The Evolution of Motorcycle Styles

                                   

BEFORE 1950s

 

 

The Tweed Suit 

The early days of motorcycle riding was an expensive joy and exclusively pursued by wealthy men. Instead of having a motorcycle as a source of transportation, gentlemen of the days oftentimes used it to spice up their sunny weekends and impress ladies. Outfit relevance dictated a gentleman to be presentable and neat, so when going for a spin motorcyclist’s choice a standard countryside uniform of the late-nineteenth century - THE TWEED SUITS (wool suits)

 

 

1918 Indian Twin Board-track Racer | Learn more about this motorcycle

 

 

The Flat Cap

POLICE AND MILITARY! Those guys were really the ones to establish a motorcycle uniform. After bikes became fast enough to be dangerous, more protection was necessary, so the first protection gear riders had worn a flat caps along with gauntlet gloves, full-length boots, and some extra skin layer.

(Co-founder of Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Walter Davidson,1903)

 

1904 Peugeot Factory Racer | Learn more about this motorcycle 

 

 

The Competition Sweaters

In the early 20s, The Hendee Manufacturing Company introduced the 1.75-horsepower, single-cylinder Indian in 1901. Harley-Davidson followed in 1903. Thanks to the reliable level of handling, racing occurred.  The raiment choice for racers was the competition sweater. Made out of colored wool, the sweater had a motorcycle brand or a club name embroidered to the front and back side. The wearing sweater like that was an honor for any professional racer or just an amateur rider.

(The daring young men and their Indian machines) 

       

 

 

The Leather Jackets

World War I era came with military overcoats and as motorcycles were getting faster, riders used those overcoats as a base for a new type of motorcycle protection - The Leather Jackets. The genius behind it was Irving Schott, a jacket maker from New York, who had created the first leather jackets specifically for motorcycling, jackets then became the irreplaceable part of motorcycle fashion history.   

(Elvis rocking a leather motorcycle jacket)

 

 

The Waterproof Jackets

The United States wasn’t the only country with a growing motorcyclists population. In England, riders had as much passion and love for their motorcycles, but dealing with inclement weather required better protection from rain. In 1935, J. Barbour & Sons decided to diversify there hunting jackets to first waterproof wax-cotton jackets for all motorcycle lovers. The next alternative to that was created in 1948 by a rival company Belstaff. Legendary motorcyclists such as Che Guevara, Steve McQueen, and Ewan McGregor were known to have these jackets in their closets for rainy motorcycle days.

(Mcqueen during the grueling ISDT in East Germany)

      

  

 

 

AFTER 1950s

 

The Biker Gangs

“The Wild One” is a 1953 classic movie with Marlon Brando. The day movie was released was the day when people were first introduced to a biker gang. Marlon Brando played a leader of the motorcycle gang “The Black Rebels”, which created a whole new movement of motorcyclists. Causing disturbance and chaos, Black Rebels nailed a uniform of 50s bikers: the black leather jacket, the blue jeans, and tall engineer boots. That's the look that inspired musicians, teens, generation of rebels and outlaws.

(“The Wild One” 1953 classic with Marlon Brando)

 

 

The Leather Cuts

The vest is an indelible icon in motorcycle culture. The symbol of rebellion and individuality.  The evolution of vest can be traced back to the 60s when America saw the propagation of motorcycle clubs and the rebellion side of it. It was the need for functionality and individuality that made bikers to cut off their sleeves resulting in what is known as “Cuts”. Later in the 70s and 80s, the leather vest was a necessary part of every biker's outfit.

(The young Ventura chapter of Hells Angels poses in front of their clubhouse)

 

 

 

The Day-Glo Jackets

Motorcycle Fashion, much like mainstream fashion, went down the slope in the 1980s, when Kawasaki Ninja and rise of sports bikes took place. Motorcyclists wanted to look like racers, which meant wearing Day-Glo jackets with zigzags. Suddenly, the world of motorcycling was overtaken by people wearing Power Ranger costumes.

 

 

 

BACK TO FUNDAMENTALS

 

After “80s hiccups”, motorcycle style has been trying to recover and did a pretty good job. The 2000s brought back the original vintage look that we all love. Classic motorcycle clothing, such as gauntlet gloves, full-length boots, leather jacket and open face helmet remind us of authenticity and origin of motorcycle culture.

 

HEROES MOTORS

 

Heroes Motorcycles is a unique store specialized in restoring and selling vintage motorbikes. Owning the business and managing the day to day operations Serge Bueno fills the store with a long-lasting passion for classic motorcycles. At Heroes you will find more than just old motorbikes. You will be able to enjoy, and buy, some rare pieces of history, such as limited edition motorcycles, sculptures, prints, and books, as well as beautiful and specially designed helmets and leather jackets. Whether you are a motorbike enthusiast or just interested in the art of motoring, make sure to visit us at 8611 MELROSE AVE, 90069 LOS ANGELES.

 

Discover your passion or create a new one. 

                                              - Heroes Motors

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