Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets: Safe and Comfortable No Matter the Temperature

Don’t let soaring summer temperatures top you from hitting the road. Stay safe and cool with one of our top picks.

byRobert Bacon|
Motorcycle summer jacket hero
Robert Bacon

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BYRobert Bacon/ LAST UPDATED ON June 21, 2023

A motorcycle jacket has one job above all else: keep the user safe in a crash. If you choose wisely, you’ll get a jacket that keeps you safe and looks great. But here’s the thing, if you like to ride in the height of summer and buy a regular motorcycle jacket, it’ll be useless because you won’t want to ride. You need a summer motorcycle jacket. If you don’t have the right gear to tackle the summer heat, every minute spent on your bike will be a struggle. Take it from the guy that recently spent five hours riding in 98-degree Fahrenheit weather. I would’ve turned around before the halfway point without my Rev’it Eclipse jacket.

Best Overall
Rev’it Airwave 3

Rev’it Airwave 3

Summary
If you fill all the available pockets with armor, you couldn’t ask for much more protection from a summer jacket. And the PWR mesh is a step ahead in terms of a flexible, breathable fabric.
Pros
  • PWR mesh panels
  • Seesmart elbow and shoulder armor
  • Chest and back armor pockets
  • Ripstop fabric
  • Fantastic airflow
Cons
  • Armor is CE level 1
  • No two-way collar snap back
Best Value

Rev’it Eclipse 2

Summary
Its predecessor was a hit, and this model builds on that reputation with the addition of Seesmart armor. It’s hard to believe how good this jacket is for such a low price.
Pros
  • Amazing value
  • Seesmart shoulder and elbow armor
  • Large mesh panels
  • Stronger velcro fasteners
Cons
  • Back protector sold separately
  • No chest armor pockets
Honorable Mention

Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v3 Air

Summary
Anyone who prefers a jacket with a sporty cut can’t go wrong with this. It’s extremely breathable and offers plenty of protection.
Pros
  • Good value
  • Lightweight
  • Great ventilation
  • Chest and back armor pockets
  • Nucleon Flex Plus elbow and shoulder protectors included
Cons
  • All armor is CE level 1
  • Back protector not included

Summary List

Our Methodology

To choose the best motorcycle summer jackets, I employed The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology and evaluated dozens of gloves before choosing the top contenders. Although I haven’t personally tested these products, my selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and my institutional knowledge of the motorcycle industry.

Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets Reviews & Recommendations

Rev’it’s Airwave 3 takes everything that’s great about the Eclipse 2 jacket and adds more premium materials and safety features. Its chassis is made from high-density polyester 600D in impact zones and PWR mesh panels in the front, back, and inside of the arms. This mesh is knitted in an open structure to increase flexibility, breathability, and safety. Underneath the ripstop material at the shoulders and elbows sits Seesmart CE level 1 armor, which is lightweight, flexible, and extremely breathable.

There’s a pocket at the rear for a Seesmart CE level 2 back protector, which isn’t included, but I’d recommend purchasing it. There are also two pockets at the front for CE level 1 Seesmart chest protectors, which are sold separately. It features two exterior slit pockets and inner storage pockets. You can connect this to the Airwave pants via a zipper. The sizing stays true to Rev’it’s sizing chart, so check that out before you buy. It’s very difficult to find any issues with this jacket, but if I’m being critical, it’d be nice to have a two-way snap back for the button on the collar so it’s not flapping around when you crack the collar on a hot day.

Pros

PWR mesh panels

Seesmart elbow and shoulder armor

Chest and back armor pockets

Ripstop fabric

Fantastic airflow

Cons

Armor is CE level 1

No two-way collar snap back

It was a tough decision not to make the Rev’it Eclipse 2 my best overall pick, but in terms of value, nothing touches this jacket. This model’s predecessor is my daily jacket, and I can’t sing its praises highly enough. It somehow manages to keep me cool in the heights of the Mexican summer heat, and very little has changed to make the current iteration: The back, chest, and inside of the arms still consist of huge polyester mesh panels, which do an excellent job of channeling air while you’re on the move. Impact zones are made from 600D polyester, just as they were on the previous jacket.

