Sliding Scale: American-Made Motorcycle Jackets

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Welcome to Sliding Scale, a series in which we bring you a single product for every budget. This month we’re rounding up American-Made Motorcycle Jackets. Check out our ten favorites after the jump.

San Diego Leather

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First up is San Diego Leather, a California-based company that has a handful of moto styles, many of which are crafted in their own San Diego factory. The 102X Crossover (pictured above) is made from heavy black cowhide, has classic details like a snap down collar and zippered sleeves, and costs $295.

Hillside USA

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The $350 Basic Biker Jacket from Hillside USA is made in the USA out of supple, 4.5 oz. cowhide. On top of its classic styling, it has many practical features like a removable Thinsulate liner and vented underarm gussets. There are a number of slightly pricier Hillside moto styles worth checking out as well, all of which are also proudly American-made.

Espinoza’s Leather

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Coming in at $450 is the Traditional Motorcycle Jacket from Espinoza’s Leather. Handmade in California, it features a quilted Thinsulate liner for extra warmth, pleated arms for extra extension, and adjustable side laces for the perfect fit. You can also upgrade from cowhide to deer, buffalo, or lamb skin for an additional $50 bucks.

Branded

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Long Island City-based Branded Leather has been outfitting the NYPD since 1999. All of their jackets are manufactured in the USA using domestically-sourced materials, including this $575 1011Z Motocycle Jacket. Made from heavyweight black cowhide, it has solid brass hardware and comes backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The Arrivals

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The $585 Lautner Leather Biker from The Arrivals is inspired by, and named after, the acclaimed American architect, John Lautner. Made in NYC out of durable South American leather, the updated classic has a breathable twill lining and a rib-knit detail at the back of the waist and sleeves.

Vanson

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A go-to for professional moto racers, Vanson Leathers is known for its high performance, “heirloom quality” leather outerwear. They have a number of motorcylce styles, all of which are made in the USA out of Vanson’s signature “competition weight” leather. Prices start at $600.

Schott

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Some of the most famous motorcycle jackets in history were manufactured by Schott (see: Marlon Brando, James Dean, The Ramones, et al). Their signature Perfecto model is considered by many to be the original motorcycle jacket, and today, there are a wide array of versions to choose from, all of which are still proudly – and painstakingly – handcrafted in the company’s own New York factory. Prices start at $720.

Laer

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The Classic Jacket from Laer is handcrafted in the company’s own Los Angeles atelier out of “riding weight” Italian leather. Features include a satin lining, silver hardware, and shoulder flange for increased ease of movement, and, the $800 jacket can be ordered with custom sleeve lengths.

Cockpit USA

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The $895 Highway Patrol Motorcycle Jacket from Cockpit USA is made from 4 oz, motorcycle grade horsehide, an exceedingly durable and protective material. Modeled after real Highway Patrol jackets, it also features adjustable side panels, a quilted lining, and a removable fur collar.

Lost Worlds

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And finally, don’t let the decidedly crappy website of Lost Worlds throw you – the New York based company makes some of the finest motorcycle jackets money can buy. Crafted from start to finish in their own factory, Lost World’s near-perfect replicas of WWII-era outerwear are not only period correct in their design, but in their materials and finishings as well. Really, they’re the next best thing to a time machine. But, time travel isn’t without its expense, and the majority of Lost Worlds jackets are priced at $1300 or higher.

  • Owlly

    You missed Walter Dyer in Massachusetts.

    http://www.walterdyer.com/walter-dyer-jackets/men

  • Watcho

    Anybody know the story behind how Schott came to be the jacket of down-and-out rebellious types? Did they used to be really affordable? I’m trying to imagine a situation, adjusted for inflation and whatnot, where I’m running the streets trying to hustle anything I can and yet do it in such a pricy jacket.

    • Holly Hindsight

      I’m sure in the 50’s they were probably no more or less affordable than whatever other motorcycle club gear was available.

      An educated guess – Schott is a heritage brand name that for a number of reasons over the years slid into being undervalued, was purchased by venture capitalists, retooled and marketed to a younger, more moneyed market, kept a few (very few) “Heritage” (with a capital H now) designs to be manufactured in-house (and commensurate markup due to using American instead of, you know, slave labor) while outsourcing the rest of the newly marketed clothes and goods to China.

  • Scott

    Does anyone have experience with San Diego leather? I already own a Schott and an Aero but would love to add another to the collection! They look like nice jackets for the price.