Motorcycle Jacket - Buying Guides

Motorcycle Jacket - Buying Guides

Posted by Team Motorcycle on May 3rd 2016

Buying A Motorcycle Jacket

Although motorcycle clothing are all the fashion nowadays, with big name fashion designers making “biker jackets” costing more than most modern motorcycles, real motorcycle jackets serve a purpose higher than fashion; that of saving its owner’s life and making it more comfortable.

Motorcycle jackets come in different types, shapes and sizes, but more importantly, come in different materials.

Choosing the type of motorcycle jacket and its material can be as important as choosing your motorcycle. In fact, you will probably be in your jacket more often then on your motorcycle.

Types of Jackets

Like with anything in life, there are different choices; there are several types of jackets available. The choice of the type of jacket will depend on how you use the motorcycle, but most jackets can be used for different riding styles.

The type of jackets are:


Tight jacket offering little wind resistance

USAGE: Racing and speed riding


WWII aviation style jacket, often with fur inside and the collar.

USAGE: City and country riding


Free fitting, casual style jacket


Off road

Free fitting,not to tight, usually with lots of impact protective areas

USAGE: Motocross, enduro, rally - off -road


Medium length, lots of pockets, rain proof

USAGE: Long distance riding


Airbag jackets are becoming more popular, and come in different technologies, but all have in common, they inflate before impact.

USAGE: Safety

But all these jacket have a second degree of consideration you need to take into account: - Genders


You will need to ensure that the jacket you are about the purchase is for the right gender.

Although women can use jackets for men, they can be uncomfortable depending on some physical attributes of the woman. And men using female motorcycle jackets are going to look a bit strange.

Materials Used

Motorcycle jackets come in two types of materials; Leather and “The Rest”.


Leather is the most common and mostly recognized material used for motorcycle jackets. Leather has as biggest plus points; extremely protective against abrasion, protective against the elements (rain, snow, sun), and it looks extremely cool. Treated well, leather jackets will last for a very long time.

On the downside, leather is much more costly, and because leather protects very well against road-rash, it is quite stiff. This means that a leather jacket will move less freely than other materials.

“The Rest”

All other materials can be good, or maybe not (depending on the manufacturer) as leather, but they will never equal its protective qualities.

Materials such as Kevlar, nylon, Goretech, Demin are all synthetic. Their advantages are that they are usually quite light, move much more freely and can use many different colors. They are also usually cheaper than leather.

On the downside, they offer less protection, especially against road-rash, than leather. Many of them are not rain proof and will need to be coated with rain repellant.


No matter what kind of a jacket you buy, they will all have different features and/or options. Only a motorcycle jacket used for racing will most probably have none, but all other will have several:


Pockets are a minimum to have, and quite often, the more the merrier. You should at the very least have pockets on the outside on both sides, but also pockets inside the jacket.

Ideally, all outside pockets can be closed tightly, for example with a zipper (and the best is a zipper that closes downwards preventing it from opening up by accident), and the very best is to have pockets protected against rain. Many pockets are also closed with Velcro. Whichever you choose, make sure that they are rain proof.

Inside pockets are important to carry your papers, so they will need to be able to be closed as well, or at the very least, have a latch to prevent the papers from escaping. Other types of pockets to look for are sunglass pockets, and even mobile phone pockets.

Air Vents

Even if you don’t live & ride in warm climates, having air vents built-in is a good idea. Jackets can become hot after a while, and cooling down while riding is a good idea.

Vents can be found in the arms of the jacket, the front (usually the top) and in the back. Vents should be rain proof, and easy to open or close, even when riding.


Many jackets have lining, useful for when it gets cold. Do look if the lining can be removed, or even changed for a thicker one in case of winter riding. Most removable lining are attached to the jacket with press-down buttons or Velcro latches. Make sure they are sturdy.

Protective Inserts

  If at all possible, and depending on how you are going to use the jacket, get one that has inserts (often as options) for protection. These armor inserts, often Kevlar, will protect you further in the case of an accident. They can be easily taken out, or inserted, at will. Armor inserts can be found at the elbows, back and front breast.


  If you are getting an off-road jacket, chances are you’ll be wanting a camelback. It’s a good idea to hydrate when riding off-road, and if the hydration pack is inside your jacket, you’ll not be able to forget it, and it can give you some cooling as well.

Sleeve Pocket

Another interesting feature you may want, especially if you go riding long distances, is a sleeve pocket. These pockets will allow you to fold a map into, or road book, giving you an easy glance at instructions. But you can also put your to-do or shopping list in them.

Reflective Materials

One thing to look for, is if the jacket is equipped with reflective materials. Often you will find them in the back and front, and can only be seen when a light hits them. This will make you more visible at night.


Some jackets come with heating, usually in form of an electrical wire you plug into your motorcycle’s electricity circuit.

Getting The Right Size

More important for a motorcycle jacket than for a normal jacket is the size.
You will need to stay comfortable for hours on end, so it needs to fit very well.
Do not look at the size you have for your normal jacket, since remember that you will probably wear many layers of clothing on your bike. Apart from a very hot summer, riding on a motorcycle will cool things down, so you will want to be dressed appropriately. So your jacket will need to be loose.

When buying a jacket on-line, always look at the store’s size charts. Measure yourself (remember that the human body changes over time, so your measurements from last year may have changed), and use those measurements with the store’s chart.

If buying a jacket in a store, not only try them on, but sit (preferably on a motorcycle, but if not, on a chair). Make sure you can move freely.
Now that you have the jacket, don’t forget to wear it.

Click here for a large list of motorcycle jackets