Motorcycle Jacket Recommendations

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JM7, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    22,578
    Location:
    London, UK
    Plenty of options out there. there are people who ride in Aeros; as with anything, opinions about suitability vary. If the Aero works for you, in terms of leather for the slide there'll be one of the hides (either the heavier steer and horse, or goat - goat being second only to roo in terms of abrasion resistance). For an impact fall, leather alone won't help much, you need the armour. Modern d30 type armour is thin and unobtrusive, just make sure you try the jacket on with back-protector in place in case you find you need a little more room. An armoured, kevlar undershirt and/or longjohns like those offered by Bowtex basically gives you complete freedom of whatever you want to wear on top. A tweed suit would be fine, even - but it might not be so comfortable on a hot day. Goldtop offer the widest range I've yet seen of leather jackets with an original 50s to 70s style that can also take armour as standard. The back plates can give a little show-through on the jacket, but if that bothers you, it could always be removed if you're just wearing the jacket around.

    If you're looking at motorcycle clothing sourced from the UK or EU, watch the descriptions. Under EU law, there is now a clear distinction between motorcycle ppe and motorcycle style clothing. Nowhere is allowed to sell anything as 'proper' motorcycling wear unless appropriately classified. Also worth checking what exactly is classified - I think the new system is designed to try and make this clearer, but there is a difference between a jacket containing ECE rated armour and an armoured jacket which is ECE rated as a complete garment. It's not yet clear what the "British Standards" with which the present Westminster government intends, post-Brexit, to replace the ECEs will be, though in practice I suspect many companies might choose just to stick to the ECE standards rather than spend the money on a separate set of classifications for the UK market only, especially given they'll needed ECE certification to sell into the EU (a much bigger market, obviously).
     
    Justhandguns likes this.
  2. lina

    lina Practically Family

    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Washington DC
    I agree with the sentiment that it's all about whether you are looking for serious armored jackets, or just good leather jackets. If the latter, there are lots of options that look good, including of course Aero and others mentioned above.

    The real quesion is, What motorcycle did you get..?
     
  3. Schambach

    Schambach One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    NYC/Hudson Valley
    Vanson. As others said, for that budget you could get two. I've been wearing the DRAC/Full Throttle all summer, and it's fantastic. Works perfectly on the bike, and the venting system is great, comes with armor as well. Not really an off the bike kind of jacket though. The Enfield is a bit more of a relaxed fit, and you could easily get an armored shirt underneath it. I also have an Aero Sheene, but I don't like it on the bike at all, the range of motion isn't great, especially when compared to the Vanson stuff. It is gorgeous though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  4. jglf

    jglf One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    274
    Location:
    USA
    I would recommend getting 2 Vansons. One with removable armor for riding and one for everyday wear. You can get both for under $1000.
     
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  5. Cyber Lip

    Cyber Lip Practically Family

    Messages:
    646
    Location:
    Seattle
    I have an Aero Ridley in CXL in a D pocket Buco config and love it, however I'm no longer riding. If I were I'd look at a Vanson. One of the big reasons is I love a double ended zipper for riding and Vanson offers that. The thing about the Aero that I wouldn't like about it for riding is the zipper, besides not being double ended, it isn't durable/heavy duty enough for constant use. And the dye isn't colorfast enough to handle riding in rainy weather. The hide itself is, but the color would drain right out of it by the end of one rainy season. This may not bother some people though.
     
    TREEMAN and AeroFan_07 like this.
  6. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,850
    Location:
    California
    Since you live in Clayton I would recommend you take the short trip to Johnson Leathers in person and see what they have to offer. As previously mentioned, they outfit motorcycle policeman and CHP officers from all over Northern California so they know a thing or two about motorcycle jackets.
    One trip to their store could save you the trouble of buying several (or more) jackets online only to find that they are not what you wanted or they don’t work well on the bike.
     
  7. Psant25

    Psant25 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,311
    If you can get the fit right id get a Langlitz. Took me 3 times to get the fit right. Vanson are great riding jackets but the hardware is a little flashy and 80s for me. My aeros (zip sleeve highwayman) were more casual. Worked ok on my electra glide police but did not work on my fat bob as i did not have enough mobility. Nothing wrong with trying a stock schott moto jacket either. I bought and sold too many custom made jackets that after all the effort did not fit all that good.
     
