Damn, I look good in this jacket

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Here’s the first of the jackets we’re modifying to create something that’s actually safe, yet doesn’t make us look like Power Rangers. This is a Vanson AR2 fitted with Alpinestars Bio Armor. The ultra-thick, sturdy leather and strong construction will protect me against abrasion better than just about anything else out there and the high-tech Bio Armor exceeds CE standards by more than double. Yet, that armor doesn’t cause the jacket to bulge and I’m not slathered in logos. Remind me why can’t we buy something like this ready-made?

Photos: Grant Ray

Vanson, one of the oldest, most-respected leather makers in the US, makes the AR2 without armor for just $499, cheaper than most high-end, purpose-built motorcycle jackets. It’s made from their heavy-duty “competition weight” leather, which is far and away the thickest and stiffest I’ve ever worn.

More importantly, it’s constructed properly to work as a motorcycle jacket. That means seams which fold back over on themselves, covering the stitches with layers of leather to protect them against abrasion. That strength and that ability to slide without tearing apart is what separates fashion leather jackets from functional motorcycle apparel. A nice little detail is that the shoulder seems are reversed to fold backward so they don’t catch the air.

It’s also cut to fit comfortably while riding, with extra length in the sleeves and an elasticated gusset in the back to allow a forward stretch. The thick, stiff leather does restrict movement somewhat as it’s still breaking in, but not on a bike, where it counts. My arms are free to operate the controls and bars unimpeded.

According to Grant’s calipers the Bio Armor is less than 1.5cm thick and comes pre-contoured. The fact that it provides a large area of coverage and that contouring makes it really easy to fit into a jacket nearly invisibly as it conforms to your natural shapes as you move around in it. It also means that the armor fits in my regular jacket size — 40 — without the need to upsize to something baggy in order to fit the padding.

To install the armor, we took advantage of the standard Vanson jacket liner and the holes pre-drilled in the high-density rubber-like material of the Bio Armor. Unpicking the liner at the base of the back, through trial and error we located the ideal locations, pulled the sleeves inside out, then used sturdy braided, waxed cotton thread to attach it. Looping that material through 15-20 times provides more strength than the liner is likely to offer, meaning the armor will stay put as I take the jacket off and on all day, every day (I’m literally wearing this everywhere). In a crash, it’s the leather’s strength and tightness that provides more retention for those protectors. I’m confident that this method is at least as strong as the single-stitched pockets most armor is housed in on purpose-built jackets.

We chose the waxed cotton thread on the advice of a fashion designer friend. After purchasing Kevlar cord, it became apparent that it was so thin and strong, that it could actually slice the armor in half. Hopefully the multiple layers of this really thick thread won’t do that, while providing equal strength.

One downside to using a non-bike-specific jacket is that the sleeve zippers are on the outside of the arm, interfering with the location of the elbow/arm armor. No huge problem, but I did have to trim 1.5-inch slots in each to work around the zipper location.

I was also unable to find a way to attach a back protector to this jacket invisibly. That liner hangs from the collar, so hanging a protector from it, even a light D3O viper, pulled the collar down slightly, messing up the looks. I’m not clever enough to find a way of attaching the protector to the leather itself without that showing on the outside. The purpose of this project is to create jackets that look as good and work as well on and off the bike. So, I plan to wear a Alpinestars Bionic Air Back Protector separately, removing it when I’m off the bike. That back protector is thin enough not to show, very comfortable and unobtrusive, yet fits securely and is certified to the CE Level-1 standard.

I’ve now worn this jacket every day for several weeks (and slept in it a few times to break it in), including on airplane rides to and from Atlanta, through an all-day ride on the BMW K1600GT, in the rain, in the heat, to bars, concerts and fancy restaurants. Also while riding this new custom Hammarhead.

The end result is a jacket that looks and fits identically to the way it did before armor, is completely comfortable, works on a bike, will protect me in a crash and never makes me look like a refugee from ComiCon.

If that sounds like the kind of jacket you’d like to wear, you’re not alone. We’re doing this to show you how to create a safe, fashionable jacket yourself and hopefully demonstrate the demand for such a product so that someone will actually produce it. Plus, we were just tired of being forced to compromise either style or safety when riding. No longer. There’s more to come.

