Motorcycle jackets are one of those pieces of safety gear that it just makes sense to own. No matter if you live in a hot, humid, cold, or dry area, all roads possess the ability to be rather harsh to your skin should you ever go down. There are jackets designed for all four of those previously mentioned environmental conditions, and some of the best jackets possess the ability to handle more than one.
Since there really is no “one size fits all” type of motorcycle jacket, this list will not be ranked competitively. What we mean by this is that instead of counting down from 10 to 1, we’ll instead be showing the ten overall best motorcycle jackets for men, flat out. Simply choose the one that best suits your environment, and you’ll have many fun riding days ahead!
Alpinestars is a name that has been in motorcycle racing for a long time, and it shows with their gear. Last year we recommended the Missile Air jacket because of its perfect balance of street and track sensibilities, however, Alpinestars discontinued it when our new recommendation, the GP Plus R V3 RideKnit leather jacket came out. All we can say about this new jacket is that it is a worthy successor!
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. Combining microfiber for wicking perspiration, knitted mesh for extreme durability, and abrasion-resistant thermo-welded microfibers on the exterior, the jacket breathes, flows air to necessary cooling areas, and is able to flex and stretch without losing any structural stability while doing so.
The GP Plus R V3 is also fully compatible with the Alpinestars TechAir 5 airbag vest, in both the racing and street variations. Nucleon Flex armor is built-in along the forearms, elbows, and shoulders, and there are pockets for Nucleon Flex chest armor, and full-coverage back armor from any brand, although Alpinestars naturally suggests Nucleon armor if you are not using a TechAir airbag, as the V5 has CE Level 2 armor along the spine already. If you buy this jacket alongside any compatible leather pants such as the Missile Air V2, they zip together at the waist to form a full suit.
Joe Rocket has had the Atomic 5.0 out on the racks for a few years because so far there is no reason to switch out this excellent jacket. For below $200, this jacket represents tremendous value, and owners give it consistently high ratings.
The construction is a combination of waterproof treated Rock Tex, and Hitena outer shell for maximum impact resistance. There is CE-approved removable shoulder and elbow armor, plus room for adding a spine protector. The tailoring is meant to be a close fit, and the sizing guide seems quite accurate, but you will notice there are still many, 6-to-be exact custom adjustments.
The Atomic 5.0 will also work to keep you comfortable through 3 seasons, thanks to excellent ventilation, and an included thermal liner. You will even find a belt loop tab to help keep the jacket in position as you lean deeper over the bars.
For those that are serious about spending days, if not weeks, on a motorcycle, adventuring across the Australian outback, or touching all the big landmarks in South Africa, Klim has the jacket for you. The Adventure Rally Jacket is not for those looking to ride for a day, no. This is about as hardcore as you can get.
Using all the latest in material and protective technologies, the Adventure Rally is waterproof, windproof, stain-resistant, and shucks off salt, water, and biologicals that might get tossed into the air if you’re riding along a coastline near the sea. GoreTex interwoven with Armacor textile provides three layers of abrasion resistance and waterproofing, so even if you do take a spill and tear the outer layer, two more layers will still keep the integrity of the jacket.
The Adventure Rally also comes with a full complement of armor, all of it D3O CE level 2 or better, in the chest, shoulders, elbows, forearms, and full back. It has an internal kidney belt that helps the shoulders bear the weight of the jacket on the tops of the hips while also armoring the kidneys. A built-in, 3-liter hydration pack in the back is easily refillable, and contamination-proof when closed, with the drink tube able to be routed either internally or externally, depending on your preference.
Ten waterproof external pockets mean you can carry all the gear you need that’s too small to fit in your saddlebags or pannier lockers. Ventilation is also highly customizable with no less than 6 vent options, all closed and sealed by YKK zippers and waterproof GoreTex membranes behind the zips.
Yes, this jacket costs as much as a decent used dirt bike, but it is meant, as stated, to survive weeks, if not months, on an adventure. And for that, there is no better jacket.
