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Thoughts on the Cafecto style jacket?

MrProper

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Yeah, I'm not really surprised they aren't keen to go off-book any more, with Lewis' core market being selling themselves as a heritage brand, making the jackets just as they did when they were launched. The quilting was an integral part of those 1970s models, being the height of protective wear in its day. The Gold Top 'Lancer' model is in a similar vein without the quilting - https://goldtop.co.uk/collections/jackets - though I'm sort of in two minds as to whether it isn't missing part of the classic vibe as a result.
I like it very much.

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dudewuttheheck

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I've never really liked this style, but then again I don't really like mandarin collars at all anymore and don't even like cafe racers now, so my opinion on this should probably be ignored by most people
 
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I've never really liked this style, but then again I don't really like mandarin collars at all anymore and don't even like cafe racers now, so my opinion on this should probably be ignored by most people
It's funny but I'm that same way now too. CR's were the only style I'd consider for ages but I don't own a single one now, and I can't see that changing. It's such a beautiful and minimalist style, which makes it so easy to wear, but I have zero interest in them. Same thing happened to me with cross zips too.
 

AeroFan_07

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I've never really liked this style, but then again I don't really like mandarin collars at all anymore and don't even like cafe racers now, so my opinion on this should probably be ignored by most people
This is how I felt until recently. I guess the "saddle" (US-Made) CR started to shift my thinking, then I saw the Langlitz model and decided to give it a try. Can't hurt to check it out. We'll find out soon as it arrives later today - got to be the fastest - shipped USPS item ever for me - picked up Saturday in Florida, and "Out for delivery" Monday morning in Iowa. That's a new one for me to see.

Now -- Please challenge my thinking hard if, all the sudden, I get a strong urge to get a couple of A2's. Or any bomber style jackets. :) I wore too many bombers growing up, so I have no desire for that type of jacket anymore.
 

Aloysius

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I was amazed when I saw one of these for real: the stock images you see in sales pages make it look hideous, but in reality it's a cracking looking piece if you like these much more modern designs.

It was due to this problem that I tried on a number of Vanson jackets while visiting their factory, because their website photos don’t give a sense of the hides or fit at all.

It's funny but I'm that same way now too. CR's were the only style I'd consider for ages but I don't own a single one now, and I can't see that changing. It's such a beautiful and minimalist style, which makes it so easy to wear, but I have zero interest in them. Same thing happened to me with cross zips too.

My first is this Vanson I just got, which is worth it due to the hide, but I don’t imagine getting another.
 

dudewuttheheck

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It's funny but I'm that same way now too. CR's were the only style I'd consider for ages but I don't own a single one now, and I can't see that changing. It's such a beautiful and minimalist style, which makes it so easy to wear, but I have zero interest in them. Same thing happened to me with cross zips too.
Similar for me. The cr was my favorite jacket style initially and my first high quality leather jacket was a cafe racer. Now I won't even think about one. I think it looks good on others, but its just not for me. It's the opposite with cross zips. I didn't like them much at first and now I love them.
This is how I felt until recently. I guess the "saddle" (US-Made) CR started to shift my thinking, then I saw the Langlitz model and decided to give it a try. Can't hurt to check it out. We'll find out soon as it arrives later today - got to be the fastest - shipped USPS item ever for me - picked up Saturday in Florida, and "Out for delivery" Monday morning in Iowa. That's a new one for me to see.

Now -- Please challenge my thinking hard if, all the sudden, I get a strong urge to get a couple of A2's. Or any bomber style jackets. :) I wore too many bombers growing up, so I have no desire for that type of jacket anymore.
That's impressive shipping. I want to stop liking a2 jackets because none of them fit me right, but I can't help it. I want another a2.
 

Edward

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What killed the cafe racer for me over a decade ago was not wearing t-shirts any more. Everything I owned had a collar, and for my eye the mandaris collar just looks wrong over a collared shirt. These last couple of years I've fallen in with a few vintage-style t-shirts, though, and a cafe racer would be a nice option over those when the weather allows.

It's interesting to hear other folks talk about the utilitarian nature of the CR being the design appeal; that's what's drawn me back to it as well. (The CR as distinct from the 'Cafecto'.) The no handwarmer, two chest-zip pocket version.
 

