Sometimes, you want the full-length protection that a touring-style textile motorcycle jacket offers. The combination of coverage, adjustability and flexibility just can’t be beaten, particularly if you’re commuting or on a long tour.
However, other times, you may want a less formal and traditional style of jacket, particularly if you’re out for a short ride for fun or in an urban setting, for example. In this case, there are plenty of casually styled jackets around that will keep you safe, warm and even dry but won’t necessarily look like a motorcycle jacket.
What to look for
Of course, regardless of the style, you should still be looking for a jacket that will keep you protected, so investigate CE ratings, which apply just like other garments, with B the lowest-protection rating up to A, AA and AAA, the latter the highest.
Also look for armour in at least the elbows and shoulders and if one isn’t present, a pocket for a back protector. Again, Level-2 armour is more effective than Level-1.
Related: Best urban motorcycle boots
Some jackets may include removable thermal liners to keep you warm on chilly rides while many will offer some form of waterproofing, at least water resistance to offer some protection in showers.
With so many jackets on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky, but here a few we reckon look good and will look after you on your bike.
Richa Lausanne Ladies Motorcycle Jacket
Richa Lausanne Ladies Motorcycle Jacket
MCN Rated Best Women's Jacket
Tester Saffron Wilson for 4 months over 2807 miles - Quality 4/5 Value 4/5
I always have the issue with women’s jackets that they are too short in the arm or the body, but the Lausanne didn’t fair too badly although I’d recommend teaming it up with long gloves for the motorway if you’re planning a longer ride through the rain. The jacket is waterproof for the most part and I only had a little seepage through the zip in exceptionally heavy rain, so the Aquashell membrane held up well. The finish is nice to the touch, and the D30 shoulder, back and elbow protection is one less thing to worry about, although the elbow pads made the jacket quite tight on the arms to begin with.
The pockets are a decent size and can handle a phone easily, and the detachable thermal lining was welcome when the weather got too hot. Which is ideal because even though it is a waterproof jacket, it doesn’t look out of place on a summer ride.
You can get the Lausanne in grey or black, and there is a connection zipper for trouser attachments if you have any handy. Just remember to do up the collar button else you’ll be driven insane with the collar tapping on your helmet at motorway speeds.
Great for warmth
Weu2019ve looked at Jet clothing before and it always seems to get good reviews u2013 this armoured hoodie is no different.
The jacket is formed with a softshell, water-resistant material so it’s light and flexible and though it's windproof, it’s also breathable, making it ideal for summer rides.
Back in the day (late 1970s/early 80s}, everyone wanted a Harrintgon. The short British jacket with the tartan lining was an icon and this version from Oxford keeps you safe on your bike. CE A rated, it comes with Level-1 shoulder and elbow armour and a pocket for a back protector. It uses Oxfordu2019s Dry2Dry membrane for water resistance yet breathability and has a Kevlar lining across the key areas.
Spada Air Force 1
Another timeless design, the MA-1-style flight jacket is now brought up to date by Spada, which makes it perfect for cool and casual rides. CE rated, it comes with CE armour in the shoulders and elbows with a pocket for a back protector.
It has a waterproof liner that helps keep the cold out while allowing the body to breathe and this is finished in the traditional bright orange – used by downed pilots to signal rescuers. Elasticated neck and cuffs and an arm pocket complete the look.
Spidi Metro Mover
This CE A-rated jacket from Spidi has an Artic explorer look and feel to it, with an elasticated waist and cuffs and a removable hood. It is formed in a soft-shell outer with a microfleece lining and uses Spidiu2019s u2018Step inu2019 layering system, so a thermal inner jacket can be added for cold rides.
It comes with a four-piece Level-1 armour set with the option to add a back protector and the H2Out membrane will keep water out but allow the body to breathe.
This hoodie from French manufacturer Furygan packs a serious punch; AA rated for overall protection and supplied with D3O armour, it has an option for a back protector from the manufactureru2019s range and can also be used with the companyu2019s airbag products, using the In&motion sensor and deployment technology. Its soft-shell outer hides a removable thermal liner and waterproof and breathable membrane for comfort.
Hoodies certainly seem to be the casual style of choice at the moment and this one from Richa combines modern casual looks with protection. The hood is removable and the cotton outer soft-shell jacket offer CE-rated protection to level A. There is D3O armour at the shoulders, elbows and back and it has a ribbed expanding waist and cuffs. It also has a connection zip to join trousers to prevent gaping while riding.
The Frontline, from RST, forms part of the brandu2019s u2018Built with Kevlaru2019 collection and has a waterproof softshell outer backed with a Kevlar lining in key areas, such as the shoulders and elbows. It is CE A-rated and comes with Level-1 armour at the shoulders and elbows with a pocket for an optional back protector and also features a SinAqua waterproof and breathable membrane as well as zipped vents in the front and rear to allow cooling airflow.
One for the ladies here, as the Stealth has a more fitted design. A soft, fleece hoodie that hides a CE AA-rated jacket with CE armour at the shoulders, elbows and a back protector. The soft outer shell is backed with an aramid-fibre lining, combining style and protection and the hood is removable if it gets in the way on the bike. An elasticated hem and cuffs ensure comfort while there is also a zip to join trousers.
Another jacket only available in a ladiesu2019 cut, this short textile casual comes with a faux fur-edge removable hood and tall collar to keep the cold out. Itu2019s formed in 600D fabric and features an Arma Tex waterproof and breathable lining to keep water out but prevent the body becoming too hot and sweaty. It also comes with CE armour at the shoulders and elbows and a pocket for an optional back protector while the thermal liner is removable for warmer rides.
Tucano Urbano HiFive
One for when the mercury really drops, this CE A-rated jacket from Italian casual-clothing specialist Tucano Urbano uses the companyu2019s HydroScud five-layer technology to keep the rain out yet allow the body to breathe while an ecodown filling helps keep the rider warm and gives the appearance of a u2018normalu2019 puffer jacket. CE Level-1 armour is included at the shoulders and elbows and thereu2019s a pocket for a back protector.