The history of cafe racing personal protective gear is a bit of an interesting one, as cafe racers in the UK were the first riders to fully and truly wear head-to-toe protective gear, usually made of high-grade cowhide leather. It’s a good thing, then, that Merlin decided to not fix what’s not broken.
The Chase Cafe jacket is made of high quality, double- and triple-stitched cowhide, in varying thicknesses of 1.2 to 1.3 mm. The main chassis is backed by a smooth satin black fabric, with a removable thermal liner vest that weighs only 100g.
Keeping with the style and feel of the rock and roll racing era, the two-tone leather hides an impressive set of CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows, with a back pocket in the liner designed to handle any of the top quality back protector inserts on the market, from D3O all the way to Nucleon and SeeSoft.
Also in keeping with the cafe history, all zips are high-quality YKK, with Merlin snap closures including a storm flap closure just under the collar if you want a little more airflow, or a full neck snap if it’s getting a little chilly. Other jackets made of the same materials, with the same level of protection, will cost you over $100 more, which makes the Merlin Chase Cafe jacket one of the best value-for-money options out there in today’s cafe jacket market.
“Wait,” we can hear you say. “That’s a jacket?” Indeed it is, although it is branded as a “riding shirt.” It may look like a slightly bulky cotton button-up, but that is underselling the serious protection that this jacket hides.
Looking like an average construction site work shirt, the exterior is made of 67% cotton and 33% polyester, although it is not on-brand Cordura. Instead, it is branded out as 12oz coated denim, which has about 300D ripstop equivalent. While that is not overly impressive, the 140GSM aramid knit backing to that denim is. Much like riding jeans, the aramid takes the brunt of the abrasion, with a ripstop rating of 1000D.
This is backed up with full Sas-Tec CE Level 2 armor, certified to EN 1621-1 performance, in the elbows and shoulder areas, held in by aramid and polyester lining. There is a pocket for a back protector at the rear of the shirt and will fit all major armor types in that pocket.
Hiding behind the front buttons, in case there was worry that the shirt might rip open during a slide, is a fully double-sewn YKK zipper. The collar has hidden snap-downs to prevent it from flapping in the wind, and there are belt loops hidden in the hem to keep the shirt from riding up during a slide as well.
All in all, if you want to look casual, but ride protected, REAX has a relatively inexpensive but amazingly protective riding shirt for you.
As easily seen in the top form of motorcycle racing, MotoGP, there really are only two houses of racing suits across the entire competitive field. One is Alpinestars, the other is Dainese. If there ever was a war for sportbike and supersport gear dominance, it is between these two companies. So it’s only fitting that while one of our top recommended sports jackets is Alpinestars, the other is one of Dainese’s best.
Instead of relying purely on cowhide for abrasion resistance, Dainese has invested a lot of research and development money into what is known as S1 Bielastic Fabric, developed in partnership with Cordura. While high-quality leather does make up a large part of the chassis, especially abrasion areas, it is backed by S1, and S1 is also used to form the stretch panels between leather panels. As well, the S1 in and of itself is equivalent to 600D ripstop and contains polyamides, polyester, and aramid fibers for the strongest, but most flexible, protection possible.
This allows for the jacket, which is relaxed just under a full race fit, to stretch and conform to the rider’s body without needing to be fully tailored to the rider. On top of that, the jacket features composite armor in the shoulders and elbows, with replaceable aluminum external slide points. The entire jacket is also CE Cat 2 certified, meaning it is a viable track jacket and passes all requirements to be worn for track days if you do not have a full suit.
Sometimes, riders want to have gear that serves as both protection while riding, and outerwear when they park up somewhere. While most jackets can feel a bit stuffy or even downright heavy when air is not flowing through them, Rev’It has balanced the Stealth 2 Hoody right on that razor’s edge.
