Inside: Vanson Leathers


Remember The Salt Ghost? In that ChopCult feature Four Aces Cycle and Lowbrow Customs combined forces to return their machine to its full race glory. Well, Vanson Leathers took notice and has volunteered their support. The Malinky brothers recently visited Vanson for a custom fitting, and while they were there Kyle filed this report.

Tyler and I flew in to Providence, RI and took our time heading to Vanson's headquarters in Fall River, MA. We made a few stops on the way, which included hitting a cool '40s streamliner diner for breakfast. We arrived early, so to kill some time we visited a place called Battleship Cove, which we assumed was a cheesy tourist trap, but it ended up being a group of WWII battleships, destroyers and a submarine. It was a pretty cool sight to see and even better they let us walk unattended through the ships and subs. It is hard to imagine how many men lived, fought and died on those ships. That night we met up with the Choppahead crew to check out their shop full of cool bikes, projects, and parts. Thanks again guys for the burritos, beer and hospitality!

Vanson headquarters is located in a turn-of-the-century warehouse. Vanson owners Mike and Kim Van der Sleesen gave us a full tour and let us check out all their products firsthand. For our personal leathers we were measured and fitted for the custom suits we'll be wearing when we race the Salt Ghost during Bonneville Speed Week. Vanson's generosity and support for our race program still blows my mind.

It is pretty impressive to see what goes into making a race suit, starting with the 40 odd measurements, the pattern making involved, and how they customize the suit and graphics to each customer. There is only one grade of leather that Vanson uses, competition weight leather of their own special tannage. When we were selecting the leather for our suits they had a whole drawer of samples, everything from standard colors to metallic leathers. All of the race suits are hand-cut piece by piece using the hundreds of patterns hanging throughout the production floor. When something doesn't fit or work just right, they make more patterns. Every piece is then hand stitched. A wide range of body armor, high-tech materials and other features are available to customize your suit for whatever kind of riding or racing you plan to do. In Vanson's graphics department they use modern state-pf-the-art water jet cutters to create the lettering and graphics and other custom elements on their race suits. It was interesting to see 100-year-old industrial sewing machines next to modern water jet plotters. There's definitely a blending of old and new technologies at Vanson Leathers.

The Vanson showroom was packed with tons of inventory as well as racing suits on display, bikes scattered throughout, and a wall of trophies and racing memorabilia. Walking through this old converted warehouse space was an experience. If you are ever in the area or in the market for some leathers it is definitely worth a visit. Thanks again to Kime and Mike for their time and support.

See more at

Comment with Facebook


Comment with Chopcult (15)

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 03:47 am

Good shit. I've been looking to head down to Vanson to pick up a coat. They make great stuff.

As for Battleship cove, that place is awesome. I actually spent a weekend on the USS Massachusetts when I was around 10 years old, sleeping in the cots and everything. Amazing access to some of our countries history.

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 06:01 am

That was a fun trip, and big thanks goes out to Kim and Vanson for being very hospitable! They run a really cool business, if you are near Fall River be sure to check em out

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 12:43 pm

I have a Vanson jacket and it is, for real riding, an amazingly comfortable piece of clothing. Top notch everything.


Commented on 6-2-2010 At 01:23 pm

That is pretty cool that they let you see the whole operation.

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 01:36 pm

im gonna have to get me one of those rad jackets!

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 04:56 pm

Yeah it was worth the trip for sure. I gotta say I can't wait to get my suit though!

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 05:06 pm

wish we new you were coming up. could have shown
you some real boston hospitality. free beer and an
east coast hangover. next time. lots of gems up here
like vanson, choppahead, the man him self don
hutchinson to name a few. some of the hated of the
world guys and of course the prohibited garage co. crew.
love the spot lights guys keep em' coming.

Commented on 6-2-2010 At 07:14 pm

Let me know next time you come to RI guys.

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 03:26 am

We will let you know next time guys, we did hook up with the Choppahead guys but it was all last minute, we flew in, drove up to Vanson and flew out the next morning! Hit and run.

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 07:25 am

cool write up Kyle

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 10:40 am

That's Cool!

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 07:02 pm

holy shit I want one of those Dominator jackets.

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 07:02 pm

holy shit I want one of those Dominator jackets.

Commented on 6-3-2010 At 08:34 pm

vanson is nice shit for sure, but i still love my old langlitz

Commented on 6-8-2010 At 09:12 am

I have a vest from Vanson, they really do make the best. With Vanson you get what you pay for and they are the best at what they do.

Please Login to Comment


ADVERTISE    |    CONTACT    |    ©2009 - 2017 ChopCult    |    REPORT ABUSE    |    CONDUCT

Chopcult on Instagram Chopcult on Pinterest Chopcult on Tumblr Chopcult on Facebook Chopcult on Twitter