by Sarah Makhluf
Sarah is a freelance content writer from Boston, MA. She loves traveling, fashion, and the beach.
Independence Brothers is not affiliated with The Cafe Racer and the opinions expressed here are my own.
Motorcycle leather jackets are the epitome of cool, but they're also so much more than that. Yes, we completely agree that anyone will look like a boss riding down the highway in a great leather jacket, but their purpose goes far beyond the appealing aesthetic. Who knows motorcycle jackets better than the guys who created an entire shop around riding gear? The Cafe Racer is dedicated to offering customers around the world some of the top riding gear money can buy. How do we at Independence Brothers think they compare to other big leather retail brands? Is their website up to date, and how do their leather jackets hold up compared to others? We're digging deep into The Cafe Racer today to give you an inside look at this one-stop-shop for all your motorcycle gear and accessories.
The Cafe Racer was born in April 2010. The store got its humble beginnings in a small seaside town called Hove in South England. The brand was started by Phil, who had roots in Brighton (a town known for its thriving bike scene) and his love for vintage riding gear. You may recognize the world-famous Ace Cafe, it's one of the oldest ride-out destinations for bikers all over the South of England. Since 1938, The Ace Cafe has attracted motorcycles, truckers, and travelers looking to get a bite to eat before heading back out on the road. This famous roadside cafe had always inspired Phil, and because of the cafe's popularity, plenty of bikers flock to Brighton to pay a visit. The number of bikers kept growing and a need to cater to them was inevitable. No other shops in the area sold unique, vintage, and retro style motorcycle gear. That's when The Cafe Racer opened its doors to the public. A decade later, The Cafe Racer still employs a team made up almost entirely of riders and are dedicated to helping their customers find the best riding gear.
The Cafe Racer is an online retailer for leather motorcycle jackets, accessories, riding gear, and even motorcycle parts. They are not a fashion label; instead, they stock some of the best leather jackets from various brands like Belstaff, Furygan, Roland Sands Design, and more. Their goal is to create a store with a blended style. At The Cafe Racer, you will surely find plenty of vintage styles leather jackets that could have come straight out of the 50s or 60s, as well as jackets with a more modern twist. If you're looking for anything over the top, this isn't the store for you. They don't carry any leather jackets in bright colors or with embellishments. They keep things more classic and carry jackets with clean, simple lines and minimal decorations. Another cool thing to point out about The Cafe Racer is that they also carry leather jackets made with some of the newest safety technologies, like Kevlar, and Dyneema reinforcement, both incredibly high-strength fibers to help protect riders from any falls or accidents while driving at lightning-fast speeds. They also carry plenty of different brands at The Cafe Racer, so when you're shopping, you don't have to settle for just one retailer. They sell some of the best brands in the industry at The Cafe Racer, all in one convenient shop.
Let's begin with the number of styles and options for leather jackets The Cafe Racer currently has on sale on their site. Right now, there are a whopping 32 men's leather jacket styles to choose from, all ranging in price, brands, materials, and styles. One major disappointment, however, was that out of these 32 jackets, only four of the styles had every size in stock. The vast majority of the jackets either had one or two sizes sold out, and in some cases, only had one size left. The jackets run from sizes S to 3XL and 4XL depending on the brand.
The estimated delivery time is unclear for international orders, which is honestly a bit frustrating. Customer service said they would send an email with your estimated delivery time. So, does that mean it could take three business days or three weeks? Your guess is as good as mine here. I decided to play around with the site, and I put in my personal information to get an idea of how much shipping would be. I live in Massachusetts, and for one leather jacket, they charge £36.99 or $47.50 for shipping alone. That hefty shipping cost tacked onto the already pricey jacket seems a bit excessive if you ask me.
An important thing to remember about shopping online at The Cafe Racer is that they are a UK company. Their prices are in £GBP by default, and if you switch the currency, you will be given the exchange rate of the day. While this shouldn't be too much of a burden, it's good to know in advance that all of the transactions on the site are performed in £GBP, so the amount you see on your credit card could be slightly different, especially if you're shopping in $USD. To check out is pretty much the same as any other e-commerce shop nowadays. It's very straightforward, choose your item, put it in your cart, add your shipping info, and you're good to go. They take major credit cards and PayPal as the only forms of payment. Their website is very user-friendly. The layout is clear, and within two clicks, I was able to get to the page with all of their motorcycle jackets, and another click to narrow it down to only leather options.
