Modified general purpose garments transformed into motorcycle gear

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by AC909, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    What got me starting to think about this topic was the "Adventure Jacket...that doesn't look like one?" thread on the site.
    I am a gear nut and get completely caught up in studying and testing new types of gear on the market. This is what I do for a living so I am surrounded by motorcycle apparel at least 40 hours out of my week. I love all types of gear from modern super technical pieces all the way down to the classic Belstaff Trailmaster my dad wore back in the 60's that is hanging in his closet to this day and everything in between.
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    I have been waiting to buy my own Trailmaster but I just haven't found a vintage example that fit me yet. I started thinking about it and the Trailmaster by today's standard isn't all that much of a motorcycle jacket. It's not fully waterproof, the armor isn't much more than stitched in padding (many don't even have that), pockets of the type can be found on garments of all kinds, and waxed cotton is not very abrasion resistant compared to modern materials. All that being said this jacket and many others like it have stood the test of time, I think they are still great for fair weather type riding, look amazing, and dagonit I just don't feel right wearing my Klim jacket on my vintage bikes for short backroad riding! So I got to thinking about it and decided I am going to try and make my own Trailmaster style coat out of something I recently bought and really love the fit of, a Carhartt Chore coat.
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    The Chore coat has similar look with four exterior pockets as well as one interior, is blanket lined for a decent amount of cool weather protection, is approximately the same length as the Trailmaster, and is made of 12oz Duck material which by my guess has about the same abrasion resistance of the waxed cotton of the Belstaff. What I am lacking is impact protection and a bit of water resistance that I am not concerned about since this will be more of a fair weather jacket to wear on my vintage bikes on shorter backroad trips.
    So for protection what I have decided to do is buy some 1000D Cordura and sew it externally in a hatched pattern to the impact points, shoulder and elbow, of the jacket with some padding in between the Cordura and Duck material. This will give the coat a look much like the classic vintage motorcycle jackets I love and serve as a bit of impact protection and abrasion resistance as well. The protective panels should look like this:
    [​IMG]
    So, after all that, the purpose of this thread is to see if anyone else had modified any "everyday" garment to become more motorcycle specific. I know that a lot of people wear off the shelf Carhartt's and that sort of thing but has anyone else tried adding things for more of a motorcycle purpose like water proofness, impact protection, abrasion resistance, visibility, etc.?
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  2. macbethandbanquo

    macbethandbanquo Been here awhile

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    Wow! Nice idea! I just pulled a 1974 Trialmaster XL500 out of the closet that has been there over 30 years and tried it on.
    I had forgotten what a great jacket it is....looks very stylish. But like you mentioned....no armor at all. I bought it for use as a rainsuit....also have the matching pants.
    Maybe the Barbour Bedale will also fit the bill as to what you are doing. And, I don't see why you couldn't "wax" the Carharrt. I had some of their pants.....heavy duty suckers. Same thing could be done with them.

    Like you, I don't want to wear my Klim Latitude around town. However, I AM getting the Barbour International waxed cotton jacket. Just for putting around town.....and, of course, styling on the street!
    #2
  3. kenstone

    kenstone newb

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    You could also waterproof that type jacket with stuff made for canvas tents, but I'm sure it would stiffen it.
    Jackets like that look and feel like they'd work until you get on a bike and reach for the bars.
    The end of the sleeves will end up half way up your forearm has been my experience:huh.

    Ken
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  4. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    Yea, waterproofness is not a concern since this will definitely be a fair weather jacket. I have read up on waxing Duck material and it is definitely easily doable if I was concerned with it. Don't get me wrong I don't expect this to be a do everything jacket but simply a jacket that accomplishes all, or very close to all, of the things a Trailmaster or similar jacket does. At this point you can buy a new Belstaff for about $1K and when it boils right down to it it really isn't much more than a piece of casual wear with a couple of slightly motorcycle specific additions. This Carhartt will cost me about $120 once everything is done the way I like it and serve the same purpose to me as if I bought the Belstaff.
    I was able to find an old Carhartt in a local shop that has been around for about thirty years that was the old "suit jacket" style sizing. I bought a 40T for the purpose of having longer sleeves. I have sat on a few of my bikes with the jacket on and I will still be fully covered in the riding position.
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  5. M-Cat

    M-Cat 2 wheeled slacker

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    M-65 field jacket.
    IMO one of the best ever. Cheap, easy to find, and almost looks like a fabric Trailmaster.
    I bought a new one at the local surplus store for around $60. Not waterproof, but I plan on waxing it. Has epaulets (which are easily removed) and it's not armored, but it's rugged, warm and packs easy.
    It goes well with the KLR.
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  6. kenstone

    kenstone newb

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    For me a velcro'ed/zippered or at the least an overlaping front, is needed to keep the wind out.
    And I've found common coats with a collar annoying, because they buzz on my helmet:1drink
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  7. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta?