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  8. Psant25

    Psant25 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,311
    Id second this as well. I have a custom JL chp in heavy brown cxl hh that is great both on and off the bike. Made many mods to the stock pattern to get the fit right.
     
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  9. Canuck Panda

    Canuck Panda Practically Family

    Messages:
    666
    For 1300 dollars you have a lot of options.

    UK
    Aero - Best bang for your buck for CXL. Get Boxy Talons. Flat shoulders, tapered torso.
    Simmonsbilt - Priced slightly lower than Aero but resale is also lower. Flat wide shoulders, straight torso.
    Field Leathers - Best deal for Shinki. Wait is too long. Straight torso, narrow (too tight) everything else.
    Lewis - Two words, Vegtan Sheepskin, or is that three words? Archive patterns have tapered torso.

    US
    Vanson - Best bang for your buck for leather jackets. Period. Pretty much what everyone else says. But only comes in utility black leather.
    Lost Worlds - New jackets are too expensive. Used ones are closer to Aero prices. NYC's Buco.
    Johnson Leather - West coast Vanson with fancier leather and style. M(P)500 is one of the best pattern out there. Will fit most bodies. Pattern is perfected by all the police contracts. Small shop, wait can be long. I am bias here. M(P)500 is my ATF.
    Langlitz - I got one coming. I have a feeling it'd be like an American Lewis. Or is Lewis the UK Langlitz.
    There are other small Made-in-USA motorcycle gear manufacturers. But for the Red/White/Blue label, it's hard to beat a Vanson. Like what everyone else already said.
    I didn't even bother to include Schott because that's what my wife wore, once. But this is also my bias opinion.

    If you are just riding a cruiser, any of these non armor jackets will be more than enough. Your boots will see more wear and tear than your jacket for sure. And kudos still going out riding after 50. Go slow, enjoy the moments.

    bike jackets.jpg
     
  10. ton312

    ton312

    Messages:
    13,163
    Location:
    Chicago
    Johnson leathers or Vanson, with Vanson being my first choice. Nothing beats Vanson for this purpose. They are, as Tina would say " Simply the best...better than all the rest...better than anyone" and they stand behind their work, will repair it for you in the event of a spill, etc. To my knowledge Aero, LW, etc will not do this (I could be wrong). You could spend a whole helluva more, get an inferior jacket, with zero warranty...but why?

    Side bar, are we just going to ignore Cyber Lip's avatar? LOL
     
  11. Canuck Panda

    Canuck Panda Practically Family

    Messages:
    666
    Google Vanson Highwayman Model E and you will be lead back here, and you will get an glimpse of an unicorn sharkskin like model E. Best Vanson ever existed.
    And yes, they offer REAL warranty, in writing. A return postage warranty card, just fill in your info and mail back. No one else does this. Everyone else says "lifetime warranty", but nothing in black and white like Vanson. If you go to the riding forums you will see others who has sent their back for repairs. I remember seeing a guy complaining about having to pay postage for his free Vanson repairs. But that was after like 2 crashes/repairs or something like that.
    But current Vanson only comes in black. I am more a grey guy.

    Thumbs up for the new avatar @Cyber Lip
     
    ton312 likes this.
  12. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect A-List Customer

    Messages:
    371
    Ah, if you're in the bay area, then def visit JL. Their prices are actually nearly identical to Vanson when you compare apples to apples, meaning you choose a house stock leather and a house design template, and make style and fit alterations. Both brands essentially will make to your order instead of altering something off the rack. Alot of folks who go with JL here typically spec "fancier" leathers, hence the price separates from Vanson, but if you're looking for, say, a more ubiquitous black cowhide leather, their prices are similar.

    In that realm of ubiquitous leathers though, Vanson's comp weight is well regarded here, especially the older stuff, and Vanson has more recognizable styles. But, I found JL's stock leather offerings for riding jackets comparable, and saw how a bunch of their law enforcement stuff ages, and they will adjust the style to your liking anyway, so it's wash. And all the leathers from Vanson/JL will be as nice if not nicer than anything you'll find off the rack from mainstream brands (Schott) if the name of the tannery isn't listed (Horween, Badalassi, Shinki, etc etc).

    For me, getting a personalized fit is everything because it's hard for me to find jackets that fit me well, especially leather, so for me it's a no brainer since I'm local.
     
