Leather motorcycle jackets have been a staple look for riders since way back when, and are still a popular choice today. The technology and construction techniques have come a long way in recent years leading to buyers being spoiled for choice. With so many options in the marketplace, it is important to ensure you are choosing a jacket that lives up to the quality and safety standards you expect.
In an effort to assist you with buying a leather motorcycle jacket, we have created this buying guide which will cover:
- Styles of leather motorcycle jacket
- Key features of a quality leather motorcycle jacket
- How to fit your leather motorcycle jacket
- Price point
- Taking care of your leather jacket
Styles of Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Motorcycle jackets vary in their style depending on the type of riding they are designed for. Therefore it is important to understand your riding style and riding conditions when buying your motorcycle gear. Here we have broken down four main categories of riding style, and will explain how riding jackets differ for each one.
Obviously, a race jacket is for motorcycle racing. Because if its intended purpose, there are specific safety features of a race jacket that are key to its performance. Firstly, the jacket should be made from thick leather to maximise abrasion resistance. The bottom of racing jackets will have a zip that allows you to zip the jacket together with their matching pants to form a race suit. This also means that the jacket cannot ride up if you end up sliding along the asphalt after a mishap. Another feature of a race jacket is that the leather comes pre-shaped into a tucked riding position. And finally, shoulder and elbow protection and often optional chest and back armour complete the protection features of a race jacket.
An example of a race jacket is the Dainese Racing 3 Leather Jacket. Tough Tutu leather with a pocket for double chest protector, pocket for G1 and G2 back protector; reflective inserts, soft inserts, full leather collar, pants fastener, waist adjustment. Also it has EN1621.1 protectors and air vents on chest and sides
Dainese Saint Louis Leather Jacket is a comfortable, classic jacket for everyday use. Fitted with a removable thermal lining for versatility, and protectors at the elbows and shoulders this jacket is designed for urban riding.
Similar to the race jacket, a street jacket is like a more casual and versatile version commonly with liners (thermal and/or waterproof), and armour or optional armour in elbows, shoulders, chest and back. Alpinestars Faster V2 Air Leather Jacket Black has stretch paneling for comfort, perforations for air ventilation and waterproof pocket for practicality. All excellent features of quality street jackets.
Think Marlon Brando in the Wild One, or for a more recent reference John Travolta in Wild Hogs! This is your classic style of leather motorcycle jacket and is all about comfort and looking good. As protection is not the main feature of this jacket style, look for cruiser jackets that have pockets for optional armour. We recommend always riding with CE rated armour. Check out the Argon Brazen Cruiser Jacket.
Features of a High Quality Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Not all leather jackets are equal in quality and the level of protection that they offer to a rider. So to help you distinguish the fashion accessories from the protective clothing we have come up with a list of key features that all good leather motorcycle jackets should have.
If it doesn't come with armour, your riding jacket should at least have pockets for elbow, shoulder, back and chest armour.
You can also choose to upgrade your armour, for example the Dri Rider D30 Back Protector is CE Certified EN1621-2 Level 2 and can be fitted to any jacket inside the back protector pocket.
Leather can be treated to make it water resistant, but it is not a completely waterproof material. Often they will have a waterproof pocket to store some items.
A removable removable thermal lining will keep you warmer in winter, and can be removed for warmer days. A good quality jacket will also have a moisture wicking mesh liner to help you keep cool and draw sweat away from the body.
Your motorcycle jacket is the only thing between your upper body and road, and in case of an accident you want your safety gear to perform well. Leather has abrasion resistance qualities, motorcycle jackets are mostly cowhide leather which is very tough and durable.
It is also important to check the quality and durability of stitching and zips. The fewer seams in a jacket the better as they can tear or catch.
For hot weather choose perforated or mesh material, otherwise non perforated leather is more suitable for cold weather.
Being visible on the road is very important for rider safety as sometimes other road users can become complacent. You can address this by choosing a leather jacket that has bright colours or reflective strips to stand out.
The Alpinestars Gp Tech V2 Tech Air Leather Jacket has reflective detailing for improved rider visibility.
Each brand will have a different size guide. If you cannot get into an AMX Superstores location to try on jackets then take your measurements with the help of a friend and refer to the brand specific size guide.
AMX has a flexible exchange policy should you accidentally purchase the wrong size.
Jackets for women have a different cut to fit the female shape better. As correct fitment is so important to any motorcycle safety gear performing well we recommend for women to choose a leather jacket designed for ladies. Many jackets designed for women will have synthetic stretch panels to assist with keeping the jacket form fitting.
Check out these leather jackets made just for the ladies!
Johnny Reb Savannah Jacket Womens, Alpinestars Stella Spx Air Leather Jacket, Dainese Avro 4 Lady Leather Jacket, Alpinestars Stella Vika V2 Jacket, Argon Abyss Ladies Non Perforated Jacket, Argon Impulse Ladies Non Perforated Jacket, Dainese Nikita 2 Lady Leather Jacket.
The price of a new motorcycle jacket can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the brand, and the functionality.
Just remember that this jacket is an investment in your own safety, and the perfect jacket will last a long time if you take care of it.
Taking care of your leather jacket
Leather as a material is durable, and when looked after properly it can last a very long time. Think of Indiana Jones, he wore the same leather jacket in every one of those movies and the first one was made in the early 80's!
So here are our top tips for keeping your leather jacket in good shape for as long as possible.
- Keep leather jackets dry - if it does get wet, wipe it down and let it fully dry before putting it away.
- Hang it up on a broad coat hanger - don’t fold or crumple as it will crease.
- Don’t leave leather sitting in the sun for long periods of time as this could lead to discolouration
- Use a leather conditioner for example Motul M3 Perfect Leather
- If you've gotten into a right mess, take it to a professional! Do not try to clean a filthy leather jacket yourself as you could cause damage.
No matter what you ride, there is a leather motorcycle jacket out there for you, waiting to make you feel instantly cooler and keep you safe in style. If you are seeking advice, our staff are on standby to help you find a jacket that enhances your own style, while providing the right level of protection. Head into any of our 17 AMX Superstores, or shop online at amx.com.au. We also have a friendly Online Customer Service Team available on 1300 113 257 to answer all of your questions.