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alan Katkich

alan Katkich

Best Motorcycle Jacket 2021: Top Five Picks

With the amount of money you spent on a motorcycle, it only makes sense to spend a little bit more and get a top-tier motorcycle jacket. Next to your helmet, your jacket is the most important piece of protective gear. But which one is right for you? Well, we put together a list of the 5 best motorcycle jacket reviews, highlighting what each one does best and breaking down this protective gear with a helpful buyer’s guide.

In This Review

Dianese Sport Master Gore-Tex

Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket

Dianese Racing 3 Leather Jacket

Rev’it Airwave 3

Rev’it Traction

Types Of Jackets

Racing 

 Most people do not actually need a racing motorcycle jacket as it offers a very specific set of features. For example, while racing jackets provide more protection than your average motorcycle jacket, the protection is very focused. This is because of the way that motorcycle riders race combined with how they fall. The shoulders need extra attention to absorb an impact.  Racing jackets have to walk a delicate balance as they need to have very focused protection yet remain somewhat comfortable for the pilot

Sport 

 Sport jackets sit somewhere between racing jackets and touring jackets, paying a bit more attention to style as well as protection. Part of this is that sport jackets can be worn for a variety of different reasons and bike styles. Like racing jackets, a sport motorcycle jacket will often include additional protection not only at the shoulders but across the whole body. You can think of sport jackets as a jack of all trades. They are tasked to do a lot for our day to day riding and commuting.

Touring 

 While the other types of motorcycle jackets focus on providing exceptional protection and/or style, touring motorcycle jackets take a slightly different approach. A touring motorcycle jacket is meant to be worn for long stretches on extended journeys where comfort and versatility is king. As such, touring jackets often include features like comfortable liners that make wearing them for long periods easier. On top of that, touring jackets also offer a bit more in the way of climate control for both hot or cold weather as well as rain protection. 

Outer Jacket

This is technically your first line of defense, providing both protection for your body as well as general durability for the jacket. The outer can be made of either leather, synthetic leather, textiles, or a combination of these materials depending on the type of jacket and the desired qualities.

The outer  jacket will also often include some form of padding that is not technically part of the insert– though some models simply rely on inserts. It is also worth noting that a motorcycle jacket with a waterproof outer will perform better in inclement weather. Real leather is not ideal for rain.

Inner Jacket

While the inner might also be made out of a wide range of different materials, it tends not to include leather as this is not the most comfortable material. Instead, most motorcycle jackets use one of a variety of different textiles for the inner as these are more comfortable while also imparting other qualities.

It is also worth remembering that most motorcycle jackets include armor shell inserts which are usually installed through the inner to prevent them from falling out. One of the most important functions for many motorcycle jacket inners is to provide insulation against the cold when riding in chilly climates.

Removable Liner

Not every motorcycle jacket will include a removable liner and not every liner is meant to accomplish a similar task as its competitors 

One of the most common reasons a motorcycle jacket includes a liner is to increase the insulation to help protect against the cold in chilly weather. However, some liners also offer waterproofing or wind-breaking aspects, though these liners do not tend to work as well as  treatments applied to the outer.

Protection

While the various layers of a motorcycle jacket all provide some degree of protection, they will generally not save your skin or protect against impact should you fall from your bike at high speeds. To prevent the pavement from grinding you down to a nub during a high-speed fall, most motorcycle jackets include various forms of padding.

At the very least, a motorcycle jacket will include shoulder and elbow pads with some models offering multiple layers of different materials to provide even more protection. While back protection does not come standard in all motorcycle jackets, most  will include a pocket in the back and maybe even the chest for additional torso protection.

Fit

The type of motorcycle jacket will often impact the fit, with touring jackets running a bit larger than sport or the “second skin” racing jackets which are often quite slim or aggressively cut. However, even if the motorcycle jacket sits well on your shoulders, it may not necessarily fit your entire frame as well.

One way of solving this issue is by providing various points where you can adjust the fit of different parts of the jacket to better conform to the shape of your body. Whether with zippers or velcro straps, these adjustments provide a more comfortable and wind-resistant fit while also keeping the cold away from your skin. You want the armor to be positioned in the proper places on your body. You don’t want your elbow pads down over your forearms leaving your elbow unprotected for example. 

