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Jackets are such stylish pieces of clothing to wear even in themselves. But, if you are a rider, the value of this accessory increases two-folds. A motorcycle jacket is different from what you casually wear in style and functionality as well.
And thanks to the Schott brothers that came up with the ‘Perfecto’ idea of motorcycle jackets in 1913 (Perfecto was the name given to the jacket).
As far as motorcyclists are concerned, protective gear does not limit to helmets only.
Motorcycle jackets are a big add-on. The market is flooded with a wide range of jackets. And choosing the right one for you can be a headache sometimes, especially if you are new to the game.
Inspired by this style-cum-safety gear, we are presenting you a guide on ‘how to choose the perfect Motorcycle Jacket in 2022’.
Complete Guide: Choosing Perfect Motorcycle Jacket
Besides being protective gear, here are some add-ons on the reasons to buy your jackets without wasting any more time.
- These enhance your looks by adding to your style statement.
- These boost the comfort of riding.
- Not to forget, these protect your skin from external elements.
Now, let us take you straight to the motorcycle jacket guide to help you choose the right motorcycle jacket for yourself.
Let us quickly tell you the things you might need to check while purchasing yourself the best motorcycle jacket:
- Material of the jacket
- Armor protection
- Style of the jacket
- Fit of the jacket
- Visibility of the jacket
1. Material of the jacket
Traditionally, motorcycle jackets used to come in classic leather style. Of late, the material of jackets has seen quite a few changes.
Below is a brief of jacket materials with their positives and negatives:
The presented image of jackets has always been that of leather.
- Great fit.
- Naturally abrasion resistance.
- They give a better level of protection.
- Best for mild weather.
- Thicker material adds to the weight.
- Water repellent but not waterproof.
- They get super hot in the summers making riding uncomfortable.
Leather Motorcycle jackets come in two styles:
Casual: These come in multiple styling options and suit almost any bike style.
Sports: These are designed especially for high-speed racing and are uncomfortable for the laid-back riding position and also come with pre-curved sleeves designed for aggressive riding positions. These also come with metal shoulder plates and speed humps at the back.
1.2 Synthetic or textile:
- Best for hot conditions.
- Ease in breathability.
- Easy to carry off the bike.
- Not suitable for off-roading.
- Abrasion resistance is not as good as the leather alternative.
These come in three different variations:
Riding shirts: These are casual clothing shirts with protection. They are fit for quick rides and can be modified for extra safety features.
Mesh jackets: These lightweight jackets provide better slide and abrasion resistance than riding shirts. These come with armors on shoulders and elbows. A pocket for the back is provided as well. It is suitable for the hottest weather.
Full textile jackets: These jackets are suitable for all weather types. The inner liners provide both waterproofing and windproofing. The thermal liners keep your body warm during cold weather. You can remove these during hot weather.
2. Armor Protection
Armors protect the main parts of the body in case of any mishappening. Some jackets come with shoulder and elbow armors only. Others cover the forearms, back, and chest as well.
You can choose to depend upon your budget and riding style.
The cheap motorcycle jackets come with integrated armors that are foam sewn in a closed pocket covering only the elbows. Others come with removable armors.
There are these pockets given on the exterior. One can remove the armors to convert these into casual jackets.
Whether you choose to go for integrated or removable armors, make sure that these are made up of good quality and cover vital body parts.
Good armors are made up of dual-density foam, covered with memory foam, and then armors and plastic over the foam.
It is better to choose armors built up of Kevlar or carbon fiber.
There are two levels of armor testing done by the brands.
In level 1, armors are tested against the maximum transmitted force below 18kN with no value exceeding 24kN. This level is fit for knee, hip, elbow and shoulder pads.
In level 2, armors are tested against the maximum transmitted force below 9kN with no value exceeding 12kN. This level of testing is done for back protection.
The motorcycle jackets with CE (European conformity) or AS (Australian Standard) labels are best to use. The manufacturers are going for destruction tests to check the suitability.
Abrasion resistance, Impact resistance to a sharp object, and burst strength are some of the testing criteria to get these safety labels.
Jackets also come with full-body armors these days that provide padding on the chest and spinal area also.
3. Style of the jacket
The manufacturers are giving you a wide range of styles to choose your perfect motorcycle jacket. Mainly, they come in four categories:
These come in both leather and textile material to suit your specific needs. All these categories are designed keeping a different riding style in mind.
Cruiser motorcycle jackets fit the image of classic motorcycle jackets.
These are usually in leather material. But, manufacturers are coming up with textile options in cruiser jackets as well.
These come with no armors usually but, with the advancement in armor technology, these jackets are coming up with armor pockets that can be modified as per your need.
Style, comfort, and reliability are the points of focus. The fit is generally looser to add up to the comfort level of the rider.
Sports motorcycle jackets are relaxed racing jackets. These are the casual styling options.
These jackets are fit for the racing-style but, these are more comfortable and relaxed due to the loose fit.
The material used in designing these jackets is synthetic usually. But, there are a few leather variables also. You can go for the combination of both the materials as well.
These jackets are suitable for all seasons because of the venting and the removable liners that help to keep the jacket warm during cold weather and dry during rains.
There aren’t a lot of pockets but still more than provided in racing jackets. Armors are the common feature of these street jackets.
Racing Jackets need to have high abrasion resistance due to the aggressive riding speeds.
That’s why the most common material used in designing racing jackets is thick cowhide because of its natural high abrasion-resistant property.
Some main areas of jackets are fitted with synthetic stretch panels to provide mobility and comfort to the rider.
