longer til it's comfortable, but it al depends on maker and the tanning of the specific hide. Last, I have worn many jackets and it never was painful.

    Edit: If specifically LL is in question, their cowhide looks much nicer imho. I have seen a few hh jackets that didn't break in well at all. LL horsehide is not very thick. If you want to go with it either way, I do not think you have to worry about painful break in.
     
  14. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,051
    Location:
    London
    If you are talking about LL specifically, don't worry about comfort. both their cow (i don't think they offer steer) and horse are on the thinner/softer side.
    The cow is IMO definitely the way to go. The horse hide was very bland to me, very thick top coat, weird cardboardy feel, not a fan.
     
  15. carl_c

    carl_c Familiar Face

    Messages:
    54
    seems for LL most guys prefer steerhide (or cowhide, I have no idea what's the difference, their balls have effect on their skin?)
     
  16. carl_c

    carl_c Familiar Face

    Messages:
    54
    I don't like grains, I like my jacket to be smooth or even shiny. Does that sounds steerhide? I've considered Schott's heavy weight (after all, they are the original designer), but I don't like the fit, either the arm is too fat or the body is too short for me. They have slimmer fit but only supply to Japan.
     
  17. carl_c

    carl_c Familiar Face

    Messages:
    54
    I kinda know that cardboardy feel, just like brand new raw denim jacket, but it suppose to fit your shape after breaking in. Seems everyone likes LL's cowhide, again, is the surface smoother than horsehide? I don't like grains.

    And BTW how thick is LL's cowhide? I've tried Schott. they claim it's 5oz something for their heavyweight
     
  18. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,514
    Location:
    Germany
    If you want it smooth, horse is the better choice. Cowhide is grainy. If you want it shiny, Schotts horsehide is a good pick, it is very shiny black when new.

    edit:

    Schott Cowhide is 3 oz from all I know, definitely not 5 oz. LL hides are 3 oz too, according to their website.
     
  19. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,051
    Location:
    London

    I have a Schott 644 in "Deluxe Steerhide" and a LL cowhide Dominator, both hides are around the same thickness, and the same softness/hand.
    The Schott ages pretty quickly, wear marks show fast, it looks nice, but not as nice as a black on brown leather.
    The LL is more uniform, and mine show very little wear although it was worn on the bike loads, the leather just stays smooth.
    My gitlfriend's LL Super monza on the other hand has much more character and is really getting nice creasing and aging nicely, its also cowhide, so it is just luck!
     
  20. carl_c

    carl_c Familiar Face

    Messages:
    54
    Thanks for the info, I will try schott next time I'm in NYC
     

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