Leather has a definite ch’ithat speaks to you as soon as you get near it. I guess it’s a combination of the look, the touch and a little bit of the smell, but get anywhere near some high-quality leather and it sort of jumps right out at you, demanding attention.
And one of the very cool things about leather is that it lends its mojo to its wearer.
Leather motorcycle clothing never seems to lose its popularity, and there’s plenty of it available these days, in every style, shape and size you can think of. Much of it comes from Asia and most of it is manufactured to a price.
But leather’s mojo works both ways — generic leather has a sort of pretender character to it, and can brand the owner as a poseur. The Real Thing, on the other hand, adds coolness.
So what was it going to be this time? I’ll be honest — I didn’t expect much when I opened the box containing this Fox Creek Leather motorcycle jacket. I guess I’ve seen enough iffy quality leather motorcycle jackets lately to keep my expectations low.
But this jacket definitely has it going. I wasn’t sure at first if it was really a jacket meant for riding motorcycles, because the leather has that soft, creamy feel and nicely pebbled grain that’s usually associated with high quality leather street wear. If first impressions mean anything, this was a hit.
The proof is in the wearing, so I tried it on. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of the cut, the creaminess of the leather, or the expansion panels in the shoulders, but this has to be one of the most comfortable jackets I’ve ever worn, leather or otherwise. I’ve even started wearing it as a street jacket because it looks and feels so good!
But make no mistake, it’s definitely a leather motorcycle jacket, made for hard use. Fox Creek calls this model the Vented Racing Jacket, but they make several other styles of jackets, in addition to chaps, gloves, vests and other leather motorcycle clothing.
Thick 1.4 to 1.6mm cowhide is used in all their jackets, which is the same gauge used in most leather motorcycle jackets and pants designed for motorcycle racing. This is about as thick as it gets, and you don’t want anything less between your skin and the pavement in case of a get-off.
The Vented Racing Jacket also includes additional leather panels on the elbows and shoulders for some added protection in those critical areas.
The quality of the stitching on this jacket is first-rate; every edge on the outside of the jacket (and most of the inside except where it doesn’t make sense) is doubled over or rolled prior to stitching. The stitches are perfectly straight and parallel to each edge. The additional protective panels on the shoulders and elbows have double rows of stitches for added strength.
The jacket has a thin removable taffeta-type vest liner with a full zipper. The inside of the jacket also includes a full length mesh lining, and an added touch is full length nylon sleeve linings.
Inside the left side of the jacket lives a pocket with a 160mm (~6-1/4″) opening and about 180mm (~7″) deep. The pocket lining is nylon and it can serve as a secure home for most wallets.
The Fox Creek leather motorcycle jacket is made in the U.S.A. This is a pleasant surprise, because most domestic leather manufacturers have long ago thrown in the towel and source their leather from overseas. No matter which country you’re from, it’s always great to find high quality products made by your fellow citizens.
Fox Creek Leather is proud to manufacture their products in the U.S.A., and this is subtly demonstrated by the snap buttons that close both the pocket and the neck. Embossed on the outside of each of the brass button snaps is a portion of an American flag and the letters “USA”.
The jacket also uses YKK antiqued brass zippers all the way around, which should last for centuries. The jacket carries a lifetime guarantee that covers the workmanship and materials. This includes the snaps, zippers, seams and grommets.
Fox Creek will either make arrangements for your jacket to be repaired locally, or you can return it to the factory. This alone has to be worth some extra bucks — have you ever tried returning a no-name leather jacket for repair? Ha!
The Vented Racing Jacket is so named because it has two vents in front at the upper chest level and two vents in the rear, all of which are nicely integrated into the jacket’s seams.
Both the front and the rear vents again open with a YKK brass zipper; each vent is 200mm (~8″) long, they zip from the top down and have an extra piece of mesh fabric sewn in the opening.
The zipper and the zipper tab are hidden underneath the double-edged leather openings, making it hard to grab the zipper tab with gloved hands.
But any type of zipper pull sticking out of the opening would probably ruin the look of the jacket, so an easy solution is to open the zippers before riding. Alternatively, the owner could attach a short piece of leather roping to the zipper end to make it easier to grab when riding.
There was a lot of attention paid to the little details when designing this jacket. Fox Creek added an extra piece of mesh inside each vent. They could have simply sewn the vent mesh to the edges of the zipper fabric like the imports, or even left it out altogether, relying instead upon the jacket’s full mesh liner.
But instead they went through the trouble of doubling over about 25mm (1″) of the high-quality leather from the outside of the jacket into each side of the vent, and then they sewed the extra piece of mesh to the end of the leather flap. I won’t get into the details of what this means in terms of added time and effort during the manufacturing process, but it’s an indication of quality that you won’t find on the imports and is what helps make this jacket a standout.
The jacket has a short 50mm (~2″) racing-style collar. It’s lined with an extra piece of the same soft leather, so it’s comfortable and smooth next to the skin.
As mentioned earlier, the jacket has a nice, tapered fit with plenty of room in the shoulders, and it doesn’t feel constraining at all.
The Vented Racing Jacket shown in these photos has the leather ties on the side, but it’s also available in a snap version, your choice.
The rear of the jacket has some added length which provides cover when leaned forward; the added length also contains some extra padding to help protect the tailbone.
One thing to realize is that leather is a relatively heavy material. I’m not sure how much the Vented Racing Jacket weighs, because the jacket is heavier than my scale’s maximum capacity of 2kg (4 lbs., 4 oz.). I’d estimate the jacket’s weight at about 6 pounds.
But don’t forget that a leather motorcycle jacket has the potential of offering some of the best defense against “road rash” that’s available. Thin, cheap leather is worthless when it comes to protecting your hide.
I really like this jacket, mostly because it’s just so darn comfortable to wear, both on and off the bike. The fact that it’s a serious jacket, made from racing-spec leather, yet offers the style and feel of a dress jacket is a real bonus.
I had sort of given up on leather motorcycle clothing, mostly I guess because of the poor quality of the ubiquitous imports. I also don’t like the stiff feel of many of the leather motorcycle jackets that I’ve tried, including the very high priced racing leathers.
This Fox Creek Leathers jacket is reasonably priced and will probably last a lifetime, and the classic styling should age gracefully.
Product Comments: High quality leather motorcycle jacket, nicely made and has a soft, comfortable feel. Expansion panels in shoulder provide lots of room and provide a comfortable fit. Vents front and back provide decent air flow. YKK antiqued brass zippers and brass buttons. Made in U.S.A., carries a lifetime guarantee. Available with tie or snap sides.