Motorcycling - Gear/Equipment

Motorcycle Jacket Buying Guide - Find the Right One For You

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Motorcycle jackets, as compared to normal jackets, are designed with safety features to keep you protected from adverse weather conditions. They are made either from leather or high-quality textile material to withstand the different weather conditions that you might face while riding. Read on for a motorcycle jacket buying guide that could help you find the perfect one for you.

Temperatures during the summer season can get pretty high and if you are wearing a leather jacket on a hot sunny day you will understand why we are talking about mesh motorcycle jackets here. Mesh riding jackets provide better cooling as compared to leather jackets, and now they are being designed with additional safety features so you don’t have to sacrifice your safety in exchange for added cooling.

The Ultimate Motorcycle Jacket Buying Guide

In this buying guide, we will discuss important points to consider while selecting the right jackets, the most common type of mesh motorcycle jackets available today in the market, why mesh jackets are better when compared with others, particularly leather jackets, and how to maintain a mesh jacket to last longer. In the end, this guide will show you how to choose motorcycle jacket.

Motorcycle Jacket Buyers Guide
Motorcycle Jacket Buyers Guide

How to Choose Your Fit and Style

A motorcycle jacket should match both your fit and style along with your riding needs. Read on to find out the various factors that must be considered while purchasing one, using this motorcycle jacket buyers guide.

 Style and Fit
How to Choose Style and Fit

Riding Technique

Depending on what you ride, how you ride, and where you ride, you will need to decide whether you need a separate motorcycle jacket or a one-piece motorcycle suit. Both have different features and purpose. If you are more likely to ride on the freeway on a sports-bike, then a one-piece motorcycle suit is best for you. But you may find it too restrictive. Two-piece suits combine a motorcycle jacket and pants and give you more freedom while riding without any restrictions. You can take off your jacket when you are in the mood for a casual ride.

Jacket’s Material

The performance of your jacket depends on the quality of the material used, which may be either leather or textile or mix of both. Leather motorcycle jackets have good abrasion resistance and offer you excellent protection from injury in case of accidents, leather is the preferred choice if you have the money and weather allows it. Nowadays manufacturers are offering jackets that have textile material in some parts of the suit and leather covers vulnerable parts of the body such as shoulders. Textile jackets are usually made from high-quality nylon or Kevlar and are lighter in weight as compared to leather jackets. You can find a good budget motorcycle jacket with durable mesh material and a variety of features.

Motorcycle Jacket’s Model

Safety is the reason why a jacket is needed in the first place. You will need to consider the jacket’s model & year of make while selecting as older jackets are not a good choice when it comes to comfort and safety. New motorcycle jacket models will give you enough protection from injury in case of an accident. Do check for brands and their certifications as the certified jackets are tested in various conditions before they come in the market.

Jacket’s Color

Black is the favorite color of most motorcycle riders but in a low-light environment, a black jacket can be very difficult to notice. What you need to do is to choose a jacket that can be easily recognized. We suggest you go for orange or yellow colored jackets. Leather jackets don’t really offer much here but many Textile and Mesh jackets come with reflector-strips on them. These strips help you stay visible to the traffic while riding in the night. Otherwise, you should also consider buying a ‘reflective vest’ which you can wear over the jacket. These are true lifesavers and very cheap, you should just buy them eyes closed.

Jackets with Protectors

If you have considered buying a jacket, you will notice that most jackets come with integrated with armor/protectors. Typically they are fit on the arms & elbows, chest, shoulders and back. They should be elastic enough to distribute the energy in a crash. They shouldn’t restrict your comfort but instead, should protect your upper body. The armor material used should be certified and their grades/ratings are globally accepted. Based on the type of riding gear, the CE Rating is different, for a typical track racing gear CE1 and CE2 are preferred.

