Best Motorcycle Jackets – Buyer’s Guide
Anyone who’s owned a motorcycle for a considerable period of time or, even those who simply know people who do, are aware of that accidents do indeed happen. Unlike cars, however, motorcycles feature very minimal protection in case of an accident. This is the main reason why owning an appropriate motorcycle jacket is so important. In addition to protection from impacts and sliding, they offer protection from the elements as well since most jackets provide some form of waterproofing or insulation. To help you stay safe, warm, and dry while on your bike we’ve compiled a list of five motorcycle jackets, and included some information at the bottom of this article to help you pick the right one for you.
Best Motorcycle Jackets of 2018
|Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 (Editor's Choice)||S-5XL; M Tall- XXXL Tall||Variety||Textile||Armor at the shoulders and elbows; Removable spine pad with pocket for optional C.E. spine armor, Sculpted high density padding at ribs, kidneys and lower back||+|
|Hot Leathers Classic||40 - 70||Black||Leather||No|
|Joe Rocket Atomic Men's 5.0||S-5XL; M Tall- XXXL Tall||Variety||Textile||Externally accessible C.E. approved armor in shoulders & elbows|
Removable Spine Armor with Pocket for Optional C.E. Spine Protector
|Viking Cycle Asger||S-XXXL||White; Black||Textile||Exterior polycarbonate armor for shoulder protection||+|
|Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Ladies Black Classic||XS-XXXXXL||Black||Leather||No|
1. Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 – Best Mesh Textile Motorcycle Jacket for Summer
If you live in a warm climate, then you know how brutal it can be to wear your riding jacket on hot and humid days. In the past, when leather riding jackets were the only option, you had to make the choice between either riding with no protection, which can be very dangerous, or to suffer through the heat in a thick leather jacket. Thankfully, more modern materials have allowed the creation of mesh shell jackets that can breathe easily and keep the rider cool in any weather. The first jacket on our list is designed to do just that and can keep you cool in hot and humid environments thanks to its mesh shell that is reinforced with RockTex padding in key areas.
This motorcycle jacket is the lightest on our list and weighs only about 4 pounds with all of the included padding. The armor included is C.E. approved and covers the shoulders and elbows. There’s also a removable spine pad in a specially designed pocket for additional armor, and sculpted high-density padding at the ribs, kidneys, and lower back. Anywhere that isn’t covered with padding is made from breathable FreeAir mesh that will keep you cool on very hot days. The jacket also comes with a zipper secured removable waterproof liner that will make the jacket warmer and will also prevent rain from coming through the mesh. The jacket is designed with a six-point SureFit adjustment system as well as both zippers and snap loops for attaching pants. The jacket even features two hand warmer pockets on the outside, an internal breast pocket for storing wallets and IDs, a pocket designed for eyeglass storage, and a reflective strip for maximum visibility and safety in any lighting. This jacket comes in 12 different colors and designs that include vibrant neon colors such as yellow and green, as well as more simple and understated black or white.
- Lightest and most breathable jacket on our list
- C.E. approved armor on the spine, shoulders, and elbows
- Included removable waterproof liner for riding in the rain
- Comes in a wide array of colors
- Pockets are pretty small
2. Hot Leathers Classic – Best Leather Motorcycle Riding Jacket
For those who love the classic biker style, a leather jacket is essential to pulling off the look. The Hot Leathers classic motorcycle jacket is excellently designed to not only match the look of a traditional biker jacket, but also offers considerably more safety to the wearer than riding without a jacket. This jacket also has plenty of convenient pockets and adjustments to get the right fit on your chest and waist. The jacket is made from medium weight top grain leather that looks amazing and will stand up to many years of very regular use. The leather is dark black and is punctuated by a variety of chrome buttons and zippers.
This eye-catching jacket features side lace and a half belt for tightening the jacket appropriately on your ribs and waist to make sure it doesn’t move around during riding or in case of a spill. The jacket also has three outside zippered pockets and one buttoned pocket that offer plenty of storage for wallets, keys, and phones. The jacket also comes with a zip out quilted lining for riding in the winter or colder environments. The leather jacket alone even without the quilted lining is pretty warm and not entirely appropriate for hotter climates. Additionally, this jacket lacks any kind of armor and is not C.E. approved. While leather has been trusted for many years and is extremely abrasion resistant should you end up sliding off of your bike, the lack of armor means that it simply does not stack up to modern jackets in regards to safety.
