The summer is the perfect time to take to the road on two wheels – the warmer weather, clear skies and open routes are made for riding and enjoying the great outdoors. But while the sun may be shining and the temperatures rising, you still need to make sure you are protected. As well as your helmet, protection for your body is a must, but chances are the thought of your winter bike jacket on a summer day is not that appealing. In hot weather you need to be comfortable and cool without compromising on safety, and thicker, all-weather gear is not going make for the most comfortable ride.
But there are alternatives that will give you the best of both worlds when it comes to keeping cool and protected. We take a look at some of the best lightweight and breathable summer motorcycle jackets to get you comfortably out on your bike as the mercury starts to rise.
The Best Motorcycle Jackets For Summer
Ensuring you can keep cool and dry on a long ride is one of the essentials of a summer motorcycle jacket, and with its FreeAir polyester/mesh shell the Phoenix is a breath of fresh air. The outer mesh construction allows cooling airflow to pass through, helping to keep the temperature down as you ride. But this is not a loose jacket, the fit is slim and looks super smart and has all the essential body protection you need. The shell is reinforced at the shoulders, elbows and ribs, and there is quality armor at the shoulders and elbows without weighing the whole jacket down. You also get sculpted high-density padding over the kidneys and lower back. There is a removable waterproof liner and a secure front zipper as well as pants attachments and enough pockets for your essentials. Available in a choice of 13 colors and at a mid-price point, this smart, lightweight and well-made mesh summer riding jacket ticks all the right boxes.
- FreeAir poly/mesh reinforced shell
- CE approved armor at shoulders/elbows
- High-density padding at lower back
- Removable waterproof liner
- Snap loops pant attachment
- Brand Joe Rocket
- Model 851-4004
- Weight 2.3 pounds
Designed for warm weather riding and with the look of a racing rider, the T-GP Plus is a handsome lightweight motorcycle jacket that boasts a host of keep-it-cool features. Made from durable and abrasion-resistant polyester, the outer shell has mesh panels on the torso and arms to improve airflow while the full mesh lining boosts internal ventilation to help over-heating. Velcro fixtures on the wrists and waist let you fine-tune the fit, while a full circumference bottom zipper makes fastening to Alpinestar pants a breeze. When it comes to rider protection, the T-GP Plus has the bases covered with elbow and shoulder protectors as well chest and back PE foam padding that can be upgraded to a full chest/back protector. In four colors – variants on black and grey – bold white reflective stripes ensure you are always seen. You get a solid protective hot weather motorcycle jacket that is effective in keeping you cool on a hot ride.
- 450/600 denier polyester shell
- Mesh panels and liner
- Adjustable Velcro at wrist and waist
- Elbow and shoulder protectors
- PE foam padding on chest and back
- Brand Alpine Stars
- Model 3300617123L
- Weight 4.19 pounds
Designed to cope with all four seasons, this is a summer motorcycle jacket that can help to keep you warm or cool, depending on the way the weather goes. Made from 600D cordura outer, this is a rugged beast that does a decent job at managing temperature although in extremes it can struggle. On the protection front, you get removable back, elbow and shoulder armor, but you may wish to upgrade if you are spending long periods on the road. The cordura outer is breathable, abrasion-resistant and waterproof. Underneath the outer is a mesh lining that helps to regulate temperature and moisture, and when it gets a little cooler there is also a winter thermal lining that can be quickly zipped in. it is also nicely comfortable to wear all year around, thanks to the elastic stretch in the shoulders and elbows and arm and wrist adjustable straps. There are ample reflective panels on the front and back and you get a choice of four striking colors.
- All-season motorcycle jacket
- Waterproof 600D cordura outer shell
- Breathable mesh inner
- Removable shoulder, elbow and spine armor
- Removable thermal lining
- Brand HWK
- Model HWK-T1
- Weight 4.2 pounds
Made from decent quality cowhide leather, it is the removable quilted liner that transforms the Track from winter to summer jacket, creating a versatile motorbike jacket for year-round use. Perhaps not cool enough for high temperatures, you could wear this jacket comfortably on a warm summer day and not feel too much of the heat. And you still get the solid protection you’d expect from a summer leather motorcycle jacket.
The design is smart and can be tailored by the side waist adjustments for a more custom fit. Inside you get removable 5PC injection molded plastic armor at the elbows, shoulders and back and safety reflectors across the outer front and back. The Track is perhaps not as refined as a more expensive model, and the external pockets are a bit on the small side, but for leather it is a bit of a steal.
- 1.3mm cowhide leather
- Removable quilted liner
- Injection molded removable armor
- YKK zippers and ventilation zips
- Reflective outer stripes
- Brand Jackets 4 Bikes
- Model Mljp2020-black-l
- Weight 5 pounds
Smartly tailored for the female rider, Viking Cycle’s Warlock summer riding jacket works its magic when it comes to keeping cool on the open road. Made from a lightweight 600 denier polyester outer shell that is also waterproof, you also get removable insulated full-sleeve liners for when the temperature drops. But for those warm summer days, the Warlock’s mesh design and ventilation system works hard to keep your back, torso and arms comfortably cool. The comfort factor of this mesh summer motorcycle jacket is also high, thanks to a six-point ‘Sure Fit’ adjustment system to tailor the jacket to your body. Protection-wise, it is also more than adequate, with armor fitted to the elbow, shoulders, chest and spine. There’s a choice of four bold colors and reflective stripes to ensure you are seen at night. The fit does run a little on the small size so check your size for the right fit.