Comfort Level

A motorcycle jacket, apart from protecting your body, should also offer the highest level of comfort. You need to consider weight, storage space, rain protection, and overheating factors while selecting the jacket of a particular brand. The jacket should fit right and not move around on you and the armor pads should rest where they are supposed to when you’re fully geared and seated on your bike. Do wear the jacket and try sitting on the bike to check the comfort level.

Motorcycle Jacket Fit

If your jacket doesn’t fit you properly, then you aren’t going to wear it often. Make sure that it fits your body properly when you are in the riding position. Your sleeves should be long enough when you have your arms extended and bent while riding. It should have extra shoulder room and should come down far enough in the back. The jacket should not make your movement difficult or heavy in anyway, that can spoil your riding experience.

Common Types of Motorcycle Jackets

Each type of mesh jacket offers different levels of style and protection. The difference depends upon outer fabric, impact protection, water-resistant feature, windproof liner, and motorcycle protective gear. Most common types are discussed below.

Cruiser or Classic Biker Jackets

Cruiser or Classic
Cruiser or Classic Motorcycle Jacket

These are leather jackets, light in weight but lack body armor, ideal for everyday street wear for commuting or traveling around. They usually come in a looser fit to provide comfort, but still are still stylish. They also risk visibility in nights.

Polyester Mesh Jackets

Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
Polyester Mesh Motorcycle Jacket

These have good breathable properties, durability, elasticity, abrasion and resistance properties and specially made for motorcycle riders who want a light-weight jacket for protection. Polyester mesh jackets usually have armor padding around the shoulders, elbows and back to avoid injuries. This type is ideal for motorcycle cruising, racing. Their aerodynamic design helps to endure high speeds.

Nylon Mesh Jacket

Nylon Mesh Jacket
Nylon Mesh Motorcycle Jacket

They are heavier but with better abrasion resistance and tear strength as compared with road-racing leather jackets. Nylon mesh jacket is suitable for any type of riding; from riding off road to road racing and every other form of street riding.

Poly or Nylon Mesh with Leather Jacket

Motorcycle Jacket Buyers Guide
Polyester Mesh with Leather Motorcycle Jacket

These blends of leather and nylon pieces are designed to be extremely protective and breathable . They are constructed with an external shell made up of nylon. The leather pieces are put together to protect the vulnerable parts of the body from getting scrapes and bruises. These are great for adventure or dual sports. This type can be the most protective motorcycle jackets.

Poly or Nylon Mesh with Cordura Fabric Jacket

 Motorcycle Jacket Buyers Guide
Nylon Mesh with Cordura Motorcycle Jacket

Another type great for dual sports but with a few differences. They combine nylon fabrics or lightweight nylon with high tenacity Cordura fabric and provide durability as well as resistance to abrasions. These can be a great all weather motorcycle jacket to buy.

Additional Features

Often mesh jackets are equipped with additional features such as shoulder protectors, reflective tape or piping, and padding for collar bone, chest, and hip which you can consider while purchasing. Use this motorcycle jacket buyers guide to decide what you need and what is unnecessary. The idea behind the breathable mesh textile is to replace the body of the jacket with free-flowing mesh while retaining the safety features including the elbow and shoulder padding.

Leather vs. Mesh Textile Jackets

Nowadays there is a myriad of material used in the constructing of motorcycle jackets, most common being the leather and mesh textile. Leather jackets are the most popular ones but the availability of space-age textiles has opened the door for lightweight and inexpensive motorcycle jacket designs which can even rival leather’s abrasion resistance. At the end, it’s important to match the advantages and disadvantages of both leather and textile to your riding style and preferences. This can also make motorcycle jacket buying very complicated. Having a good motorcycle jacket buyers guide can help you differentiate.