- Looks amazing
- High quality leather construction
- Includes zip-out quilted liner for cold days
- Lacks any armor making it not C.E. approved
- Very hot even without the quilted liner
3. Joe Rocket Atomic Men’s 5.0 – Best Waterproof Motorcycle Touring Jacket for Body Protection
Next on our list is a riding jacket designed to have a comfortable fit and offer maximum protection. Joe Rocket Atomic men’s 5.0 motorcycle jacket is a sleek and modern looking riding jacket that boasts a fitted cut to keep the jacket and padding close to your body for maximum safety, as well as a patent-pending ventilation system. The jacket itself is constructed of RockTex and Hitena, both of which are modern state-of-the-art materials that are highly abrasion resistant and durable in the case of an accident but aren’t entirely breathable. This is where the variable flow ventilation system comes in, as the jacket has two long zippers on either side of the main zipper that open up mesh pockets that allowed air to flow through the jacket. The outer shell is waterproof as well as the variable ventilation zippers so simply closing the cross-linked ventilation pockets makes the jacket waterproof and perfect for riding in the rain.
For safety, the jacket features externally accessible C.E. approved armor in the shoulders and elbows. The jacket also comes with removable spine armor that is also C.E. approved and gives optional spine protection. This C.E. approved protection is essential for anyone looking for the safest possible motorcycle jacket and the spine armor is especially important. The jacket has a variety of pockets on the waist and arms, which can be great for storing small items such as keys or IDs.
- C.E approved padding on the shoulders, elbows, and spine
- Outer shell is made of high-tech highly abrasion resistant materials
- Patent-pending ventilation system makes the jacket breathable when needed, and waterproof when it matters
- Small pockets make it hard to fit large phones or other large items into the jacket
4. Viking Cycle Asger – Best Armored Motorcycle Jacket for Winter
The jackets we’ve looked at so far all share a common problem. They have several pockets, but the pockets are often small and might even be inconvenient to access as many riding jackets have pockets on the shoulder or upper arm. The Viking cycle Asger motorcycle jacket is designed to provide ample storage for all of your devices and anything else you carry while riding, while at the same time making them easily accessible. The jacket has padding on the shoulders, elbows, and spine while the shell is made from Tritex waterproof fabric and boasts a number of unique and convenient pockets.
On either side of a chest, this jacket has a pocket for a phone or media player, both of which have internal access to the headphone wiring system. This lets you route headphones through the neck of the jacket straight to your ears to prevent the cable from getting tangled inside of the jacket. There’s also an eyeglass pocket as well as a larger pocket which can be used for tablets up to 10 inches on the right side of the jacket towards the stomach. On the inside of the jacket there is a hidden pocket on the left towards the bottom, and on the right hip of the jacket is an extendable key holder that allows you to fasten your keys to the inside of the jacket and pull them out when needed. The jacket even has a pocket specially designed for travel documents such as passports that is easily accessible when they’re needed and can also be used for things such as wallets and IDs.
- Tons of pockets that are large and easily accessible
- Headphone wire system for preventing cables from tangling inside the jacket
- Waterproof and breathable
- Armor in the shoulders, elbows, and spine are not tested for C.E. approval
5. Milwaukee Leather LC2700 Ladies Black Classic – Best Looking Women’s Motorcycle Jacket
The last jacket we’ll be taking a look at is the Milwaukee Leather classic motorcycle jacket for ladies. This jacket features a very similar design to the first leather jacket we looked at but is hemmed and designed specifically to fit women. Having a motorcycle jacket that is appropriately fitted to your body is more important than many people realize, and it’s actually a matter of safety more than a matter of style. Loose jackets don’t offer the same protection that a fitted jacket would and can become cumbersome when they blow around in the wind or could even slide off exposing your back in an accident. For this reason getting a ladies jacket if you are a woman is incredibly important.
This jacket is made from thick premium milled cowhide leather that is water resistant and extremely durable. The jacket also features adjustments on the sides as well as a half belt to adjust the waist to an appropriate fit. The jacket also has the same pocket layout as the other leather jacket we looked at with three zippered pockets and one smaller buttoned pocket. While leather jackets are durable and highly abrasion-resistant in case of a slide, they completely lack the armor that more modern jackets have and don’t offer much protection from impacts. Additionally, leather jackets are on the warm side and not appropriate for riding in hot weather.
- Looks amazing
- Properly fitted for women
- Very hot to wear during the warmer months
- Lacks any armor
Whether you’re shopping for your first motorcycle jacket, or are looking for an upgraded replacement to an existing one, it can be hard to know whether you’re getting a good product. To help you make the right choice, we’ve compiled this list of five hand-picked jackets that are all top of the line and guaranteed to offer safety and comfort. Each of the jackets on our list was picked based off of a variety of factors, and each of the jackets on this list specializes in a slightly different area. In this guide, we’ll go over the important factors to look at when choosing a motorcycle jacket, and touch on which of these jackets might be right for you based on your needs.
