The REV'IT! Flatbush jacket is a modern take on a motorcycle classic.
It is made from a soft and supple full grain cowhide with an "understated simple" design theme.
But underneath that unadorned exterior lies SAS-Tech shoulder and elbow "armor" for serious protection.
The Flatbush jacket can also fit the optional type RV Seesoft back protector insert (review) to up the ante.
The jacket is available in the Camel color shown here and also in Dark Brown. Both colors will develop a cool vintage patina.
This is a jacket that looks great both on and off the bike, yet it has serious levels of protection. It also features a full array of pockets and a smooth-as-silk liner for easy wearing over a T-shirt.
The new REV'IT! urban lineup has been so popular that customers have been lining up around the world, stripping the dealers' shelves bare and this trend will surely continue.
I reported on the Netherlands-based company's urban lineup in the 2014 Fall/Winter REV'IT! Preview earlier this year and owner response has been outstanding, surprising even REV'IT!
Naturally, this means they will be expanding the line in the coming years.
And why not? Wearing good-looking, stylish clothes that, by the way, are designed for motorcycling and have "hidden" safety and protective features just makes sense.
Various new technologies have been employed and we now have jeans, gloves and jackets that are both stylish and protective without that "Boy Racer" look and billboard-like logo enhancements. Thank goodness for that!
The REV'IT! urban lineup for 2014 includes the retro/modern Flatbush leather jacket along with a slightly more café racer looking Redhook leather jacket and the line also includes the Roamer jacket for both men and women.
Choosing one is a very difficult proposition indeed, because they're all lookers and all are made from high-quality materials.
The Flatbush jacket is defined by its blend of retro and modern styling, with a sleek and simple exterior that minimizes unecessary adornments and embellishments.
Other than the subtle REV'IT! triskelion logo embossed with stitching on the shoulder, this jacket is smooth and simple, which is also its beauty.
I usually prefer darker-colored leather jackets, but the Flatbush is perfect in this "Camel" tan color with its precision-applied stitching in a slightly contrasting lighter shade.
The leather is of very high quality, with a soft "hand" that is way different from your standard everyday cowhide motorcycle jacket.
REV'IT! says that both the Dark Brown and Camel colored Flatbush jackets will quickly develop a patina based on owner use, but I'll have to admit I'm kind of afraid of losing the wonderful finish on this brand-new example.
I've always thought it a bit strange that people will buy "used" clothing for that vintage look, but all I can hear is Mom in the background -- "I can't believe you spent your money on something that's already worn out!".
The Flatbush includes an attached silk-like taffeta lining that feels very comfortable next to the skin, so the Flatbush can easily be worn over a T-shirt. In fact, it probably feels better next to the skin than most shirts I own!
There are no vents on the Flatbush; indeed, that would probably ruin the effect.
But there are plenty of pockets, with a 12 cm by 15 cm pocket on the upper left chest; two hand pockets in front; a vertical pocket inside the left placket and a horizontal patch pocket on the inside right.
All except the horizontal pocket close with metal zippers that appear to be made from brass (or an indistinguishable equivalent) and they have the standard REV'IT! metal wire pull with leather pull tabs embossed with a nice metal roundel.
I hope the leather pull tabs never break and if they do -- which I assume will happen one day -- I wonder if they can be replaced.
The main entry zipper is also a brass or brass-look type (made by YKK) and the entry is backed with a nice cross-hatch stitched panel that acts as wind protection for the zipper.
The quality of the stitching on the Flatbush jacket is superb; the stitches also serve as a style feature and it all has been constructed with perfection.
It takes only one look and maybe a feel to understand that the Flatbush jacket is head-and-shoulders above those cheap imitations that are all too common.
In fact, the quality of the leather, the build quality and the stitching and construction -- and the included SAS-Tech protection -- makes this 500-buck jacket a veritable steal.
The simplicity of the Flatbush jacket design extends to the collar. It has an "old school" stand-up design and a tab with two metal snaps for adjustment, and that's it.
But the collar dimensions are proportional to the jacket size so there shouldn't be an issue with fit and my 17.25" neck fits with no problems in this size 52 Flatbush.
The sleeve cuffs don't have adjustment for size, but a long vertical zipper in the rear, along with a large metal spring-loaded snap, combine to secure the sleeve.
Another large snap serves as the waist adjuster on either side a the lower edge of the hem. There are two snap positions but one acts as the home for the metal snap, so in reality there is only one level of adjustment.
The Flatbush jacket is available in Camel or Dark Brown in sizes ranging from 46 to 58 Euro. The jacket shown here is size 52 and fits like a slightly snug U.S. size large. It should fit a 42-43" chest with a slightly tapered waist.
