The basic formula of breaking-in a motorcycle is spot on. Check the oil level. Find a road with less traffic. Start the engine. Let it rumble and roar just enough to reach a proper operating temperature. Hold on tight and ride off. But what’s the word on motorcycle leather jackets? How does one break-it in or soften it up?
Some people consider leather jackets as a fashion item. But for riders, it’s much more than that. It is a necessity. Less than an inch fabric that could bring you closer to safety or lead to serious injury. Whatever form or function you choose, when you buy leather, you will always get what you pay for. The great thing about motorcycle leather jackets is their amazing lines and cuts. It hugs all the curves of your body and envelopes your arms without constricting your movement in the way other jackets do. If you’re riding out on winter or cold weather, you could pop a hoodie underneath, zip it all the way up, and be warm as burnt toast.
The first step would be to figure out what type of leather or hide is it. To break in a leather motorcycle jacket , it must be strong enough to withstand abuse. Lamb hide is soft but does not have the same malleability of cowhide. Leather is not like fabric in the sense that you can stitch up a hole; marks and scratches are permanent on skins. Buffalo and goat skins are on the same caliber as cowhides. It is important to choose a strong durable leather to really wear it in and make it conform to your riding needs.
Be Thorough but Gentle
Remember that what you do to your jacket cannot be undone. Take it slow. Look at old leather jackets that are worn in and see where there is the most wear to the leather. The collar, pockets and under the sleeves are the usual suspects. Leather will naturally break-in over time so be sure to wear it regularly. The more often you wear it the more likely it will take on your unique shape and fit.
Rain always has that cooling effect on the skin after a long day under the sun. What you may not know is that it works similar wonders for leather. Water softens it up. But too much of it can cause shrinkage and we don’t want that. Take out your leather motorcycle jacket even when you’re not riding and wear it through a light drizzle until it’s damp. Bend your arms, stretch your torso, do a few pushups or any upper body movement that will let you get some wrinkles where you want them to be while the jacket is wet. Make sure you don’t store the jacket while it is still wet, give it a quick wipe down.
Caring for your Leather Jacket – Make it last a lifetime
When breaking-in is done, wouldn’t hurt to dive into the habit of giving your leather a much deserved TLC. A few touches of after-use care here and there regularly will extend the life of your jacket significantly. If you spend a good amount of time out and about under rough conditions with your jacket on, this is something you most certainly can benefit from. Maintaining leather does not have to be difficult or expensive. Here are a few quick steps you can start with:
- After a long ride, spot and remove any dirt you can find on your leather motorcycle jacket before hanging it. Remember that leather is a fabric that needs to breathe to maintain its luster. Grime gets in the way of this. Depends on how much dirt there is, wiping it out with a cloth or brushing it off with adequate lukewarm water should be fine.
- Moisture opens up the pores of leather. This means that it becomes susceptible to absorbing more water which causes more harm than good. Water, when applied in large quantities, can make leather shrink and turn brittle which often result to rips. It’s important to use the right kind of polish that can waterproof and soften your motorcycle leather jacket. The Australian Dubbin is one of those great products that come highly recommended by motorcyclists. It’s composed of wax, oil and tallow which can nourish any type of leather. And it seals it up making it more resistant to water and dirt. Other treatments are available as well including Waproo’s water and stain protector, Zorbel’s excellent line of leather shampoo and conditioner. Regardless of which one you choose, remember that waterproofing or treating leather take effect in 12-24 hours after you apply it. 3-4 weeks later, it will begin to lose its benefits. Apply a dash of polish or wax once or twice a month sounds reasonable enough which could increase or decrease depending on your usage.
- Storage comes equally important as the rest of the steps involved in caring for leather. Storing it in a damp place will make them mouldy. If you think your jacket is still a little bit damp after doing all those treatments that we recommend, try to stuff newspaper inside it or any other material that’s known to absorb moisture.
Over time, there is no real substitute for making your motorcycle leather jacket part of your dailies.Consider them as your memento. Let each scratch or stain tell a story unique about you and your journey. Remember that great road trip you took with your mates? Or how about that time you went to Show and Shine and your bike won? No matter where or when you use it, leather jackets will always be awesome.
Rhino Leather ensures that your time on your motorcycle is hassle-free and fun, and you don’t have to worry about elements or safety. Call us and get the best deal for a leather jacket today!