Whether we like it or not, the black leather motorcycle jacket is a worldwide fashion icon, so we can’t really blame those silly old celebrities for wanting to hijack the biker look in an effort to look cool. But if we want to go back to the beginning and see its humble origins, zip- up your leather, jump on the back and let’s take a ride down memory lane.
People have been wrapping hides around themselves for a couple of thousand years, but it wasn’t until the Romans made those wicked looking leather breastplates with the built in 6-packs that leather got cool. Fast forward a Millennia or so, and thanks to Irving Schott in 1928 and his specifically designed zip-up leather motorcycle jacket the ‘Perfecto,’ the Cafe Racer jacket that we know and love, made its first appearance.
The rules that dictated the design way back then are exactly the same now, in other words a hard-wearing shield against the elements that can be closed to the top, low enough to protect the kidneys yet short enough to be able to bend forwards to the handlebars. So, without further ado, let’s take our usual look at the top, middle and bottom priced leathers, currently available.
The Joe Rocket Classic ‘92 retails at around the $300 mark and comes in black or brown. Made from drum dyed cowhide, it has been tailored for a relaxed fit with inside compartments to take body armor (not supplied) in the shoulders, elbows and back. A zip out liner with full length sleeve gives you the option for hot/cold riding conditions and customer feedback give it plenty of thumbs up for quality and fit.
At $59 less, Milwaukee’s Utility Motorcycle Jacket has that classic ton-up look more associated with the old-fashioned Café Racers. Black and retro brown are the color options and it has no facility for internal body armor to mess up its classic lines. Dual 17’’ zippable front vents that disappear under the pockets and adjustable side buckles on the waist, mean that this leather has definitely had some thought put into it from a rider’s perspective. Customer reviews say, the leather is thick, and the quality good.
This final style of jacket may not be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but for those on a tight budget who need a good quality leather bike jacket this may well be worth a look. Made by Laverapelle from 100% Nappa, comments say, the leather is of decent quality and the fit is good. The company has a good returns policy and get this, a free tailoring service if you can’t find your size on the chart. At $140 for an XL its good value. Just don’t be put off by the fact that it’s also available in green!!!