MrProper

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Everything I owned had a collar, and for my eye the mandaris collar just looks wrong over a collared shirt.
I think it depends on the type of collar shirt. If the collar is rather small, I think it's ok. If the collar is big, it's at least borderline. I found that out once again with my dress up pictures.

Here is an example on which I find it ok.
 

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AeroFan_07

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Well here it is, it's close, but I'll call this a swing and a miss. Issue again is torso length, and maybe ~ 10 lbs weight to loose here being the main issues. From the back it's about as perfect as it gets. Note the side laces are all the way extended open, I could have removed them and it would be no better. The arms and upper shoulders are also a bit too loose for my preferences given this style of jacket. Throwing a sweatshirt under it would help, but would exaggerate the torso length issue.

The sleeve length is spot-on for me.

I will say the goatskin feels nice and has some drape to it, however if I order a Langlitz in the near future (likely since my attempts to obtain a pre-owned have proven to be dead-ends) I'll order it in mid-weight cowhide.

Standard Front, back side fit photos first fully zipped up:

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Now here is the jacket ~ 75% zipped up, how most people wear a cross-zip jacket:


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The belt showing beneath is my biggest "no go" detail of this jacket. Curiously, it's most obvious when the jacket is fully un-zipped as shown below:

DSC_0846.JPG


So it's likely going to be returned or sold here & ebay. There is one other detail that I have not witnessed in any jacket recently but have experienced before. It smells like baby power (or maybe mothballs?) Perhaps it's a preservation attempt with the jackets? In any case it's not overly smelly, but there is a noticeable scent like baby powder. So there's that.
 

Edward

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Nearly a quarter of a century ago, a friend and I found a leather for her in a London market - either Camden or Portobello road, I don't rightly recall which now. She wore it immediately. Except we kept smelling weed everywhere.... eventually w traced it back to the jacket. The lining was obviously new, and at some point someone had sewn a stash into it - which we ended up disposing in a bin in Soho, well clear of where I lived at the time!
 

whitetail_country

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Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the cafecto. To me, there is something that looks "off." I can't tell if it's because I'm used to the band collar going with a normal cafe racer, but I just don't really resonate with the look.
 

AeroFan_07

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Iowa
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, a friend and I found a leather for her in a London market - either Camden or Portobello road, I don't rightly recall which now. She wore it immediately. Except we kept smelling weed everywhere.... eventually w traced it back to the jacket. The lining was obviously new, and at some point someone had sewn a stash into it - which we ended up disposing in a bin in Soho, well clear of where I lived at the time!
Thankfully, the pockets on this jacket are all clean - and look practically un-used. I have worn the jacket quite a bit over the past couple of days and the light "baby powder" odor seems to be nearly gone. That's a pretty crazy find in a jacket, however!
 

AeroFan_07

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Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the cafecto. To me, there is something that looks "off." I can't tell if it's because I'm used to the band collar going with a normal cafe racer, but I just don't really resonate with the look.
I think that's my feeling as well. It's pretty comfortable when not fully zipped up, but it looks odd and a little off, especially with my jeans belt showing a little too obviously as well.
 

VansonRider

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The Lewis Supermonza was first sold in 1978; originally alongside the Monza (since 1975, I *think* - if memory serves, it was first launched alongside the Super Phantom, which differs mainly in its having a centre zip; the SP definitely came out in 75). The main difference was that the Monza (dropped from the Lewis line some years ago) was shorter. The SuperMonza was by design a longer jacket, reflecting the increased fashionability of Japanese racing bikes in the UK by that point. Shorter jackets were a harder sell to riders who rode in that crouch position and didn't want a jacket riding up their back and letting cold air in.

