Best Motorcycle Jackets: Riding Gear for the Year
When nailing a long left-hand bend on the open road, the feeling is unbeatable, but an unexpected accident without proper...
When nailing a long left-hand bend on the open road, the feeling is unbeatable, but an unexpected accident without proper gear is the quickest way to ruin the ride. Motorcycle jackets offer the best level of torso protection available to riders, but these jackets do more than keep you safe. They also protect you from the elements and ensure you can stay on two wheels all year. Depending on what style of riding you do, the right jacket can make you feel much more at home on your bike. Because there are so many factors to consider when picking a jacket, we’ve made a buying guide to help you make an informed decision. We’ve also put together a list of solid motorcycle jackets on the market and labeled them under a variety of categories. Check them out below.
The Best Motorcycle Jackets
The Alpinestars Men’s T-Missile Air Motorcycle Jacket is going to have your back in all situations when properly equipped. This all-weather textile sport riding jacket has a multi-fabric shell construction. The mesh panels on the back, chest, and sleeves will keep you cool on the hottest days throughout the summer. Stretch elbow accordion fabric and stretch panels along the inside of the arms and chest keep this jacket comfortable even when riding aggressively. Microfiber fabric on the edge of the collar and cuffs ensures your skin won’t suffer from irritation while you’re on the move.
One of this jacket’s stand-out features is that it’s compatible with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air race vest, which inflates like an airbag upon impact. Although this is an optional extra, it takes this jacket’s protection to another level. Included in the sale are level 2 CE-certified Bio Air shoulder and elbow protectors. You’ll also have extra protection on your shoulders in the form of Dynamic Friction Shield external dual-density TPU sliders. There are padded areas on the front and back that provide some protection, but you’ll need to buy the protectors separately.
- Brand Alpinestars
- Model number 33006181100- L
- Weight 5.55 pounds
Level 2 CE-certified armor
Tech-Air race vest compatible
Great in hot weather
Chest protector compatible
Not totally waterproof
No chest or back protector included
If you’re dipping your toes into the motorcycling world and don’t want to invest too much, check out the Hwk Women’s Motorcycle Jacket. This model sells for a fraction of the price of the rest of the jackets on this list. Cordura 600D material is used in the construction, along with the lined Reissa breathable membrane, which makes this jacket totally waterproof. Included in the sale is a detachable insulated thermal lining, so this model will keep you toasty throughout winter. When summer rolls around, you can use the air ventilation system at the front and back to keep you cool. This jacket’s linings, combined with its waterproof exterior and air vents, make it a legitimate all-weather jacket.
There’s CE-certified armor in the shoulders and elbows, adding a good layer of protection in the event of a collision. There’s also a high-density spine protector and foam padding on the back, but it would be nice to have CE-certified armor here. The biggest downside to this jacket is the total lack of front protection. Arm and waist adjusters allow you to tailor this model to the shape of your body, but some users stated that they found the fit to be out of proportion.
- Brand HWK
- Model number N/A
- Weight 3.34 pounds
Great value for money
Shoulder, elbow, and back protection included
Removable insulated thermal lining
Fit can be off
No chest protection
The Dainese Men’s Super Speed Tex Jacket is made from the highest-quality materials and made by a brand that has experience creating long-lasting premium products. The only caveat to this model is that it’s not waterproof, so if you live in an area where it rains a lot, this isn’t for you. There’s a removable windproof insert that makes this a true three-season jacket, and anyone living in a warm climate will love this model’s Duratex and Boomerang fabric, which makes it extremely breathable. The elasticated fabric that runs along the arms and midsection also helps to keep this jacket comfortable, even when riding in a crouched position. There’s a 360-degree zip, which allows you to turn this jacket into a one-piece suit if you have suitable pants.
This model comes equipped with shoulder and elbow protectors, and one of the stand-out features is the aluminum inserts on the shoulders, which are rarely seen on a textile jacket and look great. There’s a pocket at the rear for a G1 or G2 protector and one at the front for a Dainese L2 chest protector. Unfortunately, neither back nor chest protectors are included in the sale.
- Brand Dainese
- Model Super Speed Textile Jacket
- Weight 3.53 pounds
Compartment for chest protector
Aluminum shoulder inserts
Removable windproof lining
The Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Women’s Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket is hard to beat when it comes to finding your perfect fit. This model features a nine-point SureFit custom adjustment system with adjustment points at the waist, forearms, hips, and cuffs. Users noted online how well this jacket fits and how accurate the size chart is. This model is great for riding in warm weather thanks to the Free Air mesh ventilation at the torso, arms, and back, but should the heavens open up, you’ll be happy to know that it comes with a waterproof zip-out liner.
