Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

One Man's Search For A Cafe Racer

dadonn

Familiar Face
Messages
50
Location
NYC
Forest FTT, love your horsehide jacket. Great fit. They sound like class acts at Johnson's. Quiet, unsung, stealthy and deadly efficient in practicing their craft. A bit hyperbolic but you get it. I think I'll call them as well as tomorrow. This jacket is for the street and street only so the Langlitz goatskin sounds nice as well. I'm 46; not sure I want to take the time to break in a horsehide...I'm not getting any younger.

Dave
 

HorseHide

One of the Regulars
Messages
250
Location
Miami
Based on my personal experience with many (most) of the vendors referenced in this thread (I will avoid making editorial comments about certain of them) I can say that Diamond Dave may be your guy if you have narrowed your search down to a Buco J100 replica. I too chased down a Buco replica and I bought one of Diamond Dave's Buco jackets - it was great (especially when you factor in price, delivery time, etc.). I ended up selling it (and the resale isn't great because he doesn't have the name recognition some of the other makers have) because I got the Goodwear Californian Racer and that is a better jacket IMO.

I also rave about Johnson Leathers but I don't know that their cafe racer will be as true to the Buco as Diamond Dave's - not saying they couldn't make it, just saying I haven't seen it. Finally, the Real McCoy version is pretty amazing but they don't make it in your size (and my experience is that it is cut a little funny as well).

Short 6' 4"? That like military intelligence?
 

ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
They sound like class acts at Johnson's. Quiet, unsung, stealthy and deadly efficient in practicing their craft. A bit hyperbolic but you get it.

Yep, you've pretty much got it right. Alan has been doing this for over thirty years and he's definitely got it down. They simply know their stuff, are proud of what they do and don't make a big fuss over things. One of the best companies I've ever done business with, regardless of the product.
 

Ishmael

Practically Family
Messages
546
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Just out of curiosity, what is your attraction to the cafe racer style? It's obviously a great style, and a style I and most on FL own or would love to own, but I'm just wondering what in particular drives your quest for that particular style?
 

HorseHide

One of the Regulars
Messages
250
Location
Miami
Just out of curiosity, what is your attraction to the cafe racer style? It's obviously a great style, and a style I and most on FL own or would love to own, but I'm just wondering what in particular drives your quest for that particular style?

Yeah! Why aren't you chasing something else, like a White Whale maybe...
 

dadonn

Familiar Face
Messages
50
Location
NYC
Short 6'4" is not quite like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence. I rarely stand straight up and I'm most accurately 6'3" and change. People never guess I'm as tall as I am until they stand right next to me so I've opted to refer to myself as such. I also quip that I'm sneaky big because whenever I walked into a store, the sales guy will guess 44l or 46 and most 48's are cut too small for me. I'll never forget the Belstaff store on Madison Avenue- they found a 4xl and made it sound like it was the last one on earth. It was too small which I ascribe to their absurd sizing but now that I'm here, it's likely a blessing.

As for what made me want a Cafe Racer- no particular reason. I always liked them and when I talked my buddy into getting one and ten years later he was waxing fondly on how great the jacket is, I thought I'd get one. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. If I weren't such a tough fit, it would have been over awhile ago and my ignorance would have proven blissful but the more you want to know, the more you uncover and before you know it, indecision and info mania reigns. The more I'm on here, the more I am beginning to appreciate the other styles.

As for the Legendary USA, I was unaware of them but according to their sizing chart, the sleeves would be too short. At this juncture its down to Johnson's, Diamond Dave and Langlitz, in that order. The pathetic thing is I'm thinking of the potential resale value of the Langlitz if this proves to be the beginning of an outerwear obsession.

All these responses and insight are truly appreciated.

Dave
 

Bunyip

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,069
Location
Australia
Thanks for chiming in so quickly. I will check out Johnson and Langlitz for sure. Do you know the approximate price points for the Langlitz? I appreciate your input Bunyip, Major and Fanch

Mate, price point starts at 950 usd. Again, they offer money back, they repair it for free, post it for free in US. They often sell for as much or more than you pay for them. Being a total custom, it WILL fit, and your search is over with an heirloom quality jacket. I just put a deposit on and got money put on it every week for a while, gave me time to plan, scheme and dream....well worth it.
 

Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
Go Johnson - I've had three jackets made by them and they can do anything. I own 5 cafe racers. But strangely my favorite is the Schott 660 the one you didn't like. I like that leather; it's 2.5oz so it's not needlessly thick - more like those great vintage Brimacos and Brooks cafe racers. Legendary USA aren't long enough and are basically just Schott jackets anyway.
 

dadonn

Familiar Face
Messages
50
Location
NYC
Hey Seb- maybe it's not so strange that the Schott 660 is your favorite although I'd be curious who made your other 4 racers. For me, it was back in December before the bug really bit that I tried one on. I was hellbent in finding a winter type racer so the Schott 141 was a natural with the thick removable liner. When I got to the 660 it just felt light and I remember being disappointed. Maybe it's worth another look as I believe that jacket is not only longer but has a higher armhole than most of the Schott's.

I'm somewhat surprised by the outpouring of support for Johnson's- in all the searching I did here to familiarize myself with racers of the past and present variety, I don't recall hearing anything about Johnson's. Alexander's, Aero, Langlitz, Good Wear, Real McCoy, Himel, Lewis, Lost Worlds, Pegasus, Schott and the makers of days gone by, Brimaco, Buco, Brooks, Schott again and a few others but not Johnson. I actually stumbled on them when I was skulking around in motorcycle forums but not a lot of data on their racers here.

