Best Motorcycle Jackets: Stylish Leather & Textile Jackets With Superior Protection
The top motorcycle jackets to make your ride more enjoyable
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PUBLISHED ON June 25, 2019
Choosing the best motorcycle jacket depends on a variety of factors, including your riding style, desired level of protection, and comfort preferences. Check out our motorcycle jacket reviews to find the best all-around motorcycle jacket that provides optimal style as well as other features that will make your ride more enjoyable.
- Best OverallTourmaster Advanced Men's Textile Motorcycle JacketSummarySummaryThis jacket has CE-approved armor, a removable insulated liner, reflective piping, and vents in the shoulder, chest, and back. It also has a waterproof, breathable, Rainguard barrier to keep you dry.ProsProsThe jacket's adjustable straps create a custom fit. The zip-in liner is very warm, and the jacket seals up nicely against rain. When the vents are open, you get nice ventilation.ConsConsThe jacket is not intended for use in hot weather. You can't remove the rain liner, the armor is minimal, and the jacket may not fit perfectly on some riders.
- Best ValueViking Cycle Ironborn Motorcycle Textile JacketSummarySummaryThis waterproof jacket features a custom adjustment system and has removable CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows. It also has a removable and insulated full-sleeve liner.ProsProsThis jacket provides great protection, visibility, and pockets. The vents are nice and big, it doesn't feel bulky, the wind resistance is good, and the material is suitable for cold weather.ConsConsThe sleeves may be tight and narrow and the torso too big. Also, the jacket doesn't have any chest and rib cage protection, and it's not 100 percent waterproof.
- Honorable MentionSummarySummaryThis cruiser-style jacket is made with heavyweight, top grain leather and has a zip-out quilted lining. It has side slit zipper pockets, an inside chest pocket, and zipper cuffs.ProsProsThe leather is thick, durable, supple, and heavy. The jacket will not flop around in the wind, and it's just big enough to fit a hoodie underneath for colder weather.ConsConsThe jacket may be tight in the torso if you are heavier set. Also, the sleeves may be too long for some people, and some complain that the sizes run small.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Jackets
- Be safe. It’s important to wear a jacket even in the summer. Shorts and a t-shirt don't provide adequate protection to your extremities in the event of a crash. Whether it’s cool or warm outside, the best protective motorcycle jacket will shield your body from harm.
- Be comfortable. Top-rated motorcycle jackets will give you an extra layer of protection against the weather. If it's cold outside, a jacket will keep you warm. If it's raining, it will keep you dry.
- Be stylish. Leather jackets are often regarded as the most fashionable type of biker outerwear, but you can also opt for a sporty look by choosing a stylish textile jacket.
Types of Motorcycle Jackets
The best looking motorcycle jackets tend to be cruiser jackets, which are more fashionable and comfortable than other types of motorcycle outerwear. They are not the best motorcycle jackets for protection because they don't have body armor. These casual, classic jackets are versatile and can be worn on and off the bike.
Sport jackets are usually very thick and contain a lot of armor and padding for protection. The best sport motorcycle jacket is form-fitting and has an aerodynamic design to accommodate high motorcycle speeds. These jackets are often made of high-quality materials and are rigorously tested to provide optimum performance.
If you do a lot of long-distance riding, you need the best motorcycle touring jacket. These jackets tend to be quite comfortable and often have several features that make them convenient if you're riding for an extended period of time. Typically, they have removable liners and layers, multiple pockets, and a waterproof exterior. Some premium touring jackets even have built-in heating systems.
Adventure riders are exposed to unpredictable terrain, so they require riding gear that is tough enough to withstand a variety of conditions—both on asphalt and more rugged forest roads. Adventure jackets are typically made of a strong, nylon shell that keeps you from getting scraped or bruised. These jackets are also constructed of breathable and waterproof materials.
Off-road motorcycle jackets rely on protection and safety as well as comfort. They function well in various types of weather conditions, including the wind, rain, and heat. They are waterproof and windproof. They also allow you to have a wide range of motion when you're bouncing around in the woods or in the dirt.
The best leather motorcycle jacket brands provide comfort, style, and safety. Leather protects your body from abrasions, which are common in motorcycle accidents. Leather jackets are usually made of cowhide, buffalo hide, or pigskin. Cowhide is the most popular and is a high-quality material. Pigskin is softer and keeps you very warm in the winter, but it tears easily and offers less protection in an accident.
Textile jackets offer less abrasion resistance than leather. However, they come in a variety of styles for different climate conditions, can easily be layered, and sometimes feature waterproof properties. The best textile jacket is often made of nylon and polyester, which is very lightweight and preferable on hot and rainy days. These jackets are good for the sport, race, and touring riders.
