Schott Horsehide Café Racer Jacket, Model 6141H
by Kevin T. for webBikeWorld
Schott has a place in motorcycle heritage built upon years
of greatly respected American-made products, the most storied of all being
the Perfecto jacket.
There have been many styles of Perfectos over the
years, but one of the most popular jackets in their current line is the 141
Café Racer, the nostalgic 6141H horsehide version which is
The Schott Café Racer is is a classic 26” motorcycle racer
style jacket with a stand-up collar, Polytwill (Polyester Twill) lining
throughout and a sleeveless zip-out pile liner.
The clean look with its center-oriented zip and no gun
pocket will likely appeal to those wanting an authentic Schott but who also
prefer to keep a more conservative appearance.
Note that the horsehide version of the Café Racer shown here
is a summer 2005 release. Schott makes many limited releases of jackets
(announced through various methods, but almost never in their main catalog)
for their biggest resellers.
This model is still available in limited
numbers and is called either 641HH or 6141H, depending on the market,
although both numbers were used in the American pre-production announcement.
Schott used several numbers in their
pre-production announcement (I was on the waiting list) of the horsehide
version of the Café Racer jacket, including 141H, 641HH and 6141H.
After checking the
serial number label inside the jacket pocket and also my receipt, I can
confirm that the official model designation of this jacket is 6141H.
The wide availability of horsehide as a byproduct
of the agricultural industry led to its widespread use in jackets up until
the 1950s, when cowhide began to be used as a substitute – this historical
attachment is the reason that horsehide is often attributed with possessing
an aura of the yesteryear.
Nostalgia is not, however, the only reason
manufacturers charge a premium for horsehide; it also has several unique
properties that set it apart from other leathers. Compared to cowhide, it
has a very stiff hand and takes many weeks to fully break in.
said to be similar to, or better than, full-grain cowhide; and some sources
suggest that situational testing proves it to be tougher, at least under lab
Horsehide has a glossier shine than finished leathers of other
hides due to the smaller hair follicle size of horses. This gives the
leather a smooth appearance and also imparts the hide its naturally
water-resistant characteristic. It also wears differently and will develop a
rich patina over time.
Horsehide pieces are, however, notoriously hard to match for
consistency (one reason why this leather is almost always dyed black); but
Schott has done so impeccably in this instance, with the use of costly
front-quarter horsehide allowing the jacket to be made with a one-piece
Schott uses 1.4mm thick 3 oz. horsehide - which is a
heavyweight leather that is expected for motorcycle applications.
The leather is pieced together using hidden
stitching, which is reinforced with a top stitch on most seams; the seams on
the Polytwill lining and the pile liner are sewn with a
("a sewing machine that overcasts the raw edges of a fabric with a V-shaped
The build quality of the Schott Café Racer is excellent
overall; but after three months of daily use, the zip-out pile liner has
some fraying after repeated scuffing against the belt loops of jeans.
Schott was the first company to place a zip on a
jacket, although they no longer use the much-vaunted Talon zip.
jacket nevertheless exudes toughness with the use of metal-teethed zips
all-around; and there are seven in total - one for each of the three outside
pockets, one on the cuff of each sleeve, one to attach the pile liner, and
the fat main zip (seven big teeth per inch) that closes the jacket.
on this particular sample were sourced from Chicago-based Lenzip
Manufacturing and New York City-based IDEAL Fastener. The main zip in
particular feels solid, needing more than just a light tug to close.
only complaint is that the size of the teeth on that zip makes it prone to
snagging long hair. A point of curiosity is that Schott places the slider of
their zips on the right side (“female” side) of the jacket.
While it is true
that the sliders on men’s zippers are nominally placed on the left side for
cultural reasons (women were always dressed with the help of a servant, thus
the zippers in women’s clothing were made to face the servants), it does not
appear that there was a conscious decision on the part of Schott as to how
their zippers were oriented.
Having the slider on the right side would, however, make it
easier to do up a jacket with only the left hand, thus allowing the right
hand to remain on the throttle.
This seems logical since almost all
motorcycles are right hand throttle – with a prominent exception being
Indian motorcycles, which had left-hand throttles until 1950 when they were
switched to the right hand. After that, a few batches of police-spec
Indians were the exception and were also made left-hand throttle.
The 26” length of this jacket will rest the hem just
below the belt-line for a mesomorphic 5’ 10” male. The stiffness of this
jacket makes it awkward and a touch unpleasant to wear while in a driving
position. It can thus be concluded that the 6141H is not for those who
suffer from “parked motorcycle syndrome” and mothball their rides in winter.
The Schott Café Racer has three external, one internal. The outside pockets
consist of a left-breast pocket (where the Schott serial number tag is
placed) and two flannel-lined “handwarmer” pockets.
These two pockets zip
downwards to close, so gravity will not result in randomly-opened pockets
spewing valuables down the highway. There is also a map pocket (simply a
patch of sewn-on horsehide) on the pile liner, which you lose out on if you
take the liner out.
Size and Fit
These jackets run very true to size (a person
with a 40” chest will take a size 40 jacket), and accurate measurement
assures a snug fit around the chest although there is enough room in the
arms that movement will not be restrictive for those wearing long-sleeved
thermals in deep winter.
The diameter of the sleeve opening in the sampled
size 40 when fully zipped is about 3¼ inches. This size of opening works a
fair compromise between riders who prefer to wear the cuff of their sleeves
over their gloves and for those who wear gauntlet type gloves. A size 40 weighs about 5 lbs.
This jacket has a bi-swing back and vented underarm
gussets that permit a liberal range of movement without compromising the
snug fit of a motorcycle-specific jacket.
The sleeves also appear to be
rather gently pre-curved with a bias that subtly favors a near-upright
riding position, such as a sports-tourer rather than a bona fide
low-handlebar café racer. The pile liner can be removed to allow for use in
A large main zip with a snap-button
strap on the collar, and smaller zips that run about six inches up each
wrist. Cinching side buckles complete the package. In use, the side buckles
seemed to serve more form than function and a good guess is that only a slim
rider will ever need to adjust them.
The Café Racer series of jackets is also available
in naked cowhide (141), naked cowhide in a ladies’ cut (141W), finished steerhide (641), and finished steerhide with red/white/blue Easy Rider
stripes (671). Black is the sole color except for the standard 141, which is
also available in brown and mocha (lighter brown).
It’s hard to be objective about a product
that has such a strong appeal on brand name alone. But it isn’t difficult to
understand why Schott has a reputation for producing first-class products.
The 6141H is a quality no-armor, no-nonsense jacket that conveniently
happens to pull at the heartstrings. If you’re already yearning for a
timeless classic, nothing else will do. And guess what? It's
Union Made in The United States of America by UNITE HERE local 169.
Schott Café Racer Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Retail Price: $449.95
Colors: Black, Brown, Easy Rider
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Editor's Note: Corrections/clarifications were made to the
pricing and jacket model designation information since this
article was first published. Kevin sent this note:
"Just thought you might like to know that this year's batch has
just been released. It's in
Schott's main catalog as well (as the
Legendary USA catalog). The price is now $540.00 and
the liner is sewn-in instead of zip-out. It also has a more
generic label ("Genuine horsehide by Schott") rather than the
Perfecto label from the previous run. A message on the
Schott forum said that this year's run was to be limited to 100
pieces. I don't know if this has changed, because at the
time that message was posted, Schott hadn't yet decided what to
place in their main catalog."