We all like the idea of a traditional leather biker jacket for riding round town on a summer’s day or some one-piece, slim-fitting race leathers if we ride a sports bike.
However, the most practical, effective and comfortable motorcycle clothing for year-round, all-weather use is a ‘high-end’ textile suit.
By using the very latest materials such as Gore-Tex, sophisticated waterproof yet breathable membranes, removable thermal linings, CE-rated protectors and armour and slick design features these are the motorcycle suits that do it all.
Some also have ventilation systems, waterproof pockets and a variety of adjusters to get the perfect fit for the ultimate in comfort and practicality.
Of course, that sophistication, clever design, quality materials and useful features doesn’t come cheap – some jacket and trouser combos can end up costing well over £1000. But if you want the best, and a suit that will last years, you have to pay for it.
But what’s currently available at the top end of the market? What do they cost and what do you get for your money? We’re focussing on the jackets here, but all come with matching trousers. Here’s our pick of some of our favourites...
Finnish experts Rukka are among the highest-regarded motorcycle textile clothing brands of all u2013 and not cheap, either u2013 but when you take a look at the spec and owners ratings, itu2019s not hard to see why.
The top-of-the-range Kallavesi Gore-Tex jacket has matching trousers and has a massive six-year warranty. The outer is in wind- and waterproof Gore-Tex Pro and is three-layer laminated with abrasion and tear-resistant Cordura with Armacor strengthening on elbows and shoulders along with Kevlar.
There’s a soft neoprene collar, Rukka D3OA Air XTR shoulder and elbow protectors which are rated to CE Level-1, a detachable thermal lining with 60g insulation and much, much more – even a crotch strap and a long connecting zipper for the trousers.
Alpinestars Stella Valpariso V3 Drystar
This suit is proof that high-end textiles are available for women as well as men. Italian brand Alpinestars are rightly regarded among motorcycle clothing royalty and the Stella (womenu2019s) version of the Valpariso is among its best textile offerings, and is again available with separate trousers.
It’s a versatile, all-weather technical touring jacket that is anatomically optimised for a female fit and contains Alpinestars’ Drystar waterproof and breathable membrane for effective and proven all-weather performance.
It also has a multi-material shell construction with a highly abrasion and tear resistant ripstop fabric main construction with reinforced material on elbows and shoulders and much more including internal waist connection zip for attaching to the matching trousers.
Dainese Dolomiti GTX
Dainese is the u2018otheru2019 best-known, high-end Italian motorcycle clothing manufacturer with the Dolomiti GTX one of its best textile offerings. The jacket outer is 100% polyamide with stretch inserts.
There’s a 100% polyamide thermal lining and a wind and waterproof membrane in polytetrafluoroethylene (easy for you to say). There’s also lots of adjustment and ventilation, five pockets, reflective inserts, elbow and shoulder protectors that are CE rated to Level-1, a pocket for a back protector and more including a zip to attach to the separate trousers.
Spidi 4 Season Evo H2Out
The 4 Season Evo is an improved version of Spidiu2019s global bestseller. Thereu2019s a three-layer high tenacity extra tenax nylon outer for excellent abrasion and puncture resistance and mesh panels for maximum air circulation.
ForceTech Removable Shoulder Pads and Removable Elbow Guards Warrior Lite (both Level-2) look after your joints and two separate inner jackets (a rain jacket made with 5k/5k H2Out breathable and waterproof fabric, and a thermal liner) keep you warm and dry in poor conditions.
There's also 3M Scotchlite reflectors, a zip connection to the separate trousers, two outer waterproof pockets... the list of features goes on and on...
RST Pro Series Adventure X Airbag
The Pro Series Adventure X Airbag jacket is the leading textile jacket/suit offered by RST and comes with In&motionu2019s leading airbag technology. Itu2019s a more lightweight, adventure style jacket with an innovative, removable X-Liner that combines waterproof SinAqua protection with a built-in thermal layer.
The X-liner is quick and easy to remove and has been designed to fit in the rear pocket when not in use. Large vents all over the jacket enable a huge airflow when all fully open, and a water bladder pocket (bladder available separately) can keep you hydrated when the going gets tough!
Add in CE-approved Level 2 armour, external shoulder sliders and of course In&motion integrated airbag technology and you have the one of the ultimate adventure motorcycle jackets.
Revu2019it Dominator Gore-Tex
Another high-end, adventure-style textile jacket, the Dominator features a 3L Gore-Tex Pro nylon 600D construction, stretch Gore-Tex Pro for added comfort, a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane, CE-approved, shoulder, elbow and back protection.
It also features safety seams, adjustable cuffs, hips and waist, lots of ventilation, a detachable kidney belt and much, much more.
Klim Badlands Pro
A waterproof Gore-Tex three-layer textile touring jacket with D3O armour, multiple vents and pockets, the Badlands Pro has been designed for the toughest adventure riders and the harshest elements. It features a Gore-Tex 3-layer Pro laminate technology construction, custom-engineered variable-density superfabric on shoulders, elbows and forearms, highly abrasion-resistant 500D Karbonite ripstop panels in key impact and wear areas and pre-curved arms and rider positioning construction.
And to keep you safe if you take a tumble is CE-approved Klim Aero Pro D3O shoulder and elbow armour along with an included D3O Viper Pro back armour. There's also cooling mesh in all key areas.
A waterproof and breathable touring jacket with thermal liner, ventilation system and D3O armour, the Richa Atlantic has also attained CE rating of A and features a laminated Gore-Tex outer textile construction and abrasion-resistant Armacor at areas of impact. The D3O shoulder and elbow armour is CE certified, too.
For colder rides, there's a thermal quilted arm-length liner, and for extreme practicality there are 11 pockets to store your belongings. The connecting zip allows you to connect to Richa’s Atlantic or Cyclone jeans.