The biggest difference between this model and the previous version is the armor. The Eclipse 2 gets upgraded Seesmart shoulder and elbow armor, which is lighter, more flexible, and more comfortable than the prior model’s slightly bulky Knox armor. There’s a pocket at the rear for a CE Level 2 SeeSmart back protector, which is sold separately. It’s certified to CE EN 17092-4:2020, which is the minimum necessary degree of protection from impact abrasion. My biggest gripe with the original Eclipse jacket was that the velcro fasteners were weak, but this appears to have been addressed for the Eclipse 12. Rev’it has improved on what was one of the very best summer jackets, all without increasing the price.

Pros

Amazing value

Seesmart shoulder and elbow armor

Large mesh panels

Stronger velcro fasteners

Cons

Back protector sold separately

No chest armor pockets

The Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v3 Air is a contender for the best overall summer jacket and will be the better pick for those who like a sportier style. The torso and inner arms are constructed from mesh ventilation panels, and there is CE level 1 Nucleon Flex Plus impact armor in the shoulders and elbows. There are pockets for chest and back protectors, which are sold separately. The shoulders also include external sliders for abrasion resistance. This model features a low-profile mesh collar for comfort, and you can zip the bottom of the jacket to a compatible pair of Alpinestars pants.

There are two exterior hand pockets and a large waterproof pocket on the inside, which is great for a wallet and smartphone. The sleeves are pre-curved for comfort, and you can adjust the waist and cuffs for the best fit. The arms might be a little long for some riders, however, which means the armor may not fit properly over the elbows. The zipper is also a little small and can be hard to use with gloves on. Overall this is a great sporty summer jacket that won’t break the bank.

Pros

Good value

Lightweight

Great ventilation

Chest and back armor pockets

Nucleon Flex Plus elbow and shoulder protectors included

Cons

All armor is CE level 1

Back protector not included

The Klim Induction Jacket is a high-end pick for those who spend a lot of time riding during the summer and want optimal protection. While it's expensive, it's packed with features, including CE Level 1 armor in the back, shoulders, and elbows. The jacket comes with Karbonite mesh that is flexible yet sturdy and moisture-wicking. It is comfortable, adjustable, and promotes airflow.

Adding to its comfort are stretch panels on the sides, shoulders, and arms, and it has plenty of give when you're on the bike and reaching for the bars. The zippers are easy to use and maneuver when you're wearing gloves, there are several pockets, and it's reflective for visibility. The cuffs, forearms, and waist are adjustable, and the collar sits low on the neck, so it's less intrusive on blistering hot days. One downside is that it is a little expensive compared to some rival options and doesn't include chest armor. The cuffs also don't have zippers.

Pros

Flexible and moisture-wicking mesh

Very adjustable

Stretch panels

Reflective elements

Back, shoulder, and elbow armor included

Cons

Pricey

All armor is CE level 1

The Merlin Shenstone Air D30 means lovers of retro cafe jackets no longer need to suffer in the sun due to their love of style. The Shenstone Air takes the classic TT style and couples it with modern protection and a breathable chassis. Large ventilation panels at the torso and inner arms channel plenty of airflow to keep you cool, while Hally Stevensons 8 oz Cotec fabric is used in impact zones. Keeping you safe in the event of a crash is perforated D30 p1 armor in the shoulders and elbows, and a D30 Viper Stealth back protector. All the armor is CE level 1.

This is a great warm-weather jacket, but a Reissa Active waterproof removable liner means that it’ll also stand up to rain and windy conditions. The sizing runs slightly large, and there are plenty of snaps, velcro straps, and zips to adjust the fit. Belt loops and a zip means you can connect the jacket to riding pants for even more protection while you’re on the move. The biggest con for me is the two chest pockets, which aren’t made from mesh and slightly stem airflow. And, if I were to buy this jacket, I’d upgrade the back protector to D30 CE level 2 armor.