In terms of protection, the Stealth 2 is made of triple-layer stretch Cordura, backed by a HydraTex pro waterproofing membrane. The elbows are reinforced with polyamide fabric to help with abrasion resistance and sliding. The shoulders and elbows are protected with Rev’It Seesmart armor, with a back protector pocket in the liner of the hoody.
In terms of outerwear, the Stealth 2 also comes with a detachable thermal liner that brings the jacket to a full three-season level of warmth and wearability. Being stretch Cordura, the hoody is also highly breathable, allowing sweat and moisture to wick away from the body. This means that when you arrive at your destination, you can wear the hoody as normal outerwear without having to lug around a heavy jacket.
The Scorpion EXO 1909 is a jacket that has both an interesting story and a specific design behind it. A cross between a sports jacket and a cruiser jacket, the 1909 in the name symbolizes the incorporation and opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where throughout the years motorsports of both the two and four-wheeled varieties have taken place.
Made of distressed leather for a soft feel, it nonetheless offers over 1.1mm of cowhide abrasion protection. Sas-Tec CE level 2 armor is discreetly hidden in the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket in the rear for a Sas-Tec CE level 2 back protector. On the elbows specifically, extra leather overlays have been sewn in so that there is added protection on one of the most common slide points.
Zippered rear vents work in conjunction with discreetly hidden perforated underarm and flank panels. A removable thermal liner allows for both warm and cold weather riding. All of the zippers on the jacket are genuine YKK but in a special process antiquated brass look. The wrists are zipper closures with accordion stretch panels to create a good air seal for cruiser riding, and a good glove seal for sport riding.
The biggest thing with the EXO 1909 is not that it features a hell of a lot of protection, but that it does so while recreating the look and feel of an early 20th-century leather jacket.
Before anyone asks, yes, that is the actual retail name of this jacket. Roland Sands is a premium gear maker, and the [email protected]#k Luck definitely deserves the premium tag. Each jacket is handmade, and the entire jacket chassis is 1.1 to 1.3 mm thick premium cowhide, which is hand-finished in vegetable dye.
It comes with Knox CE level 2 armor at the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket for a back protector. All zips, as are common on high-quality jackets, are YKK. There are four mostly hidden vents, closed by zips, at the shoulders and middle of the back.
The jacket is water-resistant, with a waterproof internal device pocket. It is also articulated so that if you ride a supersport, a sportbike, an ADV, or even a cruiser, the jacket can move and adapt to each riding position without stretching or straining against your body. That alone makes it one of the best, and the fact that it technically qualifies as a track-wearable protective jacket is just the icing on the cake.
A lot of motorcycles live in places where it can get uncomfortably warm in many other types of jackets. This is why mesh jackets first started getting made back in the early 2000s. Evolutionary materials and engineering have brought what used to be bits of nylon stretched between leather panels into fully armored, abrasion-resistant, yet exceptionally comfortable modern mesh textile jackets.
Of these, Rev’It has the Ignition 3, possibly one of the finest examples of protection with maximum airflow. The third iteration, the base chassis is made of Monaco Performance cowhide leather, some of the best protective leather you can get in the world. Between the cowhide sections is tightly woven Dynax mesh, which is heat-resistant and deflects off as much heat as it allows air through, and also will not melt during a slide.
Backing up the Dynax is PWR I shell 500D stretch fabric in the arms and 600D waxed polyester in the torso. All of this is then backed with Lorica fabric. It may sound like a lot of layers, and it frankly is, but the fact is that you can hold this jacket up to a light with it fully closed and zipped up, and still see the light through it.
Because it’s Rev’It, and they over-engineer almost all their gear (which is a good thing!), there are two detachable liners, a full Hydratex 3L waterproof one, and a thermite liner in case it gets chilly. Protection comes in the form of full CE level 2 Seeflex armor on the elbows and shoulders, and there is a pocket in the back of the jacket for a Seesoft CE 2 back protector, which will fit D3O, Nucleon, and other armor types without issue.
If you need the best protection with the best airflow, Rev’It have you covered!