Jackets are an important piece of gear for a motorcycle rider. A high quality motorcycle jacket provides a valuable safety defense during an accident. A jacket offers important protection from the elements, such as rain, cold, wind and sun. Riders should consider these nine points when purchasing a motorcycle jacket.
- Calf Skin or Goat Leather: Leather jackets look cool. The most popular leather jackets are generally made from calf skin or goat leather. Black is a stylish choice for leather motorcycle jackets.
- Construction: The chest and back pieces of the jacket should be assembled from single pieces of fabric. A well-made jacket will be constructed with seams on the inside of the jacket for stability. Check for protective padding that will distribute energy in a crash located in the chest, back and arm regions.
- Hybrid: Leather and textile combinations, called hybrids, are a current trend for good reason. Most of the visible parts of the jacket are constructed of leather. A stretchable and breathable fabric may connect to the leather under the arms and run down the side of the jacket. Also vents may be added that are designed from a textile fabric.
- Innovative Design: The Clover Techno jacket is the newest innovation in motorcycle jackets. The jacket is designed with detachable layers and is awarded a CE level 2 rating. The jacket maintains stylish good looks, while maintaining safety features such as abrasion resistance.
- Level of Protection: Check for the protection rating tag on the jacket before purchasing. The United States has adopted European standards for motorcycle gear safety. The label CE is an abbreviation for Certified European. A CE level 2 provides better protection than CE level 1.
- Motorcycle Suits: Many riders prefer motorcycle suits. The Joe Rocket Survivor Suit is constructed of Roc Tex 600 Nylon and costs approximately $400. The Joe Rocket Survivor Suit is designed with an removable spine pad, reflective strips, a venting system, custom fit adjustment features, removable insulated full sleeves and pant leg liners. Suits designed for touring and commuting are less expensive that racing suits.
- Reflective Materials: While a neon orange jacket might not be a preference, consideration should be given to strips of reflective materials. A motorcyclist in dark clothing may be difficult for other drivers to see at night. Strips of reflective material or reflective patches may prevent an accident.
- Textile: Abrasion resistant textile fabrics are gaining momentum. The key to a good textile jacket is the quality of the jacket. A textile jacket should be reinforced with Kevlar or leather for safety. A seamstress or very experienced motorcyclist can determine high quality textiles from cheap imitations.
- Zippers: Test the zipper pull to see if it slides easily over the teeth of the zipper. Most leather motorcycle jackets are designed with metal zippers. Textile jackets may be constructed with metal or plastic zippers. In either case, the zipper should be created from high quality materials. A flap over the zipper adds protection from the elements and provides extra safety in the event of an accident.
(Photo courtesy of Held Sports Touring GORE-TEX Pro Shell Leather Jacket as uploaded by GORE-TEX Products at Flickr’s Creative Common.)