Hi everybody, hope your weekend is going well. Today I wanted to talk a little about motorcycle leather dusters and capes. They are the same thing, just some people call them different names. In the old wild west cowboys used to wear leather dusters, and they were made for sitting on a horse. They still do use them out west for that.
But today most leather dusters and capes are for sitting on a motorcycle. They are cut the same way so you can ride without it looking funny and fitting wrong. So just what do they do, besides look cool? Well they are made for a very practical reason, not just for a fashion statement! They are made to protect you and your clothes from all the dirt, dust, bugs and elements that mother nature throws at you as you cruise down the road.
Most leather dusters and capes are made pretty much the same way. They are one piece, and made with cowhide, buffalo or goatskin. I myself think goatskin is a bit too weak for a leather duster, but a lot are made from them. The thickness should be 1.3 MM or thicker. You put it on like a leather jacket, only it is very long, going down just past your knees.
Now, if it goes all the way past your knees, how the hell do you sit on your motorcycle or a horse for that matter? Well they are cut on the sides from about waist level down, and only zip or snap down in front to your waist. So you throw the back part over your seat and the rest rides down on your legs. To keep the part that covers your legs in place instead of flying all over the place, there are leg straps in the inside to attach to your legs.
A leather duster can have a zipper front, snap button front or both. It should have a snap button flap that covers the zipper or snap front. It should have a big collar you can stand up and button up to protect your throat and back of your head. Most leather dusters have a removable cape attached to the top, as extra protection for around your head and shoulders.
A leather duster should also have a snap button or zipper wrist, some big outside pockets and maybe one or two inside ones. It can have a full or vest type removable liner for cold weather. But a built in one or one with no liner at all is fine, it depends on what you want and what conditions you go out in. So if a leather duster is to protect you from the elements, does that mean you can use it like a raincoat?
NO! As I’ve said several times throughout this site, leather is not made to get wet. If you happen to get caught in a downpour there is not much you can do, but try to find a dry place to park ASAP. A leather duster is made to protect you from the cold, wind, dirt, bugs, dust and crap that the road kicks at you. But it’s really not made to replace a raincoat. Once you get it, clean it, put conditioner on it, and then put a sealer over it.
The sealer will help make it a little waterproof, and help keep all the dirt from sticking to it and discoloring it. But if you wear it a lot, it’s not long before it will get scratches, slashes, stains and so on. After all, it’s taking all the punishment the road throws at it so you don’t get it on you or your clothes. That’s expected, don’t think if you wear it a lot while bike riding you can use it as a fashion trench coat around the office!
After each good use, hang up your leather duster and brush off the dirt with a soft brush. Clean it when it needs it with a good leather cleaner. Put leather conditioner on it several times a year, and always finish with a good sealer. Always hang it up on a thick hanger, away from heat and humidity. Get a quality leather duster with quality hardware and YKK zippers and it will last you many years.
I’m going to carry several leather dusters in my store, including the brown leather duster you see in the picture. A quality leather duster is going to cost between $180.00 to over $400.00. A leather duster does a great job of protecting you and keeping your clothes clean from the road dirt and bugs. Get a size several sizes bigger than normal to fit around your other clothes. I hope this helps you understand motorcycle leather dusters a little better!