  • Gregory

    Not bad. I’d buy that for a dollar.

    Reminds me of my standard commuting set-up: a Steinmark jacket over Bohn body armour.

    Any plans for retail?

    -gceaves
    Portland, OR
    KLR 650

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

    That is a good lookin’ jacket and a great goal. It’d be murderously hot here in Texas, I think, but Vanson has plenty of perforated options.

    Great article and a worthy idea to pursue. Vanson, of anyone, should be all over this.

    • bluemoco

      I agree that this is a great looking jacket.

      However, don’t hold your breath waiting for Vanson to respond to this idea. My custom-order Vanson jacket took 5 months! All I wanted was a CSV2 with lengthened sleeves…

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

        Well, maybe go with the Comet that will already accept armor and get the D20/BioArmor separately in that. Not sure how different the cut is than this jacket, as the online pics aren’t the best.

  • JMS

    It’s nice to see you tuck to the right

    • dux

      Haha. Dirty

  • jeremy

    that jacket is cool and all but I’m afraid I can’t get behind it. It’s clearly helping you to attract all those hot hipster girls and there is nothing I hate more in this world than young stylish attractive girls and dudes who dress like they care about fucking those girls.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Brilliant! It does look very unobtrusive. I might swing by The Garment District for a cheap practice jacket. I’d hate to ruin one of those beautiful Vansons.

    Also; lol pit bike.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Never mind. “Either” works, too.

    Hey… I’m actually considering a leather jacket, so I appreciate this review, and the DIY aspect of it.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I actually fixed it before you left this comment. Your ADD is just faster than my proof reading.

  • Beale

    Oh great, just as I’m knee-deep in my new monkey bike obsession you have to run these photos. Now, where’s that parts catalog…?

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    It looks nice, and sounds very functional.

    What would you say the total cost is up to now?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The Vanson AR2 jacket, Alpinestars bio-armor, waxed thread and needle come to about $546 before tax. Stabbing yourself in the finger not included.

      • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

        Yeah, finger stabbing is a tax unto itself.

        That is pretty damn affordable. I am impressed.

  • Philip

    Can’t believe he’s wearing sneakers on the track! SQUID!!

  • EdB

    Not as good as that girl in her stripy t-shirt..

  • Stuart

    That looks like a little CT-70. Is it? That little Honda was my first bike in Peru.

    • Ducky

      That’s a Z-50 monkey bike! Looks great Wes =D

    • NickP

      Bring that to Detroit in September :)

  • Rob

    I can vouch for the awesomeness of Alpinestars Bio Armor. I had the “RC” back protector in my A* leather jacket. It looked (and felt) like I was smuggling a boogie board down to the beach. Thick as hell and unyielding. The Bio Armor back protector is now invisible. 2UP is now comfortable and I’m certainly going to order Bio Armor for the rest of the jacket…

  • tomwito

    You look like the black Power Ranger with that helmet on.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Enh, I’m not really a fan of this one. I do like the idea of putting good armor in a classic jacket. I still think these are the coolest off the rack motorcycle jackets around: http://www.urbanrider.co.uk/shop/leather-motorcycle-jackets-mens.html

    For the record, I rep the Dainese power-ranger look most of the time, because I have to ride SoCal freeways, and I’m pretty sure the drivers are trying to kill me.

  • Knife

    Sure you look good in that jacket. What, maybe 6’1″ 140 lbs. and ripped? How do you think a 6′ 1″ 240 lbs. softie would look in that? Not “damned good”, that’s for sure!

    • wes’s soon to be roomate

      ummm, have you ever seen wes in real life? 140lbs? ripped?

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        I predict drunken wresting within a week. Possibly later tonight.

        • wes’s soon to be roomate

          nah, we have some “tattoo models” coming over. he’ll be busy trying to convince them he isn’t the author of http://wessiler.com

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            I’m going to ban both of you.

            • wes’s soon to be roomate

              is that the thanks i get for having girls over for when you arrive in Long Beach?

              and i thought you were supposed to be the fun one

              • Kirill

                Wes is moving to Long Beach? Well there goes the neighborhood.

                I’d offer a round of beers at the Yard House but one of the hipster joints on 4th st is probably more up his alley.

