MF® BRONCO CHAMP Type II, veg-tan cowhide, natural & black tea-core edition.
mfsc FW2022 HOOPER Collection
Made in USA
Mister Freedom® OGs may remember our first 1960s cafe racer style leather jacket, the MF® Bronco Champ Type I.
A heavy hitter in the “Speed-Safe Clothing for Modern Riders” line-up, the Type I was produced in Japan in 2009, and released in several horsehide options and color combinations.
Sonny Hooper called and said he’d like to see a comeback of that bad boy for a new stunt, so we listened.
We decided to have the Bronco Champ Type II made in the USA this time around, at the same small factory that has been producing our Mister Freedom® leather classics since 2013. That team of expert craftsmen is responsible for the MF® Campus, Ranch Blouse “Ringo”, “Randall” and “Bison”, the “Baloo”, and the “Lawrence”. They know what they’re doing.
The original design of the MF® Bronco Champ was inspired by 1940s~1970s motorcycle jacket styles (vintage Block-Bilt, Buco, Bates etc…), when leather was the best thing available to protect riders from spills, should one forget the old “Keep the rubber side down” biker’s adage.
The body pattern/fit was adapted from a vintage 1950s “Taubers of California” single rider’s jacket from my closet, a cut also referred to as cafe racer (as opposed to the “Brando style” double rider’s jacket.) Early advertising sometimes promoted those as “leather shirts” or “competition shirts”.
Another source of inspiration for the original MF® Bronco Champ was a 1960s racing jacket from the “ABC Leather” maker, a snazzy cream and red little number with stars on the sleeves I used to wear around, which also made an appearance in Japanese fashion magazine “Free & Easy” (the original “Dad’s Style” reference for round eyes) in 2005, back when I thought inhaling smoke was a good idea.
At the drafting table, I decided at the time to do the unthinkable, and mess with the timeless minimalist front panel design of single rider’s jackets by adding a D-pocket! Heresy.
It is commonly accepted that D-pockets have their design/purpose origin in early aviator clothing (1920s-30s), and made their way to double rider’s motorcycle jackets sometimes in the 1940s, as clothing companies probably figured there will always be less flyers than bikers as potential customers.
D-pockets are not found on classic single rider’s jacket, usually designed with one or two small chest zip pockets. Intended as glove-fitting racing “shirts”, a chest pocket the size of a pack of smokes was all one needed on the racetrack.
I remember sewing together a prototype D-pocket, and positioning it on my 50s Taubers to find the sweet spot… After a bit of visual acclimation, I thought the tweak could qualify as another one of those vintage design “might have been” (aka “didn’t exist but could have”, our Mister Freedom® design motto to this day), and we went for it.
Turned out that not only does that utility pocket (map/gloves + coin pocket combo) work visually, but the extra storage definitely helps with EDC when going for a casual ride. Little did I know I’d be tethered to a small computer everywhere I go 15 years later. That D-pocket is perfect to carry a cel phone.
The addition of a “teardrop” bottom snap fastener tab also comes from the MF® mad lab, a detail lifted from a 1930s workwear jacket throat latch, if I remember well, and I don’t. That tab not only looks pretty cool with its attractive curves, but it also serves the very useful purpose of limiting stress on the bottom of the front zipper. Vintage leather jacket collectors with busted zipper cotton tapes will appreciate.
The zipper models of the Type II have also been updated, after the 1930s “Hookless” replica of the Type I proved unreliable. We stuck with 100% cotton tape (didn’t cave in to modern shiny poly-cotton tape) but opted for a sturdier slider/teeth construction with a vintage 1950s-vibe bell-shaped “Universal” pull tab (with extra leather pulls a gloved rider will appreciate.)
We had considered the chunkier heavy duty aluminum alloy Talon zipper style of 1970s single rider’s jackets in R&D (featured on some of the “sunshine” prototypes photos here), but wanted to keep the sleek look of earlier zippers.
Struggling to zip-up an old leather jacket? The trick is to always make sure the insert pin is fully lodged in the retaining box (look up zipper parts) before gently zipping up. Do not yank on the pull, as you often see the uninitiated do in vintage clothing stores, when trying on a perfectly-preserved 80 year-old jacket, and jamming the zipper or tearing the tape… Routinely rubbing the teeth (both sides) with bees wax is also good maintenance habit for old school metal zippers.
The chest pockets and D-pocket feature classic 1950s-style chain type pulls.