- 600D waterproof polyester outer shell
- Mesh panels and ventilation system
- Tough elbow, shoulder and spine armor
- Removable inner sleeve liners
- Six-point adjustment system for fit
- Brand Viking Cycle
- Model VC224
With a cool old-school design, this is a classic ladies leather motorcycle jacket that takes all weather in its stride. Made from premium cowhide leather, which is easy to clean and water resistant, at 1.2mm thick it also gives a decent amount of protection from the biking rigors of the road and has been designed to last. While it doesn’t have the technical spec of some of the other jackets in our best summer motorcycle jacket list, this is a good jacket to wear for short or easy runs. And it looks just as good worn with jeans when out and about in town. The classic front side zip keeps you cozy, and you can wear the collar up or down depending on the weather. To keep cool we suggest not putting too many layers underneath, and the manufacturer suggests going up one size for a cool, comfort fit.
- 1.2mm milled cowhide leather
- Water-resistant and wipe clean
- YKK front zipper and two zip pockets
- Cross-over zip and snap-down collar
- Zip out inner liner
- Brand Milwaukee Leather
- Model ML2701
With a tough leather styling, the Atomic’s outer shell is made out of Tock Tex and Hitena for an impact-resistant summer motorcycle jacket that looks the part. Pretty lightweight, the Atomic is a good entry-level buy if you are on a budget but want the performance of a more expensive jacket. This jacket knows how to keep its cool, thanks to variable flow ventilation that has a ‘wind tunnel’ cooling system to take some of the heat out of summer riding. But it is also adaptable, thanks to the waterproofed outer shell and removable insulated sleeve liner and can up its thermal game when the temperatures drop. Add in shoulder and elbow armor as well as removable spine armor and you get the right level of protection to boot. You also get a choice of 11 smart colors and enough adjustors to get your preferred fit. For a smaller budget, this is a pretty good buy to add to your summer motorcycle gear shopping list.
- Rock Tex/Hitena outer shell
- Spine, shoulder and elbow armor
- Variable Flow ventilation system
- Waterproof outer and zippers
- Removable waterproof liner
- Brand Joe Rocket
- Model 1651-5005
- Weight 5 pounds
If you are on a budget or looking for a back-up summer motorcycle jacket, it is worth checking out the Viking Cycle Warlock. Made from a breathable mesh outer shell that it both lightweight and flexible, the fit of the Warlock is pretty impressive and allows you to comfortably move as you ride. The front and back of the shell are also boldly reflective so you can sure to be seen, even after dark. The airflow is enough to keep you comfortable, and the wrists and sides are adjustable to keep the jacket snug and secure when on the move.
Core protection is also there. You get a spine pad with a pocket that can also take the optional spine protector – which we suggest you upgrade to – while shoulder and elbow armor is standard. The outer pockets are just large enough to take the essentials and you get a well-placed inner pocket for your smartphone and headphones. All in all, you get a well-made basic summer motorcycle jacket that knows its job.
- Breathable mesh shell outer
- Front and back reflective panels
- Spine pad and optional spine armor
- Elbow and shoulder armor
- Sure Fit adjustment
- Brand Viking Cycle
- Model VC77-S
This smart-looking summer motorcycle jacket from ILM will turn heads as well as keep you looking – and feeling – cool. It has a modular vibe to the design, and the double-stitched panels give the whole jacket a distinct, ‘boxy’ look. The ILM is pretty lightweight but feels robust and well-made and is comfortable to wear. The outer shell is also waterproof, but its ventilation system allows enough of an airflow to keep things cooler inside, especially on hotter days. But come the fall, you just need to zip back in the thermal quilted liner, and you have a jacket ready for the colder months, making this ILM decent value for money. The spine and elbow armor are removable, and you get extra padding on the shoulders, back, chest and kidneys for additional protection. You are limited to black, but we are cool with that as we like the ‘stealth’ look but there is sufficient front and back white tape piping to keep you visible after dark.
- Waterproof outer shell
- Airflow ventilation system
- Removable thermal quilted liner
- Spine and elbow armor
- Shoulder, back and chest padding
- Brand ILM
- Model JK41-BLACK-L
- Weight 3.17 pounds
The final pick in our best summer motorcycle jacket review is a retro beauty and while not a modern tech design for summer riding, it gets the style thumbs up from us. Made from milled cowhide, you could easily channel your inner Fonz or Officer Poncherello with this jacket, and cruise the highway this summer if laid-back riding is your thing. The Milwaukee is a generous fit, so there could well be room for extra protection underneath, and when it does get really warm, zip out the inner thermal liner to keep your cool. This jacket also goes old-school when it comes to adjusting the fit with side lacing to bring it in and a cool, chunky fixed belt and buckle to keep the jacket in place. This isn’t necessarily the summer motorcycle jacket for hardcore riding or intensive, long-haul road trips, but it creates a throwback look on casual, around town summer rides, we say style it out – on and off your ride – with the Milwaukee.
- Premium milled 1.3mm cowhide
- Full sleeve zip out thermal liner
- Side lacing for custom fit
- Two zippered outer pockets
- Classic built-in waist belt and buckle
- Brand Milwaukee Leather
- Model SH1011-M-BLACK
- Weight 5.8 pounds
With a lightweight mesh shell and a solid protective construction, the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Men’s Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket is an excellent all-round summer jacket that rides in as our Top Pick. The Phoenix keeps you and your riding cool when the temperature rises, and a removable waterproof liner makes it a versatile jacket to see you through into the cooler seasons. With excellent protection, a smart, slimline fit and a good choice of colorways, this is a good buy to get you safely through the summer.