Textile vs. Leather
The first decision you have to make when shopping for a motorcycle jacket is whether you want a jacket made of leather or more modern textiles. Leather jackets offer a classic look that is highly sought-after by many motorcycle riders. Leather has been the material of choice when it comes to motorcycle jackets for many decades since leather is naturally waterproof and is also highly abrasion resistant. This means that should you fall off your bike and slide the jacket will be able to absorb almost all of the damage that the concrete will inflict. Leather jackets are also very warm and comfortable in colder climates. Both of the leather jackets on our list, the Hot Leathers classic motorcycle jacket and the Milwaukee leather ladies classic, are made of high-quality leather to ensure a long life and feature a classic look with a diagonal zipper, a large collar to protect you from the wind, and several pockets.
More modern jackets are made from advanced textiles that are widely considered to be as durable as leather, but these materials are typically more breathable. This prevents you from getting sweaty inside of the jacket and can be very important in hot weather. Textile jackets are also typically waterproof, or at least come with a waterproof liner, as well as being outfitted with more modern safety features. Textile jackets have armor on key areas such as the elbows, shoulders, and spine that can protect from impact much more than leather jackets can. Textile jackets often have a sleeker look and are thinner and often lighter than leather jackets.
Another important thing to look for in a motorcycle jacket is what kind of safety certification it has. At the time of writing this buyer’s guide there are no safety regulations for motorcycle jackets in the US, however, Europe has a safety standard that is set up to approve certain motorcycle jackets. Jackets that pass this test are marked as C.E. approved and have been tested to hold up to regulation standards. The standards mostly focus on the armor that is placed inside of textile jackets and ensures that they are appropriately resistant and can absorb both impact and abrasion. If you’re looking for the safest jacket it’s important to make sure the jacket is C.E. approved.
The jackets on our list that are C.E. approved include the Joe Rocket Phoenix and the Joe Rocket Atomic men’s motorcycle jackets. Both of these jackets have approved shoulder, elbow, and spine padding that can be a literal lifesaver in case of an accident. Often the spine padding on many of the jackets is removable, and if the padding is taken out the jacket is no longer C.E. approved to protect your spine.
Having a jacket that is appropriate for the weather that you’ll be riding in is essential for both safety and comfort. A jacket that is too warm in a hot climate can result in chafing inside of the jacket when you become sweaty, while a jacket that is too light for a cold climate can result in numbness in the hands and feet which results in poor grip on the handlebars and can make riding unsafe.
If you live in a very warm climate and ride mostly during the summer, then the Joe Rocket Phoenix is a great choice. This jacket is highly breathable and does an excellent job at keeping the wearer cool in almost any weather. If it rains, the jacket is still appropriate as it comes with a removable waterproof liner that can be easily zipped into the jacket in order to keep you dry while you ride.
In very cold climates, a leather jacket can be a great option. Leather is naturally very insulative and is also impermeable to both water and wind, meaning you’ll be able to retain your body heat no matter how fast you’re riding. Leather jackets such as the Hot Leather classic motorcycle jacket are also designed with very high collars that can be buttoned up to help protect your neck from the cold wind. Additionally, the Hot Leathers classic motorcycle jacket comes with a zip-out quilted lining that can make the jacket even more warm in very cold climates.
Pockets and Storage
While some motorcycles have saddlebags, and other riders prefer to bring a backpack along with them when they ride, some people simply want to throw on their jacket and go for a ride without any extra equipment. If this is the case for you, then it’s important to get a jacket that has appropriately-sized pockets. The Viking Cycle Asger motorcycle jacket is a great choice in this situation as it features a huge variety of pockets that can fit almost anything ranging from wallets and passports all the way to 10-inch tablets. This jacket even features a headphone wiring system that directs headphones from the pockets straight into the neck of the jacket to prevent the cables from becoming tangled.
Owning and wearing a motorcycle jacket is an essential part of safety when riding a bike. Not only that, but they can vastly improve comfort when riding in the cold or the rain. On top of this, they offer a cool look and go a long way toward helping you look the part on your bike. All of the jackets we looked at on our list were specifically picked for being exceptional products that are durable and offer safety to the wearer. We hope our guide has given you a clear idea of which jacket is right for you, but regardless of which one you pick off our list, we’re sure it will serve you well and offer both comfort and safety for many years.