                • wes’s soon to be roomate

                  one of those places with other young people, girls, and $3 beers you mean?

                  fuck those hipster joints.

                • Kirill

                  Yeah, one those places. They ain’t bad. My pants don’t go that tight though, so I look out of place.

                  I really like the Yard House though.

          • wes’s soon to be roomate

            but, if not tonight, definitely one of the nights on our bike trip this weekend. you’re coming on that too right grant? oh…wait….

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

              Pretty sure I’ve got a trip coming up that’s better than yours anyway. Have fun at your RV “campsite” a.k.a. Ace Hotel pool chairs.

              • wes’s soon to be roomate

                i’m sure you do, but it wont be with us. (ok fine, we’re going to miss you on ours too).

                and shhhhhh. don’t let wes find out the chance of us making it past palm springs is only around 10%.

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  As long as I can still start a fire using a knife and a cotton ball, I’m happy.

            • T Diver

              Not Silver Lake or Los Feliz? (Hipsters are sad.)

          • eric

            wow, a stalker? now that’s legit.

            • a hipster

              oh, you mean http://wessiler.com ? it is pretty amazing.

              • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

                Oh shit, that site is funny stuff.

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  It’s also wildly inaccurate.

              • dux

                Oh wes, aren’t you so moody and hip? Well done, your chinese stalker/fan is doing you proud.

              • HammSammich

                Oh wow…I mean, “Wes Siler” is a somewhat common name around our household as I frequently relay HFL stories to Mrs. HammSammich, but I didn’t realize you were so Big-time as to have your own unofficial fan/scary stalker site…

  • Tyler

    I like the jacket.

    What kind of helmet is that, though? I like.

  • Brendan

    The cheetah girl reminded me of this:

    http://www.surrenderous.com/2010/12/the-turin-shroud-of-rock-n-roll/

    Throw some armor in it; I’d wear it. :p

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Looks good. The Vanson factory is here in Massachusetts, and I keep meaning to check out their stuff firsthand.

    If I can get over the stripe on the Rev’it CR jacket I might go that route as it’s a bit more cost effective.

  • kidchampion

    Sleeping in yr jeans to break them in. Sleeping in the jacket to break it in. Spats? Why not make a kevlar set of footie pajamas?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’d be the safest slumber party ever.

      • dux

        Hows about a kevlar condom? The youth crowd would love it…

    • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

      Million. Dollar. Idea.

  • kidchampion

    This might be an option for custom Bio Armor-ready jackets: http://cgi.ebay.com/Mens-Jacket-Fashion-Leather-Customized-Sizing-Demand-/110606538673?pt=US_CSA_MC_Outerwear&hash=item19c0a9d7b1

    They also sell “gay leather pants”. I appreciate their honesty.

  • mcfaite

    So, I’ve already got a Vanson Model A. Where would a guy like me, you know — young, smart, good-looking, living in the city — get his hands on some bio armor?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      put “alpinestars bio armor” in teh googlez and you will magically be presented with shopping results. It’s about $30 for a full set.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray
      • mcfaite

        Hmmm… Google, you say? Thanks guys!

      • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

        Have to say, props to revzilla for all the product vids.

  • Devin

    Ummm… don’t they already make this? Its called the Rev’It Hawk. I love mine to death, and get compliments on a daily basis.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think you’re missing out on the whole point. That Rev’It isn’t cut like this Vanson and it won’t approach this quality either. We’re talking about the real thing here, not a cheap, asian-made replica.

      • Toby

        I ride in a BMG Montana jacket, which is cut slim, looks fantastic, is extremely well made from thick quality leather, and includes Knox armor (which could easily be swapped for Bio armor). Even with the thicker Knox armor it isn’t apparent to the casual observer that the jacket has armor.

        Fox Creek Leather has the Grayson, which is the same style, very high quality, but probably a bit boxier cut. It does have armor pockets already built in, though.

      • Devin

        Elk skin and beautiful, multi layer stitching are not exactly cheap… and neither is the $500 price tag (+$70 for the SAS-Tec plate that slips right into the back). The cut is VERY similar to the Vanson, if your photos are any indicator. Maybe you should take a look at one before bashing it. I hate that it is made in China as well, but so are your beloved Cleveland Cycles. Tt’s about quality control, not location.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    Other than Belstaff, the Lewis Leathers Super Sportsman I love: http://www.lewisleathers.com/productinfo.html?code=jak-68

    I have much respect for Vanson and their heritage but what we hear day in day out is that people want a weight of leather that will protect them and doesn’t feel like carrying a dead cow on their back.