Mesh jackets allow air to flow directly onto your body, and they're best to use in the summer. A leather jacket will be too hot, while a mesh one will provide superior ventilation and keep you cooler. Most mesh jackets include padding on the chest, back, and shoulders. They tend to be less expensive than leather jackets.
Joe Rocket was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in California. Its products have FreeAirTM mesh technology for riding in the extreme summer heat without sacrificing protection, as well as the SureFitTM adjustment system, which provides protection in an impact. One top product is the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Men's Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket.
Company owner Jerry Berkowitz started Hot Leathers in 1983 a few years after he rode his first raked and stretched chopper. His goal was to provide high-quality motorcycle apparel at a reasonable price. The company attends 30 motorcycle rallies each year and distributes its products over six continents. One recommended jacket is the Hot Leathers Men's Heavyweight Jacket With Double Piping.
Pilot Motosport has been designing, building and racing technical motorcycle apparel since 1995. The company's product line includes helmets, suits, pants, gloves, as well as jackets. One of its popular jackets is the Pilot Trans.Urban Jacket V2.
Lino Dainese founded this company in 1972 when he was 20 years old. Based in Vicenza, Italy, it manufacturers advanced protective head-to-toe gear for motorcycling, winter sports, cycling, horse riding, and sailing. Its products are made with cowhide, kangaroo skin, aramid, carbon fiber, and titanium. One recommended product is the Dainese Men's Super Speed Tex Jacket.
Leather craftsman Sante Mazzarolo founded Alpinestars in the small Northern Italy town of Asolo in 1963 as motocross started gaining popularity in Europe. The company manufactures a variety of road racing products, including boots and leather suits. One popular product is the Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v2 Air Jacket.
Tourmaster’s parent company, Helmet House, got its start in the late 1970s. The company designs and distributes helmets, luggage, rain suits, jackets, riding boots, and bike covers. One recommended product is the Tourmaster Advanced Men's Textile Motorcycle Jacket.
Motorcycle Jacket Pricing
- Under $100: You can find a decent motorcycle jacket for less than $100. However, it's important to select a good quality jacket versus settle for one that's inexpensive and provides little protection.
- $100-$200: There are many good-quality motorcycle jackets at this price point. They come in a variety of styles with various features to make your ride as comfortable as possible.
- Over $200: Some of the best jackets for motorcycle riding cost several hundred dollars. They typically include advanced features and are often manufactured by notable designers. You can pay much less and still get a good product.
The type of rider you are will dictate what material is most suitable for your motorcycle jacket. If you're a casual rider, synthetic materials should work just fine. If you ride a cruiser and like to go fast, leather may be a better option because it provides superior protection in a crash. If you ride a sportbike, textile jackets with armor are the top pick. There are also jackets that are made of fabric that’s more suitable for summer or rainy conditions.
- Ventilation: The best motorcycle jacket will provide sufficient ventilation. Some materials can be very warm, thick, and dense. Without proper ventilation, these types of jackets can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, the best motorcycle jackets for men and women have air vents that you can zip open and close for airflow.
- Armor: The best-armored motorcycle jacket is typically constructed with CE-certified armor on the elbows and shoulders (you often see CE or “Conformité Européene” apparel on the race track). Some of these jackets feature armor on the back and torso as well. Armor can be flexible or rigid. The former has foam padding, while the latter has a hard shell with padding underneath. Flexible armor is more comfortable but doesn't provide as much protection.
- Fit: The best motorcycle jacket will have a contoured fit and be slightly roomy so you are comfortable and able to add layers underneath in cold weather. The sleeves should not be too long, and if the jacket contains armor the pieces should fit properly on your elbows and shoulders. The best motorcycle jacket brand will have a variety of adjustments for your waist, neck, and sleeves.
- Additional Features: You may want a jacket with reflective strips on the shoulders and back so other people on the road can see you better at night. The number and placement of pockets may also be important, depending on what you carry with you when you ride. Also, some jackets have inside liners with pockets and media outlets for phone or headphone cables.
Best Motorcycle Jacket Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Tourmaster Advanced Men's Textile Motorcycle Jacket
This jacket contains CE-approved armor and 1680 denier ballistic material in the shoulders and elbows. It features a removable insulated liner and vents in the shoulder, chest, and back. The jacket also has a waterproof, breathable, Rainguard barrier to help keep you dry. Reflective piping, panels, and rear triangle make you more visible at night. The jacket also has an adjustable waist belt, an internal pouch pocket, and a mobile media pocket.
