What Is The Best Motorcycle Jacket? (2020 Reviews)
Although many folks want to look and feel good in their motorcycle jacket, aesthetics pale in comparison to the functionality of a motorcycle jacket. Likely, your motorcycle jacket is second in importance only to your helmet. These two items are essential if you’ll be regularly riding your motorcycle. That’s because they not only keep you safe but could save your life one day.
In this guide, we’re going to round up the best motorcycle jackets available today and give you the scoop on each. Before we get to our top picks, let’s dive into the most frequently asked questions to help get everyone up to par when flipping through this guide.
Aside from answering some common questions, we’ll give you the run-down on the essential aspects of motorcycle jackets. It’s a good idea to know what features you should look out for and consider when weighing options before purchasing.
- The 8 Best Motorcycle Jackets
- Alpinestars Viper V2 Air Motorcycle Jacket
- Milano Sport Gamma Motorcycle Jacket
- Joe Rocket Superego Men’s Hybrid
- HWK Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
- Joe Rocket Resistor Mesh Jacket
- Leather Teknik Armored Leather Motorcycle Jacket
- Viking Cycle Textile Warlock Biker Jacket
- Milwaukee Leather Men’s Classic Motorcycle Jacket
- Motorcycle Jacket FAQ
- What’s the best kind of jacket for a hotter climate?
- Are leather jackets better than textile made?
- Are motorcycle jackets waterproof?
- What’s the best way to keep my motorcycle jacket clean and free of smells?
- Motorcycle Jacket Buyer’s Guide
- Price Point
- Fabric Choice
- Style Preference
- Reflective Detailing
- Armor Availability
- Customizations & Adjustability
- Final Verdict
The 8 Best Motorcycle Jackets
Here we’ve rounded up some of our favorite picks. You’ll find a variety of styles, materials, and price points to choose from. In each review, you’ll see the pros, cons, and key features.
Remember that the jacket simply needs to suit your needs, so if you see features listed in cons, and it doesn’t apply to your riding situation, it still may be an excellent jacket for you.
Alpinestars Viper V2 Air Motorcycle Jacket
This motorcycle jacket is a blend of safety, comfort, and style for a highly reasonable price, you can’t beat it for any form of riding.
- Slim fit and style allows you to skip packing extra clothes and wear your jacket to most outings
- Features Bio Armor protectors which are removable
- Mesh paneling for ventilation
- Windproof vest liner
- Weatherproof and abrasion-proof materials including zippers and pockets
- The low-middle price range may be above budget for some
- Maybe more protection than a casual or infrequent rider needs
- Can have a heavier feel than some due to front and back padding and additional armor
The armor in this jacket is unmatched and will help keep you safe. The jacket comes complete with back and chest padding, shoulder, and elbow armor, and abrasion-resistant and waterproof Denier poly-fabric. The jacket offers a sleek look that most folks won’t mind wearing around at their destination, eliminating the need to pack extra clothing.
Milano Sport Gamma Motorcycle Jacket
This budget-friendly sport-style jacket is a top option for those utilizing it for its protective capabilities.
- Available in any size and color options
- Made with waterproof materials
- Elbow and shoulder armor is removable and C.E. certified
- Removable quilted thermal liners
- Ventilation system features mesh interior and zippers for airflow
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as some models
- Could have more C.E. certified armor throughout
- Textile fabric not as abrasion-proof as leather
If you’re looking for a jacket suited for casual wear or daily commute, go ahead and skip this one. This jacket offers many protective elements that are best suited towards a rider who will make use of its functionality. It’s designed with waterproofed materials, a mesh ventilation system, armored padding, and more standard features. The jacket also features removable thermal quilted liners.
Joe Rocket Superego Men’s Hybrid
The Joe Rocket Superego jacket is stylish and protective for your daily commute and street riding but not a wrong choice for those dirt bike riders out there too.