Related Best Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Comfort

There are a couple of different aspects to consider for comfort with the aforementioned fit being one of them, however, comfort can also come in the form of climate control. As mentioned prior, many motorcycle jackets offer some form of insulation to help protect against the cold, but what about the heat?

One way that motorcycle jackets combat the heat is by using various materials like mesh that allow your body to breathe, releasing both heat and sweat. However, many motorcycle jackets take this a step further by either providing perforation or even zippered vents to further increase breathability.

Best Motorcycle Jacket Reviews

Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket

Best Touring Motorcycle Jacket

Anyone familiar with sports apparel has almost certainly heard of Dainese which is one of the more experienced companies within the market, founded in 1972. Dainese makes high-end protective gear for a variety of different sports, not just motorsports. 

The Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket is a crowning achievement.

Granted, the name recognition and high degree of quality put into Dainese products drive its price to a high point, are you getting what you are paying for. For instance, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket is the only model on our list that not only advertises itself as being waterproof but meets that standard.

Given the name of this motorcycle jacket, the most important aspect that goes into this is the Gore-Tex outer layer that provides this jacket an incredibly 45000 mm static pressure rating. That rating would be good enough to make the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket a high-end mountain climbing jacket, let alone a motorcycle jacket.

However, this motorcycle jacket’s Gore-Tex outer layer not only provides excellent waterproofing but also protects you against cold weather and wind. That said, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket is not meant for the coldest winter weather, so sub-zero temperatures will still require an additional layer of warmth.

The Gore-Tex outer layer is not the only thing protecting you from frigid temperatures with this motorcycle jacket. Its removable thermal liner also adds a bit of insulation. As if that were not enough, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket also boasts neoprene wrist closures to help ensure that your sleeves stay in place and do not let any drafts in.

Speaking of drafts, the wind should be no concern when wearing this motorcycle jacket as it comes with a removable wind-breaking gaiting. To completely sew up the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket, you can also connect a pair of Dainese pants with a customized, secure fastening system.

Of course, the primary reason to purchase a motorcycle jacket has more to do with protecting you from falls as well as inclement weather, and this model does that better than most. Whether you look at the shoulders or elbows, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket provides EN 1621.1 Level 2 padding– the highest rating available.

To further reinforce that protection, this motorcycle jacket also employs cowhide leather inserts to complement the pads, so you do not have to worry about road rash. Because that is simply not good enough for this company, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket also reinforces the shoulders with polyurethane shoulder pads.

Keep in mind, providing plenty of protection from falls is paramount for a superior motorcycle jacket, but that does not mean you should just ignore the overall durability– especially given the price. But of course, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket has you covered here as well thanks to the use of Nylon 6.6 high-abrasion fabric, offering durability and protection all in one.

Leaving no stone unturned, this motorcycle jacket also ensures that it feels comfortable to wear while meeting the highest standards by providing dual vents on the chest and back. Even better, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket allows for neck adjustments and uses a stretchy fabric for inner flexibility.

Pros

  • Waterproof 
  •  LVL 2 pads
  •  GoreTex 
  •  Extremely breathable

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not for the coldest winters

Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket

Best All Purpose Motorcycle Jacket

Alpinestars is another company that likely needs little to no introduction for people familiar with dynamic sport apparel brands. It is the most experienced company we reviewed.

 The Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket is more of a throwback to the company’s roots than it is a bold innovation into the future. Still, this appreciation of Alpinestars’ rich heritage in no way precludes this motorcycle jacket from including high-end features you would expect to see on a top-tier model.

A perfect example of this is the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket’s full-grain leather main shell which is the only main shell to use full-grain leather. This material choice is relevant because not only is full-grain leather generally more durable than even most high-tech materials, but it also offers excellent protection.

Of course, the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket is not satisfied with just providing “basic” protection. It reinforces the full-grain leather main shell with BIO Armor shoulder and elbow inserts. On top of that, while this motorcycle jacket may not come with torso padding, it comes with a pocket for back protection padding inserts.

