If there’s one thing Harley-Davidson knows how to do almost as good as building motorcycles, its making cool riding gear. From hats to chaps, t-shirts and belts to high-end motorcycle jackets, you can find The Motor Company’s likeness emblazoned on almost anything. Hell, I found 31 leather jackets alone in H-D’s Motorclothes online store. And there were still five other categories of textile and nylon coats I didn’t even look at. But for the cruiser sect, there’s nothing like the feel and smell of leather, and I looked to feed my senses in the form of Harley-Davidson Men’s Complete Leather Jacket.
Pre-curved sleeves and supple leather mean that this jacket is ready to be worn right off the rack. The leather is the kind that makes you say “Ahhh” when you rub it against your skin. Sizing is spot-on. An XL fits me comfortably in the shoulders and the sleeves run a little past my wrist, long enough to compensate for the inevitable riding up when you reach for the bars. The jacket hangs just below belt level when standing and is cut for an upright riding position. It has what’s called a ‘Mandarin’ collar that runs straight around my neck and sits just below the Adam’s apple, leaving a gap between my chin and full-faced helmet that is noticeable on cold rides.
The leather is thin, pliable and ultra-comfortable, which is perfect for evening rides in the late summer but I wouldn’t want to rely on it solely for winter wear. It does have a mesh liner, but it is not removable and does more for comfort and ventilation than keeping warm. But if you adjust the hook-and-loop tabs at the waist and zip up the cuffs and neck all the way it’s good down to about 45-degrees.
The Men’s Complete Leather Jacket is made of ultra-soft leather so there’s almost no break-in required.
One of the coolest features of the Men’s Complete Leather Jacket is its patented opening system for the wide vent that runs along the lower back. In the left pocket is a cord with an ‘O’ on it. Give the cord a tug, pull evenly and it opens the vent. To close it, reach inside the right pocket and pull the cord with a ‘C’ on it. I like the convenience of not having to take off my jacket and gloves to get a little air circulating, but initially the zipper got hung up when trying to pull it closed. After I got the system broken in though, it began to zip completely in one motion. Easy-access sleeve vents cut into the biceps of both arms contribute to the excellent amount of air flow, and even though it’s a black leather jacket, the combination of thin leather and a well-designed venting system make it comfortable to wear on hot summer days.
You’ll look goood in your jacket whether you’re ripping along on a CVO Fat Bob (top picture) or cruising down the highway on an Ultra Classic. Motorcycle not included!
Having plenty of pockets to stash stuff in is always a bonus. In that regard, the Men’s Complete Leather Jacket gets above average marks. There are two zippered hand warmer pockets on the outside that have an additional secure zippered area on the inside. The liner, though, contains a bounty of pockets, including a special slot for an MP3 player, a cell phone, a wallet, maps and more. The pockets run around the entire inside of the jacket and have Velcro closures (minus the one for an MP3 player). There’s also a place to slide in H-D’s FXRG body armor at the shoulders and elbows, but this extra protection does not come standard. The FXRG Standard Impact Armor or Back Armor Replacement costs an additional $25 each.
Two small strips of reflective piping across the chest and back keep you from being invisible at night. The orange and white Harley-Davidson lettering that runs down both arms and in the middle of the back of the jacket show up at night as well. And if there are any doubts about whose colors you fly when you ride, there’s a Bar & Shield patch over your heart for good measure.
The H-D Men’s Complete Leather Jacket gets high marks for comfort and its stylish design. After six months of wear it still has that wonderful new leather smell and there’s no rips in the stitching. A thicker, removable liner would have been a nice addition, and with a $425 price tag the optional removable armor should have come standard with the jacket. But without the bulk of the extra padding, the jacket serves as well as a dinner jacket as it does while riding a motorcycle. And as the leather weathers, it’s only getting even better looking as it molds to the shape of my body.
Product: Harley-Davidson Men’s Complete Leather Jacket
Sizes: S-5XL, Tall Sizes L-XXXL