Every motorcyclist needs at least one motorcycle jacket. Riding a motorcycle leaves you exposed to the dangers of the road, as well as at the mercy of the weather. The best motorcycle jackets offer crash protection in a comfortable, flexible, and hopefully, waterproof package. Despite there being thousands of products to choose from out there, there are plenty of so-called riding jackets out there that aren’t fit for purpose.
To help separate the wheat from the chaff, or rather, the fashion jackets from the real deals, we’ve put together a list of our current favorites.
Since there’s no one-size-fits-all jacket, we’ve divided this list up with entries from across the range. It includes two sport-focused jackets, two-adventure options, something for traditional cruiser riders, and our top choice for urban, café-racer style riders. And for good measure, we’ve rounded it off with a solid summer option, and a jacket for colder climates too.
To make our decisions, we looked at a wide range of factors, from build quality to comfort, as well as the level of protection offered and the overall value-for-money. Of course, we also evaluated jackets based on other reviews from real-life customers too.
Here’s what we came up with.
Alpinestars GP Plus R V3 RideKnit Leather Jacket
After the Missile Air jacket was sadly discontinued, there were a couple of months where it looked like there was no hot weather leather jacket coming from Alpinestars. Then, the GP Plus R V3 came out and any fears disappeared.
This jacket is made of premium 1.3 mm cowhide leather for the main chassis but is now backed by RideKnit, a new textile combination from Alpinestars’ MotoGP, World SBK, and other racing endeavors. This new material combines microfiber for wicking perspiration, knitted mesh for extreme durability, and abrasion-resistant thermo-welded microfibers on the exterior. This means that the jacket breathes amazingly well, despite the leather, and also is highly abrasion resistant and armored to best protect any sport rider.
The GP Plus R V3 is also fully compatible with the Alpinestars TechAir 5 airbag vest, in both the racing and street variations. This is the primary reason that the jacket does not come with a back protector included, as the TechAir 5 airbag has a CE Level 2 back protector already.
Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 Jacket
If you want a sports jacket but don’t want to pay Alpinestars prices, then the Atomic 5.0 from Joe Rocket is our favorite budget alternative. This jacket is ideal for sports riders and thanks to its combination of materials, it’s a great jacket for both warm and cold climates. Though it’s not the best jacket on the market, it offers excellent value for money: it’s safe and secure, versatile, comfortable, and affordable.
Made from a combination of Rock Tex and Hitena, the jacket’s outer layer is waterproof and abrasion-resistant. It features a variable airflow system that can be tailored to your needs by the opening and closing of zippers. The interior has a removable insulated liner for additional warmth if you’re riding in colder climates.
Despite being a budget option, the Atomic 5.0 ships with some excellent safety gear as standard. These include some quality CE-approved shoulder and elbow pads. It does come with a back protector too, but it’s not worth keeping—replace it with something more substantial asap! Other cool features include neoprene cuffs, pockets for more armor, practical stowage pockets, and a pant-attachment zipper.
The Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 Jacket offers great value for money and armed with an upgraded back protector, it could rival some of the more expensive jackets out there.
REV’IT! Cayenne Pro
The REVIT Cayenne Pro is a premium adventure jacket that offers protection from the road and the elements, in a comfortable and practical package. ADV jackets have to perform a range of roles: they have to offer good protection for both on and off-road spills, they need to keep the rider protected from a range of weather conditions, and they have to be comfortable and ergonomic too. Though many jackets claim to be great ADV jackets, very few tick all of the right boxes. The REVIT Cayenne Pro, however, is the real deal.
Made from a 750D Polyamide and Teflon-coated shell, the Cayenne Pro feels like it’s made from Cordura, but it isn’t. Instead, this blended material is REVIT’s own textile that uses 87% Polyamide, 7% leather, and 6% polyester. It’s abrasion-resistant, waterproof, and very durable. The outer shell uses mesh panels for added airflow, with Neoprene sections for improved flexibility. It does have a comfortable inner layer, but if you’re riding in cold climates it could be a little chilly if you’re not wearing a pullover!
In terms of crash protection, the Cayenne Pro uses SEEFLEX CE-level 2 protectors, a Seesoft back protector, and a very useful detachable kidney belt. It also has the ability to be upgraded, with an optional Adventure Neck Brace, and cooling vest.
This is a premium adventure jacket for genuine all-season riding. And it looks cool too.
Sedici Garda Waterproof ADV Jacket
Next up, we have a more budget-friendly ADV jacket. This is the Sedici Garda, and it’s a very capable adventure jacket that won’t break the bank. Sedici is one of the in-house brands from COMOTO Holdings, the parent company of Revzilla, Cycle Gear, and J&P Cycles. As the in-house brand of some of the largest gear distributors in the world, you can rely on the quality of Sedici-branded products. The Sedici Garda is one of their best jackets.
