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June 06, 2022 11 min read

A rider's jacket is their second skin. It's a bold statement to the world that you live fast and you're not afraid to stare danger in the eye. Here at Sa1nt we love to armor the risk-takers of the world and believe that safety should never come at the cost of style.

It isn't easy to find the right motorcycle jacket. You need something that gives you protection but still reflects your style and individuality. On top of that, it needs to be comfortable because you'll be spending a lot of hours with it.

With so many options out there it might seem impossible to find your perfect jacket, so we've put together a guide to make that choice a little bit easier. Your riding jacket will be the slickest piece of clothing in your wardrobe after all and should be chosen carefully.

We'll run through everything you need to know like proper sizing, the different materials available, and pricing expectations so that when you finally hit the road, you'll be doing it in your dream jacket.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A MOTORCYCLE JACKET?

If you're completely in the wilderness when it comes to motorcycle jackets, a good starting point is deciding if you want to go with leather or textile. You can read more in our article onleather vs textile jackets, but for now, we'll go through the basics.

Leather jackets are a classic, old-school style that many riders still love. Nothing makes you feel more invincible than throwing on a leather motorcycle jacket and tearing down the road at eye-watering speeds.

The biggest strength of leather jackets is their strength. Leather is still the number one material when it comes to abrasion resistance, in spite of huge developments in textile gear. Many riders also love how leather forms over your body shape for a snug, tailored fit.

Leather is a heavy material, which is great for keeping you toasty in winter but can become uncomfortable once the weather heats up. A leather jacket repels water but they're generally not water-resistant and will need treatment if they do get wet.

man standing in front of black motorbike while wearing sa1nt motorcycle wear

Textile jacketsare great in terms of versatility. You'll have plenty of choices when it comes to the different types of cuts and fabrics available. If you're looking for slick, modern design then this is the way to go.

Riders gravitate towards textile jackets because of their insane range. You want a denim jacket? Check. How about a denim vest? No problem. You can even wear anArmored Puffer Jacket while your ride. The list goes on.

A textile motorcycle jacket has a look that resembles everyday clothing. Perfect if you're a weekend rider and want to keep your jacket on once you're off the bike as well, or just prefer clothing that's more understated.

Textile gear is generally lighter and more breathable than leather. You'll have a much better time dealing with the weather, especially with specialized jackets that include things like water resistance and thermal lining.

A textile jacket won't offer the exact same protection as leather, but modern fabrics like Dyneema make that difference minimal. Dyneema is light enough to float on water but strong enough to makebullet-proof armorand line space shuttles, which is why Sa1nt uses it to line our denim gear.

CONSIDER THESE 6 THINGS BEFORE BUYING A MOTORCYCLE JACKET

IS THE JACKET THE PERFECT FIT?

You want to get this one right. There's nothing worse than investing money in a great motorcycle jacket only to find that it feels uncomfortable after the first week. Arm yourself with some knowledge before you test out that brand-new jacket.

HOW SHOULD MOTORCYCLE JACKETS FIT?

A motorcycle jacket needs to be a tight fit, but not so tight that you feel suffocated. The perfect jacket size will feel snug around your skin but still allow natural freedom of movement. Leather motorcycle jackets have an especially snug fit because they form around your body over time, but plenty of riders love that. If you're looking for a looser jacket fit, then go for something in textile.

Here's a pro tip when looking for a jacket that fits. Get yourself into a full tuck riding position while you're wearing the jacket and determine if you'd feel comfortable like that forone hour of non-stop riding.If not, that jacket size isn't for you, my friend.

It's hard to know whether your new motorcycle jacket is the right one, so be 100% sure before you fully commit. Try to find a motorcycle shop that offers30-day returns.

ARE MOTORCYCLE JACKETS SUPPOSED TO BE TIGHT?

Yep, you want that thing fitting nice and snug. Whether you're rocking an old-school leather jacket or you're partial to textile jackets, keep it tight. Riding jackets can't do their job, which is to protect you from sudden impact if they're worn loose.

HOW FAR DOWN SHOULD A MOTORCYCLE JACKET GO?

Motorcycle jackets areworn shorter than a normal jacket, which will probably take some getting used to. Sitting down with a long-fitting jacket creates excess fabric that not only hinders movement but compromises your safety.

Your motorcycle jacket should sit right along your belt line when you stand, and rest on your thighs while in a riding position.

man riding a motorbike in cold snowy weather

WHAT ABOUT WAIST MEASUREMENT AND ARM LENGTHS FOR BIKER JACKETS?

You don'thave to know your exact measurements, but it certainly won't hurt. For more accurate results try to use a soft tape measure (as in the kind that wraps around your body).

The sleeve length should come to your wrist while on the bike, and about the middle of your palm when you stand up.

To take your arm measurements, stand up and measure from the base of your neck to your wrist from thesideof your body. Just keep in mind that if you're going with a race fit it has shorter sleeves because it's worn with long gauntlet gloves.