- Designed with dual materials including 2mm leather exterior and strategically placed mesh in high-heat areas of the body
- Maximum heat dissipation via ventilation systems helps keep you cool
- Removable spine pad allows upgrade for C.E. spine protectors
- Dual-density shoulder and elbow armor
- Semi-relaxed and stylish fit
- Doesn’t come with C.E. certified armor
- Can be heavier while worn with cowhide outer shell
- Mid to low pricing may be over budget for some
This super useful dual-material jacket functions as a protective, abrasion-proof jacket for those city commutes and off-road riding alike. It features a variable flow ventilation system, allowing airflow through the mesh lining at zipping off panels to be used at the body’s hottest areas, including the torso, back, and underarms. This jacket is also compatible with C.E. certified spine protectors for those that want to upgrade later.
HWK Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
This motorcycle jacket is made of micro mesh and comes complete with 600D Cordura construction keeping you both protected and fresh.
- All HWK gear comes with a 5-year replacement warranty
- This jacket is fully breathable and an excellent option for warmer riding conditions
- The armor used at elbows and shoulders is fully C.E. certified
- This jacket features a full mesh lining inside
- At 3.3 pounds, the coat is light and airy
- The coat may fit loosely for those on the thinner side; you may need to size down
- For those with smaller arms, the forearm and wrist adjusters may not get as tight as you like them
- Many riders will choose to replace some of the paddings for upgraded or more protective options
This sport style jacket is functional and safe for both street and off-road riders. It comes with a velcroed collar closure, adjustable waist, forearms, and wrists for increased fit options. The outer shell is made from 3D macro and micro-mesh panels with polyester 600D Cordura fabric used on the highest impact areas. This jacket is great for summer riding as it will keep you cool. Reflective detailing helps you maintain visibility in darker riding conditions.
Joe Rocket Resistor Mesh Jacket
This full flex system-made jacket allows for maximum mobility with back expansion panels and 6 point SureFit adjustment system for the most secure fit.
- This jacket features snap loops in case you want to attach the jacket to belt
- The SureFit custom adjustment system allows you to adjust the jacket at the forearms, waist, and more
- The shoulder and elbows have C.E. approved externally accessible armor
- Removable spine pad will enable you to upgrade to C.E. approved spine protector
- Excellent materials and craftsmanship for a budget jacket
- The jacket runs a tad big for some folks, really dependent on chest and waist sizing
- The included liner is a vest only for those looking for a sleeved liner
- Most riders will want to replace the spine pad for C.E. certified
This motorcycle jacket by Joe Rocket is a mesh riding jacket that comes with a full range of features at an affordable price point. The C.E. certified armor in the elbows and shoulders can be accessed and replaced externally via zippered compartments. The high strength fabric includes 600-denier polyester, which is abrasion-resistant and UV resistant. It has additional nylon fabric over the shoulders and elbows for increased durability.
Leather Teknik Armored Leather Motorcycle Jacket
This leather cowhide jacket is durable and comes with the added protection of removable C.E. approved rubber and PU foam padding in the shoulders, elbows, and back panel.
- Features front and back reflective piping increasing visibility
- Additional stitched in padding in the front and back of the jacket for added protection
- Five removable pieces of C.E. approved rubber and molded PU foam absorbs and disperse impact
- One fixed and one removable polyester linings to adjust to the weather while riding
- The jacket includes two side pockets for carrying items
- The coat can have a more substantial feel than some folks are used to
- These jackets may run slightly big, adding a sweater underneath or sizing down is optional
- This jacket doesn’t feature any adjustable fit features so you may not get the snug fit you desire
The Leather Teknik armored riding jacket is an excellent option for those looking for full protection jackets that are useful in a range of weather and riding conditions. The outer leather cowhide material protects from abrasion, while the reflective detailing helps you maintain visibility. Since the jacket doesn’t have the tightest fit, you can add layers for warmth. The interior polyester liner is removable for those riding in warmer temperatures.
Viking Cycle Textile Warlock Biker Jacket
The Viking Cycle Textile Warlock riding jacket is great for visibility, style and comfort without lacking protective capabilities.
- This jacket features 360-degree visibility with reflective detailing in front and back
- Custom-fit with adjustable velcro straps at the cuffs and waist
- Secured internal storage allows room for phone, wallet, and headphone wire system
- The breathable design allows airflow to keep you comfortable, including Air-Flow vents and back mesh paneling
- This jacket of a mesh and textile outer with removable mesh liner inside
- For those smaller in the chest, the jackets can run large; many will need to size down
- The adjustable waist doesn’t get as tight as some may prefer
- The pocket used for back protection runs small, may require trimming of upgraded C.E. approved protection to fit.
