Reviews

Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets: Be Stylish and Safe

Fashion meets function with a summer motorcycle jacket that protects you on the road

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

  • Product Network

    13 Products

  • Clock

    7 Hours

  • Reviews

    13 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON November 21, 2019

Most people think of motorcycle jackets as an on-trend staple piece that can make any outfit look instantly cooler. That’s definitely true, but motorcycle jackets were designed for function and should be worn any time you hop on a bike. A good motorcycle jacket protects your skin in an accident. Summer motorcycle jackets perform this function in a lighter and more breathable style. We’ve rounded up some of the top motorcycle jackets and shopping tips to get you on your way.

  • Best Overall
    HARLEY-DAVIDSON Men's Lightweight Mesh Accent Nylon Jacket
    Summary
    Summary
    You can’t go wrong with a brand known for creating quality bikes and clothing. This textile jacket is the perfect weight for summer riding yet offers all of the safety features you require.
    Pros
    Pros
    Available in a range of sizes from small through 5XL. The lightweight liner makes this a smart and comfortable choice for summer riding. Additional interior and exterior pockets give you the necessary storage for essential items.
    Cons
    Cons
    Don’t confuse “lightly padded” with body armor. This nylon Harley-Davidson model doesn’t feature any body armor. So, if you’re concerned with added protection in the event of an accident, look elsewhere.
  • Best Value
    Viking Cycle Warlock Mesh Motorcycle Jacket for Men
    Summary
    Summary
    A lightweight mesh motorcycle jacket featuring textile construction for a lightweight feel and breathable experience. A modest price makes this a smart choice for even occasional riders.
    Pros
    Pros
    A mesh shell keeps you dry while you ride in warm weather. Comprehensive body armor also offers superior protection. You’ll appreciate the built-in armor along the spine as well as in the shoulders, elbows, and chest.
    Cons
    Cons
    While the concept of mesh construction should make a jacket more breathable, the pocket placements on this jacket might negate the mesh benefits. Also, sizing can be an issue. You may want to size up to ensure a comfortable fit.
  • Honorable Mention
    Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather Motorcycle Jacket for Men
    Summary
    Summary
    A sleek motorcycle jacket with built-in armor. The stylish accents will make this jacket look great on you whether you’re on a bike or walking around town.
    Pros
    Pros
    Four exterior pockets and two interior pockets give you plenty of space to store must-have items. Armor is strategically placed in critical areas such as the back, elbows, and shoulders for added protection. The dual-layer lining features a removable liner for versatility and improved comfort in warmer weather.
    Cons
    Cons
    Some riders may find that the leather is stiff, making it hard to move and bend your arms. While the jacket is advertised as featuring vents, this isn’t the case. Also, consider sizing up from your true size for a more comfortable fit.

Why Trust Us


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.

Learn more

Tips

  • Protection should be your top consideration when buying a summer motorcycle jacket. These days most jackets come standard with padding or armor built into them. When you’re out shopping, look for jackets that mention D3O, Sas-Tec, and Exo-Tec armor. 
  • Don’t forget reflective safety features for riding at night. Even though you have tail lights, reflective features can provide added protection. Depending on your tastes, you can opt for more discreet options like reflective piping or bolder reflective colorful jackets. 
  • Be mindful of fit. Your summer motorcycle jacket should feature a snug fit. If your jacket is too large the armor could shift, and it’s less likely to protect you in an accident. A jacket that’s too tight will be uncomfortable, dig into your skin, and even cut off blood flow, making it less likely that you’ll want to wear it consistently. 

FAQs

Q: Should I buy a textile or leather summer motorcycle jacket?

A: The choice between textile and leather for a motorcycle jacket is a personal one. One of the advantages of a textile motorcycle jacket is that they tend to be lighter in weight and more breathable, which can be ideal for summer use. But if you have serious concerns about safety, opt for a leather jacket, which will offer better abrasion protection for your skin if you’re in an accident. 

Q: How do I know if a summer motorcycle jacket is breathable?

A: There’s nothing worse than being sweaty in a motorcycle jacket. Focus on jackets that highlight intake and exhaust vents to help circulate air and heat. If you’re concerned about moisture resistance against rain, look for jackets that feature mesh material to prevent moisture from penetrating your jacket’s shell. 

Q: Do I need to buy multiple motorcycle jackets for different seasons?

A: Budget-focused shoppers should focus on jackets that feature removable insulating liners that make them more versatile. You’ll be able to wear some of these types of jackets nearly all year round and save money and closet space. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re a serious rider you know that you need a jacket that can stand up to the elements and still be comfortable for riding. Opt for our best overall selection, the HARLEY-DAVIDSON Men's Lightweight Mesh Accent Nylon Jacket.

Occasional riders or those who are budget-focused should consider the admirable textile summer motorcycle jacket from our best value pick, the Viking Cycle Warlock Mesh Motorcycle Jacket for Men.