A pal and I were recently discussing some of the biggest evolutions in our sport, and how they were game changers. For example, in 1971, Yamaha debuted the Monoshock suspension. Back then, we kind of knew it had potential, but it wasn’t the answer. It was easier to tune one shock rather than two, and it was cheaper. However, it was also heavy and unsophisticated. It had potential, but it wasn’t the answer we were looking for and eventually single shock linkage suspensions were introduced.
The same can be said for their fork mounted radiators and first attempt at water cooling. It had potential, but it was in the wrong place and made the bike handle like you were trying to push a cow into the back seat of a Honda Civic.
Obviously we have come a long way since then, and my buddy and I think that one of the most overlooked innovations has been how we keep ourselves cool and safe.
Over the years, apparel companies have stepped up just as much, if not more than the actual bike manufacturers. Now all of our gear is state of the art. It is safer, and we are way more comfortable when we ride, and that is important. Keeping cool means staying safe, and if you have ever overheated while riding, you know exactly what I mean.
Summer Riding Jackets are marvels of forward thinking and technology. Long gone are the days of wearing heavy layers of thick cowhide just to stay safe. It was like wearing a Tandoori oven, and that’s not even addressing the limited mobility.
After a great deal of careful research and insightful thought (riding all day) I came up with what I believe are the 5 Best Summer Motorcycle Jackets. This list addresses individual riding styles. It includes adventure riding, urban commuter, sport and sport touring and track rider, so it paints with a broad brush. I took into account brand reputation, price and customer satisfaction. All these jackets rate very highly with customers. All of these are brands that I would trust on my back as well.
Best Summer Leather Jacket
Icon Contra 2 Perforated Leather Jacket
Full credit to Icon. They always bring it. Their gear is always innovative and stylish, plus you can’t argue with the price.
The Contra 2 comes in stealth black and white, and has a nice snug fit thanks to its pre-curved vented anti-flap arms, and ratchet waist closure. The D3O shoulder, elbow, and back impact protectors keep you safe, and you can also wear it in the colder months thanks to its removable insulated liner.
Without going into the endless specs of the jacket, suffice to say that we tried it and we love it, so you should love it too.
Best Adventure Rider Summer Jacket
Klim Baja S4 Jacket
Adventure riders rejoice, because the Klim Baja S4 Jacket offers riders respite from the hot desert sun with its tightly woven mesh and open weave design to flow air through the entire jacket. The specs on this jacket are incredible, so you should do your own research, however what goes beyond the specs is the value and the comfort. It isn’t the cheapest jacket you will ever buy, but it is one of the best ones, and you can wear it riding to work, or riding Baja.
Related: Best Hot Weather Motorcycle Helmet
Best Sport & Sport Touring Summer Jacket
Cortech Piuma Jacket
If you were to judge the Cortech Piuma Jacket purely on style, it would be a solid 10 out of 10.
However, if you judge it on its ability to keep you cool in the summer, it deserves at least a solid 8.5 thanks to its 1.2mm to 1.4mm thick cowhide leather and large front and back mesh panels. All of that mesh means that you not only stay cool from drawing air into the jacket, but you are able to ventilate, and expel hot air through the back. We all know what back sweat feels like after peeling off a jacket, and the Cortech Piuma Jacket does a great job at eliminating that problem.
Best Urban Commuter Summer Jacket
REV’IT! Eclipse Jacket
Simply put, you can easily wear this jacket when you aren’t riding. It looks that good, and it comes in black, brown, silver, green and blue. However, since you’re not looking for a jacket just to wear to the coffee shop, and need it for actual riding, this jacket holds up thanks to its 600D polyester and mesh construction and Knox CE Level 1 armor in the shoulders and elbows. You can also buy its CE Level 2 SeeSoft back protector separately.
Best Track Summer Jacket
REV’IT! Hyperspeed Pro Jacket
REV’IT! is known for coming up with some very cool gear, and this is our best in show for a summer track jacket. It is constructed using PWR shell and perforated cowhide and 3D airmesh. It also features a speed bump, CE rated armor protects the elbows and shoulders so you’re more than covered in case you step off. However, what the specs don’t tell you is how well this jacket cools you. The mostly leather design is very clever, and the combination of perforations and strategically placed mesh have been thoroughly tested and thought out. Additionally, it comes in black & white, neon red and black & blue combinations, so you’ll look legit at the track or on your next ride out.
We have come a long way since the days of wearing a quilted liner multi-layer cow suit. Remember when it would get wet, and how crusty it was after it dried? Thankfully those days are long gone, and manufacturers continue to level up their game and bring us new, innovative products so we can ride safe, ride cool and look good while doing it.