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  #1  
Old 12 Aug 2010
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Long (leather?) jacket required

Hi folks, a newbie here, both to biking and this forum.
I have recently learnt to ride and passed my test whilst wearing a fabric jacket with inbuilt armour but find it too hot for me a lot of the time. I am considering buying a leather jacket but there are so many of them out there that it makes my head spin.
My (or rather one of my) problems is that I am 6'4", chest of about 44" so have found that most jackets I have looked at are too short in the back and if not they are built for gorilla-sized blokes with a 60" chest, so something longer than the average body length is obviously needed, but I haven't seen anything like that advertised anywhere.
Problem number two: I don't know if I'm going through the change of life or what but I sweat (perspire to the ladies) even when everybody else finds it chilly so I need something with a good deal of ventilation.
Any and all hints/advice gratefully received.
Cheers, Andy
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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Why do you want leather, especially if you'd like something that breathes better?

There are a lot of good textile 3/4 length jackes that have very good ventilation. I've got a BMW Santiago jacket, which vents very well and is a good choice for hot weather. The new BMW Trailguard looks even better other than the fugly colors.

I'm sure others will chime in with other brand recommendations, as you say, there are a lot of choices out there...
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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I do not think leather would be the best choice for the problems you seem to be having That said I have one (its not for sale) and have used it on a few long trips many years ago into fairly hot places but would not these days with the options that are available. Its quite heavy, hot when off the bike (or cold if its really cold). Its a bit like a Belstaff wax jacket in style I suppose like the old UK police style. It has two zip opened vents in chest and one across the upper back etc so is probably as cool an airflow leather as you can get, but if its a cold day even with the vents shut its a very cold jacket, nor is it particularly waterproof. If it were me I would look at other options before choosing the leather.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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You might consider something other than leather, it will be far hotter than what you use now.

For a great alternative, look at the "air-mesh kevlar" gear made by Motoport (Kevlar Motorcycle Apparel - the Best in the World). Everything custom made to the measurements you provide them. Add the "quad armor" for more protection -- its worth the extra cost! Jacket and pants are both expensive, but well worth every penny. The advrider forum has a long thread with many reviews and several testimonials as to how well it works in a crash.
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Old 13 Aug 2010
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Thanks for the help guys, I'd assumed that leather would be more breathable with it being a natural material, it's good to have advice of people who have tried both rather than trying to figure out what is best from adverisments.
How do man-made materials compare to leather in the event of a slide down the tarmac, has nylon etc caught up with leather's protective properties, are there any materials that I should definitely avoid?
Once again, thanks for your help.
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Old 13 Aug 2010
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Ha, they've moved far beyond nylon, think more about kevlar and all sorts of other sturdy materials that you've never heard of. Not sure if I've seen any scientific studies but I've certainly seen lots of glowing reports about how well many of these jackets do in a crash to convince me that they are good enough.
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Old 13 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walktall View Post
Thanks for the help guys, I'd assumed that leather would be more breathable with it being a natural material, it's good to have advice of people who have tried both rather than trying to figure out what is best from adverisments.
How do man-made materials compare to leather in the event of a slide down the tarmac, has nylon etc caught up with leather's protective properties, are there any materials that I should definitely avoid?
Once again, thanks for your help.
You need to work out a system that works for you. There will be layers. There will be at least one base layers who's function is to control heat. Then there is an outer layer whose function is protection from the wind and any off. Finally there might be a waterproofing layer to deal with serious downpours and give you something that can stay outside the tent when soaked. Materials:

Cotton (basic): cheap and cool.
Wool/wool pile: warm ,cheapish, works when wet.
Goretex: breathable and showerproof when in first class condition and clean, like a Tesco's bag when blocked/dirty/old.
Leather: Tough, windproof, will work after a crash, useless when wet.
Waxed cotton: totally waterproof and windproof when treated, leaks when it isn't. Semi-crashproof if top quality, breathable.
Nylon: waterproof or breathable but not both. A swine to get fasteners to stay stuck to. Burns/melts at the touch of the road or an exhaust.
Aramid/kevlar: very strong in tension but expensive, lacking any other useful feature.

Modern bike gear is basically a nylon coat with Kevlar strands for abrasion resistance, foam rubber armour to give impact protection and a Goretex liner (inside the nylon) to make them splash proof. Clean them every few trips to keep the pores open and/or use a closed oversuit to stop the water overwhelming them and they work. When dry and clean they breath. They are designed for weekend riders, so if you use them expect to pay out £400 every two years when the press studs drop off and the plastic zips fail, or £800 for something that might last a bit longer. Fall off and you go shopping.

My own preference for a trip where I'll ride all day (I use modern stuff to sling on for a trip to the shops) is using wool pile and silk under leather trousers/armoured jeans for toughness, a treated wax cotton coat for temperature control and water resistance with nylon over trousers as required. I have not solved the armour issue for solo riders but I feel this combo has worked out cheaper and more practical over the last couple of years than the commercial Goretex stuff I used up to then. The Kevlar and cotton jeans you can wear to the pub too, old styles of wax cotton kit have far superior collar and cuff designs.

Leather is still the choice of racers, it will not be beaten for abrasion resistance and when armoured with hard plastic does the job. It is a one trick pony though, you fry or freeze unless it's that one nice day in May. A one piece Orange and green suit makes you look a right *** if you are fat and fifty .

You need to pick what works for you, not just go down the shops and buy what they sell.

Andy
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Old 14 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by walktall View Post
Any and all hints/advice gratefully received.
Cheers, Andy
Hi Andy,

I don't know what jacket you have now ... but sounds like its not for you. Does it have any venting? Good venting is key.