    I’m not sure how practical Vansons are when off the bike, they weight a lot and the stiffness of the leather seems to turn off our customers.

    That said, they do make some beautiful jackets.

    You still use your District Blazer Wes? The buttons fell off mine but other than that it’s great.

    • Moto-Mucci

      The Lewis Leathers stuff just looks so dated. There’s really nothing interesting about it. Ho-hum – brit style leather to resemble vintage race jackets.

      That being said, I just picked up a Belstaff Mojave jacket from you guys because it was the closest thing to a logo-less, modern designed, padded jacket I could find. I rather fancy it – whether or not Wes thinks it’ll make me look like I get my hair done at a salon.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        There’s nothing wrong with getting your hair done at a salon. At least that’s what I tell myself.

        Will: Grant’s got the District. It’s a bit flimsy and not really my style.

        • Thom

          Returned to the Barber Shop as of last year . I’ll never go back to the Salon again;

          Better hair cut
          Zero attitude
          and the musics a whole lot better ( I really despise Euro Techno what ever they call it these days music )
          Not to mention … half the price .

          • Moto-Mucci

            Sounds like you’re going to the wrong salon, because the one’s here in Chicago are packed with all kinds of attractive “talent.”

          • a hipster

            what if the salon pays you to cut your hair and is full of babes?

      • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

        Thanks for shopping with us, I hope you got the HFL subscriber offer.

        • stephan

          flew in from brooklyn on monday. had the day off. walked 3 miles from hotel in kensington to get to your store. discovered its some ridiculous english may holiday. sigh, next trip

          • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

            Oh man! So sorry, yes we have 4 holidays in May. Next time be sure to ask for myself, Will or Andrew and we will be sure to look after you as a HFL subscriber.

        • http://moto-mucci.blogspot.com/ Moto-Mucci

          I didn’t get the offer. Although I was signed up before I made the purchase through you guys anyways.

  • dan

    Why go to the trouble. I bought a Monterrey (Shadow Distributing) leather jacket from Competition Accessories that is already equipped with CE rated armor and you would never know from the outside. If I could post a pic I would. $249.99

  • Glenngineer

    Hell yeah, that looks really good. I’m a big Vanson fan.

  • Cajun58

    Kudos to Grant for making Wes look good in that jacket.

    • wes’s soon to be roomate

      +1

  • Bobby

    Looks great! Now do it to the Leather Jacket from fight club.

  • T Diver

    Looks pretty good. How is the neck though? It looks like you have a hoodie on. I find that jackets with collars (I hate hard words) get in the way when I lean forward on a street bike. I assume that cause it’s a Vanson it’s not an issue but blah blah. Let me know.

    • T Diver

      I mean get in the way of the helmet.

  • Joe

    Looks great. What’s the timeframe for you guys offering it to the public, if there is one?

    I’m looking to picking this jacket up:

    http://www.jofama.se/motorcycle_wear/product_details.php?lang=2&id=26&cid=3

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Thanks for the compliment but we’re not offering any services or gear with this project, it’s DIY.

  • Josh

    I know it takes away from the coolness factor, but, as much as I love that jacket, I really want some reflective piping on anything I’m going to wear on my bike…

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      Hi-viz vest? Those fold up easy off-bike.

    • Sean Smith

      I usually ride around with 12 or so crazy bright red LEDs pointing backward. Generating your own light is even better than wearing reflective stuff. The best part though is that they’re built into the bike and my jacket doesn’t need extra stuff sewn into it.

  • Kevin

    Whatever floats your boat I guess but you’re dancing a fine line hammering harley’s and squids about their concern over perception while writing articles about how good motorcycle clothes can look. Who cares what you look like on a bike? I ride to ride; I could care less about what people want to think about my riding gear.

    • Justyn

      I agree completely.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Kevin, I think you’re missing the point a bit. This is not about what you look like while you’re on your bike. This is about what you look like when you walk into the office or a restaurant for a date or meeting after riding there, yet without compromising safety.

