5 Motorcycle-Style Jackets Perfect for Summer Riding
Credit: Pexels / Antoni Shkraba
Most motorcycle jackets are designed with one core philosophy — to protect the rider in the event of an accident. Everything else, like comfort or weather protection, is secondary. In this pursuit of safety, motorcycle jackets also lose a little bit of their style quotient and practicality. When’s the last time you saw someone wear an armored motorcycle jacket on a casual night out? Yup, probably never.
However, most riders would conclude that trading in style and everyday, casual wearability for protection is undoubtedly worth it. That said, we’re sure some of you out there are looking for form over function — perhaps, for a short ride around town — so we’ve put together this list of five stylish motorcycle jackets.
There’s one for every kind of rider on this list, from something that will look perfect with your retro cafe racer to a jacket you can wear just as confidently on and off the motorcycle.
The Difference Between a Style Jacket and an Armored Jacket
Before we proceed any further, we want to reiterate that the jackets on this list cannot be considered a replacement for a genuine motorcycle jacket. Armored jackets from brands like Dainese, Alpinestars, or Klim go through a comprehensive R&D process and rigorous testing before they make their way into the market.
So what’s the difference? Bona fide motorcycle jackets frequently use multiple layers and materials to offer the best possible impact and abrasion resistance. Other factors include fabric thickness, burst resistance, stitching location, and even down to the type of fasteners use.
A style-oriented jacket, on the other hand, while better than wearing no jacket, will not provide the same level of safety.
It makes sense to always be as safe as possible when you’re on a motorcycle, and that’s why the ‘ATGATT’ acronym is so popular in the motorcycling community. ‘All The Gear All The Time’ may not be the most practical approach, but it’s definitely the safest.
The jackets we’ve compiled for this list aren’t entirely devoid of protection and come with (or have the option to add) some basic armor.
Leather Skin Shop is an independent company based out of Oregon, committed to producing premium leather goods with style and an affordable price. If you’re looking for a leather jacket to cruise in this season, Leather Skin Shop offers a variety of leather motorcycle-style jackets, including hooded and cafe-racer-styled selections.
Of all the options they offer, we’re most impressed with the Black Moto Jacket. Made from high-quality cowhide, the Black Moto Jacket is put together by hand with exquisite attention to detail.
The jacket also features stretch panels along the outer chest and sleeves, making for a comfortable fit. It has shoulder and elbow armor on the jacket but is important to note that it has not received a safety rating on its product page. It’s a great looking jacket if you’re looking to emphasize style over function.
The Black Moto Jacket is made in various sizes, from XS to 5XL, so you will definitely find one that fits you just right. Still, if you’re looking for something more bespoke, they can also customize your leather jacket in various colors, embroidery, and more.
First Manufacturing Co. has been around since 1987 and has built quite a name for itself by specializing in leather apparel. Their portfolio comprises everything you’d expect from an established apparel manufacturer, from belts and gloves to vests and jackets. This Top Performer Jacket is one of the company’s more popular offerings and is an excellent option if you ride a cafe racer.
The full-leather jacket has a timeless look, sporting a generous American cut and a single-snap mandarin collar. Thanks to two vented chest pockets and zipper vents on the sleeves, you should be comfortable even on a hot summer’s day. While it doesn’t come with any armor, First Manufacturing has equipped the jacket with pockets that can accommodate CE-rated armor. The jacket also features padding on the shoulders, elbow, and kidney area.
Roland Sands Design is an American company spearheaded by championship-winning GP rider turned bike builder Roland Sands. The firm specializes in custom hardware for Harley-Davidson, BMW, and Indian Motorcycles but also sells an extensive range of apparel.
Of the many jackets the brand has on sale, we recommend the Ronin because it perfectly blends everyday functionality with impeccable styling. RSD says the Ronin is “Versatile and stylish both on and off the bike, it’s the jacket you wear for a night out even when you don’t bring your bike along,” and we definitely agree.
The Ronin is made from 0.9mm — 1.1mm hand-finished leather, offering abrasion resistance, with pre-curved sleeves and pockets for RSD x Forcefield armor. Other features include perforated leather interior trims and sleeves, a snap collar, and multiple pockets.
At first glance, the Alpinestars Chrome Sport Hoodie looks like just another piece of casual clothing. However, take a good look, and you’ll find that this was designed with safety features that you’d find on many other entry-level motorcycle jackets. For instance, the jacket uses aramid reinforced panels on the shoulder, elbow, and back for added abrasion resistance and protection.
It comes standard with Level 1 CE-certified Bio Lite armor on the elbows and shoulders and features a pocket on the back designed to accommodate the Alpinestars Level 2 Nucleon CE-certified back insert.
Other features include a removable hood, a zippered hoodie-style hand pocket, and an internal waterproof pocket. The Alpinestars Chrome Sport Hoody is available in six styles, and you’re likely to find one that best suits your style.
The Knox Kenton is perhaps the most stylish jacket on this list, with a simple yet elegant cut that resembles that of a pea coat. This fully waterproof mid-length jacket features two ‘hunting pockets’ on the chest and two zippered waterproof pockets at the waist. Its waterproof and breathable membrane comes with fully taped seams, ensuring you’ll stay dry even during heavy downpours.
Know has also equipped the jacket with its unique-dual fitting system that allows you to adjust the fit, so you can adjust it to suit you best whether you’re on or off a motorcycle. The jacket also features an inner zip that allows you to attach it to your riding pants.