There’s CE-certified armor at the elbows and shoulders, which offers a nice amount of protection, and there’s a high-density back protector at the rear, but it’d be nice to see some CE-certified armor here too. Unfortunately, there’s no padding whatsoever at the front, which lets this jacket down in terms of overall protection.
- Brand Joe Rocket
- Model number 1250-0001
- Weight 3.97 pounds
Nine-point fit adjustment system
Waterproof zip-out liner
High-density back protector
Shoulder and elbow protectors
No option to fit chest protection
Too light for winter riding
If you’re more of a fair-weather rider, check out the Scorpion Exo Vortex Air Jacket. This model has a combination of large gauge mesh and abrasion-resistant Rhino-Mesh laid across the Scorpion Exo’s Vortex Air Chassis. The result is a 30 percent increase in airflow and a three-fold increase in abrasion resistance when compared to typical mesh riding jackets. If you decide to ride on a rainy day, then the waterproof zip-in liner will come in useful.
There’s level-one approved Exo-Tec armor at the shoulders and elbows, which you’ll be grateful for if you’re involved in a low-speed spill. At the rear you’ll find a high-density back protector, which you can upgrade to Scorpion’s Sas-Tec CE-certified protector if you want extra safety. The only real downside to speak of is that there’s no chest protection and no pocket to fit any aftermarket protectors should you want to.
- Brand Scorpion
- Model ScorpionEXO
- Weight 3.6 pounds
Fantastic airflow and ventilation
Fabric is extremely abrasion-resistant
Waterproof zip-in liner
Back, shoulder, and elbow protection
Too light for winter riding
No option for a chest protector
The Joe Rocket Women’s Atomic 5.0 Jacket is a great choice for adventure riding. This model has a durable outer shell with Cross-Linked Ventilation, so it’s both tough and breathable. However, it’s fair to say that this heavy-duty jacket can be too warm for slow riding on hot days. The Rock Tex and Hitena Waterproof shell work with an integrated dual closure main zipper and storm flap to keep you bone dry even in torrential downpours. If you find yourself riding through the depths of winter, the removable insulated full sleeve liner will keep you cozy.
CE-certified armor at the shoulders and elbows is easily accessible via external zippers. There’s also removable spine armor, keeping you protected at the rear along with lower back padding. Unfortunately, this is another jacket that doesn’t feature any chest protection. Instead, you’ll find two large storage pockets at the front, as well as an internal pocket.
- Brand Joe Rocket
- Model Women’s Atomic 5.0 Jacket
- Weight 4 pounds
Waterproof outer shell
Removable insulated inner lining
Removable spine protector
Plenty of storage space
Bulky and heavy
No chest protector available
Could be too warm for summer riding in some areas
How We Selected The Products
Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. Although we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.
We examined dozens of motorcycle jackets before choosing the top contenders. Priority was given to well-known brands that have positive user reviews to back them up. The main features taken into consideration were price, protection, materials, weather protection, durability, fit and comfort, style, and visibility.
Best Motorcycle Jackets Buying Guide And FAQs
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or taking your training wheels off, a motorcycle jacket is an essential piece of kit. There are many factors to take into consideration before you can find the perfect motorcycle jacket for you. Depending on how your riding style and preferences change over time, you might need to change jackets or have more than one style.
This guide will explain the benefits of motorcycle jackets, what to consider before purchasing, and FAQs.
Benefits of a Motorcycle Jacket
Above all else, protection is the number one benefit a motorcycle jacket offers. There’s no comparison to the protection a motorcycle jacket gives versus a regular jacket. Depending on the model you choose, you can have armor protecting your shoulders, elbows, forearms, back, and chest. The materials used are also abrasion-resistant, which will stop you from getting road rash in the event of a slide.
Although safety protection is a benefit we hope you never need to use, weather protection is something you’ll use daily. Insulated jackets will keep you cozy should you choose to ride through winter. Treated shells and waterproof linings ensure you’ll stay bone dry year-round, even if the heavens open up unexpectedly. If you’re more of a fair-weather rider, then mesh materials and ventilation systems can keep you cool through the height of summer.
Different types of riding require jackets to fit differently, ultimately making the rider feel more comfortable. For example, if you ride sport bikes aggressively, then you’ll need a tight jacket that won’t catch too much air at high speeds. But, if you’re more of an adventure rider, then you’ll need a jacket with plenty of room to move around in. Many jackets have 360-degree zips that allow you to connect them to riding pants, stopping them from blowing upwards in strong winds.
