The Guide to Street Motorcycle Jackets
Motorcycle jackets have a lot more functionality than just a regular jacket. You may be
thinking that you'll save a few bucks and wear your favorite fleece zip-up but a regular
jacket is missing a lot of little details that you'll need while on any motorcycle. Other
than being built to be more comfortable while riding, motorcycle jackets are also
designed with more safety features to keep you intact if you happen to find you and your
bike unexpectedly horizontal. Shelling out the extra cash to get a safe jacket will be well
worth the avoidance of road rash.
Motorcycle jackets are also specially designed to do the obvious: keep you warm. While
designed to give you that extra bit of protection, you'll find that a motorcycle jacket can
help cut down the effects of speeding through the brisk air. Other jackets are made to do
just the opposite. If you're riding in the heat of the summer, you'll still want the
protection a jacket gives you without getting a severe case of heat stroke. With special
vents and materials, bike jackets are made to either keep the heat in or let the heat out
depending on what the season is.
The extra safety features are the biggest difference between an everyday jacket and a
motorcycle jacket. A lot of motorcycle jackets contain armor to protect from unwanted
impact (though we can't really see where there would be wanted impact unless you're
some sort of stunt rider). The most common places for motorcycle jackets to be
reinforced with armor are in the elbows, shoulders and back.
Reinforcement can vary depending on the jacket. Some will just have as little an extra layer
sewn in a particular place that is most likely to take the hit in a crash.
Others will have a more intense heavy-duty back protector insert. This is an
articulated combination of plastic shell with, usually, CE armor and is stored
in a pocket on many jackets vertically down the middle of the back. This is known as the spine
protector and does exactly as the name implies. This tiny bit of plastic helps to reinforce
one of the most vital parts of your body: the spine. You'll be glad to have bought a jacket
with one when you find yourself laying on you back and still able to wiggle your toes.
When buying a jacket with these extra bits of armor, make sure that the pieces are
secured onto the jacket properly. You may find some jackets with loose armor, which
should be avoided since armor that moves around will be of little protection in an
accident. If you find a jacket that you just fall in love with but it doesn't have
the amount of protection that you would like, do not dispair, spine protectors can be found
Another safety feature that should be highly considered if you plan to ride at night is
reflective material. Your all black leather jacket may look cool, but the color of the
material will make you much harder to see in the dark of the night and it's hard enough to
get cars to see you even without being almost invisible. We could tell you to wear one of
those bright orange construction vests to make sure that not a soul will miss you, but we
find jackets with reflective piping or logos like this
BikeBandit Leather Motorcycle Jacket to be far more attractive. Jackets with bright or
light colors are also a good option for nighttime of low visibility rides. Riding at night tends to follow the
same rules as jogging at night: the more visible you are, the less chance of being hit you
How well your jacket fits plays a big part in how comfortable you will be while riding as
well as how effectively it will protect you. Sure, you just bought a really expensive ride
and you don't want to drop the extra cash on an expensive jacket so you can borrow one
from a friend who has a whole closet full. Unfortunately, if he's a hundred pounds
heavier than you are, not only will you find yourself swimming in its material but you'll
also find that the protective padding won't fall where it needs to be. Shoulder pads won't
do you your shoulders any good if they're protecting your biceps instead. You'll also notice that your range and
ease of movement will be impaired by the extra material. In the case of motorcycle
jackets, bigger is not better.
On the other hand, having a jacket that's too small for you will also affect your riding.
Being constricted by your jacket like you're wearing a hungry anaconda will not only be
uncomfortable, you'll find it harder to control your bike.
It's important to make sure that your jacket fits you well when you're sitting on your bike
as well as when you're standing. We're used to trying on a jacket while standing up with
our arms at our sides but when you're on your motorcycle, your posture will be a bit
different. Depending on the type of bike you have, you'll need to keep in mind how far
you will be leaning forward in your riding stance and give yourself enough room in your
jacket to do so. For this same reason, motorcycle jackets tend to be designed with longer
sleeves. As you bring your hands up to your handlebars, more fabric is required to cover
the length of your arm and with any jacket; rain or shine, you'll want the bottom of the
jacket to cover the top of your pants. Leave the plumbers crack for the plumbers.
Get a jacket that has closures around the wrists, neck and waist. Even the most perfectly
fitted jacket will need to be cinched down around the openings when you go to ride in
order to keep air and other elements from blasting through them. The tiny bit of extra
fabric in these areas have a tendency to flap around when you ride so keeping it on
lockdown can minimize your jacket annoyance.
You think that storing your bike for winter is for pansies. Instead, you'd rather ride all
year round. We give you a big thumbs-up and advise that you invest in a jacket that will keep
you warm in the winter like this
Scorpion EXO XDR Admiral Motorcycle Jacket.