The double snap stand collar (also referred to in vintage paper ads as “turtleneck collar”), double chest zip pockets, and zipped cuffs are borrowed from traditional single rider’s motorcycle jackets.
The generic snaps of the Type I have also been upgraded to our own mfsc branded brass fasteners.
The one-piece panel back made selecting the hides and figuring out yield more challenging for the expert cutter, but is visually more pleasing than the cheaper spliced back option.
Now for the leather…
We went with veg-tan cowhide for the Bronco Champ Type II, same sturdy grade as our current Campus jackets that we have developed years ago with a local tannery, about 3-4 Oz weight.
The Bronco Champ Type II is released in a natural color option (un-dyed white/pinkish leather that will develop rich golden tones overtime, with normal wear/exposure to elements/conditioning – see the evolution potential of our “Sunshine” specimen -), and a black tea-core version (also exclusively developed with a local tannery) featuring a black topcoat on a natural-color flesh side that will also age and patina gracefully.
Spoiler alert: For those into stealing the show out on the racetrack, and as a nod to the 2009 Type I, we are also working on a fancy two-tone black/bison “racing” model, release TBD.
For the lining, our signature classic red 1950s-style all-cotton brushed flannel with a printed plaid pattern brings a splash of color and an authentic vintage vibe to the garment.
The MF® Bronco Champ Type II is made and designed in California by Mister Freedom®, in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
An original Mister Freedom® pattern, freely inspired by 1940s to 1970s motorcycle jackets, in the classic single rider’s style.
Two color options:
a) Natural vegetable-tanned (veg-tan) full grain cowhide leather. This white/pinkish leather will develop rich golden tones and patina overtime.
b) Black veg-tan “Tea-Core” full grain cowhide leather, black topcoat with natural-color flesh side, milled and supple, about 3-4 Oz weight.
Our signature classic 1950s-style red printed plaid brushed flannel, 100% cotton, for a splash of color and an authentic vintage vibe.
NOTE: The Mister Freedom® Bronco Champ is made of genuine leather. We use full-grain, and not top-grain leather (aka “corrected” or “buffed” leather, sanded to level surface inconsistencies). No two hides are alike and each panel may feature slight variations in texture along with natural imperfections.
* An original pattern blending vintage motorcycle jackets styles.
* Trim glove-fitting single-breasted cut, 1950s-1960s vibe.
* Original “D” pocket design (zipper utility pocket for map/gloves + snap coin pocket combo)
* Double snap fastener stand collar.
* “Universal” nickel zipper front closure, 1950s style bell-shaped pull.
* Extra leather zip pulls for easy grab when wearing gloves.
* Double chest pockets with “Universal” nickel chain pull zippers.
* Gusseted zipped cuffs for wind-tight sleeves.
* Fully lined with soft 100% cotton printed brushed flannel.
* Original mfsc branded brass snap fasteners.
* Waist snap fastening tab.
* Single panel back.
* Mister Freedom® “Sportsman” rayon neck label.
* Designed and produced in California in limited quantities.
The Bronco Champ is designed to fit close to the body, as classic single-breasted leather racing jackets were intended to.
This garment is ready to wear as-is. No pre-conditioning needed. Wear and ride.
I opted for a MEDIUM, to allow layering during winter. The SMALL fit me better with a simple T, but I intend to wear the jacket more during colder months. I’m 5’7 ~145 Lbs.
Proper fit is subjective so please check our measurements (and how we measure), and compare with a similar garment you own and enjoy the fit of.
Any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as the MF® Team will have feedback and proper knowledge to help you dial in your size.
* MF® Bronco Champ natural veg-tan:
Because of its initial un-dyed light color, the MF® Bronco Champ is prone to get soiled, water marked etc easily. Don’t panic with your first stain, scratch or grease spot, this is part of the tough life of a leather jacket, your second skin. Almost anything applied to light-colored leather will alter its appearance permanently.
For those desiring to kick-start the patina with sun exposure and natural tanning of the leather, please refer to our “Sunshine” process inspired by our friend John VEB V.
Pecard offers quality leather dressing.
Remember the good words of Sonny Hooper: “A brand new leather motorcycle jacket will always feel its worth and look its worst on day one.”
* MF® Bronco Champ black tea-core:
On the same note, embrace the fact that the “Tea-Core” leather is prone to get nicked and scratched, revealing the natural color under-layer, unavoidably showing signs of wear. Occasional conditioning when needed (according to actual frequency of wear and activities) will contribute to an attractive natural patina, and a healthy-looking leather.