Today we're focusing the review on the hand waxed top-grain leather jacket, called the Clash Roland Sands Design. Roland Sands is an American title-winning motorcycle racer. He designs custom high-performance motorcycles and riding gear. All Roland Sands Design Apparel is designed in-house. The team works hard to bring Roland's vision for top-performing, fashion-forward riding gear to reality. They are known to uphold high standards and stringent safety standards. There's no indication where their items are made, however, but they do promise to use the best materials from popular names like DuPont Kevlar, KNOX armor, and Vibram.
This top grain racing jacket is equipped with pre-curved sleeves and an asymmetric zip for a tailored riding fit. The jacket's quilted contrast accents on the shoulders do give it something extra. The Clash Leather Jacket is made from luxurious cowhide and is hand finished to provide you with that classic worn-in look so many of us desire. The Clash is ultra-soft and feels like butter to the touch. Plus, it's super flexible, meaning there's no need to break it in. This is a classic motorcycle jacket. Yes, you can, of course, wear it out on the town or day to day; however, this jacket was made for riding.
This RSD design jacket does come with waterproof inside pockets, so if you happen to get stuck in the rain, at least you know your phone and wallet will be tucked away in a water-resistant pocket. It's also equipped with a breathable mesh liner. The moisture-wicking mesh makes it much more comfortable for riders to wear in in rain or shine. It helps prevent any water from seeping too close to the skin during rain showers and helps keep you cool and dry on hotter days.
This jacket, in particular from RSD, will help protect you in the event of an accident. The jacket is made with Knox MicroLock armor in the elbows and shoulders. This smart technology stays soft but locks upon impact, keeping you protected. While this is no guarantee you won't require medical attention, it's nice to know this technology doesn't only exist, but brands are actively using it in their products.
We get it. You're shelling out some serious bucks on a leather jacket purchase. To keep your leather jacket looking its best, you'll want to follow a few easy care instructions. We recommend investing in a leather jacket balm to use once every couple of months. The balm will help keep your jacket soft and supple and prevent cracking and weather stains. When you're not wearing your leather jacket, always store it in a cool, dry place. If you do happen to get it dirty, never use water to clean it. Depending on the severity of the stain, try to spot clean it with leather cleaner made especially for jackets. If it's a stain that just won't budge, research a local cleaner who specializes in cleaning leather and leave it up to the professionals.
This jacket from Roland Sands, in particular, feels just like a second layer of skin. The jacket molds to the body and lays very smooth with no ripples, bumps, or excess fabric. No extra bulk or accessories are getting in your way here. The jacket doesn't come with any extra frills like spikes, grommets, or fringe. This jacket was made for a purpose, to keep motorcycle riders safe on trips. The mesh lining is soft on the skin, so you don't have to worry about wearing another long layer. This jacket is very stretchy and has a ton of give so you can feel free to move around freely in it.
The best thing about shopping online at The Cafe Racer is the amount of options. If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, this is the place for you. They do try to be a one-stop-shop and a place where riders can purchase all of their necessities. As long as you're looking for motorcycle style jackets, chances are you'll find what you're looking for at The Cafe Racer. This store isn't for men who are looking to purchase a leather jacket to wear daily to the office or out and about. They are very limited on the types of leather jackets they carry, which is no fault of their own, they are a motorcycle gear shop after all. If you're looking for a bomber, field, puffer, or any other kind of leather jacket you'll want to shop elsewhere.
Guys who are ready to cruise down the highway, of course! Don't think you have to be the next riding champ to shop here though, even if you don't own a bike, they still offer plenty of cool clothing to complete your look.
Thanks so much for reading! We love leather jackets here at Independence Brothers and would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a favorite leather jacket store? What's your most worn leather jacket? Leave us a comment below to get the conversation started!
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