Tag Archives: leather

Grading the Animals by Skin

A nice pair of Python boots might be a great compliment to  your snazzy riding attire, but would you really want a snakeskin motorcycle jacket or chap? There are many terms you might run across that tend to classify certain animals into broad groups of leather: soft, lightweight, premium, exotic, ultra, etc.

Here we attempt to identify these more common terms and their animals, and to editorialize a bit as to what they might be useful for from a Bikers point of view.

Exotic Leather

This one should be obvious. Like I said before, all animals have a skin, and not just mammals! Fishskin? Yes, shark, manta ray, stingray, dolphin (mahi-mahi very pretty!) all are capable of becoming genuine leather. Reptiles such as alligators, crocs, iguana, any kind of lizard skin all are pretty exotic if you ask me. Dinosaurs (chicken?) well, maybe not.

So what are they good for? Nothing wrong with a good pair of properly reinforced crocodile boots, or any other exotic skin for that matter. Just make sure the leather is used as nature intended: to cover a sturdy skeleton.

Bikers like their leather and have created a whole niche out of what used to be called a waistcoat. An Anaconda Biker Vest would be an interesting topic of conversation in any biker bar (yea, I caught it myself). A great way to meet chicks!

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Understanding Your Choices of Leather

As motorcyclists, we understand the role that leather plays in our culture is not just a trendy fashion statement going in and out of style every few years, but is a time proven necessity for the comfort and safety of the environmentally exposed biker, traveling the roads of the world at some very scary speeds!

Since the late 1920’s, motorcyclists have been dependent on the skins of dead animals to keep out the bone chilling cold, and to lay down between the rider and the road when things don’t go exactly as planned.

We have utilized leather from head to toe over the years. Leather motorcycle jackets, pants or chaps protect our upper and lower torsos from the abrasive qualities of asphalt, as well as the meteorological extremes of Mother Nature. Stiff leather motorcycle boots protect our feet, ankles, and shins from the potentially bone crushing weight of our two wheeled vehicles. Leather gloves keep our fingers nimble and warm, and in times of lesser technological means, a thick leather helmet under a hard shell was about the best we could do to cushion a blow to the head.

Yes, one could say that these skins of dead animals have saved many a hide over the years. Broken bones and concussions aside, the use of leather has prevented a lot of pain and suffering by allowing the unfortunate accident victim to arise from the scene with their own skin intact.

As a consumer of leather motorcycle apparel, the choices of leather are vast. One must judge the quality of a leather garment not only by touch, feel, or good looks, but by its origin, the animal that donated the skin, and the way in which it was prepared to keep it from rotting.

It is incumbent on the consumer to know what kind of skin they are getting into, and to be sure that the garment they are shelling out no small amount for is indeed “Riding Grade Leather”.

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Unik Up and Running


Our main vendor Unik International answered the phone today and they are back in business after a week of unplanned vacation courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. Everybody is in good health, the building is in tact and inventory is unharmed.

After a week of no power they have a pretty big backlog but they say its back to business as usual and orders are going out as of today. Still going to be a delay for returns though as they are more concentrated on getting things back in gear.

Thanks for your patience.