      I think you’ll agree that’s a big difference.

  • willmeyer

    So what is the best option at this point for an under-layer with this kind of armor in it? I would totally love the equivalent of the liner that come sin most modern jackets as a sort of layer for the armor. Thin and light but not pantyhose style, with this armor. Bohn and others don’t seem to cut it yet… I want something for under my Schott…not sewn into it.

  • Kirk

    Have you consider sewing a pocket on the inside (the side between the rider and the liner not the liner and the leather) for the back protector? That might even obscure the lines from the protector even more and you could probably get the placement right.

  • Denzel

    Have you thought about using an adhesive to attach the back protector? If the surface of the armor and the unfinished (interior) leather are suitable, it might be a nice solution.

  • Archer

    A large patch of industrial self-adhesive velcro loop inside the leather, and a smaller patch of hook adhered and then sewn to the armor with a Cordura backer would be a far more elegant solution.

    The cotton thread has a very high risk of cutting right through the armor in normal use if no backing material is employed. In addition, the Velcro would allow adjustment.

    I successfully use this method to emplace a Dainese back protector to the interior of one of my three Vanson Cobra 2′s. Much better than the off-the-shelf Vanson CE foam armor, too.

    A patch of 3M VHB SE film (same stuff used by Stompgrip) to connect the two components would also work well.

    Modern film adhesives are extemely strong and versatile. The key to success is lots of surface area.

    Willmeyer, you might want to check out a Dainese body safety jacket. Works great under leathers and has an athletic mesh support system, and full CE armor on back, shoulders, chest and elbows. Slim enough to fit under most properly fitted leathers.

    They retail for nearly 300 simoleons, but, if you shop around you can find these for as little as $80.00, I bought one at that price on closeout at a Cycle Gear.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      The thread isn’t going to cut this material, it’s very dense.

      I’d love to work with an appropriate adhesive, however I don’t know of or have experience with one. Sewing is universal.

      The compression armor jackets are great, but hardly what you want to be taking off an on multiple times a day or be wearing to a bar or restaurant.

      • Archer

        Re. compression jackets, absolutely true, but, he did say that’s what he wanted.

        Yes, sewing is universal. So is Velcro ;)

      • Denzel

        A shoe repair place has flexible adhesives for rubber and leather… glue that puppy …

  • Miles Prower

    For the hipster with less cash, the Pokerun Deuce 2 is a copy of the Vanson at half the price. Quality? I don’t know. But you can see that the shoulder seam faces forward (unlike the Vanson that faces backward, as Wes mentions). Anyway, this one has pockets for CE armor, so no sewing skills required.

  • Corey

    The Vanson is sharp, but if you want a good looking jacket with nicer and more crash-resistant leather, give the same treatment to a Schott Café Racer in Horsehide. It is my favorite riding jacket, which i have also modified to accept the newer low-profile Aerostich pads (and I didn’t use staples and binder’s twine). Had a cobbler help me out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Those are gorgeous jackets, but damn the price. After the latest price hike across the brand, that jacket is $685. That hurts. But they are absolutely fantastic.

  • Archer

    Remarkable how many people don’t “get it” about Vanson… plenty of junk out there.

    Quality items cost less in the long run.

    • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

      I am certainly in the camp of buying quality stuff that will last. However, sometimes finances dictate finding a cheaper alternative, even if it’s just for the short term. No harm in people pointing out less expensive options.

      I know this year I have to replace: my helmet, my jacket, get proper boots and get gloves. That led me to the unfortunate conclusion that I don’t make enough money. blah!

      Cheaper, “Asian knockoff” Rev’it jacket here I come! Vanson someday I hope.

  • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

    Very nicely done. From my point of view though, you shouldn’t do this out of charity, waiting for another brand to pick it up. You live in/near one of the best garment districts in the world. Bring it to them and start cranking these out. No one is going to realize your vision better than the two of you, and it’s obvious just from this first one that you know enough about style, fit, construction and protection to make clothes as well or better than the established companies.

    I’ll buy your first production 38. It’ll replace my Alpinestars GP Plus off of which I cut and/or blacked out the logos.

  • dux

    Hahz! This has been a great article to flush all the backyard constructions and amateur sewing projects out there. Let’s see some pics and instructions, y’all!