I don't honestly know when the 'Cafecto' as it's been dubbed first appeared in British leather jackets of this style. It's not that far off the collar on a Trialmaster / International, of course - style which, in waxed canvas and leather both, were very common motorcycle wear early days in the UK. German leather jackets with a mandarin collar existed as far back as the thirties. What we now know as a 'cafe racer' jacket was being sold on the UK market by at least the 50s as a style to ape the top half of a leather riding suit, as worn by the big track names of the day. The minimal collar style was intended not to flap at race speeds; the lancer front a logical move to help keep the wind out, of course. Whenever it was first applied in the UK to a lancer front / cross-zip jacket, it was the mid-late 70s that they really gained in popularity. From c1978ish to really the turn of the Nineties, if you saw a biker in the UK and Ireland in leathers, more likely that not he or she would be wearing something approximating the Supermonza style. Racing style definitely had an impact where I grew up especially, being just over an hour's drive from the route of the North West 200, probably the biggest road-race event in these islands outside the IoM TT.

After 1990, the style evolved into this sort of thing:

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The Supermonza is a bit too modern (post 1960) for my aesthetic, but I still like it. These upber-padded 90s jackets..... not so much. My parents bought me one for my 21st, bless them - it was naturally returned just about tried on. I remember it being very comical in that it made my shoulders twice the size they actually were. Cut aside, another modern touch I really disliked was the blacked out hardwear. I've never regretted not keeping that one, they only look worse to my eye with time - YMMV. Of course, they were the most advance PPE available for actual riders at the time.

These days, style is much less compromised by armouring. Goldtop is a brand that has been revived, reproducing its 50s-70s designs. As was the case back in the day, these are very much in the same aesthetic wheelhouse as Lewis, though more aimed at actual riding than I suspect a lot of Lewis sales are these days:

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Another very nice example of this style is the REv-it Vaughn:

View attachment 497502

I was amazed when I saw one of these for real: the stock images you see in sales pages make it look hideous, but in reality it's a cracking looking piece if you like these much more modern designs.

By and large, I'm not sold on them for street wear, but if I can get back to living circumstances where I have somewhere to store a bike, I'd certainly be won over by their practicality as a riding jacket.
Ah you’re clearly just jealous of my stylish balboa!
If I'm ever invited to an 80's party I'm all set!

I go back and forth on this jacket, actually. The style is SO dated I kinda think it's ironically cool. It's warm and very comfortable, the leather is that old Vanson comp that feels like wet clay, and the double zip is really handy. It's a silly jacket, and whats wrong with having a silly jacket?


37F32FFE-909A-4D7D-9019-ED0AFDED516B.jpeg
 

Edward

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Ah you’re clearly just jealous of my stylish balboa!
If I'm ever invited to an 80's party I'm all set!

I go back and forth on this jacket, actually. The style is SO dated I kinda think it's ironically cool. It's warm and very comfortable, the leather is that old Vanson comp that feels like wet clay, and the double zip is really handy. It's a silly jacket, and whats wrong with having a silly jacket?


View attachment 513983

Grey leather definitely puts it in a specific timeframe. I don't think I've ever seen this sort of grey leather other than in an eighties piece? Which sort of surprises me; styles can vary in appeal ,that's subjective, but I'd have thought there'd be more of a market for grey than some of the other shades that have ben popular across multiple decades.
 

VansonRider

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Grey leather definitely puts it in a specific timeframe. I don't think I've ever seen this sort of grey leather other than in an eighties piece? Which sort of surprises me; styles can vary in appeal ,that's subjective, but I'd have thought there'd be more of a market for grey than some of the other shades that have ben popular across multiple decades.
I had a Vanson C2 in this grey pass through my hands at one point. It was a BEAUTIFUL Coat, but ultimately I passed it on because of a big Harley Davidson eagle that I thought I could live with but ultimately couldn't. It's a great color.
Vanson offered the sport riders with bands of color across the top of the arms and shoulders, and the grey black looked very classy.
 

TartuWolf

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I guess the Vanson Chopper falls into this "cafecto" category as well.
Personally I'm not a big fan of the mandarin collar, would prefer the "standard" one.
But overall the jacket was too good to pass up, especially because of the back style.
Still my favorite Vanson model visually. Close second would be the commando collaboration or the CHP2.
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Aloysius

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I generally agree but the mandarin collar of the Chopper looks so cool that your jacket helped make me pause on buying a quilted Vanson CHP2.
 

VansonRider

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I generally agree but the mandarin collar of the Chopper looks so cool that your jacket helped make me pause on buying a quilted Vanson CHP2.
If can derail for just a half second I would love to see a quilted highwayman. Some day I'll get one custom done...
 

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