 The Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket aims at offering a more comfortable fit than some of the other models we encountered. For starters, this motorcycle jacket employs a somewhat slim fit style on an otherwise sport silhouette with a smart oriental collar that fits snugly without feeling suffocating.

Many motorcycle jackets– especially those that rely on real leather– feel a bit stiff about the arms and require some time to break them in. Thankfully, the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket designed the arms with a pre-curved shape that makes them comfortable for long riding without pinching or squeezing your arm until they relax over time.

As if that were not enough, this motorcycle jacket also sizes the arms between 1” to 1 ½” longer than normal to accommodate different riding positions without riding up your arms. Also, it seems as if the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket takes this part of comfort exceptionally seriously as it also includes both a zipper and snap sleeve closure.

While the dual closures keep the sleeve from riding up your arm, it is also one of the main things that make this motorcycle jacket so great for cold-weather riding. Though, a draft up your arms is nothing compared to freezing your torso off which is why the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket includes a removable 80 g thermal liner– the thickest on our list.

Of course, you do not get all of these great features and classic styling for nothing, and this motorcycle jacket is at a higher price point. Also, the Alpinestars Oscar Charlie Leather Jacket’s main zipper can get stuck in odd positions, but you do not see the same issue with the warm, zippered pockets.

Pros

  •  Full-grain leather shell
  •  Good insulation
  •  BIO armor protection
  • The sleeves fit better than most

Cons

  • Is more expensive
  • Tricky main zipper

Dainese Men’s Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket

Best Racing Motorcycle Jacket

Dainese makes another appearance on our list, but this time instead of focusing on providing the best all-around performance, the company narrows its focus a bit. As the name would suggest, the Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket specializes its features towards racing and blows the competition out of the water.

One thing worth noting is that while this motorcycle jacket might seem somewhat reasonably priced for a racing jacket, it is still an up market option.

 The focus on racing shifts the features of the Dainese Racing 3 Leather Jacket a bit more than most of the other jackets reviewed.

For example, this motorcycle jacket prizes an aggressive cut over some of the other comfort qualities, though this makes sense when you consider the positions necessary for competitive racing. 

 One gripe with the Dianese is the lack of CE rated armor. Thankfully, the Dainese Racing 3 understands that you still need a bit more protection at the shoulders and offers replaceable, co-injects aluminum shoulder plates for excellent protection.

 While the Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket is another model that does not protect the torso standard, it includes a double chest protection pocket as well as a back pocket for optional inserts.

It is worth noting that this motorcycle jacket will not hold up under inclement weather as well as some of the other models we encountered. It’s just not what its intended purpose is. However its inner liner can handle extensive riding in hot weather as its silver-treated fabric is naturally anti-bacterial and odor resistant.

To offer a little bit more comfort in warmer weather, this motorcycle jacket comes equipped with chest and side air vents for added  breathability. Finally, the Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket offers the company’s pants fastening system as well as waist adjustment straps. The Dianese is a really aesthetically pleasing jacket. True to Dainese form, the cut and the proportions of the jacket are spot on. The leather is flawless and the graphics and color blocking are pleasing to the eye. Any rider, weather on the street or the track will definitely look the part in this thing.  

Pros

  • Excellent brand quality
  •  Breathable
  • Replaceable aluminum shoulder caps

Cons

  • No CE rated armor

Rev’it Airwave 3 Motorcycle Jacket

Best Warm Weather Motorcycle Jacket

Rev’it is another company you would expect to see on any top product list.  While Rev’it may not be the most experienced company we reviewed, that has not hindered them from piling up awards since its inception.

The Rev’it Airwave 3 Motorcycle Jacket is a perfect example of Rev’it’s reputation for quality. It’s one of the few models we considered that offers excellent features and is an inexpensive option too. However, just because you get a good deal with this motorcycle jacket does not mean you have to sacrifice quality.

A perfect example of this is the inclusion of PWR shell mesh panels which provide this motorcycle jacket some of the best breathability that we came across. Though, this also comes at the expense of a liner which somewhat reduces the Rev’it Airwave 3 Motorcycle Jacket’s effectiveness in colder climates.

