Good features, "Genuine Leather"
I received this jacket yesterday, and it's wonderfully featureful--not just for the price, but within the category--but I'm afraid I'm sending it back.
First, the good:
This is a relatively heavy jacket, and I think the protection would be OK. The seams aren't necessarily the best reinforced ever, but for cruiser wear they're on par with what I've seen on other lower-end jackets. The leather panels are large, and there aren't a ton of seams to burst in important places anyway. I didn't get a sense of whether the quilted panels were overlays rather than integral pieces before I repacked it, but overall I wouldn't feel scared to be riding in this jacket.
The feature set is notable. There are a ton of vents, a ton of pockets, and a pretty nice full-coverage liner. One nice small touch with the liner was that the two snap loops that hold it in the arm are color-coded, so you won't snap in the sleeve twisted around. The zipper pulls all seemed high quality, which is good because all those pockets and vents mean you're dotted with them. For better or for worse, the pulls do not hide away when closed, so expect zipper pulls peaking out all over the jacket. They're attractive, at least.
One standout feature that I haven't seen on any other vintage-style jacket at any price is double-pulls on the main and wrist zippers, which let you pull them open partially from the bottom. This especially helps sitting on the bike where otherwise your lap would push the jacket up. For sizing, there are expansion panels on the side with a snap adjuster on each. Cinching the snap adjusters all the way down kept it snug on my 34" waist--underneath my somewhat larger belly.
Second, the bad:
Unfortunately, this jacket probably could have used bicep adjusters too, or perhaps simply a tighter cut at the upper arms. It's quite baggy at the upper arm/underarm area, and this was one of the main reasons I'm returning it--the armor floated around too much on my elbows. Hopefully Revzilla will do a video review on this one, because it's not wholly apparent that this is the case from the pictures.
Overall, the cut is American-boxy, but did conform to my shoulders and lower arms well, as well as cinching down OK down below--it was just upper arms, and to some extent the chest that were problematic. The venting ends up not helping here, because it makes the sleeves and chest even baggier when open. Bigger guys shouldn't have an issue, and might even like the room, but I'm skinny-fat with a belly and it didn't work so well for me.
It's possible sizing down one would help (I ordered a large per size chart at 42"/34"), but since the arms were perfect length and shoulders were a perfect fit I think it really is a cut/body-shape incompatibility.
Now, the ugly:
I have no idea what this jacket is made of, but it didn't smell like leather. Or, rather, it smelled like the only-nominally-real leather you get with online marketplace type cheap accessories and bottom-end motorcycle gear. It absolutely *stank* of plastic when I took it out of the bag, with no undercurrent of leather smell, and having my face up close to the jacket leather was a little wince-inducing to be honest.
Unfortunately, "Genuine Leather" is very, very commonly used as a code phrase for polyurethane-infused split-grain or bonded leather, neither of which will wear or weather nearly as well as the more traditional top- or full-grain leather you find on motorcycle gear. While this stuff was relatively thick as the cheap stuff goes, I'm pretty convinced that what I was looking at. Panels with raw leather sides looked a lot like coated leather sewn on top of a split grain, and the perforated leather backing the sleeve and accordion zippers definitely looked like thin uncoated split-grain leather. And then there was that smell.
I'd truly love to be wrong on this one, and see Highway 21 reach out with an updated description with the animal and actual type of leather used, but I got a major bad vibe from the leather used and it's the biggest reason I'm exchanging for another brand instead of trying the smaller size.
So, for the price I can't recommend this, because I feel like it's an unusually high-utility design made with disappointingly low-quality materials. At its price it's simply too much in competition with jackets where the leather is more identifiable and probably higher grade and at the end of the day I buy a leather jacket for the leather, not the vents and pockets. While I do think this will probably protect you in a crash, I don't think it'll hold up to time, sun and weather well, and therefore isn't as good an investment as some of the rest out there--a good leather jacket will last you decades with care, but I don't think this will. Add to that the baggy arms and it's a miss for me.
Regarding my ratings:
Protection and Durability have been docked for materials and durability, not for protection. In better leather, that category would have been a four for the CE armor and overall coverage, Bang for the Buck would have got bumped by at least one, and I'd have given this either 4 or 5 stars overall as a great value. It's really the materials that let this one down.
Disclaimer: I didn't actually ride in it, but I did sit on my bike. I'm sure a 70mph airing out or three would at least have taken care of most of the smell.