Aero J106 review

Discussion in 'Moto / Utility Jackets' started by siddhartha, May 8, 2013.

  1. siddhartha

    siddhartha Administrator

    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Aero/Insurrection J106

    So this is a jacket I’ve been waiting for...

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    I sold my Aero King of the Road for this jacket. I had actually ordered this one before the sale, after speaking with Wade and Carrie at Insurrection. A bit of background:
    I wanted a D-pocket jacket, and had owned an Aero KOTR for a number of years. I wore it for about 2 seasons, and then it sat in my closet. I originally ordered it in a size 46, as recommended by Will at Aero for a number of reasons-I was heavier, I was told the jacket fit snugly, and that I should size up, and I wanted something I could layer as needed. In retrospect, the D-pocket design was likely not the way to go for those same reasons.
    I got a Buco J24 repro from DiamondDave, which is made from beautiful Horween horsehide. However, at the time, I ordered it in that same sz 46, so, while it was a better fit, it was not quite the fit I needed. Perusing the forums and internet, I found the LW version, and finally, back to Aero to see that there were some newer styles since I last looked, most notably the J106. I also learned that Insurrection in Seattle were taking some of the Aero jackets, and further altering the specs, to arrive at what I felt was the perfect D-pocket for me.
    On to the ordering experience: Back when I started with the jacket obsession, around 10 years ago, the way to order was to call Aero, or AeroLeatherUSA (ahem). However, it was still a bit hit-or-miss, as you weren’t sure if the fit would be correct, you didn’t get to see the leather beforehand (I know, you can get samples, but there’s a huge difference in having a sample in hand to having a complete jacket), and you might not really meld with the style of the jacket you eventually received. With Insurrection, I spoke at length with Carrie and Wade, and got their input. They were recommending a sz 42 in this style, which I thought was crazy-all my suit jackets were size 44, I purchased all my jackets based around sz 44, and believed that I fluctuated between 44 and 46. They sent me a test jacket, in sz 42, in the heavy steerhide. First off, the jacket was heavy, beautiful, and felt snug...wasn’t too sure, but as I wore it over the next couple of days, I felt the sizing was right. Even my wife assured me that they were correct, and I had been a product of the oversizing practice since college. Insurrection took my order, and we decided on a few alterations. I initially went with the heavy steerhide, which felt very similar to my Highwayman from about 10 years ago, and a bit heavier than my KOTR. However, I went back and forth in my mind, and changed the order to FQHH, as that was what I really wanted, provided it would be heavy. I was told it was.
    There was a production delay, leading right up to Aero’s show of their new models. My intended jacket arrived in Seattle, but without the specs that we agreed upon. Carrie immediately intercepted the jacket, and told me that Aero would correct the order, and it would be a few weeks longer. A few weeks went by, and I got both a nice note from Holly and Ken at Aero, and a notice from Carrie that my jacket was on its way!
    On to the jacket!
    First off-the leather: This is Aero’s FQHH, which has been chrome tanned. It has a characteristic smell to it, not unpleasant, but not that really nice veg-tanned leather smell. It has faded a bit in the past week or so, especially since I put the jacket outside one sunny afternoon. That said, the weight, hand, and finish of the leather is fantastic! It’s heavy, very similar in weight to my Aero KOTR-this jacket weighs about 6.6lbs in size 42, and the KOTR weighed about 6.4lbs in size 46. The finish is more glossy than the KOTR (for reference, that jacket is somewhere around 10 years old, more or less), but where grain is starting to pop out, the finish is starting to get more matte in appearance.
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    The cut of the jacket is very different from my old KOTR. That jacket was more of an exaggerated “V” shape, with wide shoulders and body, and a narrow waist. The J106 is slimmer throughout, with less taper, but (to my eye) better balanced proportions. It is a simpler design, without a western-type back yoke, passenger pockets, or hidden belt. It is much more similar to the Buco J23-24 jacket, with a couple of exceptions. First off, Insurrection specced it with shoulder-gussets only, rather than a full, G-1 style “action back.” I really, really recommend going with this, as it simplifies the back, and lends to the slimmer overall feel/look of the jacket.
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    Also, the J106 lacks passenger pockets. Again, this simplifies the back a bit, and nothing lost, in my opinion. From the front, the jacket appears very similar, with a well-balanced D-pocket as the main design feature. The change/spark-plug pocket is a nice size, and the flap has been squared-off. Another change from the KOTR is the horizontal zippered pocket above the D-pocket, which is present here on the J106. I personally like that, and think it adds to the design up front. The collar design varies a bit between the KOTR and the J106, and I prefer the J106 design.
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    The other details that I like, and were specified: the lining is heavy cotton drill, with heavy cord at stress points. The backs of the snaps do not go through the liner, rather they are hidden-this is a common stress area on the liner, and the tearing potential is minimized with this spec. The cotton drill extends down the arms. There is a leather reinforced kidney patch.
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    Zippers are brass, and the snaps are chrome/steel. I like the contrast, and it is in keeping with Bucos of the era. It comes with a belt, which I won’t use, but it’s a nice addition for those who prefer it.
    One other thing I’ll mention, as some may remember I recently reviewed an Eastman Roadstar-what are the differences, and which do I prefer? First off, the Eastman cut is slimmer, a bit more “aggressive” for lack of a better term. Mine is a size 44, and it fits a bit slimmer than the J106. The Roadstar is not as long, either in the body or arms. The Roadstar is a lighter jacket, and the horsehide is veg-tanned. The Roadstar is lined in wool, with cotton drill sleeves and pocket liners. They are actually very different jackets, and it mostly comes down to personal preference. I’ve owned the Roadstar longer, and it’s more broken-in. It smells fantastic, and fits very well. Overall though, I prefer the heavier horsehide on the J106. I would say that when you put on the J106, it’s like suiting up in armor-I don’t get that feel from the Roadstar, but keep in mind that sometimes you might not want the heavier leather. Also, the Roadstar, being more “cropped,” is easier to deal with driving a car-no riding up, or sitting on a seam. To use the overused car analogy: Some prefer Mercedes, some BMW, some Acura-the same details preference applies here. I prefer the Aero-I’m an Aero guy.
     
