What Is a Cafe Racer Jacket?

  • By: Ancient Hippy
  • Date: 25/03/2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Are you looking for a Cafe Racer jacket to wear as a fashion statement or for something that not only looks cool but also protects you should you come off your motorcycle? Either way I have some personal picks below.

What is a Cafe Racer jacket? The modern interpretation of the Cafe racer jacket first came on the scene in the 70’s and was worn by both racing car drivers and motorcyclists. Today many Cafe Racer jackets are sold purely as fashion items and are not intended for motorcyclists.

The original British Cafe Racer Rockers of the 50’s and 60’s would generally wear the motorcycle leather jackets of the day as seen in the photo below. Offset zip, large collar with press studs and at least one breast pocket.

Think Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones.

Often the Ton Up Boys would decorate their leather jackets with studs and badges.

The Cafe Racer jacket style as we know it today started to appear in the 1970’s, long after the original Rockers had grown up, settled down and married.

The cafe racer jacket has become a staple in fashion and many people buy these jackets despite having no interest in riding a cafe racer or any other motorcycle. While this style of jacket was once exclusively associated with bikers, they have now become simply part of the world’s fashion.

A traditional cafe racer jacket is made out of leather and it has a banded collar. Often times, the collar is going to make use of snaps to close it. Sometimes a zipper might go all the way up to the top of the collar. This really just depends on the type of design that is being showcased.

Other common features of these jackets include a chest pocket and zipped cuffs. You will also see the chest pocket adorned with a decorative chain or some type of ring. This is to aid opening and closing while wearing gloves. These jackets are most often made out of cowhide but they can be made out of any type of leather.

DECRUM BROWN LEATHER CAFE RACER JACKET

Decrum Café Racer Motorcycle Real Lambskin Leather Biker Jacket
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Decrum Café Racer Motorcycle Real Lambskin Leather Biker Jacket
$187.00

Looks great but it's not suitable for motorcycle riding

Pros:
  • Very stylish and looks great
  • Available in several colors
  • 100% lambs skin is soft and comfy
Cons:
  • Lambskin won't last 2 yards in a slide
  • No armor fitted
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/27/2022 11:04 am GMT

This cafe racer jacket from Decrum is very nice overall. It is made out of 100% real lambskin leather so is too soft and thin to provide adequate protection for serious motorcycle use.

It has a hook and loop closure, while offering customers a modern fit style. It also features a zipper cuff which is designed to prevent wind from blowing up your sleeve should you use it on a motorcycle.

For the most part, this is a jacket will appeal to people who just want a nice jacket. It is actually available in several different colors as well. It comes in standard brown but you can also buy it in black or with a different collar style. This is a popular jacket that will definitely appeal to those wanting a cafe racer jacket in looks only.

Not suitable for serious motorcycle riding


VINTAGE CAFE RACER JACKET

Bargain Price
Vintage Cafe Racer Distressed Biker Leather Jacket
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Vintage Cafe Racer Distressed Biker Leather Jacket
$48.00

Not suitable for serious motorcycling

Pros:
  • Looks the part
  • Some padding to elbows and shoulders
  • Very light and comfy
  • Ideal for pottering around town
  • Great price
Cons:
  • Leather is too thin to offer any protection in a slide
  • While it has padding it isn't armor
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/27/2022 10:29 am GMT

I purchased this jacket last Summer.

It looks great, it feels really nice on but it is definitely not made as a genuine motorcycle jacket. The leather is far too thin to offer any protection from a tarmac slide.

The jacket does have some extra padding at the elbows and shoulders but its not armour.

Having said all that, I do like it and have worn it a few times when I’ve had a destination to head to rather than just out for a Sunday ride. The jacket is nice and light so it’s a good choice if I’m heading out to meet someone for lunch etc. and don’t want to be carrying 20lbs of Buffalo hide around with me.

Ideal for those who want a cafe racer jacket as a fashion statement rather than as a practical motorcycle jacket.

Not suitable for serious motorcycling


MEN’S ARMORED LEATHER CAFE RACER JACKET

Budget Armored Jacket
M Boss Black Armored Leather Cafe Racer Jacket
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M Boss Black Armored Leather Cafe Racer Jacket
$158.95

Genuine motorcycle Cafe Racer jacket with a budget price

Pros:
  • Genuine cow hide
  • Removal armor in elbows and shoulders
  • Removable thermal liner for cold weather riding
  • Includes a gun and ammo inside pocket
Cons:
  • M Boss aren't a brand known for protective biker gear
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/27/2022 01:40 pm GMT

M-BOSS apparel has made a very nice leather cafe racer jacket. This one has been crafted using premium cowhide, and it has a very traditional look. It features a full-sleeve zip-out thermal liner as well.

It has been designed with the practicality of motorcycle riders in mind and has removable CE elbow and shoulder armor.

The jacket also has two interior pockets with a gun and ammo holster. There are even two chest pockets, two hand pockets, and two points of ventilation in the front and rear. This is a good budget option cafe racer jacket for anyone looking for a cafe racer jacket with armour.

Suitable for motorcycling


Held Ladies Cafe Racer jacket

Ladies top pick
Held Ladies Laxy Leather Jacket
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Held Ladies Laxy Leather Jacket
$499

A great looking ladies Cafe Racer jacket

Pros:
  • Stars and Stripes design
  • Soft cowhide leather construction
  • Approved slimline shoulder and elbow armor
  • Includes pocket for adding back protector
  • Free shipping
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

A genuine Cafe Racer jacket designed to fit the lady riders.

Made by Held, a German family run motorcycle apparel manufacturer for over 75 years. In Europe they are very well known and respected for their quality quality jackets and gloves.

While not the cheapest, this is one of the finest Cafe Racer jackets made for female bikers that you will find worldwide.

Suitable for motorcycling

MY TOP PICK – THE RICHA CAFE RACER LEATHER JACKET

Top pick for Cafe Racer riders
THE RICHA CAFE RACER LEATHER  JACKET
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THE RICHA CAFE RACER LEATHER JACKET
$270

My top pick for those who ride

Pros:
  • Full grain cowhide leather
  • Approved armor to elbows and shoulders
  • Adjustable waist
  • Original Cafe Racer styling
I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

My top pick for those who ride. At just under £200 (about $260) this cafe racer jacket offers exceptional value for money.

Constructed from full grain cowhide leather it weighs a bit less than the Buffalo jackets above yet still offers plenty of protection for the wearer.

It has CE level 1 armour at the elbows, shoulders and back and all are removable. Like the armour, the thermal liner is also removable come summer.

My brother swears this is the warmest jacket he’s ever owned and wears it all year round.

It fits really well and has adjustable waist tabs that go a long way to ensuring it looks like it was made for you.

The Richa Cafe Racer jacket looks and feels like a $500+ jacket, at around $260 with free worldwide shipping it’s a steal.

Designed for the motorcyclist

What is a cafe racer jacket
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