How do I choose the right motorcycle jacket?

How do I choose the right motorcycle jacket? Your time should be spent out on the road enjoying the ride. So if it’s the first time you are buying a motorcycle jacket, the process can be quite time consuming. There is a lot of gear out there so it can be difficult to find the right one for you. There are a few things to consider when choosing your jacket.

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to make the process go a little easier.

1. What sort of riding will you be doing?

Every day commuting – You may need an ‘all weather jacket’, one that has weatherproof features as the afternoon could well provide different weather conditions than the morning ride into work. Something light and comfortable for everyday use.
Weekend rides out of town – Choose a quality leather jacket for added protection and abrasion resistance for longer rides of varying speeds.
Casual riding with destination in mind, generally shorter distance with the focus on the destination requiring a jacket that can be worn as street wear, off the bike and in the crowd.

2. What protective qualities are important for riding?

Leather – Quality hides from cow, kangaroo and buffalo are considered good choices for protection when motorcycle riding. Minimum thickness of 1.1mm for cow-hide is ideal to give some abrasion resistance should you have an ‘off’ whilst kangaroo can be thinner due to its superior strength. Avoid ‘fashion leather’ such as lamb and sheepskin (often the choice of fashion houses). These are too soft and thin for motorcycle riding and offer little or no protection in a fall.
Protective lining – If you are choosing a jacket made from materials such as denim, cotton, soft-shell, it will benefit from a protective liner. DuPont™ Kevlar® fibres is a popular choice for abrasion resistance. It is made in varying thicknesses and abrasion resistance will vary accordingly.
Armour – This is important for lessening the impact in a fall and to assist in reducing in-jury. This is generally placed in pockets inside clothing in areas such as elbows, shoulders, knees and spine. There are many choices on the market and comfort plays a factor in riders choosing to wear these. They should have a Certified European standards rating.

Other factors important in quality gear include:

* Quality zips that can withstand the rigour of riding conditions, i.e.. YKK metal zips
* Double stitching on seams for added strength
* Nylon bonded thread to prevent disintegration of seams
* Internal pockets for phone, wallet etc

3. How do you choose the correct fit?

Motorcycle jackets should fit neatly in all areas to avoid movement in a fall.

• Waist/hips should fit firmly to avoid riding up, along with width of cuffs tapering to wrist.
• Leather – When choosing a leather jacket, it is best to have it fit firmly, even a little tight. Leather will naturally relax as you wear it and give in areas where needed. Leather also softens with wear and will feel more and more comfort-able over time.
• Denim, cotton and cordura fabrics have less movement and stretch so choose a jacket from these for exact fit and comfort purchase.

4. How much should you pay?

Think of your jacket as an investment. You have paid a good price for your motorcycle – consider the jacket (and all gear) an extension of the riding experience and worthy of investment too. Think of a cost per wear if that helps and wear it off the bike as well if appropriate. Overtime it is well worth the initial spend and you won’t regret it if you ever are unlucky to come off your bike.

Look after your jacket when not using it, hang it up in a cool dry place and it will last even longer. When you notice damage or wear and tear in your gear, it might be time to replace it.
Although jackets were initially chosen for protection in accidents and weather, the motorcycle accessories market has now evolved so that a jacket can also be chosen to compliment the style of bike and the riding you will do, and even transition as street wear if necessary.

Choose one which is a reflection of you and one you will be happy to wear for some time – both in comfort, protective qualities and style.

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Please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Blackbird Motorcycle Wear if you have any questions or want to suggest future motorcycle blog ideas.

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