At the end of the nineteenth century the electric bicycle was invented. William Harley and Arthur Davidson experimented with this and they invented the motorcycle and created the Harley Davidson Motor Company. Other manufacturing companies started up and it was the beginning of motorcycling.
The next natural step was that motorcycle jackets would be designed to protect a rider while out on the road. A vintage motorcycle jacket would have most likely been made out of horse hide, steer hide or brown goatskin. In the 1920’s-1930’s the aviator style jackets with a button front closure and mandarin collar were popular. These jackets were like the A-1 jackets used by the Army Air Corp before World War II. These are also called bomber jackets. They were worn to keep the pilots warm since their cockpits were not heated.
Some of the companies to come out with jackets for riders were the Schott Company that began business in 1913, the Joseph Buegeleisen Company started in 1933 producing motorcycle accessories and saddlebags, in the 1940’s the Indian Motorcycles Company had only one model of jacket which was the Ranger for men and the Rangerette for women. Harley Davidson also has had their version of motorcycle jackets. In the 1940’s they had the Cycle Champ for men and the Cycle Queen for women. The Harley Davidson jackets had the pistol pocket holster shaped design. Today there are pisol pete style jackets.
In 1928 the Schott Company came out with The Perfecto. It sold for $5.50 at the Harley Davidson Store in New York. In 1953 Marlon Brando was in the movie The Wild One wearing a classic motorcycle jacket designed after that jacket. This led schools around the country to start banning students from wearing this type of jacket to school because of the rebel rider persona. Today this rebel rider look is still available in the classic motorcycle jacket styles.
Since the early days of Harley and Davidson creating a motorcycle with many others to follow, there have been those with a since of adventure and freedom that have chosen to ride a motorcycle. There is nothing like seeing the world in this way. It is being part of the scenery and the surroundings in a way that riding in a car does not give. Every rider has their own reasons for riding besides the reasons that are common to every rider.
Wearing leather while riding, is protection and peace of mind for the rider. Leather is good protection against the elements such as rain, cold, heat, and wind, as well as protection from rocks and other debris that may be on the road and most of all from serious skin abrasions. Every rider deserves to be safe and protected while riding. Leather is a protective layer between the rider’s skin and the asphalt. There are also leather chaps or leggings, vests, gloves and riding dusters available for riders to wear. The minimum protection a rider should wear is a helmet and leather jacket and gloves.
Even though we have come a long way since the first motorcycles were manufactured we are still wearing motorcycle jackets that are echoes of the styles of jackets that are fellow riders were wearing in the early to mid1900’s. Grab your jacket, hop on your motorcycle and take off down the road being part of the group that have enjoyed the freedom and adventure of riding for a hundred years.