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    For years, I've had the idea of starting with the heaviest cotton denim overalls I could find in the Army-Navy store, and sewing external leather abrasion patches in the knees, seat, hips, elbows, and shoulders.

    But with the proliferation of modern armored gear of all sorts, it's hardly worth the effort.

    Can't wait to see your results! :freaky
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  8. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    "For me a velcro'ed/zippered or at the least an overlaping front, is needed to keep the wind out.
    And I've found common coats with a collar annoying, because they buzz on my helmet"


    Thanks for the comments on the jacket I am going to make. I kind of started this thread to see what other people have done not necessarily to get opinions on my jacket I am going to build. I understand the shortcomings of such a jacket but for the purpose I am building it for it will be more than sufficient.
    I have ordered the Cordura and already have some protective foam I will be using.
    So with that said and more to the purpose of the thread, what has everyone else customized/ modified to make a more motorcycle oriented garment. :ear
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  9. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    I have thought the same thing. There are all sorts of great heavy abrasion resistant materials that could work for the same thing. Denim, Cordura, Leather, etc are all perfectly good options.
    I will keep the thread updated as I make progress. It's a good way to pass the winter along! :freaky
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  10. kenstone

    kenstone newb

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  11. davemon

    davemon High Speed Airhead

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    Bought some gore-tex/ Cordura and getting the pattern finished for a jacket and pants with some Knox armour and electric liner.
    #11
  12. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    Nah I've got tons of motorcycle specific gear. Just interested in what others have modified to fit their motorcycle needs out of not typically motorcycle specific clothing.
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  13. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    Sounds awesome! Have you got any pictures so far?
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  14. Shadow 9er

    Shadow 9er renegade

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    Great jackets... They don't hold up well in a crash AT ALL, unfortunately.
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  15. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    I would have started with a 1000 denier cordura Carhartt, they make em.

    I picked up a Carhartt arctic suit, 1000 denier treated cordura, $25 or so to a tailor to sew in armour pockets and I had myself a cheap roadcrafter. A roadcrafter by the way is only 500 denier, it's 1000 in the impact areas, but not really, it's two layers of 500d.

    Anyway, it was waterproof, and VERY warm.
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  16. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    It doesn't look like the carhartt will stay buttoned in any kind of a get-off. Coats and pants also need to keep the armor in the areas it is intended to protect. A loose fitting garment w/o straps or belts to snug it up won't do it. As always, this is just my opine and YMMV. FWIW, I am an expert level crasher... :D
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  17. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    :fpalm this thread is REALLY not going where I hoped. This isn't a critique what I am going to do thread as I am fully aware of the pitfalls of this jacket. I simply wanted to see if anyone had done anything similar to anything else and if it worked out for them. I guess I shouldn't have posted anything about the Carhartt deal but I thought it would give people an idea of the kind of stuff I was interested in seeing/hearing about.
    I've got a closet full of proper motorcycle jackets and other gear and I would never recommend such a thing for a person looking for their main piece of gear or something for serious riding.
    #17
  18. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    That sounds awesome! Besides not having any exhaust or intake vents for hot weather I'm sure that worked out about as well as a Aerostich.
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  19. AC909

    AC909 Great Job!

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    These guys have some really slick stuff if someone was trying to make an adventure type jacket. At the price point you have a lot of motorcycle specific options but still this gear is pretty slick looking. Some of their jackets even have built in armor of some kind.
    http://www.kitanica.net/
    #19
  20. scooterintexas

    scooterintexas Been here awhile

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    Perhaps this is a silly question for you wise old vets, but how do you go about sewing in pockets for armor? I assume they are on the inside of the jacket/pants? How does that affect fit and water resistance?
    #20