  • Felix

    I’m confused, Vanson already offers jackets with armor- how is this different / better?

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Most of the Vanson jackets with armor have a pretty significant style compromise. They are clearly armored jackets. This, on the other hand, looks like a great leather jacket and happens to provide outstanding protection. In theory.

      I’m very interested in combining velcro attached armor with a Schott NYC jacket. I’ve been in love with their jackets for awhile, though Texas isn’t exactly “solid jacket” friendly. Not sure that a half-zipped main zipper would be enough airflow, but it would look great.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Vanson doesn’t offer this jacket with armor and the armor it does offer is seriously bulky. Personally, I’m not a fan of any of the jackets they do offer with protectors, at least not a big enough fan to wear them off-bike. That’s the point.

  • Archer

    Vanson CE rated armor is relatively (compared to this new AS stuff) thick and it produces bulges. The obvious point of this is, Wes is looking for a protective jacket that doesn’t look like one, so when he gets jumped by goons in a back alley for picking up their hipster chicks, he will have some protection from their tire irons. Or something like that. Wes doesn’t look like the M1911 packing type.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Well I’ve been living where concealed carry isn’t really possible, so I’m more the knife wielding maniac type.

  • zato1414

    If you are going to break it in, how about tuck the front end and then add a few highsides, should be molded to your body rather quickly.

    Hey, do we get a free Honda mini with a jacket purchase?

  • Kevin

    How waterproof are the Vanson leather jackets?

    • HammSammich

      I can’t speak to the Vanson, but I have an “El Cheapo” leather jacket, which even has large zippered vents on the front…I usually put some mink oil on it before a trip, and I’ve never had even a drop of rain get inside…and that includes riding 65+mph down I-5 in a crazy rainstorm for 40 miles…

  • Brad

    that “fan site” is teh awesome!

    • Archer

      That is creepy. Some people in France have created something similar about me on FB and I can tell you, it’s creepy.

    • Joe

      How do I go about getting one of these fan sites lol

  • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

    Looks great. Do an all weather version, and a line for women and you’ll really be impressive.

  • paul

    oh man not a fan of that big batwing pleat thing at the back, reminds me of MC Hammer or Michael Jackson. Other than that it’s a nice jacket. another 100 plus comments fashion post : )

  • solidaridad

    Take a look at the Montana jacket on the British Motorcycle Gear (BMG) site. I picked it up last year and it is great looking, the leather is thick and buttery, and it comes with all the requisite protectors using Level 1 Knox armor. Granted this isn’t a full-on track jacket, but it will work for anything else. BMG also carry some great Belstaff gear and some nice looking adventure jackets as well.
    http://www.britishmotorcyclegear.com/jackets.asp

  • ChrisBwrs

    Wes, thanks for the great article. I’ve come up with a way to seamlessly incorporate a back protector into this jacket without use of a separate strap. It requires essentially the destruction of a second motorcycle jacket with a built-in pocket for a back protector, but the end result is that you wind up with this jacket with a built in pocket secured by a zippered lining. As you’re likely aware, Vanson’s model “AZ” is the same jacket but features an internal zipper for use with a built in fleece liner. I bought the AZ after reading your article, then had a tailor remove the zip out liner, and replace the fleece liner with the cutout from a summer weight Dianese textile jacket that I rarely wore (the Dianese Shotgun). I now have a Vanson AZ with a zip out liner featuring a pocket which accepts the Bionic Air back protector without the necessity of having to strap in a protector underneath. The downside is that I also have a more or less useless Dianese Shotgun tex jacket, but there you go. Here’s a close up photo of the finished jacket so you can see how the liner fits the jacket (the back protector is in). Thanks again for this article – I too was looking for solid protection that I could also wear off the bike without looking like a Power Ranger. I’m sure if you sent yours to Vanson they’d be happy to sew in a zipper and ship with the liner. I had the tailor use the fleece liner as a pattern for the lining they took out of the textile jacket. Let me know if you’d like to see more photos Cheers,

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Wow, nice one. Lots of work, but for something you’re gonna wear every day for years, totally worth it.

  • Gabriel Torres

    Wes, just wanted you to know that I just bought a Vanson from the company matriarch based mostly on this review and couldn’t be more excited for its arrival. Thanks.