This lightweight, breathable jacket is an excellent option for those riding in consistently warm temperatures. Some of the additional pockets restrict airflow, so if you’re in a humid climate, this jacket may be slightly too warm for you. The jacket features an adjustable fit, visibility at 360 degrees, added armored protection that’s removable and upgradeable.
Milwaukee Leather Men’s Classic Motorcycle Jacket
For those of you interested in the classic motorcycle jacket look with a range of features, the Milwaukee Leather perfect motorcycle jacket is a great choice.
- This jacket features premium milled 1.2-1.3 mm leather
- Features a full sleeve removable thermal liner that zips into place for maximum comfort and stability
- The jacket features lace detailing on sides and half belt for an optimal adjustable fit
- Zippered pockets included for storage
- Structured fit helps keep you protected
- There are no interior pockets in the jacket
- There are no pockets for adding C.E. approved armor
- The jacket may not be genuine cowhide leather
This jacket is light enough and comfortable to wear in any weather conditions. The vintage look is appealing to many, and the leather will help you achieve protection from abrasion. The simple design includes exterior pockets for storage and laces upsides to achieve a more secure fit. The half-belt helps keep the jacket safe at the waist.
Motorcycle Jacket FAQ
Will my motorcycle jacket keep me warm in colder temperatures?
A leather riding jacket could potentially keep you warm if you’re riding around in colder temperatures. Many riders find that a leather jacket doesn’t offer much warmth in cold weather, yet can feel very warm in warmer temperatures.
If you’d like to stick with a leather jacket, your best bet is to find one that comes with a textile liner. A well-made leather jacket will fit well, keep you protected and keep you warm if it has the textile liner inside. Many liners are removable so that you can stay cooler in those warmer riding conditions.
What’s the best kind of jacket for a hotter climate?
For those riders who find themselves out in the heat of the day or riding through the long days of summer, a jacket that keeps you fresh is vital. Riding in gear that makes you too hot could put you at risk, especially if you’re prone to dehydration.
To keep safe and healthy, you could go for a mesh motorcycle jacket. These jackets are made with proper ventilation in mind, allowing air to move through the coat, while still keeping you safe. You needn’t worry about a lack of protection with a mesh jacket since they’re often equipped with strategically placed armor and a range of other safety features.
Are leather jackets better than textile made?
If you’re in the market for a great riding jacket, you’re bound to come across the debate of leather jackets versus textile made jackets. For the most part, leather jackets are preferred for one main reason, and that’s your safety. An adequately prepared leather riding jacket is made to protect you from road rash or abrasion in the event you hit the road.
Are motorcycle jackets waterproof?
The typical leather riding jacket isn’t going to be waterproof, but they are mostly water repellent. If you’re concerned about getting wet in the rain, a leather jacket is likely to keep most water out, but not all. In light to medium drizzle, you should be OK. For riding in more massive or consistently rainy climates, you may opt for a jacket with better waterproofing.
What’s the best way to keep my motorcycle jacket clean and free of smells?
Everyone is certainly aware that if you take care of your things, they will last longer, that goes without saying when it comes to your riding jacket. Since a motorcycle jacket is an investment in your safety, you likely want to know the best way to care for it to increase its lifespan.
If you have a leather riding jacket, you can use a soft, wet cloth to clean the exterior of the coat and allow it to dry. You may want to spray it with a waterproofing solution to help keep moisture out of the cowhide. You can treat the jacket now with leather balm, oil, or vaseline if you’re willing.
This will help keep the jacket from drying out and keep it soft and pliable. With regular cleaning, the coat should last you a long time to come.
If you have a textile made jacket, you’ll want to read all materials provided with the jacket since most manufacturers will provide cleaning and care instructions. Your instructions will vary based on the materials used in your coat.
Many textile made jackets will be safe for machine wash. If your jacket has become dirty or smelly, you can use more detergent or cleaning boosters. Hang your coat to air dry and further treat it with a waterproofing spray to help keep moisture and dirt out.
