The Vest Buyer's Guide
As the weather begins to heat up, you've started peeling off your jacket and cursing it for
keeping you warm even when you want to stay cool. Even with the liner taken out and
the vents wide open, you still feel like you could fall over at any second with a severe fit
of heat stroke. But you like your spine intact and you know that accidents don't wait for
summer to be over and you to be wearing your hefty jacket again. So that gives you two
options: deal with the heat and sweat out a few pounds during each ride or park your bike
for the summer. You like the idea of losing a little weight just by riding but the
discomfort is almost unbearable and parking your bike for the summer is just not an
option. So what do you do? Buy a vest.
A lot of people think leather wearing, chopper riding, hardcore biker or bright orange
construction vest when they think of motorcycle vests. But in all reality, there are a lot of
different vest styles and materials made to suite all riders who just can't handle sleeves in
the summer. These vests are all meant to give you some sort of extra protection whether
it be by making you more visible or allowing you that extra layer and armor around your
torso. Don't believe us? Well here is everything you need to know about motorcycle
The Safety Vest
You've had to dodge one too many (one is too many all in itself) oblivious car drivers
who just didn't see you on your bike and you never want to go unnoticed again. You
don't care what people have to say about your style because at least you'll be alive to
hear about it. After all, you don't ride to look cool, you ride to feel good and being safe is
the best feeling around. So instead of wearing just another black jacket that makes you more invisible
than you already are, you slap on a one of these bright orange or high-vis yellow safety
vests. We commend you!
These vests are made to be seen and that's exactly what you want. With its high-vis color
and the strips of reflective tape, there's no way to be missed no matter what the time of
day is or the amount of visibility. Plus these vests come in a variety of denier counts and
amounts of protection to vary from being something you can just toss on over your jacket
or wear solo. The more inexpensive of these vests is made purely to increase your
visibility. On the other hand, safety vests like this
Fieldsheer On Base 2.0 Vest have a much higher denier count and can protect your torso
in the event that you happen to lay your bike down. Additionally, these vests have the
special features such as a longer tail to keep wind from whipping up your back to pockets
for your ID and money. This vest is also compliant with military specs in order to allow
for riders to wear them on base. We know that military personnel are required to have an
outermost layer that is compliant with military regulations. Vests like this are perfect for
both riding on and off-base instead of having to buy one for each.
These safety vests are perfect for making sure you never go unnoticed and some will give
you the option of having a protected torso while riding without a jacket.
The Leather Vest
Believe it or not, leather vests serve more purpose than just making you look tough and
giving you something to slap your club's coat-of-arms on. These vests will give you to
some level of protection while allowing your arms to breath in the warm summer air.
Leather is a great material for protection. A good cowhide has a high abrasion resistance
and will protect your supple skin from the pavement if you happen to take a fall. Some of
these vests will also come with additional armor to protect your back and spine (which
seems o be fairly important). Yet manufacturers know that you'll probably be wearing
these bad boys during the warm weather months and often design them to breath better
and let the heat out rather than keep it in. We love this
Icon Regulator Air-Cooled Motorcycle Vest.
Many of these vests are made to either be worn by themselves or over other riding gear
and tend to be slightly adjustable accordingly. Adjustable side straps and Velcro allow
you to make your vest larger or smaller depending on if you would like to wear it solo or
throw it on over a jacket when the weather cools down.
These vests are also great in case you get caught in crappy weather. When you left your
house, the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in sight. But suddenly you find
yourself in a little unexpected rain. A good leather vest will protect your torso from the
sudden harsh conditions until it passes and is certainly better than nothing.
But we do have to admit, the style itself is also a perk of these vests. We know that many
riders belong to groups, which love to put their insignia and patches on their jackets to
represent them. However, as the summer makes it more uncomfortable to wear your
leather jacket, a vest will let you show love for your riding group without having to wear your bulky jacket.
The Textile Vest
So you love the idea of wearing a vest for extra protection while still allowing your body
to breath in warmer weather but you just can't get into the whole leather vest thing. This
doesn't mean that you need to rock your textile street jacket all year round or give up all
torso protection all together. Luckily there are plenty of textile vests that will protect your
precious core without over heating you. We quite fond of the
Joe Rocket Street Vest.
You may even find these vests to be great under your jacket for extra protection in the winter.
These vests are typically made with a higher denier in order to be abrasion resistant and
often come with armor such as a spine protector. With sealed pockets, you won't have to
worry about not having a place to store your stuff and reflective piping will help to make
you visible even at night.
The Off-road Vest
There's no denying that a good off-road ride will make even the fittest rider break a
sweat. So it's typical for an off-road rider to shy away from motorcycle jackets and stick
to the much thinner jersey wear and less bulky armor. But when even the wind whipping
past your toasty torso isn't enough to cool you down, be thankful that vest manufacturers
have managed to design some vests that can aid in cooling you down. Like this
TechNiche Hyperkewl Ultra Sport Vest, these vests are
made with a lightweight material that can be soaked in water and then use the moisture
and air circulation to evaporate body heat away from you and can help keep you cool for
anywhere from two to ten hours per soaking. And when your vest runs out of moisture
and cooling power, it's easy just to re-soak it and continue on your merry way.
If you plan to be riding in a much colder temperature and don't want a bulky jacket to
restrict your range of movement, there are also heating vests that will keep you warm
while still allowing you to have free range of your arms. This
Techniche Ultra Air Activated Heating Vest
has Heat Pax body warmers that can be put in heating pockets on the vest to keep your torso warm. And if
you happen to be riding in an unbearably cold climate where even a jacket and your own
body heat isn't enough to keep you from freezing, this vest is warm enough to throw on
under your jacket for that extra bit of warmth.
Some vests, like this
Alpinestars MX Tactic BNS Motorcycle Vest, are great for giving you that perfect little bit
of extra protection like a chest protector
would while still being super light weight. It can be warn by itself or under your jersey
and the dirt and stone protector and dual density front and rear vented foam protectors are
perfect for keeping your body safe without weighing you down.
Vests are also great for going under jackets. Riding in extremes can be rough even with
the best of jackets and vests can help to keep you warm, cool and extra protected. Many
vests, such as this
Venture 12V Heated Motorcycle Vest, can
easily go under a jacket and have heating pads that will help your jacket in keeping you
warm. If heating pads just aren't enough, there are many different types of electrically
heated vests as well. These vests often come with various heat settings which can be
controlled by a unit that is attachable to something such as your thigh.
Other vests are made with a lightweight fabric that can be soaked in water and worn
under a mesh jacket in the heat in order to help your body release warmth. Some under-
vests are great for giving you an extra bit of protection. This
Alpinestars Track Motorcycle Vest is perfect for wearing
under your jacket during track racing. Since crashes during track races tend to be at high
speeds, having another layer of armor never hurts and this vest is so lightweight that
you'll hardly know it's there.
Motorcycle vests have tons of different helpful uses ranging from keeping you
comfortable to keeping you safe. And pairing them with your favorite jacket can only
multiply the amount of things you can do with them. Whether you're riding a chopper or
playing in nature on an off-road bike, a good vest is a must have in your motorcycle gear