February 17, 2023
For many riders, a motorcycle jacket is like a second skin, made to be lived in during all those hours on the road. With so many styles, materials, and features to choose from, it’s not always an easy road to find the bestmotorcycle riding jacket from Harley-Davidson for your own riding needs. Use this guide on style, fit, and options to smooth out your journey tofind the best motorcycle jacket for your personal and riding style.
Choosing a motorcycle jacket is matter of style, safety, and ultimately practicality. To find the best motorcycle jacket for the way you ride, consider the range of available jacket styles below. Each different jacket style features a distinct look and feel, as well as different features for protection and comfort. We’ve ordered the options here from least to most rugged, so you can better match these styles with how (and how long) you prefer to head out on the road.
Riding Shirt Jackets – Best for Casual Riding
Hit the streets in a blend of casual style and functional riding wear with a riding shirt jacket. While it might look like it, this is not just your average casual shirt: a riding shirt jacket is specially engineered for maximum comfort while taking your bike out for a spin. Typically made with durable blended materials, a shirt jacket can provide added warmth and protection from the wind. Ideally, they’re also crafted with safety and comfort features like body armor pockets and pre-curved sleeves. Altogether, the riding jacket offers a perfect look and feel for easygoing cruises and quick trips around town.
Softshell Jackets - Best for Lightweight Wind Protection
Stepping up the coverage and protection from the elements a notch, softshell windproof motorcycle jackets are typically designed to keep riders warm in the face of strong winds. Windproof polyester materials provide a shield against cold breezes and gusts, without adding to the weight of the jacket so you can stay out on the road for longer without getting bogged down. Detachable hoods give riders an option to add even more warmth.
Mesh Jackets - Most Breathable
The best mesh motorcycle jackets combine some of the casual look and feel of the shirt jacket with an increased level of projection, thanks to much-improved slide and abrasion resistance. But the mesh material doesn’t just offer additional safety. When riding in sweltering summertime temperatures, breathability is a must. Without sacrificing durability, lightweight smaller-hole mesh materials offer excellent ventilation to help you stay cool. Plus, certain mesh riding jackets offer removable liners added warmth and wind proofing for comfort that extends beyond the hottest months.
Textile Jackets - Best for Touring
The textile motorcycle jacket takes versatility and protection to another level. Usually very lightweight and breathable, textile jackets make for comfortable touring through warm weather, while waterproof construction means you’ll stay dry even when you get stuck out in a storm. And with removable thermal liners, you can take you’re a textile touring jacket for a long trip even when things get cold.
Leather Jackets - Best for a Classic Moto-Look
Leather motorcycle jackets come in a variety of styles, but they all provide a distinctive look along with top-notch abrasion protection. Find lightweight, midweight, and heavier options to hit the road with timeless style in all seasons—and with all the modern upgrades of your choosing, like moisture-wicking liners, easy-to-reach vents, removable body armor, and more.
Adventure Jackets - Best for Adventure Touring
The most rugged riding jacket type available, adventure jackets pull out all the stops so that you can focus on your ride in virtually any weather, anywhere. No matter if you’re heading across the country or taking things off-road, adventure jackets incorporate technology and features meant to help you stay cool, warm, dry, and above all comfortable. Customize your temperature with the addition (or subtraction) of lining layers and bring everything you need in easy-access storage. With an adventure jacket you’ll be fully prepared for the long haul.
Picking a motorcycle jacket that suits your style and riding preferences is a start, but landing on a jacket that also provides a proper fit is also important. Too tight, and you won’t be able to comfortably pilot your bike. Too loose, and the jacket’s crucial protective features might not function properly. If you’re ordering a motorcycle jacket online, enlist the help of a friend or family member in taking measurements of your chest, waist, and arm length before comparing the results with a given jacket’s size chart.
Once you have a jacket candidate in your possession, to ensure that it fits correctly, be sure to try it on both on and off your bike. Check that padding and protection in the elbows and shoulders properly aligns with your joints and doesn’t impede your movement as you handle the bike.
Like a motorcycle helmet, your jacket should be snug, but comfortably so. A jacket doesn’t just need to fit comfortably at first, however. Make sure that your jacket remains a comfortable wear for several minutes before making your final decision. If you can’t keep wearing it for a few minutes, the jacket certainly won’t perform well on your next long ride.