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There’s a reason you can’t do a track day without wearing appropriate leathers, and it’s the same reason all professional short circuit riders wear leather suits: leather gear provides the best abrasion resistance and all-round protection when compared to textile counterparts. But not any leather jacket will do, as it has to be motorcycle-specific, meaning it needs to be thick and have pockets for back, shoulder, and elbow armor. If you’re thinking of buying a leather jacket solely for style without getting the appropriate armor, you’re wasting your time. There are plenty of motorcycle jackets on the market that’ll give you the aesthetic you want and protection you need.
Alpinestars GP Plus R V3 Rideknit Leather Jacket
- Tech-Air 5 compatible
- Extended back panel
- Level 1 Nucleon Flex Plus armor
- Rideknit sacrifices protection
- Lacks airflow
Icon Contra 2 Perforated Leather Jacket
- CE level 2 armor
- Concealed carry pocket
- Removable insulated liner
- Liner isn't full
- D30 armor is outdated technology
Dainese Sport Pro Perforated Leather Jacket
- Interchangeable aluminum shoulder plates
- S1 bi-elastic fabric
- 1.2-millimeter cowhide jacket
- Lacks quality armor
- Best Overall: Alpinestars GP Plus R V3 Rideknit Leather Jacket
- Best Value: Icon Contra 2
- Honorable Mention: Dainese Sport Pro Perforated Leather Jacket
- Best Three-Season: Rev'It Ignition 3 Women's Jacket
- Race-Track Ready: Dainese Sport Pro Perforated Leather Jacket
- Retro Style: Roland Sands Ronin Leather Jacket
When curating this list of the best leather motorcycle jackets, I focused on well-known brands that have a proven track record of quality construction and performance. Any jackets sold by unknown or obscure brands, made from faux leather, or not specifically for riding were not considered. Don’t trust your life to a jacket that isn’t meant to save it. In accordance with The Drive’s methodology, my goal was to find the best leather jackets that you will actually want to wear.
Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on the Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets
For one of the best leather motorcycle jackets to protect you and enhance your style, consider the Alpinestars GP Plus R V3 Rideknit Leather Jacket with its premium leather construction and impressive protective qualities.
An affordable alternative is the Icon Contra 2 Perforated Leather Jacket with its removable liner and durable construction.
Leather Motorcycle Jacket Key Features
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: How do I wash a leather motorcycle jacket?
A: It is best to clean it by rinsing the material with warm water or using a wet towel mixed with soap. Use gentle soap and always condition the leather afterward to re-add the moisture the soap stripped from the leather. You can also take it to a dry cleaner and have a professional clean it. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer to see the best way to clean the leather properly so you don't ruin it.
Q: How do I size a motorcycle jacket?
A: Always follow the manufacturer’s product-specific size chart for accurate size selection. Consider whether the jacket is American or European cut. Use a soft tape measure to wrap around your body and get your chest, waist, and sleeve length measurements. Sleeves may be measured from the shoulder point or from the spine. Pay attention to this to get an accurate measurement. If you plan to put a back protector in your jacket, consider adding a quarter to a half inch to accommodate it.
Q: How thick should motorcycle leather be?
A: The leather should be a minimum of 1.4 millimeters thick to make it durable enough to absorb the heat from the friction of impact and be durable enough to withstand the abrasion. The thicker the leather is, the stiffer and heavier the jacket will be.
Q: What is CE armor?
A: CE refers to the armor being CE-certified, which stands for Conformité Européene. The only time you’re required to wear CE-rated gear is when you’re on a track. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear it when casually riding. There’s Level 1 and 2 armor, with Level 2 offering you better impact protection.
Q: Do textile or leather jackets offer more protection?
A: Generally speaking, a leather jacket will offer more abrasion resistance than its textile counterpart. But, the armor in a jacket is the main determining factor when it comes to protection.
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