Leather vs. Mesh Jacket
Leather vs. Mesh

Budget and Weight: Leather or mesh, we need a jacket that can cater to all our needs. A mesh jacket will always be cheaper than a leather jacket. Mesh textile or fabrics offer impressive weight savings as compared to leather jackets. A well-made mesh jacket will often be superior to a less-expensive leather jacket, and conversely, a high-end good quality leather jacket will be superior to a lower-end mesh jacket. The weight of the jacket is an important consideration as it is directly related to durability and protection. Lightweight leather jackets are good for fashion wear but not as motorcycle gear.

Weather Condition s : Most of the leather jackets are not waterproof and not good for extremely warm weather. During the rainy season, a leather jacket can eventually give rise to moisture and can even shrink, and color bleed when in contact with water. They are heavy and do not offer much ventilation as compared with mesh jackets. So, if you ride in varying weather conditions, mesh jackets will be the best way to go. Mostly they are backed with a breathable material such as Gore-Tex to keep you cooler. Mesh jackets with good zip out liner can be used in cold weather also.

Comfort Level: The choice between leather and mesh textile jacket is greatly influenced by your comfort level. For example: if you are riding during the rainy season, the heavy leather jacket will make you uncomfortable. But leather jackets are more fitted to your body and leather is also a softer material. Mesh jackets can come waterproof and can be best-ventilated motorcycle jacket, lighter and even more flexible than leather.

Style Preference: Both leather and mesh textile jackets come in a wide variety of styles and colors. Nowadays bright color jackets are popular among riders. We suggest you shop for a jacket that fits your style and shows off your individuality as a rider. Mesh jackets offer a more modern look where as leather jackets offer vintage and classic look. Both are available with high-visibility reflective qualities for your protection.

Riding Performance: The choice depends up on your style and speed while you ride. If you prefer high speed then go for leather as it perfectly fits the body and the risk of tearing is minimum. High-end mesh jackets are available with similar features but at a higher price.

Care: A textile motorcycle jacket is lighter than leather and much easier to clean. You just need to throw the textile jackets into the washer whereas leather needs a lot of care to make it last. Leather usually needs to be dry cleaned and conditioned otherwise the leather will make a dull impression.

Durability: High-end leather is much more durable as compared to mesh jackets. With textile jackets, you will be protected for your first crash but will probably need to replace it before your second. Good leather jackets, if cared properly, can last a lifetime minus few scuffs here and there.

One of the factors that point to the popularity of the mesh jackets is the fact that they breathe far better as compared to a leather jacket. As a motorcycle rider, you can stay much cooler in the hot summer weather while wearing a mesh motorcycle jacket. If you are caught in the rain while wearing a mesh jacket, the mesh material will dry out faster as some waterproof models are also available. A waterproof leather jacket is hard to come by and expensive. Many have body armor to protect the rider from an impact.

Maintenance Tips for Mesh Jacket

Motorcycle jackets get dirty with sweat and dirt. The regular cleaning of mesh jacket will increase its lifespan. You can use a moist cloth for spot cleaning. For deep cleaning, immerse the jacket in a solution of soap and water. Check if there are any washing instructions given on the label of the jacket. Do remember to follow these instructions. Do not use a scrubber as this can damage the outer material of the jacket. You can wash the mesh jacket in the washing machine on a delicate cycle by using a mild detergent.

In the case of stains, you can use detergent boosters. You can pre-treat dirty areas with a diluted detergent. Make sure to rinse out the jacket with plain water to remove any extra detergent remaining in the fabric. Adding a waterproofing solution will restore your jacket’s water-beading ability. Remove the removable padding , if any, before washing for extra care. Never put the jacket in the dryer unless mentioned by the manufacturer. Cleaning procedure will also depend on the brand of your jacket.

 Motorcycle Jacket Maintenance
Jacket Maintenance

When looking for the best motorcycle jackets, it is very important to consider mesh jackets. Though leather jackets are preferred by most bikers, mesh jackets have their own advantages. Use this motorcycle jacket buying guide to choosing the right jacket for yourself and tell us about your experiences.

Now that you’ve covered jackets, read the Motorcycle Boots Buying Guide.

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