Made from a 600D laminated textile with 1200D reinforced sections, this textile jacket can keep out the water, deliver good airflow, and won’t restrict your movement. The jacket features a microfiber-lined collar, with neoprene edges, and a full mesh airflow lining. Six vents help the jacket breathe, and a series of adjustable straps give the jacket a perfect, snug fit and help reduce turbulence.
Protection is provided by textured rubber panels at common impact areas, along with CE rated armor at the elbow and shoulder. It doesn’t feature a back protector, but it does have pockets to accommodate one. It also has a hydration bladder pocket and a number of practical inner pockets for your things. Oversized zippers, carbon reflective trim, and a pant-connection zipper are also cool additions.
If you’re looking for quality and reliable adventure gear on a budget, this jacket is what you need.
BMW TwinStripes Jacket
Motorcycle jackets don’t have to be about aerodynamic shapes and cutting-edge materials, as seen here in the BMW TwinStripes jacket. Part of the 2020 BMW Motorrad Heritage Collection, the TwinStripes jacket was designed to accompany the brand’s latest cruise, the R 18. Whether you’re a BMW rider or not, you can’t deny that this jacket isn’t seriously cool.
It’s not just good to look at. While it looks like a fashion jacket, the TwinStripes jacket was built for protection. Made from premium cowhide leather, the TwinStripes features CE Level 1 NP-Flex armor at the shoulder and elbow, with a pocket for an additional back protector. It also has a full comfort liner, gusseted shoulders, and a zipper to connect it to pants if you feel the need to go for the full suit.
For the sake of practicality, it also boasts four outside pockets and three interior ones, but apart from that, there isn’t much else to say. And that’s a bit of a shame considering the hefty price tag—but if you want an embossed leather BMW logo, you’ve got to pay for it. For a rugged, old-school cruiser rider look that ticks all the right safety boxes, this is a great choice.
Scorpion EXO 1909 Leather Jacket
If you’re looking for something a little more café-racer rather than cruiser rider, then we’d recommend the Scorpion EXO 1909 leather jacket. Again, it’s one of those effortlessly cool-looking jackets that looks more like a fashion item than a serious jacket—but it’s not. The Scorpion EXO 1909 is tough, rugged, durable, and will protect you in an accident.
Designed as a tribute to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (which was founded in 1909), this heritage-inspired jacket features soft distressed leather with reinforced overlays on the joints, for a flexible and functional feel. Inside, the jacket has a removable EverHeat liner, stretch panels, and plenty of ventilation.
Protection is provided by Sas-Tec Level 2 armor at the elbow and shoulder, along with a pocket that can accommodate a Sas-Tec back protector. Other practicalities include zippered vents, perforated panels, adjustment tabs, zipper closures, antique brass zippers throughout, and a pant zipper too.
It looks great, but reviews have even found that it can stand up to real-life accidents too. It’s an expensive jacket, but it will take care of you if you have a spill.
Dainese Super Speed Summer Jacket
For our last two entries, we’re looking at the best overall summer and winter jackets. For summer, we’ve chosen the Dainese Super Speed Textile Jacket. It shares a lot of DNA with Dainese’s premium racing jackets but in a lighter, mesh-based form. If you experience hot summers or live in a climate that’s hot all year-’round, then this jacket offers serious airflow and serious protection in equal measure.
Made from a selection of top-quality textiles such as Duratex and Boomerang, the Dainese Super Speed is tough, secure, and close-fitting. On the inside, the jacket has a removable windproof insert and a sanitized lining. It’s a slim jacket, so it might not be the best option for larger riders, but there is a degree of adjustment that can be made at the waist, wrist, and neck.
In terms of protection, the Dainese Super Speed Textile Jacket comes with composite protectors certified to EN 1621.1/97 standards and aluminum shoulder inserts. There are pockets for extra pads, including a back pocket for a G1 and G2 back protector, with a front pocket for chest pads.
If you live in a warm climate, this is worth your money. However, if your summer doesn’t get that hot, you might find another more versatile jacket a better investment.
Firstgear Kathmandu Jacket
Our choice for the top winter riding jacket would be the Firstgear Kathmandu. Named after the capital of Nepal, the Kathmandu jacket is designed with cold weather in mind. Built from a Hypertex waterproof outer shell, with 420 denier rip-stop nylon, this jacket is both durable and tough, but lightweight at the same time.
Protection is provided by fully adjustable D3O T5 CE armor for the shoulder and elbows—a more flexible material than standard CE foam—with an EVA back pad at the rear. The armor is adjustable, but so is the rest of the jacket. Thanks to a series of straps, it’s possible for a real body-hugging fit, whatever your shape.
Other cool features include an under-helmet rain hood, a 1.5-liter hydration bladder (and pack), and more intake and exhaust airflow vents than you’d know what to do with!
Even though it’s our top choice for a winter jacket, the reality is that this jacket is a true four-season jacket. It’s great in the cold at high altitudes, but it’s also nice and breathable for when the sun comes out. Given the price and the level of protection that it comes with, this jacket is a real bargain.