Every motorcyclist should have a leather jacket in their riding-gear wardrobe; it’s as essential as a bike itself and whether you prefer an aggressive sporty racing-style leather or a more relaxed cruiser-type, you really ought to have one in your range.
The leather riding jacket has been around for almost as long as the motorcycle itself, for a variety of reasons. They are cool, look good, and people realised early on that leather offered excellent protection in the event of a fall. As long as the garment is constructed properly, then leather’s abrasion resistance is excellent – that’s why top-level racers wear leather suits.
The recent explosion in retro-styled motorcycles has led to a subsequent explosion in retro-styled clothing to match. This leather from Duchinni, the Strike, isn’t necessarily retro-styled but is classic; a short-body, longer-arm cut that will look good on virtually any bike.
First off, the paper specifications; it’s CE-rated AA for construction and abrasion-resistance and comes with a four-piece suite of Level-2 armour and a pocket for an optional back protector. It’s made from cowhide and it comes with a finish somewhere between shiny and matt. It has a removable thermal lining vest that really adds warmth to chillier rides but the shoulder panels, as well as the upper back, are perforated to allow airflow to keep you cool on warmer rides.
The fittings are all antique brass and while this doesn’t give the jacket an overly retro feel, it is classic and suits the cut and style perfectly. There is a main zip with a flap behind and two brass poppers to fasten the neoprene-edged collar. There’s a chest pocket and two front hand-warmer style ones and the cuffs are secured by zips and Velcro tabs. There are also Velcro adjustment tabs at the hem.
Putting it on, it fits me like a glove. I typically wear an XL jacket but went for the 44 (the size I take in suits) and it is perfect; snug without being tight, the arms are the right length and all the armour is in exactly the right position. The elbow armour extends down the forearm slightly for additional reassurance and the (optional) back protector is noticeable but only just, offering reassurance instead of annoyance.
The arms are pre-curved for comfort and ease of use on the bike, but the leather is supple and the design is nowhere near as aggressive as sporty leather. So, you can easily move around on the bike and it is just as at home off the bike as on. It sits – and fits – well enough that it works on upright nakeds, as well as in a forward-leaning racing tuck and you can get sporty or street-style gloves under the cuffs, though those with chunky wrists may feel bulky. A pair of short sporty gloves (my personal choice with this jacket) is ideal.
With the liner in, it is pleasantly warm on chillier rides (think early summer morning or late evening heading home) but with the liner removed, it’s a straightforward, lightweight leather with perforations to allow cooling air – which you’ll be grateful for in hot weather.
The leather is incredibly supple and flexible and the slightly waxy outer finish means that dead bugs are easier to get off than some jackets though not quite as easy as a fully-gloss racing example. It’s available in black or brown though the ‘brown’ shown here is actually more like a grey – it’s a nice colour nonetheless.
If you’re after a cool, classically styled leather jacket with decent protection and some chilly-ride capability, then you won’t go wrong with the Strike. It is supple, comfortable to wear and the effort has gone into getting the basics right instead of gimmicks. It might ‘only’ be AA rated (most leathers are AAA) but that doesn’t affect your confidence in it and the armour is secure and well specified. And it’s also a bargain, at £230 RRP but well south of £200 online.
Perforated leather and thermal lining
‘Only’ AA rated