The Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets for the 2020 Season

We’d Know: We’ve Hands-On Tested 200+ Jackets Since 2000

 

Recommendations by Style:

Sport

Sport jackets prioritize riding ergonomics, protection, and “the look”.

See: Sportbike Jackets

Cruiser / V-Twin

The classic cruiser look, with maximum protection and comfort built-in. Let’s ride.

See: Cruiser Jackets

Adventure/Touring

Comfort and utility is the name of the game when it comes to touring jackets.

See: Touring Jackets

 

A note about our recommendations:

There’s a lot of fake “review sites” online today. We get it. We aren’t one of them. Founded in 2000, the team at wBW has extensively tested more than 2,500 pieces of gear. Helmets, jackets, boots, gloves, accessories, and more. We extensively and exhaustively test gear. We do not fluff reviews. Read our review policies.

 


 

For maximum ergonomics & protection

Best Leather Sportbike Motorcycle Jacket

Alpinestars Core Leather Sportbike Jacket

Alpinestars Core

Price: $590

Where to Buy

RevZilla Amazon

Why?

This jacket offers great protection without sacrificing any of the comforts that riders want on a long ride or even just a fast trip across town. The Core is definitely designed with a sportbike rider in mind as the ergonomic shape conforms to your body in an aggressive crouch position without any binding or bulging in the arms or torso areas.

Kathy reviewed the core in January 2019 and has great things to say about it. Check it out.

Specs

Specs:

  • Main construction is 1.1mm thick full-grain leather
  • CE level 1 armor in the elbows, shoulders, optional CE level 2 armor in the back
  • Removable thermal liner

Our In-Depth Review

Kathy noted that the core provides excellent comfort and abrasion protection, as well as leading airflow. Given that she lives in Arizona, that part is particularly important to her. Read her full review…

 

sedici niccolo

Sedici Niccolo

Price: $300

Where to Buy

RevZilla

Why?

The Niccolo is a very well-received mid-range leather sport jacket. It features 1.0 – 1.1 mm construction throughout, CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows, and plenty of venting for airflow. Like the Alpinestars Core, the Niccolo has a sport fit out of the box (bag?) that feels natural when in your riding position. If you want to up the ante on protection, you can add a back protector for $50 or so as the Niccolo does not come with one from the factory.

Specs

Specs:

  • 1.0 – 1.1 mm full-grain cowhide leather
  • CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows
  • Can be paired to matching leather pants with a zipper connection for a seamless, integrated look

In-Depth Review

To get a sense of what the Niccolo collection is all about, we recommend you have a look at this overview video from Cycle Gear.

 


 

Focus: pairing safety and style

Best Cruiser / V-Twin Style Riding Jackets

Scorpion 1909 Leather Jacket

Scorpion 1909

Price: $515

Where to Buy

RevZilla Amazon

Why?

The 1909 is one of the best examples of a classy, modern take on vintage style. The 1909, as you can plainly see, is a good looking leather jacket that features distressed top grain leather. It pays homepage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which opened in 1909 and helped cement American love for auto racing.

The 1909 comes with Sas-Tec CE level 2 armor in the elbows a shoulder and a removable inner-liner that makes the 1909 very comfortable for 3-season riding.

Specs

Specs:

  • Top-grain leather construction
  • Removable EverHeat internal liner
  • Pant zipper/belt loop attachment tab
  • YKK zippers

In-Depth Review

RevZilla did an excellent overview video on the 1909 when the 1909 was released in 2014. Watch it here.

 

reax jackson

REAX Jackson

Price: $429

Where to Buy

RevZilla Amazon

Why?

The Jackson is an understated and affordable 3-season leather jacket. Cameron reviewed the Jackson in 2018 and found that it provides its wearer with a great blend of affordability, style, and quality. The leather itself is 1.2 – 1.4 mm thick, and paired with the CE level 2 armor in the elbows and shoulders, and you have some decent protection there. Again, up the ante with optional back armor.

