‘Cafe Racer’ jackets vary hugely in design, deceptively so. At a glance they might look pretty similar, after all they’r all simple slim fitting jackets with two chest pockets and a stand collar, how different can they really be?
To help illustrate just how much they differ here’s legendary Aero leathers, Cafe Racer:
Unlike the Himel Brothers Kensington Jacket featured last time, which owes much of its design to the racing shirts of the late 40’s and early 50’s, Aero Leathers Cafe Racer is more typical the jackets of the 1960’s and 70’s. It has a bi swing back and kidney panel arrangement most commonly found on jackets of this era, unlike The Himel jacket which sports the earlier plain yoke style back. They also differ substantially in terms of fit and shape: While the Himel is very slim fitting and shaped at the waist, the Aero, while still relatively slim, is a bit squarer in profile. There are a few other small but noticeable differences between the two: Such as the cuffs, which on the Aero have panels under the zips and on the Himel’s open fully. Or the central zip which on the Himel stops a little before the bottom of the jacket, while on the Aero it continues right to the bottom seam.
Aero Leathers Cafe Racer is available with either the classic two, or the more practical four pocket versions and as with most of Aero’s offerings it’s available in both front quarter horsehide and in heavy chrome tanned steer.
Ok, at this point I should own up, I own an Aero Leathers Cafe Racer. It’s been one of my favourite everyday wearers for a few years now. As you’d expect from Aero the build quality is brilliant but I must admit that as much as I love my jacket (and I really do) I do have a few minor issues with it.
Here’s my jacket:
The trouble is that I have my idea of what the ‘perfect’ cafe racer jacket should be. While this ‘dream’ jacket might not actually exist, it means I always measure real jackets against it. My Aero is no exception and there’s a couple of areas where it falls short.
The shoulder seams fall a little wide on my jacket. This could either be because the steerhide sits differently to the horse or simply because I have quite slight shoulders, still given the choice I’d have them closer in.
The armholes are cut a to little deep for my liking, it’s not to noticeable until you raise your arms, at which point the whole jacket rises up and you get a bit of a ‘batwing’ effect, it’s not as bad as a lot of others I’ve seen but still a little annoying.
My jacket is from a few years back when Aero offered a Couple of different back options; the smaller shoulder bi swing they offer now, and a longer bi swing running most of the length of the back. This is probably ok in stiff horsehide but with steer it leaves the back a little baggy.
Aero do tend to cut their jackets a little roomy, I tend to prefer a trimmer fit on a leather jacket but in the end it’s down to personal preference and the extra room does make it more comfortable for actually ridding.
That said these are all VERY minor issues, and mostly down to my preferences and pickiness. Aero Leather are a fantastic company and were early pioneers in bringing back high quality leather jackets at a time when cheap was the order of the day. They have been heros of mine for many years and you’d be hard pushed to find anything on the market of better quality. This then like the Himel, is a true modern classic in its own right and deserves it’s place as one of the great leather jackets as much as any Buco, Brimaco, or Langlitz. Mine is a go to jacket thats come with me on many adventures and moulded to me, I will enjoy for many years to come.
See more of Aero Leathers delectable selection of leather garments and apparel here.