The jacket has adjustable straps on the waist and sleeves for more flexibility and a custom fit. The zip-in liner is very warm, and the jacket seals up nicely against rain. When the liner is removed and the vents are open in the back, you get nice ventilation. The jacket isn't as clunky around the shoulders and elbows as some competitor brands. Also, the pockets are very handy, and it's convenient to have a secure spot for your wallet. In addition, the material is durable and hefty.
The biggest downside is the jacket is not intended for hot weather. The jacket can get quite warm when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, and you will be prone to sweat even without the inner lining. Also, you can't remove the rain liner, the armor is minimal, and the jacket may not fit properly if you have larger shoulders and a small waist.
Best Value: Viking Cycle Ironborn Motorcycle Textile Jacket
This waterproof jacket features a six-point, sure-fit, custom adjustment system. It has removable CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows as well as a removable and insulated full-sleeve liner. In addition, it contains removable spine armor with a pocket for an optional CE spine protector. The jacket is more street bike style than cruiser style.
This jacket is designed well and provides the perfect amount of protection, visibility, and pockets. The vents are nice and big, and when the liner is removed it keeps you cool on hot days. The jacket doesn't feel bulky, the wind resistance is good, and the heavy textile material is suitable for cold weather. Style-wise, it looks like a casual light jacket, and the padding is hardly noticeable.
One problem is the sleeves may be tight and narrow and the torso too big, and it may be too short and wide for more athletic individuals. Also, the jacket doesn't have any chest and rib cage protection, and it's not 100 percent waterproof. There have also been some complaints that the zippers are not good quality.
Honorable Mention: Hot Leathers Men's Heavyweight Jacket with Double Piping
This cruiser-style jacket is made with heavyweight, top-grain leather and has a zip-out quilted lining. It features a stand-up racing collar with black snaps, side slit zipper pockets, an inside chest pocket, and zipper cuffs.
The leather is very thick, durable, supple, and heavy. It may be stiff at first, but it loosens up within a few days of use and wears in nicely. The jacket will not flop around in the wind or roll up in a crash. Also, it's just big enough to fit a hoodie underneath for colder weather and can keep you warm in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. In addition, one inside pocket has a zipper to keep stuff safe, while the other inside pocket has a snap so you can have easy/quick access to items inside.
The jacket may be tight in the torso if you are heavier set. Also, the sleeves may be too long for some people, and there have been some complaints that the sizes run small. In addition, the jacket may have a slight odor that disappears after a day or two.
- When selecting a motorcycle jacket, make sure it fits well both when you're standing and when you're in a riding position. Also, don’t buy one that’s too tight or you won’t be able to put layers underneath it.
- Not all jackets will work in all weather conditions. A great synthetic jacket may be too hot for summer, and a leather jacket won’t have the same ventilation as a textile jacket. You may need more than one jacket based on the climate.
- The collar of the jacket should be snug enough so the wind doesn't pass through. If you ride often in the rain, select a jacket that has a watertight layer beneath the zippers so rain doesn't leak through.
- The more pockets, the better. It's preferable to have a few pockets in the front and at least one inner pocket. Also, your jacket should have at least one pocket you can utilize without opening a zipper (which can be challenging when wearing gloves).
- If you want to be really visible at night, choose a bright-colored jacket. Some come in bright yellow and orange, and others have panels made of reflective material.
- Make sure the zippers are easy to open and close. The best motorcycle jackets will have zippers covered in fabric so they don't cause extra harm during a crash.
- For safety purposes, leather jackets should not have a lot of seams on them. For example, the chest and back should be made of a single piece of leather, not several stitched together.
- Sleeves should be long enough so they reach your wrists when your arms are extended towards the motorcycle's handlebars. If possible, you should be able to wear the sleeves both over or under your gloves.
Q: What’s the best type of motorcycle jacket?
A: It depends on several factors, but safety is number one. Select a jacket that will protect your body in the event of a crash. Also, you need to choose a jacket based on the type of rider you are (casual, adventure, or sport, for example).
Q: How do I clean my motorcycle jacket?
A: If you have a leather jacket, you can purchase a cleaning kit specifically geared for the material. You should also regularly treat it with a leather product to protect it and keep it durable. You can spot clean Gore-Tex and textile jackets with a moist cloth or stiff brush.
Q: Can I wear my favorite everyday leather jacket to ride a motorcycle?
A: It's important that the leather jacket you wear for riding a motorcycle is thick and padded. Jackets that are too soft will not provide adequate protection in a crash.
Our pick for the best motorcycle jacket is the Tourmaster Advanced Men's Textile Motorcycle Jacket. It's durable, waterproof, breathable, and has armor in the shoulders and elbows. Adjustable straps allow for a versatile fit, and the liner is removable to provide better ventilation.
For a less expensive option, consider the Viking Cycle Ironborn Motorcycle Textile Jacket.