A leather one piece race suit is the way to go for track riding, but if you want to keep the race look on the road then a sporty leather jacket may be a more practical solution. Most can be paired up with matching leather jeans to give a similar level of protection, but generally have a less race-focused fit so that you can feel comfortable off the bike too. They also have useful features like pockets that aren't necessary in a race suit.
There's no doubt that a leather jacket looks cool, but the main reason for wearing one is the resistance that cowhide has to abrasion. You can get an indication of how effective a given jacket will be in a slide by its CE rating, with AAA being the highest level. This also covers the strength of seams and zips among other details. One drawback of leather is that the thicker it is, the less flexible the jacket is likely to be, so accordion panels or stretchy textile sections are often incorporated to enhance rider manoeuvrability.
Check out the armour too, as it should have approved elbow and shoulder protectors at the very least. Armour is rated at Level 1 or 2, with the latter offering better impact protection. Many manufacturers will also include a back protector, or at least have a pocket for one, and there are also airbag options available. Bear in mind that if you're planning to attach a pair of jeans, the jacket will need a compatible zip around the waist.
Comfort should be also be a consideration, so look for features such as soft trimmed collar and cuffs, mesh linings and removable thermal layers. As sporty leather jackets are designed for when you're working hard on the bike, perforated panels for ventilation are a common feature, echoing those found in race suits. As a result, very few are waterproof, but there are exceptions.
We've picked a selection below to cover a variety of budgets.
1. RST Tractech Evo 4
A great jacket for pairing up with leather jeans for a two piece track suit, the RST Tractech Evo
2. Alpinestars Faster V2
Constructed from 1.3mm leather, the Faster V2 comes with Astars' Nucleon elbow and shoulder
3. Richa Mugello
Tested by Dan Sutherland for one year, 1,000 miles. Quality 4/5, Value 3/5. There’s no
4. Ixon Vortex 2
The Vortex 2 has aggressively pre bent arms for a sporty riding position and flex accordion panels
5. Dainese Super Race
As the name suggests, Dainese's sporty Super Race leather jacket is pretty much track ready.
6. Furygan Raptor Evo 2
A full grain leather jacket with removable thermal liner. Arms are pre bent for a sporty riding
7. Weise Hydra WP
The Weise Hydra comes with removable thermal and waterproof linings to give it true versatility.
8. FLM Sports 4.0
A great value jacket, the 4.0 boasts 1.1mm cowhide leather construction and textile stretch panels
9. Merlin Luna Airbag Ready
The Luna is packed with creature comforts. It has a removable Outlast temperature control liner to
10. REV'IT! Glide
This sports style street jacket, featuring many of the details found on race kit. Level 2 Seesoft
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