An ever-present fear on motorcyclist’s minds is visibility. From lane changes to pulling out of side streets, you need to be seen at all times. This can be much more of an issue at night, so motorcycle jackets are draped in reflectors, which add an extra element of safety after the sun goes down. So you’re more visible when you’re the most vulnerable.
- The best form of upper body safety
- Protection from the elements
- Make your riding experience more comfortable
- Nighttime visibility
What To Consider When Buying A Motorcycle Jacket
Keep these factors in mind when choosing a motorcycle jacket.
The protection a jacket offers is arguably the most important thing to consider before buying. Take into consideration where the armor is, what armor is included, and what level it is (think CE-1 or CE-2). Not all jackets offer compartments for chest protectors, so check this out if it’s important to you. The latest technology in motorcycle jacket safety is an airbag system that inflates when it senses a collision or fall. Not all jackets can facilitate these airbags so, if you’re thinking of getting one, check if it will work with the jacket you have in mind.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a motorcycle jacket is what material(s) it’s made from. The materials will tell you a lot about what the jacket is intended for. For instance, if you’re usually going to ride in hot climates, then you’ll want a jacket mainly constructed from mesh. But, if you’re going to be doing any track riding then you’ll need a leather jacket, as this is a requirement for most tracks.
Removable liners can make jackets much more versatile. Waterproof liners are arguably the most useful, as they can turn a well-ventilated jacket into a waterproof one. But insulated liners also offer huge benefits and reduce the need to wear multiple layers of clothing, which can be uncomfortable while riding. Check out how many different types of liners a jacket can take and what ones are included in the sale before buying.
The type of jacket you choose should reflect the type of riding you do. For instance, if you’re an adventure rider, then an adventure jacket will offer all the room you need to maneuver while on tricky trails. For people who just want one jacket, a street all-weather model will be their best bet. This will give you room to move around but won’t catch too much air at high speeds, and you’ll be able to use it year-round.
If you want your jacket to last, then you’re going to need a durable model. Like most things, durability is dependent and the quality of the materials used. Ultimately, this will depend on your budget. Bear in mind that a good motorcycle jacket can last for more than 10 years, while a poor-quality one might last just three.
Best Motorcycle Jacket FAQs
Q. How do I take care of my motorcycle jacket?
How you care for your jacket depends entirely on what it’s made from. If you have a leather jacket, you’ll need to use a desalter to remove salt left behind by sweat. To clean the exterior of the jacket you should use a leather shampoo and conditioner.
Most manufacturers of textile jackets recommend that you hand wash them using a detergent with no bleach, but make sure to take out the armor first. Some waterproofing materials can be damaged by heat or wringing the material out, so you should always let your textile jacket drip dry.
Q. How do I know what size jacket to buy?
Manufacturers have sizing guides, however, how accurate these guides are is another issue entirely. Once you’ve decided on what jacket you want, check reviews to see if other buyers found the jacket to be true to the size guide, bigger than advertised, or smaller than advertised. Then you should measure yourself, and make your selection based on that. Or, if possible, go to a store and try them on before buying.
It’s better to have a jacket that’s slightly too big than too small as, if you need to add extra layers, the jacket might become too restrictive. But keep in mind that if the jacket is much too big, its protective properties will be diminished.
Q: Can I use a regular leather jacket instead of a motorcycle jacket?
Regular leather jackets aren’t designed to be worn on a motorcycle. They don’t have armor or double seams, and the leather is generally thinner. So it’s not recommended to wear a leather jacket in place of a motorcycle jacket.
Q: Do I need a new jacket if I’ve been involved in an accident?
The answer is mainly dependent on how much damage your jacket takes during the accident. To be safe, if the jacket is compromised in any way, you should replace it, as it won’t offer the same level of protection in another accident.
Our Top Pick
We’ve chosen the Alpinestars Men’s T-Missile Motorcycle Jacket as our best overall motorcycle jacket. This model offers tons of protection with the option of adding both back and chest protectors. You can also fit this jacket with the Tech-Air race vest, putting it leaps and bounds ahead of competitors in terms of overall protection. Although it’s not totally waterproof, it offers enough weather protection to be considered a legitimate three-season jacket. This model isn’t cheap, but it’s still great value for money, as it’s sure to last.
About the Author
Robert Bacon is a self-professed gearhead and freelance copywriter specializing in the automotive industry. From electric motors to 2-stroke engines, he’s spent his life discovering new ways to get from A to B. He uses expertise gained from his time spent on wheels and under them to contribute to The Drive and Car Bibles. He’s based in Athlone, Ireland.
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