Before you even have the steed in your garage, the top two pieces of gear you need prior to hopping on a bike is a helmet and a motorcycle jacket. You keep all your most precious meat in your head and torso, making protecting them priority numero uno. To leave home without this basic coverage is to play a fast game of Russian roulette. Plus, you look like a jackass riding around in your T-shirt and chinos, so take the basic safety precautions and keep all your squishy, wobbly bits on the inside. Your family with thank you when they don’t need a spatula to put you into your coffin.
Why You Should Always Wear a Motorcycle Jacket
There’s more to strapping on your bitchin’ leathers than the average rider takes into account. Like a good pair of jeans, they are designed not only to protect your primary impact points during a crash, or when you’re forced to lay your cycle down in the street, but also to enhancing your ride.
Stylish, Cool or Armored Jacket?
Being exposed to weather and being comfortable can affect a rider’s performance as much as how well-tuned their bike is and how good the road conditions are. Just because you can’t text and ride – unless you’re a straight-up idiot – doesn’t mean you won’t be distracted and thrown off your game, leading to a crash. Jackets are meant to prevent that disaster from ever happening, as well as protect you when it does.
Plus, they look way more badass than your ironic bowling shirt. So suit up and get out there with the 17 best motorcycle jackets for looks, safety, and comfort.
We’ve rarely met a casual rider who wanted to stay that way, but those who like hitting the track on occasion, or taking their ATV out, but aren’t in need of more than the basics need look no further than this standard armored piece. Capable of wear in most weather, it’s not going to keep you warm and dry at all times, choosing to instead cover you only when it matters most for a modest investment. Purchase: $55
#2 – AGV Sport Sniper Jacket
Waterproofing, a thermal liner, and deep-seated protection loaded up from the word go gives the Sniper an edge for any cold-weather rider who is trying to get on the road with weather and wetness durability without a crippling price tag. Purchase: $120
#3 – Roland Sands Ramone Jacket
Heavy as hell using 18 oz. duck cotton, this is as much a field jacket as a motorcycle shell, giving you 3+ seasons worth of wear. Box cut and classy, cold weather riders who don’t have a ton of scratch on hand should note that it slides in cheap, but has a build like a Carhartt coat you can lean on. Purchase: $150
What’s glorious about the Air-Frame is that it has lots of airflow for those long, hot summer rides, but also comes with a whole range of inserts that cheat cold and flow so you can eke out as much or as little warmth as you need while still getting plenty of permeable protection. Purchase: $250
Klim’s aptitude in the aggressive sport world takes a back seat on the Induction, showing that they can make a kinder, gentler piece of equipment on the outside, that has all the hard-hitting carbonite mesh super duty construction that they’ve brought to bear in the past. It’s an all-day, 3-season, warm weather bomb-stopper. Purchase: $350
#6 – Klim Traverse Jacket
Here’s more what riders have come to expect from the Klim name. Dual layers of Gore-Tex made for cold weather riding, the updated and upgraded Traverse is meant to keep water and wetness at bay while offering layering options for not only riding, but any outdoor sports you choose to attack when the temperature drops. Purchase: $320
When Saint says unbreakable, they aren’t just mouthing it at you. You’ll get some plain jane cotton denim in the mix, but the real frosting is the Dyneema’s UHMWPE fibers that are rated at 20 times the tensile strength of standard denim. It’s a long haul chunk of gear. Purchase: $150 – $200
Honoring the first Bell helmet ever made by the iconic brand, only 250 numbered pieces are made, but they’re amazing jackets that cram decades of motorcycle progress into a single garment. 100% horsehide bearing a bi-swing back and underarm footballs, there’s also a pile liner for heading out into the autumn and winter weather. Purchase: $900
#9 – Iron & Resin x Vanson Mojave Jacket
A three-seasoner that is built from 14 ounces of waxed cotton canvas, the center zipper is all brass and swings both ways. Outfitted with an array of button pockets and a deerskin collar stand to complement the flannel liner, it’s hard to find a bad time for this beauty. Purchase: $495
Dainese tends to grab the European market with liners that can’t be removed. Here they’ve added in a totally removable Gore-Tex interior with plenty of waterproofing, a soft shell interior right in the box, and the outer shell with massive chest vents that offer the ability to ride even when the sun shines. A lot of bang for your buck. Purchase: $550
#11 – Spidi Firebird Jacket
Wrapped in a bomber jacket aesthetic thanks to the Nubuck leather, you won’t be able to wrangle much airflow out of the Firebird, but it will give you armor at all the joints and gobs of protection from wind, rain, snow, and possibly falling brimstone, making it good for those who really ride in all conditions. Purchase: $650
#12 – Aether Skyline Motorcycle Jacket
Astounding warmth that comes from the 3-layer Field Nylon proves that skipping the leather is a smart move when warmth is your ultimate aim. Waterproof and abrasion resistant, with vents to spare and mesh pockets for all you could want out on the road, just pick a gorgeous color and ride off. Purchase: $650
#13 – Rukka AiRock Jacket
Two jackets for the price of…well, two, the AiRock brings the finest textiles in the world all the way from Finland to give us this mixable, breathable moto coat. Technically a warm weather riding jacket, a massive waterproof Gore-Tex liner adds in months of function if you don’t mind the weighty hit on your wallet. Purchase: $720
#14 – Rokker Revolution Jacket
From a company that has forgotten more about motorcycle jeans than most will ever know, it’s possible the Revolution is the perfect denim motoring jacket. It’s simple, breathable, yet water and windproof with a non-abrasive exterior that doesn’t catch or snag and a fit that’s all casual, until it isn’t. Purchase: $761
#15 – Buck Mason Moto Jacket
Odds are you already have some of Buck Mason’s incredible American-made gear in your closet already. If not, it’s your loss and time to step it up. That 6 oz. calf hide made in striking black is downtown chic with a belted front and slash pockets that bring classic moto jacket function home to roost. Purchase: $495
#16 – Alpinestars Tech Air
Not truly a jacket, but a vest airbag system, there’s little else out on the road that can compete with this simple sensor array for rider safety. Capable of inflating in a tenth of a second, it protects your chest, shoulders, back, and precious kidneys during a crash, all without needing to be tied to a particular bike. Not in the US yet, but just wait. Purchase: ~$1,000
#17 – Eclipse Motorcycle Jacket
Old and new collide in this modern Italian leather piece with box quilting at the top to add in a retro feel. This also crosses the streams when it comes to build, thanks to a design by Aether and construction by Spidi, giving you the best of both worlds and a style all its own. Purchase: $1,195