They seem to be the favorite although I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to SF to do an actual fitting so maybe that levels the playing field some. Anyone know of any worthwhile joints in NY or LA where you can get measured? Too bad these companies don't have agents in major cities to do measuring and ordering. Not sure if the market could support it so maybe it's just wishful thinking.

Dave
 
Messages
10,181
Location
Pasadena, CA
If a maker can't fit you with numbers that you provide with a tape measure and a wife/GF/roommate/neighbor/hobo then pass. I don't think you have to go anywhere. Just get someone to help you out.
 

Seb Lucas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,562
Location
Australia
I got my Johnson leathers via email. Never been there.

My other cafes were Brooks, Mars and Pacific Cycles Insurrection's home brand. None were ever thicker than 3oz.
 

ForestForTheTrees

One of the Regulars
Messages
293
Location
Pacific Northwest
Hey Dave,

I've been very vocal about Johnson Leathers here in large part because I myself discovered them via this very forum and I'm very grateful for that. I own, or have owned jackets from Langlitz, Aero and Johnson and call tell you that while not as well known, JLs jackets are every bit as good as the other two makers. JL is also probably the most capable and willing when it comes to making you just about any kind of jacket that you might be able to think up. Just as important for me is that I happen to really like Johnson Leathers' "style". Not just their jackets, but the way they do business. Like being able to call up Alan, the owner, what seems like countless times in my case with any variety of questions and receiving straight forward answers every single time minus any attitude.

Still, most of the manufacturers mentioned here are more than capable of making superb jackets. All one has to do is to look at the numerous photos on display here to quickly realize that we as consumers are fortunate to have such a great number of options available to us when it comes to quality hand-crafted leather jackets. Just as I'm passionate about Johnson Leathers, there are plenty of others here who feel the same way about Aero, Vanson, Good Wear, Langlitz, Lost Words, Himel, so on and so forth. I can only imagine that they do so because they are also very pleased with the jackets that they received.

I'm not at all trying to discourage you from from choosing Johnson Leathers to build you a jacket. In my case, I came to this forum in search of knowledge regarding leather jackets beyond the few high-end brands that I was familiar with. I of course found a wealth of such information and I spent a fair amount of time digesting it all before making a decision. I'd encourage anyone else to do the same. I came here hoping to find information that would lead me to that one good street jacket that would last me for the rest of my life. I was so thrilled with what I ended up with that I ended up buying a second, simply so that I'd own both a black leather jacket as well as a brown one.

I've probably already said more than enough on this forum regarding Johnson Leathers at this point. I've stuck around here longer than I thought I would because I have wanted to pass along the word about Johnson Leathers custom work so that others might benefit from it (just as I did). To be honest, I'm glad to be done with "the buying" and am simply looking forward to getting on with "the wearing". As much as I enjoy the photos of all of the new jackets, it's the images of the jackets that people have owned for many, many years that have always impressed me the most. As my jackets develop their individual patinas, every single bit of that wear & tear is going be be reflective of my time spent with those jackets, and I think that's pretty cool.

Whatever you jacket you finally wind up with, I hope that it ends up being exactly what you were looking for! Best of luck with your decision.
 
Messages
15,563
Location
East Central Indiana
Hey Dave,











To be honest, I'm glad to be done with "the buying" and am simply looking forward to getting on with "the wearing". As much as I enjoy the photos of all of the new jackets, it's the images of the jackets that people have owned for many, many years that have always impressed me the most. As my jackets develop their individual patinas, every single bit of that wear & tear is going be be reflective of my time spent with those jackets, and I think that's pretty cool.

Whatever you jacket you finally wind up with, I hope that it ends up being exactly what you were looking for! Best of luck with your decision.

Good post FFTT
Me too..done buying...even though at times my attention can stray to the latest new 'inverted pleat',etc...but already got a great fit..hide..style in my closet. With that..time to wear the new few..and give a chance for the charactor to come through. :thumb: :amen:
HD
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,181
Location
Pasadena, CA
Hey fellas, you gotta get a great jacket before you can put some patina on 'er! It takes a lot of trial and error, and I totally agree with what you're saying. Once you find it (them), then it's time to wear it well so your kids can sell them on eBay in 2050 for $6000 lol
 

Fanch

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,490
Location
Texas
This has been a pretty good thread. I still think that contacting Johnson Leathers by telephone and asking that a test jacket be sent is not a bad idea. Unless you have some kind of anatomical disproportion, such as long arms as I, the test jacket might just be your cup of tea. Doesn't hurt to call and ask.
 

dadonn

Familiar Face
Messages
50
Location
NYC
Thanks again for all of the input. Johnson seems to be the consensus pick overall, which is not to say the others are without merit. The only company that didn't dawn on me and is within driving distance of Los Angeles is Bates. I know Bates has been around a long time and is a known quantity. I may call them first and see what the deal is in terms of showing up and getting measured in person.
 

Pushrod

One of the Regulars
Messages
120
Location
Montana
Hey fellas, you gotta get a great jacket before you can put some patina on 'er! It takes a lot of trial and error, and I totally agree with what you're saying. Once you find it (them), then it's time to wear it well so your kids can sell them on eBay in 2050 for $6000 lol

That's true but a loaf of bread will be $5000 by then :D
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,739
Messages
3,045,864
Members
53,082
Latest member
Alex_Cobe
Top