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
casual style jacket
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.
But all these jacket have a second degree of consideration you need to take
into account: - Genders
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
jackets come in two types of materials; Leather and “The Rest”.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.