Motorcycle Jacket Buyer’s Guide
Before you get started with considering your favorite riding jacket options, here are a few key features you’ll want to take note of. This short guide will help give you some reminders, so you’re not left with the buyer’s regret later on down the road.
Some folks don’t need to consider price heavily with their purchase since they feel comfortable making the initial investment into gear that will hopefully last and keep them safe. Others may want to pick a broad price range to accommodate their budget. Since motorcycle jackets can range anywhere from $50 to $1000, it’s always a good idea to have at least a price bracket in mind when you’re looking over the options.
The two main types of motorcycle jackets are those made of leather and those made of other textiles. Leather jackets can range in price and quality, and you’ll pay a higher dollar amount for top quality leather since it offers the most protection from abrasion.
If you consistently ride in warm to hot weather, you might find the weight and warmth of a leather jacket unrealistic. Textile jackets tend to be lighter in weight and more comfortable all around. Since they aren’t made of abrasion-proof leather, many are manufactured with other features like armor, venting materials, and leather accents to help make them more protective.
Four types of motorcycle jackets are the most common. Here’s a quick run down of features for each.
- Racing – These are tight-fitting jackets made typically made with high abrasion-resistant materials, added internal armor, and exterior sliders.
- Cruiser – These jackets are the ones people most often think of and are usually made from cowhide with a relaxed fit, often they don’t come with armor.
- Adventure/dual sport – This style of jacket typically comes with armor built-in or the option to purchase additional armor to use in them. The coats often made from breathable and waterproof textiles with key features like liners, ventilation, and higher collars for extra coverage.
- Street/sport – You’ll find this style of jacket to have a more relaxed fit than that of a racing jacket but typically include a removable liner, and all the protective features you might find in a racing jacket.
Many jackets come with some reflective detailing throughout the coat to help increase your visibility at night. This is an important safety feature, especially for those who will regularly ride at night. Even a simple reflective logo might make a difference in your safety and visibility.
Motorcycle jackets can come with a range of liners, both removable and non-removable. They can come in the form of a vest or full sleeves inside the jacket to help keep warm. Some have a waterproofing design. Liners aren’t completely necessary but can be useful for folks, depending on their typical riding conditions.
Riding in warmer conditions can get uncomfortably, quickly. For relief from the heat, look for jackets that have some type of ventilation system. You may find some jackets with mesh detailing or zippers to help with ventilation and those with ve complete ventilation systems built-in.
You can find armored jackets in a range of styles. Some armor is built into the coat, replaceable (such as replaceable screw-in sliders), and some can purchased to put into pre-made pockets. Some “armor” in jackets are areas like knees and elbows that have multiple layers of fabric for added protection.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to assure your armor is C.E. approved and find a jacket that protects all of your high impact areas.
Customizations & Adjustability
A well-fitting jacket will help keep you more protected. Look for jackets that have adjustable fits at the neck, waist, sleeves. Fit adjusters can also help keep water out of your jacket when riding in wet weather.
It’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics of a jacket, many folks do. Motorcycle collisions and accidents can lead to severe injuries, and too often, fatalities. Although you may be an experienced and tactful rider, you share the road with others who may not be as diligent on the way as you.
For that reason, choosing a jacket that takes your safety needs into consideration above all else, should be the priority. Leather jackets offer the most abrasion protection. Leather also has more give to it, allowing for the fabric to stretch rather than tear. Many jackets integrate armor into the jacket seamlessly. Always be diligent on the road and be safe riding.
When it comes down to a final review and various user testing, we found that our top favorites from this line up were Alpinestars Viper V2 Air Motorcycle Jacket as the higher-end model and the HWK Mesh Motorcycle Jacket as the budget model.
We know that some people are looking for the most aesthetically pleasing jacket, and while we don’t discount that, we left the look of the jacket somewhat towards the low end of priority here. We tested jackets for functionality, affordability with the most protective elements.
Both of these jackets are great for the beginner, intermediate, and experienced rider. We felt that both were functional for street and city riding, were great options for a daily commute, and were useful in a range of weather conditions. Both options allow for a jacket that provides an extended return on investment as they are well made, protective, and built to last.
We hope that you found this guide helpful and informative and wish you the best in finding a jacket that suits all your needs!