  2. watchmanjimg

    watchmanjimg Active Member

    Messages:
    2,098
    Location:
    Orlando, FL USA
    Chris, I'm proud to be the first to congratulate you on the purchase of such a magnificent jacket. It really looks great!
     
  3. Vcruiser

    Vcruiser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,069
    Location:
    EastCentral Indiana
    As I said on the FL...such a great jacket,Chris! Nice slick more simple features that add great style. I really don't think you could have done any better.
    Congrats
    Van
     
  4. siddhartha

    siddhartha Administrator

    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I'd also like to state that I feel lucky to own it, as well as the Eastman, and the fact that I have the opportunity to choose among them is humbling to me. Nice problem to have, and I appreciate it!

    I could see either being someone's "ultimate" D-pocket. For me, if I could only have one, it'd be the Aero.
     
  5. Falcon_52

    Falcon_52 Member

    Messages:
    719
    Location:
    Iowa, U.S.A.
    Very nice, Chris. The Aero looks like a very solid jacket and well made. Thanks for taking the time to post this one - it's a beauty!

    Noel
     
  6. soshe

    soshe New Member

    Messages:
    20
    One of these would be nice in brown.
     
  7. jack aranda

    jack aranda Member

    Messages:
    804
    Location:
    Ballard, WA
    Thanks for a great review and pics to go with it. Simple design, well-executed is the way to go. Enjoy.
     
  8. Tommer45

    Tommer45 New Member

    Messages:
    224
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Wow, beautiful jacket! I love the D-pocket design and this one looks perfect. I think I need to go google Insurrection...
     

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