The jacket is equipped with internal sewn-in armors as well as external TPU sliders to protect against impacts of high speeds and slides.
Pockets are generally missing and, if present, very few. The fit is made aerodynamic, hence on the tighter side.
Pre-curved sleeves are designed especially for aggressive riding positions by reducing the fatigue of the rider.
The racing motorcycle jackets have zippers at the waist to pair them with the riding pants that prevent them from sliding up during any fall.
Adventure and dual sports jackets are made especially for adventure rides and are designed to meet the requirements of such riding situations.
Since the jackets are made a fit for all weather conditions, they are made with highly durable textile materials that are breathable and waterproof at the same time.
There is a lot of venting beside the insulated liners to make these jackets compatible with all the weather conditions.
Armor is always present, whether it is sewn-in or removable. There are a lot of pockets that come in handy on longer trips.
The jacket usually falls below the waist for better coverage and the collars are high for complete neck coverage.
4. Fit of the jacket
Motorcycle jackets come in three cut styles and you can choose your perfect one as per the fit you want. These are American fit, European fit, and the Racing fit.
American fit gives you more room at the waist, shoulders, and arms. These are regular or touring fit jackets.
European fit has a closer fit and is more tapered in shape. It is the slim cut or sports cut.
Racing fit offers a snug fit and pre-curved arms. These jackets provide comfort and mobility at higher speeds and give flexibility in a 3-quarter to the full-tuck riding position.
The motorcycle jackets come in three lengths that overlap your body in different positions.
Shortest-length jacket comes with a zip-up at the waist and has to be attached with riding pants to prevent sliding up of the protective gear.
Mid-length jackets have more overlap with the pants and cover your torso completely.
Touring jackets are more versatile in their performance. These are suitable to be worn in cold weather as well. These have a better overlap and cover the crotch area fully.
The point to be noted here is that the better the overlap of the jacket with your body, the better it is to protect you during any crash.
Also, the jackets should fit snugly so that armors fall naturally on the areas they need to provide protection: elbows, shoulders, forearms, and back.
The motorcycle jacket should not be very loose to slide during accidents and it shouldn’t be very tight at the same time to avoid rashes.
It is better that you measure your size with the help of somebody before buying yourself a motorcycle jacket to find your perfect fit.
Take a measuring tape and note down the readings of your chest. Breathe normally while taking measurements.
If you hold your breath, you will not get the correct reading. Next, measure the length of your arms.
The size of the sleeves depends very much on the style of the jacket you have opted for.
Generally, sports and racing jackets have slightly shorter sleeves to provide room for gloves.
So, it is better to consider the style of the motorcycle jacket beforehand.
Then, measure your torso and note down the correct readings. The torso is the area above your waist, just an inch above the belly button.
Make sure you are covering the actual body part.
After taking the measurements, refer to the size chart of the brand and choose your perfect size.
6. Visibility of the jacket
The one thing that should never be taken for granted is the visibility of your jacket at night.
Understandably, all-black jackets look more stylish than others but, your safety is equally important.
This reflective material shines bright when light falls on them during the night ride, adding up to your safety.
The brands are now coming up with motorcycle jackets having just an apt amount of reflective materials on the seams and hem.
So, you are not compromising with the style or the safety.
If you have a jacket without any visibility, you can wear a reflective layer on top during night rides.
There are some additional points to consider while investing in a motorcycle jacket for extra safety:
Seams: One of the common reasons for motorcycle jacket failures is the bursting of seams. Go for seams with triple stitching.
While purchasing one, pull the seam apart. If the holes elongate or the thread stretches, it indicates the poor quality of the jacket.
Panels: Go for the product with fewer panels. More panels pose a greater risk of failure during crashes.
Zippers: The zippers should move freely and securely. It should fasten right up to the top and easily separate at the bottom.
Fastenings: There should be fastenings on the cuffs and pockets.
Check one around the waist as well to match it with trousers. If you don’t have matching trousers, take the help of your tailor.
Apart from the leather and textile jackets, manufacturers are coming up with vegan-friendly motorcycle riding jackets and trousers.
These are made up of highly abrasion-resistant polyethylene and full Kevlar inner lining.
These provide much-needed protection, are waterproof and vented.
Don’t confuse these with non-faux leather or leather look-alike jackets which are fashion garments only.
You can also choose the full-body motorcycle riding gear in this material.
The brands are also launching motorcycle jackets specially designed for women. These women’s motorcycle jackets are made to fit the feminine body perfectly.
These look stylish and are abrasion-resistant for complete protection as well.
Just as the investment in motorcycle jackets, their maintenance is equally important.
Textile jackets are easier to wash and maintain.
Leather jackets need special attention. Remove the armors, wash the jacket.
It is better to avoid machine washing. Apply the leather shining polish on the jacket to enhance life.
Motorcycle jackets not just provide you with protection but also add up to your style statement.
Choosing the best motorcycle jacket for you can be a tedious job, especially with many options available in the market.
It becomes necessary to have a brief idea about the material and style you want.
With the correct measurements, kind of material you want, the information about the style, things you must check while purchasing a motorcycle jacket for you, you can buy yourself the best motorcycle jacket that besides, protecting you, enhances your style also.
In the above article, we have covered all the information needed to choose the perfect motorcycle jacket.
This motorcycle jacket guide makes the information handy and understandable even for beginners.
We hope this proves to be helpful. Wear your protective gear, ride a lot and be safe.
If you think you have some more points regarding the topic, then you should write them in the comment section below.
We are happy to hear from you.
“RIDE SAFE, LIVE SAFE“