Pros

Classic retro style

D30 back, shoulder, and elbow armor included

Removable Ressa Active waterproof liner

Hally Stevensons 8 oz Cotec fabric

Large ventilation panels

Cons

Back protector is only CE level 1

Chest pockets impede airflow

The Fly Racing Street Flux Air is also available for men, making it a great all-around pick. Plus, it's an affordable option. This jacket has CE Level 1 armor in the elbows and shoulders and features full-flow mesh panels in the front, rear, and insides of the arms. The outer part of the arms is abrasion-resistant. There are zippers in the hip areas to provide a little more room even if you're a little curvy, and it's designed to fit comfortably when your arms are stretched out in a riding position.

It's lightweight, reflective, and the high-impact areas are bolstered by high-abrasion material. The cuffs, waist, and arms have adjustable elements. However, the arms might be a little too long for some riders. Also, it lacks an interior pocket, and it may feel a little snug if you have broad shoulders.

Pros

Great value

Abrasion-resistant materials

Plenty of adjustability

CE level 1 shoulder and elbow armor

Lightweight

Cons

No interior pocket

Our Verdict on Summer Motorcycle Jackets

My pick for the best jacket overall is the Rev’it Airwave 3, which uses PWR mesh to ensure a refreshing ride and features ripstop fabric and pockets for armor, giving you all-around protection. For a slightly more budget-friendly option, consider the Rev’it Eclipse 2.

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Check the item for obvious signs of wear and tear. Look at the seams and zippers and evaluate their condition. 
  • If the jacket contains armor, inspect it to make sure it’s in good shape and hasn’t been involved in an accident.

What to Consider When Buying a Summer Motorcycle Jacket

Fit

Always check the sizing chart. Some brands run smaller, and armor can make the jacket feel more snug around the back and torso. Read reviews of the products to see what users ordered relative to their normal sizes. Some jackets run shorter than others, which may be less comfortable for some riders. Also, consider sleeve length and whether or not there are adjustments in the waist, arms, and cuffs.

Ventilation

Ventilation and air flow are important when choosing a summer riding jacket. Most options have mesh elements, but construction can differ between brands. Some have more mesh than others. Also look to see if the liner is removable, which can make it more comfortable on those particularly hot and humid days.

Armor 

Armor can make a big difference when it comes to crash protection. All of the jackets on this list include at a minimum shoulder and elbow protection. A few include back protection or the space to accommodate it and the ability to purchase it separately. You can also find jackets with chest protection if you really want to step up your game. However, armor can make the jacket feel more snug, and if it doesn't fit properly, the armor won't cover your body as well as it should. That's why it's important to make sure to consult the size guidelines and user reviews for the best fit.

Pricing 

You can find a decent summer motorcycle jacket for less than $150. These jackets are typically basic and might not include many pockets or removable liners. If you spend just a little bit more, you will find jackets with a few more features. Some of the more high-end options, which can cost several hundred dollars, may include back armor and/or the versatility to use them during other seasons of the year. Jackets on the lower end of the price range are good, but higher-priced picks typically have additional perks that make them worth the investment.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What do motorcyclists wear in the summer?

A: Even though temperatures can be sweltering in the summer, the most conscientious riders wear gloves, pants, a jacket, over-the-ankle boots, and a helmet. This equipment covers the skin to minimize sun exposure and also protects the body from abrasion in the event of a crash. Oftentimes the gear is ventilated or constructed of mesh panels for airflow. Lighter colors are popular because they absorb less heat than black.

Q: Are leather motorcycle jackets good for summer riding?

A: Leather jackets are protective, however, they can be very hot. They are generally not ventilated like their textile jacket counterparts.

Q: What do you wear under a motorcycle jacket in the summer?

A: It's a good idea to wear a light layer underneath your jacket that's comfortable and keeps you dry. Some materials are more breathable and moisture-wicking than others. For example, shirts that are 100-percent cotton are less desirable because they absorb moisture and don't dry very quickly.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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