Ross Langlitz March 1948

Langlitz Leathers: Unexpected American Dream Come True

Anyone who follows Mike Wolfe’s journey along America’s Two Lane back roads knows how much he loves motorcycles. Maybe the only thing he loves more is telling the stories of America’s brands. It was no surprise when he was giddy to uncover a pair of leather Ross Langlitz motorcycle pants and couldn’t resist the urge to try ‘em on for size while negotiating! But who was Ross Langlitz and why was Mike so giddy?

Langlitz Leathers
is an American dream come true, even though Ross himself didn’t know he was dreaming it. No delusions of grandeur, Ross was merely solving a problem. A motorcycle enthusiast and speed racer, having suffered the loss of leg in a motorcycle accident at 17, Ross worried about safety. He quickly realized that quality protective wear was nowhere to be found, so he made it. Where did he start? At the end.

With a background in glove making, Ross sat down with a leather jacket from Sears and reverse engineered it to create the foundation for his own. No need for advertising. Ross did nothing more than wear his jacket down the road on two wheels and his friends wanted one. Then their friends wanted one. Then…. Well, you can imagine. So in 1947, he recruited two seamstresses from the glove factory where he worked and set up shop in the basement of another leather company. The rest is family history from Ross to his daughter until now.

Ross Langlitz & a buddy

If you’re wondering, Langlitz Leathers is still operating in Portland, OR, though no longer in someone else’s basement, with a staff of only 15. The leather is still USA sourced and everything is still manually cut and hand crafted. The Langlitz family is proud to have kept their operation small and American made and to serve their customers with the same level of individual care offering the same level of custom quality product. If you’re looking to just grab a jacket online, and you don’t want to take your measurements, they’re not for you!

Ross Langlitz Calendar 2013 artwork

Want to know more about Ross Langlitz, the man? His granddaughter Judy tells his story on he on the Langlitz Leathers website here. You’ll love reading about this hard working, well loved, stubborn man who suffered a major motorcycle wreck, but got back on and then made motorcycles his living.

Interested in your own custom Langlitz Leathers apparel & accessories? Visit their store or website and give them a call. Tell them Antique Archaeology says hi, and if you ever stumble upon vintage Langlitz while you’re pickin’, try it on for size and make a good offer!

Follow Langlitz Leathers on Facebook:
Visit the Langlitz website:
Miss American Pickers: Big Moe episode? Watch it at the History Channel here:



14 thoughts on “Langlitz Leathers: Unexpected American Dream Come True”

  1. Mike Ready

    I knew Ross personally. We shot trap many times together. He was a great shot hard to beat shootin a shotgun.
    I remember being in the shop one day and a young guy comes in and Ross said can I help you? This fellow a professional bike rider started sliding $50.00 bills across the counter towards Ross. When the pile of 10 bills was pushed to Ross, Ross pulled out a clip board and looked at it. Then Ross said you are 25th on the list and pushed the bills back to this fellow. Then Ross said I will call ya when your order is done and ready for pickup. I am sure the $500.00 was being offered to put this fellows order on top of the list. Then Ross said Good day and turned to me to get my order for gun powder, wads, and shot that I used for re loading the trap rounds I used. The fellow without a word just walked out. This was in 1972 when $500.00 was a lot of money. Ross was a stand up guy.
    Enjoy Mike Ready
    La Center, WA

  2. Jack Hipp

    I am a retired Deputy Sheriff and my cruiser jacket was custom made by Langlitz and even had keepers for my duty belt. Kept me warm and feeling secure. I passed it on when I retired to a friend who rides all the time and he still enjoys it.

    1. Janell Darlene Post Author

      Love to hear that you passed it on after retirement! Thanks for sharing that story with us too!

  3. Connie

    Enjoyed your pictures. Thank you. Your Blog is a joy to us. Love your show when we can get it.

    The Beurmanns of michigan

  4. Rajendran Pillay

    Mike thanks for considering my mail I understand you are a busy guy watched all your series here in South Africa. You are an inspiring
    role model and I wish I knew you when I was younger. I love your passion for ANTIQUES and want to start my own collection one day.

  5. mike pringle

    Love the show on history channel am planning a trip to Nashville in the fall to see the opry and to visit your store. Maybe I will get lucky and you guys will be there. Thanks and keep up the good TV show its one of very few things on TV worth watching

  6. Dave Derby

    Hi Mike: That picture of the Norton reminds me of the Norton Atlas I had and then had to sell it when my car was stolen. It broke my heart. I saved up and bought a wrecked Matchless G15CS from Ghost Motorcycle on Long Island (Port Jefferson or Washington) I forget now that was back in the 60’s. They were great bikes and of course I wish I had them back.

  7. Damon

    First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Kudos!

    1. Janell Darlene Post Author

      Hi Damon!

      We’re glad that you have become a fan of our Two Lanes Blog. As for the writing tips, the best advice I can give is just stick with it. Everyone develops their own method and if the first 10 to 15 minutes is all it takes you to figure out what you want to say, then you are doing great! I think many writers take far longer than that to collect their thoughts. 🙂 It’s a part of the process.

      Best of luck to you!

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