(Unless you live in Arizona in which case it's really not that big of a deal). A good jacket for the winter
is going to be one that can keep you both warm and dry in chilly conditions. They
should be heavily insulated to keep in your precious body heat but the liner should be
detachable for those moments where the sun comes out long enough to warm you up.
You'll also want to make sure that it's both resilient and long enough to keep any rain
out. Most jackets that are perfect for winter weather are longer than their warm weathered counterparts. Some of these
jackets even go as far as mid thigh. You may find this a bit excessive until you ride in the
rain for the first time and realize how happy you are that your Hanes aren't damp. While
the jacket that you have for the summer may cut off at the waste, a perfect jacket for rainy
conditions will have the extra length to keep more of you dry.
For the same reason, your winter jacket should seal at any points where moisture will try
to infiltrate. Particular areas to keep an eye out for are the wrists, the waist and the neck.
We really like to get jackets that have adjustable flap-style closures around the
collar like on this
Icon PDX Waterproof Shell to keep water from running down your neck as you ride but won't feel too tight
around your neck. A jacket with a taller collar will also help to keep water off of your neck.
The type of material that your jacket is made of can have a huge impact on how
well it keeps you warm and dry. Leather is a very popular choice but it has to be a high
enough quality that the moisture won't be absorbed and cause the jacket to shrink. Luckily,
this isn't too big of a problem these days since most jacket leather is treated in order to
keep it from being affected by water. A non-
leather material that is often used instead is Duport Cordura. This fabric is nylon based
and can be found in varying thread densities. Textiles are often measure in terms of the denier
scale. This scale measures the thickness of a fabric by its thread count. The smaller the
denier measurement, the less the thread count is. Typically, the denier scale is a good guide for
how resistant your jacket will be to abrasion during an accident, however, a higher denier will
also be a little better in water resistance. A good weight for a jacket on the denier scale
is one around 500 but you you can buy a
jacket with a heavier denier as some jackets can go almost as high as 1000.
However, a fabric rated at 1000 denier is typically the fabric used for heavy duty luggage
and might be a bit excessive for most riders.
It's also good to remember that when you ride in wet conditions, the road will also be
wet. To not only protect yourself from the rain, get a jacket that has extra padding
in those high impact areas in order to protect you from the road if you tire tread doesn't
hold up its end of the bargain.
Pockets are an important thing to have as carrying your valuables in your pants pocket
just doesn't seem to work well while on a motorcycle. You may normally stash your
wallet in you back pocket but that's a sure way to leave it somewhere on the road while
you're riding. Also, we all know what happens when your expensive smart phone gets
wet so you'll want to make sure that the pockets on your winter jacket not only have a
good seal to keep valuables in, but have a waterproof seal to keep moisture out.
Riding throught the heat
Taking the liner out of your trusty jacket that you wear in the winter to keep you warm and toasty
may be enough to keep you cool as the
weather starts to heat up in the spring but as temperatures rise in the summer, you'll find
that even that will leave you sweating like cowboy riding through the Saharan Desert.
But since riding without a jacket will leave you a whole lot less protected, it's a much
better idea to pick up a jacket made for the heat of summer. These mesh jackets still will give
you the padding and armor that your winter jacket will without the feeling of being in a
A good mesh jacket to keep you cool in the heat of summer, such as this
Teknic Mercury Motorcycle Jacket, and will be more light weight than your jacket for winter in order to
allow your torso to breathe. As much as you want your winter
jacket to keep the heat in, you'll also want your jacket for warm weather to be able to let the heat
out. Unfortunately, this means that your super sleek leather jacket probably won't get
much ride time in the summer. While it may have practically become your second skin
during the chilly months, leather doesn't have good breathability and will leave you with
a nasty case of heat stroke. Instead, find yourself a good mesh jacket that ranks lower on
the denier scale.
Warm weather jackets have a lower denier count, which makes them a whole lot more breathable
and they also come with some handy vents for extra air flow. These jackets, like this
Firstgear Venture AT Motorcycle Jacket,
will allow your body to breath. While leather and textile jackets are great for some types of riding and weather,
a mesh jacket gives the best amount of breathability in order to keep you cool in the
summer. Unfortunately, because they have a lower denier count, this means that these jackets
are less resistant to abrasion so be sure to pick up some extra armor to protect those high impact areas.
If you find yourself riding in a place that tends to have wet summers, don't feel like
you'll need to find a heavy winter rain jacket to keep you dry. There are several different
types of summer rain jackets that are light enough to not overheat you but still keep you
Now that you know what it takes for a jacket to make the cut in safety, protection and
comfort, feel free to pick a jacket that makes you look how you feel. There are many
different riding styles and jacket manufacturers make a plethora of looks to suit all
types. And since a jacket can say a lot about the type of individual you are (or who you
want people to think you are), don't be afraid to shop for look as well as necessity. You'll
want your jacket to keep you safe while being comfortable as well as suite who you are
as a person.