These days there aren't many 3/4 length leather jackets around. Used to be several that were popular. Maybe find an older Hein Gerike? or British Police jacket? Sounds like you are a guy who runs HOT. I've listed a couple leather jackets below that aren't super short sport bike type jacket and extend down the back a bit and both have good venting. They are not 3/4 length but if you get the right size, should be fine.

Unlike everyone else here I find leather to be as cool if not cooler than modern (so called breathable) textile fabrics.
My typical riding outfit is unvented leather pants with vented, armored Cordura textile jacket. My jacket does not use a waterproof Gore-tex type liner, rather the outer fabric is waterproof. BMW's jackets when wet are like a Big Wet Dog, get heavy and take forever to dry. Bad system.

My First Gear Rainier jacket really works and is quite good in HOT weather.
I'm talking USA hot, not UK hot. Probably not sold in the UK, but maybe similar jackets are? Here are a couple links to look at for a basic guide and to get you familiar what is out there:

Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Textile Motorcycle Jacket :: New Enough
Excellent 3/4 length jacket and CHEAP!

FirstGear 2010 TPG Rainier Textile Motorcycle Jacket :: New Enough
Rainier Jacket ... First Gear sell many others like this, most are cheaper.

I just did a 3500 mile ride up through Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California. In places it was 115F. I was road testing a new pair of Cordura pants. First Gear TPG Escape pants. These have venting, built in armor, are comfortable, fit well. But guess what? Hotter than Hell! My leather pants are cooler. I've used many other textile pants and jackets in HOT weather and find that leather (THE FIRST BREATHABLE FABRIC!!!) is actually cooler in some cases. My jackets work well for TWO REASONS: They are light colored. 2. They have a ton of good venting ... that actually works. Most claim to be "breathable" are aren't really, the First Gear included. Only Gore-Tex truly breathes. But once dirty, ceases to function.

Here are a couple leather jackets that may work for you. I'm sure there are many good ones in the UK if you look around on line. But always try them on. Never buy sight unseen.

Joe Rocket Super Ego Leather Motorcycle Jacket :: New Enough
Super Ego, leather, multi-functional

FirstGear 2010 Scout Leather Motorcycle Jacket :: New Enough
Leather. Expensive but pretty nice.

Problem with leather is you always have to carry rain gear on board. I have some small and easy to pack rain pants I always carry. Not a big deal and they work.

My First Gear jacket (and all the ones I listed) are very waterproof, so no additional rain jacket needed with these or most good textile jackets.

Good shopping.
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  #9  
Old 14 Aug 2010
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Thank you Mickey D ,I thought I was the only wierdo who found leather to be cool on hot days [as long as you're doing 30 mph that is ].

On my next trip to Blighty I promised myself that I would call in on these folks and have a jacket made to measure .

Welcome to the BTK Leathers Website.

I haven't dealt with them myself but have heard good things about them .
If you are not a standard size it might work out well for you .
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  #10  
Old 14 Aug 2010
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Dodger,I have a pair of BTK leather trousers.I have had them for years and am very pleased with them.I would recommend them.
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Old 16 Aug 2010
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Have a look at Dainese or their superstore which is a couple of minutes walk from Manchester Piccadilly railway station. I have one of their jackets, the splendidly named "Superfly"
It's a long leather jacket, waist adjustment, pockets for armour, removable thermal liner, blah blah blah.

I'm 6'5".
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Old 25 Aug 2010
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find a local hein gericke, J&S, or indeed most dealers, all will have a good selection of modern textile armored jackets at varying prices.
its good to ride in a tighter leather sports jacket, but they are a little impractical these days i haven't worn my alpinestars this year, i have two hein gericke textiles, one is mesh and for summer only, the other i wear all the time its waterproof, breathable and has zipped up vents for when its hot.
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  #13  
Old 25 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walktall View Post
Hi folks, a newbie here, both to biking and this forum.
I have recently learnt to ride and passed my test whilst wearing a fabric jacket with inbuilt armour but find it too hot for me a lot of the time. I am considering buying a leather jacket but there are so many of them out there that it makes my head spin.
My (or rather one of my) problems is that I am 6'4", chest of about 44" so have found that most jackets I have looked at are too short in the back and if not they are built for gorilla-sized blokes with a 60" chest, so something longer than the average body length is obviously needed, but I haven't seen anything like that advertised anywhere.
Problem number two: I don't know if I'm going through the change of life or what but I sweat (perspire to the ladies) even when everybody else finds it chilly so I need something with a good deal of ventilation.
Any and all hints/advice gratefully received.
Cheers, Andy
Why leather? Fabric's the way to go......light, tough, breathable, waterproof, crash resistant, machine washable with plenty of choice.
If you can afford bmw I'd reccommend spending money there or heine gerick if on a budget..

good luck
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Old 25 Aug 2010
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If you're thinking of paying good money for leathers "off the peg" check out the prices for made to measure. BTK's been mentioned, there's Crowtree leathers in Louth, Scott leathers in Barnard Castle and more that I can't remember now, they'll make them however you specify, give great advice and take care and pride in providing a bomb proof product and do repairs if you damage them, all for a better price than the latest fashion items in the shops
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Old 26 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by dommiek View Post
Why leather? Fabric's the way to go......light, tough, breathable, waterproof, crash resistant, machine washable with plenty of choice.
If you can afford bmw I'd reccommend spending money there or heine gerick if on a budget..

good luck
You can have mine, I wouldn't have the nerve to sell it. Four years old, velcro kaput, poppers fallen off the glue, melted where it touched the engine, needs washing once a month to keep the outer clear enough for the Goretex to breathe.....

Andy
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