1/ INTRO So I posted a couple of pictures of this jacket on the “what jacket are you wearing today” thread a little while back and it seemed to spark a fair bit of interest. I confess I was slightly surprised as, although I personally love this jacket, I thought the rather full-on yellow colour and well used appearance may be a rather niche taste. I briefly followed up in that thread with more info on the jacket. But I thought a longer dedicated post on it may be of interest to some of you plus it would also give me a chance to pass on my tips on the refurb work in case it’s useful to others. In my long career as a TFL lurker I’ve benefited immensely from reading tips from other TFL members (many of which I used in this refurb project) so this is a chance to put something back!. Be warned tho’ - it’s consequently a long post including lots of (non-expert) thoughts on the pros and cons of various lining material options. THE JACKET As I noted in the other thread, the jacket is a little seen Speedman leathers/Speedman motorcycle clothing jacket, probably from mid to late 1970’s (or possibly early 1980’s) in the ultra rare yellow. Not much I can find on Speedman, but I think they were a London based shop that got stuff made for them by Highwayman. “01” London phone number prefix on some of their labels suggests that - at most - they existed from 1966 - 1990, but my guess is they were only around in 1970s/1980s. Some jackets have a “made especially for Speedman by Highwayman leathers” label though this example does not. It does however look identical to the Ricarde Deluxe model made by Highwayman and features the exact same mix of zips (Clix main, plus lighting and opti pocket and sleeve zips). Other UK motorbike leather companies of the era had similar models. For instance, TT leathers and MW leathers made essentially the same jacket, Interstate had one with only small differences like double buckles and more extensive padding, whilst the lancer front version of Lewis Leathers Phantom jacket looks quite similar too. Based on the zips, colour, design and label I’d guess mid/late 1970’s or possibly early 1980’s. Whilst I wouldn’t ride in this jacket today (no proper armour) it’s far tougher and better made than the second hand Mascot bike jacket I started riding in years ago. This Speedman really is a proper bike jacket, if very much of its time. It weighs in at 2470g (about 5.5 lbs), not that far shy of the 3kg (without their armour fitted) of my current super tough and heavyweight Vanson and BKS riding jackets. It features (originally - lining and male side of zip replaced since, see below for more on that process): Lancer front with large number 10 Clix zip closure Mandarin collar with two position popper closure Double leather at shoulders and elbows with diamond pattern padding Zip close sleeves with lightening zips Two hand-warmer slanted zip pockets with ball and chain (opti?) zips One vertical inside pocket with lightening zip closure Two silver waist buckles to adjust hem on side/back Made of thick heavy but supple cow leather Burgundy rayon sleeve lining Burgundy cotton warm quilted body lining About 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) weight And The ultra rare yellow leather! Similar jackets from UK makers of this era were also available in black, blue, red, brown and grey (I’d say roughly in that order from most common to rarest. - browns and greys maybe about as rare as yellow from the very few I’ve ever seen come up for sale). Given how few you see, yellow was I guess not so popular a colour choice. Though it’s also possible that as they show the dirt more (as my example demonstrated when I first got it!) they maybe just get binned more frequently as they look beyond redemption... which would be a shame as they can be brought back to useable life with some care and effort. The pattern is pretty snug in the body with tight (when zipped up) sleeve cuffs, but with good movement especially in the upper arms and shoulders as is usual for a proper bike jacket. This is no doubt aided by lots of breaking in of course - it’s an old and well used jacket. The sleeves are quite long to allow for them riding up when on a bike reaching for the bars. There’s no belt or buckles on the front of the jacket which is typical of English bike jacket styles - we don’t want anything to scratch our petrol tanks when leaning forward in classic cafe racer style! Despite not having a dipped rear panel, the jacket is also - again as is often a typical English motorbike jacket feature - a bit longer than USA motorbike jackets, not just at the back, but also at the front. Not sure why this is, maybe it stems from a UK tradition of much longer biker jackets (like Barbour style ones) and the often inclement UK weather, in contrast to USA taking inspiration from traditionally very short flat track style jackets and, in some states at least, a rather drier and warmer climate. Who knows? Not me, just my speculation! But it’s also a difference seen on old Police motorcycle jackets. USA CHP style ones seem typically short in the body, even if later ones did at least dip down at the back, whilst until the 1990s, UK police riders wore longer four pocket jackets long both front and back and indeed reaching to the upper thigh at the front. THE ISSUES NEEDING ATTENTION The jacket was a fixer-upper when I got it, including a not properly disclosed zip issue and it was maybe not as cheap as it should have been given the work needed. But given the rarity especially in this colour if you want one and manage to find one in your size, you’ve got to hold your nose and get it when you see it... and console yourself that if you do find one by a lesser known/heralded UK make like Speedman, it is of course still far cheaper than typical Lewis leathers prices. The issues included the really filthy and smelly condition (I literally had to hold my nose), wrecked sleeve linings, and damaged quilted body lining lining and a badly frayed zipper tape next to the male pin on the main zip. On the plus side the leather shell had no rips, tears, holes, flaking or cracking in the leather, the rest of the zips and the snaps were all intact and worked fine and the pocket bags were all good. SORTING THE SMELLS AND STAINS For the leather shell, I wanted to keep as much of the darker beaten up patina as possible whilst getting the most egregious dirt and stains off. So I did some careful leather cleaning with (mostly) Gliptone products to try to clean it up and get rid of the worst oil and other stains/blend them in as best as I could. This involved in ascending order of seriousness: wipe down with plain water rag, Gliptone liquid leather GT15 gentle cleaner, GT12 intensive cleaner, GT14 safety solvent cleaner, GT12 ink stick liquid leather and if they all failed to tackle bad stains well enough to live with then - very, very carefully in small amounts using a Q-tip! - Saphir Renomat and finally Hussard stain remover. After that you just have to accept any stains left, before you strip the leather completely! After this sometimes rough treatment I wiped it all down with damp cloths to get rid of any remnants of cleaners and solvents and then conditioned the leather with several thin coats of Gliptone GT11 leather conditioner leaving 24 hours between coats to let the leather absorb it. After a final buffing and barring one particularly stubborn oil stain on the front, I was pretty happy with the outcome - much less stained and dirty leather, but still plenty of cool patina left... The smells, however, proved more stubborn. I tried the usual tricks mentioned on TFL (thanks to all the people sharing all these great tips!) of prolonged airing outdoors, sunshine, water and white vinegar spray and several rounds of ozone machine treatment plus a whole lot of time and patience. It all helped but not enough. Even the lining replacement (see below) did not sort it, as the smells were ingrained not only in the original lining but also in the leather, especially in the padded shoulder areas. So in the end (post reline) I had to try the nuclear option of hand washing in the bath with lukewarm water and some detergent for delicate clothes. Amongst other things, I was worried I’d lose too much of the good patina along with the bad smells. However it survived the bath wash fine coming out still a fairly grungy-looking dirty/mustardy yellow colour as I wanted. Thankfully not going a super bright light yellow! The washing water was, however, truly disgusting so it was needed. And even so, it still took a lot more airing, vinegar spraying and ozone treatment to get it smelling neutral even after the bath hand wash! Stubborn smells indeed, but I got there in the end... Finally, after all that, I of course had to redo the Gliptone leather conditioning. Got to say the lovely tough leather stood up to all the stain removal and anti-smell treatment very well indeed and after conditioning the leather is still strong and supple and easy to wear despite the reasonably heavy weight. A good result!