Specs

Specs:

  • 1.2 – 1.4 mm buffalo leather
  • SAS-TEC CE level 2 elbow and shoulder armor
  • YKK zippers

Our In-Depth Review

At $430, the Jackson plays in a pretty competitive segment. However, it brings a fair amount of value to the equation. The only thing it’s really “missing” is an interior liner, which would turn the Jackson into a great early spring/late fall option. Read our full review…

 


 

Focus: utility and comfort, weatherproofing

Best Adventure & Touring Leather Motorcycle Jackets

roland sands walker

Roland Sands Walker

Where to Buy

RevZilla Amazon

Price: $400

Why?

Leather is not an ideal material for adventure/touring riding, but if you’re doing less “adventure” and more “touring”, you’ll find this Roland Sands Design option a good fit. First, it does not come with armor so if you want it you’ll need to add it after the fact (around $100 or so all-in). The fit is more relaxed, making it comfortable for long-term wear and riding. This is a two-season jacket, suitable for spring and fall riding. We picked it because it’s a solid no-frills option with extra length on the back, which helps with riding in “weather”.

Specs

Specs:

  • 1.0 – 1.2 mm buffalo leather
  • Classic riding fit with lower back length

Video Overview

RevZilla has done a good overview video on the walker. Check it out here (especially if you’re a Chuck Norris fan).

 

First Manufacturing Street Cruiser Jacket

First Manufacturing Street Cruiser

Price: $299

Where to Buy

RevZilla

Why?

This one is a pragmatic choice. The Street Cruiser includes a removable interior liner and hood, both of which add to the Street Cruiser’s 3-season disability factor. It’s also got a more relaxed “American” fit, with more material around the waist, back, and arms. On long rides, you can choose your level of comfort: liner in/hood on, one or both removed, and so on.

Specs

Specs:

  • 1.0 mm cowhide leather
  • Chest and back vents
  • YKK zippers

Video Review

RevZilla has another excellent overview video that outlines the Street Cruiser. Check it out.

Criteria & Methodology

How We Determine "The Best"

At wBW, “Best” Actually Means Something

Remember when you could open up a review of something, and when the publication – magazine, car show, whatever – said “best” they stood behind it? Yea, we remember, and we’re bringing it back.

Here’s how we do things:

  • We disclose our affiliate relationships – We make money via advertising and affiliate relationships on our website. It’s how we pay our team and invest in things like sending Jim to Italy. And Japan. And France… wait… why do we always send Jim places?
  • We obsessively hands-on test – We wear and ride with gear before reviewing it, and we update reviews down the line if our opinions change. We look at real-world situations because that’s the world we live in.
  • We’re objective – Good gear is good gear, regardless of who made it.
  • We’re value-focused – Why pay $500 if something for $250 is just as good? Our review scores and recommendations reflect best value. Brand only goes so far – the gear has to stand on its own.

Hands-on reviews of 2020’s best riding gear. More than 2,500 hands-on reviews since 1999!

Mini-Buyers Guide

What to Look for in a Leather Jacket

Leather requires more care than a textile material, but its abrasion resistance is top-notch and the small tradeoffs are worth it. However, not every jacket is made equally and there are a few considerations you’ll want to look for when making your pick.

Look For

  • Material – Cowhide. Buffalo. Goatskin. There are a lot of types of leather, each with their own perks and quirks in terms of look and feel. We recommend Cowhide or Buffalo.
  • Grade – Not all leather is created equally. “Genuine leather”, for example, is the lowest form of leather that is allowed to be called leather. Look for top or full-grain leather, which will be a bit softer to the touch but uncompromising in terms of durability and abrasion resistance.
  • Use case – A jacket that you intend to wear in the spring or fall is going to need to be warm, while the inverse is true if you spent your seat time underneath the hot Arizona sun. If you are going to be hot when riding, make sure you have adequate venting.

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