To get your waist measurements, measure around the waist where you would usually fit your belt, slightly below your belly button.

Most shops have a simple size chart on their website anyway so you shouldn't run into too many problems. As a rule, go with the size chart from the place that you're buying from. You'll know it's a proper fit when you meet the above criteria, the jacket fits tight, and you've still got a nice range of movement.

WHAT SIZE BIKER JACKET SHOULD I GET?

Motorcycle jackets are sized in two ways, numerical and alpha sizing. They're both similar to the way ordinary clothes are fitted so you shouldn't have a problem.

Alpha sizingis your small, medium, large etc. Most Australian shops stick to this method because it's nice and simple. Your riding jacket size should correspond to your everyday clothes which makes online ordering a lot easier, but definitely double-check before you buy.

Numerical sizinguses numbers instead (52,54,56). It's less common but you'll probably encounter it at some point. Just make sure to use the size chart from the website that you're buying from, because they can vary in some cases.

IS YOUR MOTORCYCLE JACKET TESTED FOR SAFETY?

The point of a motorcycle jacket is to give you protection, so you want to be damn sure it's up to scratch. Wearing the right gear can be the difference between a legendary escape or a gnarly injury.

WHAT IS THE PROPER LEATHER JACKET THICKNESS?

Leather is the top dog when it comes to rider protection. Leather jackets not only have classic charm, but the best abrasion resistance and impact protection you can ask for in a motorcycle jacket.

A quality leather motorcycle jacket will be at least1.2 mm thickfor maximum protection. This cushions the impact of a hard landing on the road, and hopefully saves some bones as well.

Watch out for any low-quality knockoffs or imitations. Only a genuine leather jacket has the toughness needed to keep you in one piece. Anyone riding with fake leather might as well be riding shirtless.

Sa1nt's Black Leather Jacket is a classic combination of old-school charm and unbeatable toughness.

DO YOU NEED BODY ARMOR UNDER YOUR MOTORCYCLE JACKET?

A rider should never go without their body armor. Even a quick ride to the shops can be life-altering if you forego this crucial piece of gear.

A motorcycle jacket should include armor pockets in theelbows and shoulders, and room to slip in aback protector as well. These are the most sensitive parts of the upper body and don't handle sudden collisions very well.

Some jackets come with armor woven into the material, but most have armor pockets instead. There are actually some benefits to choosing your own armor. You can choose whatever brand suits you best, and eventually swap it out if you feel the need for an upgrade.

Body armor needs to fit tight, or it won't be able to do its job. A good way to make sure it will fit properly is to buy it from the same place as your jacket. Get yourself into a full tuck riding position to emulate how it will feel once you're on the road.

Good armor is light enough to not bother you while you ride, but strong enough to be able to take some damage. D30 is a popular choice with riders because it's soft and flexible while you wear it but hardens on impact.

You can read more in our extensive guide onbuying motorcycle armor.

 man riding motorcycle on road under bridge

WHAT SAFETY RATINGS EXIST FOR MOTORCYCLE JACKETS?

Most places that sell riding gear list the safety specs of their jackets on their website. A key thing to look out for isslide time, which is the number of seconds your jacket will buy you before your skin starts to eat the pavement.

You'll see that many jackets have aCE rating. These are formatted as a fairly intimidating number system that looks like this:CE EN17092-5:2020 Class “B” certified garment.

Here's the good news. You won't need to decipher all of that. The only thing you need to worry about is the year, which is 2020 in the above example, which shows when the product was tested. The other is the CE rating, which is those two words at the end.

Here's how it works.

  • CE TESTED- The manufacturer tested the gear in their own facility, but not in a certified testing facility.
  • CE CERTIFIED - Samples of the gear were tested in certified testing facilities
  • CE APPROVED - Many parts of the gear were tested in facilities and meet or surpass the required standards

Hopefully, that makes things clearer. You'd be fine wearing anything that's at least CE certified. While CE approved is the gold standard it's not necessary.

WHAT STYLE OF JACKET DO YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF?

A motorcycle jacket should be an expression of your unique brand and personality. It's the ultimate fashion piece that gives you that extra swagger in your step and shows off the bold, unbreakable spirit of riders everywhere.

Only you can say what your style is. A leather jacket is perfect for those who love a vintage flair and want to channel that badass biker energy. Textile jackets are great for the variety they offer, but there's a lot to choose from so it's best to read up on the various designs.

Denim riding jackets are great because they double as casual wear. We all love to flaunt our gear, but maybe you want to go 'undercover' and avoid the biker aesthetic. OurUnbreakable Denim looks just like an everyday jacket while still being seriously tough.

Race suits are required if you plan to hit a track. These are great for their intended purpose but limited for everyday use. They usually have pre-curved arms to reduce rider fatigue which might cause discomfort if you want to hop off the bike for a while.