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  13. jglf

    jglf One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    274
    Location:
    USA
    Langlitz has probably the nicest goat hide that I’ve ever handled, but I know that I probably won’t get the fit that I want from them.
     
    Psant25 likes this.
  14. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,850
    Location:
    California
    I had a hard time getting a good fit from Langlitz and it was a frustrating experience for all involved. Considering that the OP lives half an hour away from Johnson Leathers I would put them at the top of the list.
     
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  15. 01flhr

    01flhr One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    252
    Ive owned langlitz, bates, and vanson for riding and ive got to disagree about them being obsolete compared to vanson. I took a good spill in my langlitz a few years ago and havent gotten around to sending it for repair. In my hands the langlitz is the superior product on and off the bike.

    My suggestions for the op,

    Langlitz, bates, z custom (pretty reasonably priced for custom made to measure), and then vanson. The only reason im holding off on a bates or z is that its been a rough year for the oil patch and other stuff is more a priority.
     
  16. yellowfever

    yellowfever One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    128
    Short answer (as many have said already): vanson. They have lots of styles so you should be able to find something that works stylistically for you/your bike both on and off the bike. Most importantly it will work on the bike (range of movement etc) and also protect you in a fall, as that is what it is designed for. I’d encourage you to consider wearing armour too as some others have said.

    Longer answer: Whatever you get it should be by a motorbike leathers maker (not fashion jacket makers however thick the leather is). A motorbike jacket’s protective qualities are not just a function of the leather and it’s thickness. It’s about construction, panel placement, hidden stitching, seam types, thread used, stitches per inch (more not always better…) and many, many other considerations including proper fit and freedom of movement when on the bike. Thick leather won’t protect you if the seam rips open after the surface stitching abrades…

    In the EU there are now legally enforced proper standards to differentiate protective motorcycle clothing designed to be used on a bike and offer protection in a crash from the wannabe fashion stuff… (in fact the EU standards are derived from those first developed in the UK at the University of Cambridge by Dr Woods - the very tough “Cambridge standard”).

    As to looks, personally I think a real motorbike jacket has an intrinsic cool precisely because it is a tool jacket fit for its purpose, not a fashion jacket pretending to be something it’s not. But given your budget if you really don’t like the look of real motorbike jackets from a fashion perspective (despite eg vanson’s huge choice of styles) you could get a proper motorbike jacket just to use on the bike and a fashion one for streetwear…

    Also, whilst it’s a personal choice of course, as others have also pointed out, I’d also encourage you to get a jacket with armour or else wear an armoured undershirt. As you say you’ve just got your first bike you will inevitably be more at risk at first than more experienced riders, even if you intend to mostly just cruise around town at lower speeds as you say. And as we get older we all bounce less well if it goes wrong… armour might not look so cool but neither do broken limbs and big hospital bills. And these days there are various low profile and flexible armour options that can still do a decent job of reducing impact forces, without being too obvious or intrusive. Something to consider (though if you do get armour/undershirt ensure you try the jacket with the armour and your likely riding layers depending on your climate to get the fit right - a reasonably close fit not only looks better it is also important for safety).

    I hope that helps and enjoy the riding…
     
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  17. JM7

    JM7 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    66
    Location:
    Clayton CA
    I actually have looked at them online and they look amazing. Thank you for the suggestion, I really do like them a lot although havent seen one in person
     
  18. JM7

    JM7 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    66
    Location:
    Clayton CA
    Thank you for the help, I haven't heard of Z Custom, I'll Google them. I was hoping to hear that an Aero Highwayman would be a great motorcycle jacket but I guess they are more fashion ?
     
  19. 01flhr

    01flhr One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    252
    Ive talked to adolph at z several times. Most of their stuff is race oriented but theyll make anything you want. I figure they oughta know how to make a jacket survive a crash. When i spoke to langlitz about my build i mentioned z and bates and (i think his names scott) said hes owned a z track suit and it was very high quality. The owner of z apparently used to work for bates back in the day and made the harley/marlboro man jacket as a bates but the z was his personal touch to it. I spoke with them about a chp style jacket that he said would be no problem at all, but their 3 seasons jacket looks like a good all purpose jacket.
     
  20. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,850
    Location:
    California
    The Aero Highwayman is a blousy, boxy jacket that fits tight across the shoulders. I think it is pretty much the opposite of everything a good motorcycle jacket should be.
     
    roadking04, ton312, Carlos840 and 3 others like this.

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