The Rev’it Airwave 3 Motorcycle Jacket doubles down on its warm-weather design by including air vents at the chest, back, and sleeves for even more heat reduction.

The Rev’it  provides SEESMART CE-Level 1 padding inserts at both the shoulders and elbows. Also, while the Rev’it Airwave 3 jacket does not come with torso protection, it still provides a chest pocket for a SEESOFT CE-Level 1 chest insert and a back pocket for a SEESOFT CE-Level 2 back insert.

Of course, this motorcycle jacket is not simply concerned with solid protection, it also provides great all-around durability. For instance, it employs a combination of high-density 600D polyester as well as synthetic leather to provide a good mix of durability, flexibility, and water resistance.

As if that were not enough, the Rev’it Airwave 3 Motorcycle Jacket also uses 75D polyester, elastane, and nylon for the top portion of the outer for even more durability and flexibility where you really need it. To make sure you feel just as good as you look while wearing this jacket, it allows you to adjust the fit at the collar, waist, shoulder, and wrists– making it the most adjustable jacket on our list.

However, this focus on comfort is not strictly limited to the fit, as the tour cut is especially comfortable compared to sport fits.

Pros

  •  Comfortable
  •  Excellent airflow
  • Durable materials
  • Good price

Cons

  • One season use

Rev’it Traction Motorcycle Jacket

Best Urban Motorcycle Jacket

Rev’it makes another appearance on our list, but this time the company aims to offer something with a little bit more in the way of style and features compared to its already reviewed, less expensive option.

The Revit Traction Motorcycle Jacket is another relatively inexpensive option that offers a solid range of features. This urban jacket is perfect for the style conscious rider looking to keep comfortable in the late spring, summer and early fall 

Though, it should be noted that while the Revit Traction Motorcycle Jacket provides plenty of breathability, it is not ideal for the most humid of weather. The inner liner of this motorcycle jacket tends to feel a bit sticky against your skin when the weather gets too humid.

However, a big part of this effect comes from the Rev’it Traction Motorcycle Jacket’s detachable hydratex G-liner that provides the second-best waterproofing on our list. That said, it does not offer a static pressure rating, and this waterproofing more prevents water from reaching your skin than preventing it from soaking into the jacket.

Still, when you combine that with the PWR shell mesh pads, the Revit Traction Motorcycle Jacket is a perfect option for someone who wants to ride in a warm climate and may need to deal with sporadic showers. Even better, this combination also allows this motorcycle jacket to provide some modest wind-breaking qualities.

Taking this approach to climate control a step further, the Rev’it Traction Motorcycle Jacket also designs mesh panels in the chest, back, and sleeves for exceptional breathability.

 The Rev’it Traction Motorcycle Jacket does not just protect you from inclement weather as it also comes with SEESMART CE-Level 1 shoulder inserts.

To further reinforce this protection, the jacket also includes a layer of TPU padding at the shoulders which still provides more flexibility than a lot of other materials. Finally, this motorcycle jacket allows you to insert an optional SEESOFT CE-Level 2 back pad in the back pocket– though there is no pocket for chest padding.

Pros

  • Waterproof liner
  • Great breathability
  • Non bulky  protection
  • Good price

Cons

  • No included back protection
  • Not ideal for humid weather

Conclusion

In the end, the best motorcycle jacket will depend on a host of factors from the local climate, to the type of riding you do, to what your budget looks like. That said, there is no getting around the fact that the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket provides the best all-around performance– and it is not even close.

Granted, you have to pay a pretty penny for the privilege of wearing it, but this motorcycle jacket checks every box you can think of and then some. For starters, the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket is the only model we encountered that is truly waterproof with professional-grade waterproofing.

On top of that, this motorcycle jacket works equally well in cold climates as it does in warm ones with additional, removable layers for added insulation and numerous vents for breathability. As if that were not enough, you do not have to worry about the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket’s durability thanks to extremely sturdy Nylon 6.6.

Of course, this motorcycle jacket also comes with plenty of creature comforts like a flexible inner to allow for maximum flexibility while remaining in place. Finally, no other entry we reviewed comes close to offering the same level of protection as the Dainese Sport Master Gore-Tex Jacket with its best-in-class padding.

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