You should be aware that there are both the European and American types of fit. European jackets tend to have a close fit with a tapered profile, otherwise known as a sport cut. If you love the race driver look then you'll lean towards the Euro style, or there's the more traditional and loose-fitting American cut.

close-up picture of a woman wearing a cool black leather motorcycle jacket and black leather gloves

CHECK YOUR JACKET IS MADE FROM GOOD QUALITY MATERIALS

A motorcycle jacket can only protect you if it's made withquality materials. Investing in proper gear not only keeps your skin and bones safe but means your clothes will last a lot longer too.

A leather motorcycle jacket is the toughest thing you can ride with, but plenty of textile gear still does the job. Chemists have been hard at work over the years to give us riders the most innovative gear imaginable.

Kevlar, Cordura and Dyneema are the most popular synthetic materials for textile gear. Kevlar has a solid strength ratio that makes it great for impact protection, while Cordura offers less weight and extra comfort.

We've gone with Dyneema to line our denim gear. It'snewer, stronger and lighter than its competitors and taking the motorcycling world by storm. Manufacturers all over the world are flocking to Dyneema to build their riding gear.

At Sa1nt we take pride in making our gear seriously tough. Our Dyneema-lined denim clothing can withstand the blade of a box cutter, tow a Rolls Royce and even lift a 2.4 tonne skip. Check out our YouTube page if you want the proof.

LOOK AT THE PRICE OF THE BIKE JACKET

Motorcycle jackets can range in price from about fifty bucks to $2400. If you're reading this article then you're probably buying your first jacket, and it's hard to know where the sweet spot is.

Riding jackets aren't cheap, so you don't want to buy multiple jackets for different conditions. Especially if it's your first, stick to something that will cover you year-round. Having a different jacket for every season is only for the most hardcore, veteran riders.

The thing with motorcycle jackets is you get what you pay for. A nice leather jacket or the newest textile gear won't come cheap, but it's worth the investment. You'll be spending hundreds of hours wearing your gear, so you'll want it to feel good.

The best protection only comes from the best materials. The safest motorcycle jacket will either have genuine leather or a fiber like Kevlar or Dyneema. These come at a price, but you'll have to ask yourself, do I want to save some cash now or walk away unscathed from an accident somewhere down the road?

A motorcycle jacket is along-term investment. You should get 5-10 years out of a textile jacket and up to 20 years from a leather motorcycle jacket, but only if it's made from good quality material. The cheaper the gear the sooner you'll find yourself buying a replacement.

Every rider has their own budget and needs, but if you want an exact dollar figure, expect to spend between $500-$800 on your first motorcycle jacket. That might seem steep, but trust me, it's cheaper than the hospital bills.

close-up picture of man on a motorbike wearing sa1nt motorcycle jeans and a black hoodie

CAN THE MOTORCYCLE JACKET SURVIVE TOUGH WEATHER?

Weather conditions are a reality of riding that we all have to deal with. You don't have the luxury of a roof, heater or air conditioning, so your gear will have to do the job of all three. Wearing the right clothes could save you a lot of grief when you're out riding and the weather turns on you.

HOW DOES THE MOTORCYCLE JACKET HANDLE RAIN AND WIND

Getting caught in the rain always sucks. The good news is that plenty of riding jackets are water-resistant, so you can ride in winter storms with no worries.

Textile jackets are generally the way to go in terms of rain protection. Many of them offer water resistance or even a removable thermal liner to keep you feeling nice and toasty.

While leather jackets do repel water, most don't include any kind of water resistance. The tight fit will shield you from the chill of the wind, but leather doesn't do well when faced with water. If your leather jacket does get wet, you'll need to dry it out for a couple of days.

So what if you've got your eye on the perfect motorcycle jacket but it's not water-resistant? You can always throw anAnorak over the top of a jacket to compensate. Your first jacket should be multi-seasonal anyway, so this is a great workaround.

HOW DOES THE MOTORCYCLE JACKET HANDLE HOT WEATHER

But don't throw all your eggs in one basket. You've still got the other end of the year to deal with. Wearing the wrong jacket can turn a sunny day of riding into a sweaty ordeal.

Textile jackets are generally light and have good airflow which makes them ideal for summer. The increased breathability is perfect if you plan to hop off the bike and keep your riding gear on.

Some riders wear mesh jackets in summer for even more airflow. The mesh panels included will certainly cool you down, but these jackets have their limitations. They're strictly seasonal so you won't get much use out of your mesh jacket in winter, and they offer less protection than most other textile gear.

Leather jackets tend to feel constrictive once the weather turns warm. The close tailored fit sticks to your skin and you'll start to feel hot and bothered, not to mention the bulky weight of leather will probably get uncomfortable in the heat.

Since you're a beginner, stick to something that can be worn all year round. Not only will it spare your wallet but it saves you the hassle of shopping for two jackets before you've even found your feet as a rider.