What makes for the best motorcycle jacket comes down to a lot of different variables, not excluding rider preferences. So rather than tell you that the following jackets are unequivocally the best, we’ve decided to highlight offerings that we’ve previously included in our more focused jacket lists (textile, leather, winter, women’s etc.) to give you a smattering of what Motorcycle.com sees as some of the best jackets currently in production.
Airbag Jackets/Vests – Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 System $700
Not technically a jacket, the Tech-Air 5 is a slim, self-contained wearable airbag vest designed to be worn under virtually any jacket. The system provides unrivaled upper body protection uniquely covering the rider’s shoulders, critical in motorcycling accidents, in addition to the chest, ribs and full back. The Tech-Air 5 Airbag System offers the most comprehensive coverage of any motorcycling airbag available today.
Best Motorcycle Airbag Jackets
The state-of-the-art Tech-Air 5 System features six integrated sensors (3 gyroscopes and 3 accelerometers) to continuously monitor the rider’s position. An algorithm developed closely with MotoGP race data and data from over 2,000 lab-simulated crash scenarios determine when and how the system deploys. The airbag has a maximum inflation time of up to 40ms (or less, depending on vest size). The impact absorption while wearing the airbag results in a decrease of impact force by up to 95% compared to a passive chest or back protector. Inflation time is quick enough to deploy the airbag before the rider’s first impact with an obstacle. In addition, the vest will protect stationary riders in the event of a rear-end collision.
The airbag has a battery life good for 30 hours of riding time on a single charge, and an LED display conveniently shows system status directly on the garment. The system features Bluetooth connectivity to pair with the Tech-Air App, which uses the rider’s phone to display the system’s operational status, battery status and provide detailed analysis of a ride. Over-the-air firmware updates are also handled through the app. Alpinestars includes a micro USB charger for quick recharging.
Leather Jackets – Schott Perfecto $825
Remember the jacket Marlon Brando wore in “The Wild One”? This is it. The Original. The Perfecto, by Schott. The grandaddy of them all, Schott and Brando defined the leather motorcycle genre with this jacket. Constructed from U. S. sourced, drum dyed, hand cut, heavyweight 3-3.5 oz. steerhide leather, the Perfecto is the standard to which others have followed. For example, take the offset zipper and slash cut front zip pocket. The Roland Sands jacket above has the same design, as do many other jackets from nearly every manufacturer. Another signature Schott design is the huge back panel design, but other signature touches include the snap-down lapels and attached belt with nickel plated buckle. There’s not actually any armor or padding inside, but for many people, we imagine this is a non-issue.
Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets
Textile Jackets – REV’IT! Sand 3 $500
An upgrade to the popular Sand 2 Jacket, the Sand 3 offers 4-season functionality while refusing to compromise on any single season. For hot weather, the polyester shell offers longer zippers to open enlarged areas of 3D mesh to the airflow. For wet weather, the waterproof layer is completely removable for better dry weather breathability. The thermal liner is also removable and can be carried in the roomy back pocket. Combine all the layers for the cold and wet or remove them all for a free-breathing summer jacket. The zippers allow for fine tuning of all temperatures in between the extremes. Seeflex CE Level 2 protection is included at the shoulders and elbows, while the jacket can accept the optional Seesoft Back Protector-Type RV. The Sand 3 can also accept Challenger Cooling Vest and Hi-Viz Connector Vest for even more versatility. Finally, either the Leatt or Moveo neck brace can be accommodated. The REV’IT! Sand 3 is available in sizes S-4XL. The color combinations are: black, black-blue, sand-black, and silver-anthracite.
Best Textile Motorcycle Jackets
Women’s Jackets – Dainese Racing 3 Perforated Lady $580
The Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Lady Leather Jacket offers both the form and the function you crave. Constructed of perforated Tutu cowhide leather, the jacket offers plenty of abrasion resistance while still letting the cooling air flow through. Aluminum inserts on the shoulders and elbow armor take care of the impacts on your corners. A pocket for the optional G1 back protector is included. Two colors are offered Black/White and Black/White/Fuchsia. The Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Lady Leather Jacket is available in Euro sizes 38-54 and retails for $319-$570.
Best Women’s Motorcycle Jackets
Summer Jackets – Spidi Multitech Armor EVO $300
If you’re pretty sure it’s not going to cool off anytime soon and you want maximum protection, Spidi’s tactical-looking mesh jacket could be the hot-weather setup. Abrasion-resistant Polyamide mesh outside, nylon Tactel inserts and Tenax reinforcement in impact areas, with Warrior Back and Chest Protector and CE Level 1 Multitech protectors on shoulders and elbows. Five pockets hold your stuff, and an optional waterproof H2Out liner is available. Very Mad Max, very lightweight, and combined with a large drink bladder, could be just the thing for offroad adventures. It can be worn under an outer shell, too.
Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets
Winter Jackets – Held Carese II Gore-Tex Jacket $849
Designed with sport and adventure touring in mind, the Held Carese II Jacket delivers year-round functionality along with impressive styling. Constructed with zippered direct venting on the front, back, and arms for warm weather, and for cold or wet weather, the removable Gore-Tex liner has you covered. The inner lining is provided by CoolMax breathable mesh. Crash protection comes from Held Cloverleaf SAS-TEC shoulder and elbow armor. A Temperfoam back pad is included, and an optional back protector is available. Waterproof external pockets carry your little essentials. The outer shell is constructed from 500D DuPont Cordura. Rider comfort is handled by shoulder stretch panels and a waist belt, along with dual arm adjustments. Of course, there is a soft collar and reflective 3M Scotchlite material. The Held Carese II Jacket is available in sizes S-3XL in the following colors: black, grey-black, grey-blue, grey-orange, and grey-red.
Best Winter Motorcycle Jackets