The waist does taper, so those with larger, ahem, lower units need not apply or should try appropriate sizes.
The sleeve length on this size 52 fits a 34" to 35" length.
The only real issue is the fit across the back. I do wish that REV'IT! had designed pleats at the rear of the shoulders or in the center of the back, because the jacket is a bit tight for a reach to the handlebar, especially on those vintage club racers.
But you can see from the two models shown in these photos, one of which is a a standard size large and the other borders on XL, that the Flatbush jacket fits very nicely.
We had no problems with the arm fit either, even with the protectors installed. In fact, you can see from the photo below that there's plenty of room in the arms.
Some owners have reported that the arm fit with the protectors installed is an issue but they must have pretty hefty biceps.
The Flatbush jacket comes with SAS-Tech protectors in the shoulders and elbows. They fit into pockets in the taffeta liner, using hook-and-loop closures for the protector pockets.
The hook-and-loop sections are sewn on to the liner on both sides (both the "hook" and the "loop"), a subtle touch but welcome all the same so that these attachments don't come loose in a jacket that may very well see the owner removing the protectors quite often.
The protectors are the large size type and the shoulder protectors blend smoothly into the overall style, while the elbow protectors do tend to show, depending on the angle at which you're looking at the wearer.
There is some extra stitching on the outside of the sleeve, around the outline of the elbow protector at the back of the sleeve and some extra room molded or shaped into the leather at the elbow sort of gives it away.
So removing the protectors doesn't quite give the jacket a non-motorcycle look because the protector pocket can be seen, but I'd guess that after some proper patina development, it would be difficult to tell.
Surprisingly, the Flatbush is also prepped for the REV'IT!-owned Seesoft Type RV back protector. The Seesoft protectors were described in our Seesoft back protector insert review and the Type RV is reasonably priced at $49.99.
One of the interesting aspects of the Flatbush jacket is that it has a lot of street style while being generously equipped with protective features, unlike many other "style" jackets. And adding the back protector can only help.
The REV'IT! Flatbush jacket nicely represents the new breed of motorcycle clothing that is good-looking, street-wearable, stylish and protective.
The quality of the leather, construction and stitching on this jacket is about as good as you'll find for the price, whether you're looking at a dedicated motorcycle jacket or pure streetwear.
Once you take a look -- and a feel -- of the Flatbush jacket, you'll surely agree it's worth the price. No wonder it's been a near worldwide sellout for REV'IT!
From "L" (January 2015): "I just want to give my take on the Flatbush jacket. The good: I bought the size 52. I am 5'11" and weigh 172 lbs. and have a 40 inch chest, 36 inch waist with a thin build and this jacket fits PERFECTLY, even with the optional spine protector.
The quality of the leather is beyond reproach. It is stunning. Feels great when you put it on. I looked at a lot of jackets before I decided on this one and this one was the best.
I’ve been riding since 1966 and this jacket is the best I ever bought. Nice detailing. I also got a great deal on this item. I haven’t worn it on the road yet as it is too cold and snowy to ride up here in Upstate New York.
The not so good: The zipper is backwards and a pain to get used to and fiddly. The left snap stud at the waist broke the first time I put the jacket on. I was able to fix it. Should not happen on a jacket as expensive as this one.
These are not deal breakers but just thought I should point them out. I will give a ride account when the weather warms up.
Editor's Note: Re. the zipper, Americans are usually baffled by the "backwards" system but it is the standard in European clothing. There are supposedly two reasons for this: some say it's easier to push the pin into the slider with the right hand. I find this to be true.
Alternate explanation: when zippers were first invented, only the wealthy had them and they had servants to help them get dressed, and it was easier for the servant to zip up the garment when facing it if the pull was on the left.
UPDATE From "L" (April 2015): "Just want to update my January 2015 comments. I rode in the jacket today and I still love it. I can fit a Gerbing heated liner underneath easily. The leather is form fitting to my body after just a couple of rides.
I was able to buy this jacket at a discount but I believe it is worth every dime a at full list price. I believe this jacket will get better with time and use. Give one a try if you can. You won’t regret it."
From "K.H." (September 2014): "I’d like to mention that while the Rev'it Flatbush jacket does not have ventilation openings built into it per se, it does have the same ventilation that has been commonplace for many years: the front zipper.
When riding, leave the collar snapped shut, and zip up and down to control the airflow. This helps a lot and you can feel the cooling effect. Will it keep you comfortable in 85-degree heat? Probably more so than leaving the front zipped up!
Nice jacket! If I get one, I’ll have to get a BMW R9T to go with it! When is the perforated version coming out? ;-) "
Rick's Reply: Yes, I forgot about the "poor man's ventilation system"!