Motorcycle clothing manufacturers live in an ultra-competitive world. They spend huge amounts of time and money trying to design products that have something just a little bit different and special to outsmart the competition.I’m sure there are many different types of statistical methods, surveys and focus groups that are used to try and judge customer acceptance. But in the end, it all comes down to the “Wow” factor.
After all is said and done, it’s the first reaction that appears on a customer’s face when the box is opened that can make or break the product.
But people also have a funny habit of consciously or unconsciously seeking acceptance from their peers. Which means that there’s a secondary “Wow” factor that comes into play — how will my friends react when they see the product?
The Wow factor is easiest to recognize when studied by an observer. I unwittingly served in that capacity during the arrival of this “3/4 Length Women’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket” from Fox Creek Leather. From the reactions I witnessed, this jacket has to be the all-time Wow factor champ, because that’s been the first word out of everyone’s mouth when they see it, whether they are motorcycle owners or not.
Black leather has to be one of the hardest subjects for photography, so I’ll be the first to admit that these images don’t come close to capturing how nice this jacket really looks up close and personal (Hmmm…just what I was looking for; an excuse to buy another camera!).
We were very favorably impressed in our previous review of the Fox Creek Leather men’s Vented Racing Jacket, and the 3/4 Length Women’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket is made to the same high standards of quality and attention to detail. Fox Creek Leather manufactures all of their clothing in the U.S.A. and their lifetime guarantee is an indication of the confidence they have in their products.
My wife Lori happily volunteered to be the lead reviewer for this Fox Creek jacket. Lori assists with many of our product and accessory reviews and helps manage webBikeWorld’s “Women’s Motorcycle Clothing” page. Lori also rides a 1986 BMW R65 and she’s been an avid horse owner and rider for many years, so she is very familiar with leather goods and outdoor gear, and is eminently qualified to comment on this jacket, so I’ll turn it over to her:
The first thing I noticed about Fox Creek Leather 3/4 Length Women’s Leather Motorcycle Jacket is the butter-soft leather. Everyone who sees the jacket is very impressed, and they all comment on the quality of the leather and how soft it feels. It doesn’t really show up in the photos, but the leather has a very tiny pebbled grain, which also adds to the dressy appearance. Did I mention how much people like this jacket? My friends literally go bonkers when they see it, it’s that impressive.
What I like most is that the sizing is perfect — it fits me like it was custom-made. The combination of the soft leather and the great fit mean that I want to wear it all the time! The 3/4 length is a very good choice for women, because it helps smooth out the profile. The attached belt helps taper the jacket around the middle, adding to the nice look
The jacket is made using single row stitching, and every stitch is perfectly lined up with each seam. This gives the jacket a smooth and dressy appearance.
I think it’s amazing to see that the ends of each leather section are rolled, both inside and out, so there are no raw leather edges anywhere on the jacket. Even the internal sections that you don’t see have rolled edges.
Many of the seams are sewn together using the blind (hidden) stitching method, one of the many nice touches which add to the quality feel of the jacket.
I know it’s supposed to be designed for riding motorcycles, and the thick (1.4mm) leather would probably give decent protection in an accident, but I think this jacket is perfect for dress wear.
The collar can be zipped up to keep the wind off your neck when riding, but it also looks great when folded down. You can even keep the back of the collar up and fold down the lapels, so it’s really a three-way collar.
I really like the built-in belt on this jacket. The belt is attached, so you don’t have to worry about losing it. It ends at the sides of the jacket under the arms, but continues around the back with a hidden elastic belt underneath. The elastic makes a very slight bunching in the back, which helps to give the jacket its tapered look. The belt has a nice antiqued brass buckle, which adds just the right colorful touch to the front.
As you can see in the photos, there are vertical leather panels in the front and the back of the jacket that add to its character and give a flattering appearance. The rule of thumb is that vertical lines give a thinner look! I think the panels also allow the designers to alter the curvature of the jacket, which are probably responsible for giving this jacket such a great fit.
There are two hand pockets on the outside of the jacket. They each open about 150mm (6″) and the pockets are about 150mm deep, which makes them suitable for carrying a set of keys or some other small small item. There’s another pocket on the inside left jacket flap, and it closes with a single snap . This pocket has a 160mm opening and it’s nice and deep at 180mm (7″).
The jacket uses antiqued brass zippers made by YKK. Continuing with the street dress appearance of the jacket, each zipper is hidden under pairs of nicely rolled edges. Covering the zippers with the rolled edges has a slight drawback; it makes it hard to grab the zipper pulls. But exposed zippers or zippers with big tabs sticking out wouldn’t look good on this type of jacket.
Each sleeve cuff has a zipper running up the arm along the outside seam. These sleeve zippers open up to about 160mm (6-3/8″), exposing a leather expansion panel. They provide some extra room in the cuff, which allows me to fit my Held racing gloves underneath.
There are also two zippers on each side of the jacket at the hip. These are necessary on this 3/4 length jacket so that the sides can be opened when sitting, whether on a motorcycle or in a car.
They open to about 180mm (7″), which provides enough room so that the jacket doesn’t get bunched up, and the tabs on these are easy to grab. Side zippers are also commonly used on 3/4 length (or longer) horseback riding jackets, also to provide some extra room when sitting. .
The jacket has a zip-out Thinsulate liner in the shape of a vest. I think this adds to the warmth of the jacket and makes it usable for all seasons. I’ve used the jacket in some chilly, damp and nasty weather this winter, and it keeps me warm and definitely blocks the wind.
There’s a 150mm (about 6″) long kidney warmer extension on the vest, and this bunches up slightly when I put the jacket on, and has to be smoothed out. It
would be nice if this was attached somehow to the jacket, maybe using a piece of Velcro. The jacket also has a full-length liner that’s made of a type of nylon or taffeta. The liner also goes all the way down to the end of the sleeves, and this helps to
make it easy to slide on and off.
The jacket has expansion panels in the rear of each shoulder, and this adds to the comfort factor, because there’s plenty of room to swing my arms and it feels good across my back. You can see by the photo on the left how much work it takes just to design these shoulder expansion panels.
When you start to look closely at all the little details on this jacket, you realize how much work went into it. For example, a blind stitch is used to attach the jacket’s taffeta liner to the leather. The bottom hem of the jacket has a rolled edge, but Fox Creek goes one step farther and uses a separate piece of leather up underneath on the inside of the hem.
Also, the expansion panels under the sleeve cuff zippers are made from leather, and there was a lot of attention paid to the way these are sewn into the cuff. It’s hard to describe, but if you study the way this jacket is put together you’ll be amazed. I will guess that many people won’t even realize that some of these details are what makes this jacket special, but as someone who has gone through lots of purpose-use clothing, I know that these features really make a big difference in appearance and quality.
This is a jacket that will last a lifetime, and the $319.00 price is a real bargain. I also especially like the fact that it’s made in the U.S.A.!
Product Review: Fox Creek Leather Women’s 3/4 Length Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Product Comments: 3/4 length jacket gives a flattering look and can be used for riding or street wear. Very high quality with many subtle features. Soft, high quality leather. Full length taffeta liner. Zip-out Thinsulate vest. Attached belt.